Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

July 28, 1960

All of the Elkhorn Coal Company’s holdings in Letcher County have been leased to an out-of-state firm for strip mining operations. The entire Elkhorn property has been leased to Greer-Ellison Coal Company of Virginia and Tennessee.

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State Librarian Margaret Willis told the Whitesburg Rotary Club this week that the state wants to help develop a first class library in Letcher County. Increased state appropriations to the library program, coupled with increased local support from the fiscal court and the Letcher County Board of Education, will make such a library possible, she said.

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The newly organized Fleming-Neon Quarterback Club will meet tonight to vote on bylaws and a constitution. The club’s purpose is year-round support of an athletic program in the Fleming-Neon area, including high school teams, Little League football and baseball, and a program of activities during the summer.

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Charles H. Back, son of Mrs. Ella Back of Whitesburg, was recently promoted to lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, making him the third colonel in the family. Lt. Col Back has two brothers who are also officers in the Air Force, Klair , a full colonel, and John V., a lieutenant colonel.

July 30, 1970

All over Letcher County, coal mines are having to stockpile coal because the L&N Railroad cannot furnish enough cars to haul it to market.

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The Golden Years Rest Home at Jenkins has received an allocation of Special Impact funds totaling $127,193 for renovation of the old Sharon Heights hospital at Jenkins for use as a rest home.

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Directors of the Kentucky River Area Development District have turned down a proposal to use federal antipoverty funds to establish a locally owned and operated housing panel manufacturing plant in Letcher County. Instead, they voted to reserve anti-poverty money for a housing manufacturing plant to be established at some unspecified place in the development district by a Lexington firm, Kentucky Construction Company, which is a subsidiary of a Tennessee firm, which in turn is owned by a California firm.

July 31, 1980

Preliminary census figures give Letcher County a small population that earlier studies had predicted, and county officials are asking for a recount. Population studies had predicted that Letcher County would have 29,386 residents in 1980, and the Kentucky River Area Development District had indicted a 1980 population of 31,791 for the county. But the U.S. Census Bureau’s figures show Letcher County with only 28,660 residents.

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State human resources officials say they will remove a highly successful program which helps low-income Letcher County women and their infant children from the Letcher County Health Department and will award it instead to Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, another local healthy services agency. Angry Letcher County officials charge “political manipulation.”

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Columbus Sexton, 61, of Whitesburg, has been sworn in as the new property valuation administrator of Letcher County. He succeeds Paul Mason, who resigned. Sexton was appointed to the vacant post by County Judge/Executive Robert Collins.

August 1, 1990

Kentucky Revenue Cabinet officials have put the value of unmined coal in Letcher County at only $38 million, a little more than one-eighth the value of coal mined here in 1989. Cabinet officials blame the low assessment on under-reporting by mineral owners who were asked to submit tax returns stating the amount of coal they own.

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A regional water system for Letcher County and five other counties would cost more than $98 million, according to a study commissioned by regional officials. The plant for the proposed system would be located at the confluence of Carr Creek and the North Fork of the Kentucky River.

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Letcher County officials say they will make garbage collection mandatory beginning in September.

August 2, 2000

The question of whether magistrates or commissioners should sit on the Letcher Fiscal Court may find its way onto the November election ballot again this year. A group calling itself Citizens for Change in the Millennium is circulating a petition around the county to get the following question placed on the ballot: “Are you for or against having a fiscal court composed of three commissioners and the county judge/executive?”

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With only a week left before the deadline, only 10 people have filed to run in city council and school board races in the November election.

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Most of the water tested as part of a study for the Letcher County Water and Sewer District fails to meet federal drinking water standards, a study released this week shows.

 Letcher County schools will reopen August 10 for students, but teachers will start back to work on August 7.


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