Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

September 15, 1960

A petition bearing more than 1,000 names went to Gov. Bert Combs this week to ask special action to halt strip mining of coal in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. Most Letcher County officials were among the signers.

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4-H Clubs throughout the county will display their products on Friday. Club members and clubs select their best products on a community basis and display the very best in the store windows in Whitesburg.

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District Scout Executive Ed Holliday reviewed Boy Scout Troop 68 of Whitesburg at its meeting Monday night. The Flaming Arrow Patrol was named winner of the overnight hike on the basis of points earned for uniform appearance, neatness, courtesy, and Scout knowledge.

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Frying chickens are 27 cents a pound at the A&P food store in Whitesburg. Four cans of tuna cost 75 cents.

September 17, 1970

It appears unlikely that the manmade mountains of coal materializing along railroad tracks throughout eastern Kentucky are about to disappear. In fact, a spokesman for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Co. said this week that, in view of the surplus piles, mines in Letcher County will be lucky if they can get more than three workdays a week. For the past eight months there has been a critical shortage of railroad cars to transport coal from mining areas to markets. Coal operators have been forced to stockpile their coal along the rail sidings so that work at their mines could proceed.

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D.S. Setzer, Whitesburg, is seeking city permission to start operations of a coal tipple adjacent to the city swimming pool and urban renewal area. Setzer’s application for a building permit was turned down by City Building Inspector Philmore Bowen, and Setzer this week appealed to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

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Plans are now being made for Whitesburg High School’s 1970 Homecoming, which will be held on Oct. 23. The theme for this year’s homecoming is “Whitesburg High School — Past, Present and Future.”

September 18, 1980

Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. is closing the company’s Mine 29 at Caney Creek near Virgie in Pike County. The closing will put 150 miners out of work. The action is the fourth major layoff by large coal-producing firms in the Kentucky- Virginia area this month.

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A fire which damaged the old Mayking Elementary School was the work of arsonists, officials say.

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A federal judge has issued a decision strongly criticizing the Mine Safety and Health Administration for failure to penalize miners for their deliberate violations of mine safety laws. Judge Joseph J. Kennedy, an administrative judge for MSHA, says every miner of whatever rank should be held publicly accountable for compliance with mine safety laws

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A 32-year-old Leslie County coal miner died from a rattlesnake bite he received during a church service.

September 19, 1990

The United Mine Workers of America union marked 100 years of labor organization in American’s coalfields at its first convention since 1986, but instead of celebrate UMWA President Richard Trumka talked about labor’s darkest days. Trumka said the union was facing a threat “every bit as dangerous as the one which confronted our ancestors in 1890 — a threat from a corporate class intent on robbing us of our rights.”

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Letcher County teachers and other school system employees have received an additional two-percent raise, for a total of 18 percent. The extra raise comes as a result of the board’s passage of a three-percent utility tax.

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”Mountains, the Pride of Eastern Kentucky” is the theme of the 1990 Mountain Heritage Festival, beginning this week.

September 20, 2000

A year after closing when miners refused to take a cut in pay, Golden Oak Mining Company is set to reopen under the ownership of a popular Letcher County family. Cook and Sons Mining Inc. of Whitesburg, will assume ownership of Golden Oak on Oct. 2 and wants to “have coal on the ground by Oct. 5,” said Randy Cook, one of six brothers and sisters buying the limited partnership from Lexington businessman William B. Sturgill and others.

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The Kentucky Department of Transportation has stopped issuing permits for oversize trucks to cross Pine Mountain at Whitesburg. It will probably post signs warning other tractor-trailers off the mountain and it may improve up to 12 curves on the mountain, State Rep. Howard Cornett said.

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Two Letcher County women who are known for their food will be the grand marshals of the Mountain Heritage Parade. The theme of this year’s festival is “What’s Cookin’ in the Mountains?” and Clara Williams of Whitesburg and Elsie Hutton of Neon will lead the parade down Main Street in Whitesburg.


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