Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

October 6, 1960

The Fleming-Neon Pirates football team are ranked second in the Easter Kentucky Mountain Conference.

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The Letcher County Board of Education is looking at plans for two new schools, one at Campbell’s Branch and one at Colson. Architect D.E. Perkins says he believes both could be ready for use by next fall.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court voted unanimously to provide $500 worth of books to the Jenkins Public Library.

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Safety teams from Bethlehem won fourth place in a state contest held at Cumberland Falls.

October 8, 1970

About 20 Whitesburg High School students have been suspended after they refused to attend classes as a protest to what they consider unsafe school buses. The students live across Pine Mountain in the Cumberland River valley section of Letcher County and ride across the mountain to Whitesburg in two buses operated by a Harlan County contract firm. The buses used are more than 20 years old and students and parents have reported a number of incidents which led up to this week’s refusal to ride the buses across the steep, winding Pine Mountain route.

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Poet William H. Cohen, a professor at Alice Lloyd College, led a group of opponents of strip mining who stopped auguring operations at the Big Branch strip mine about five miles southwest of Hindman. The group of about 30 noted that there has been a ban on strip mining in Knott County for three months, but most mining firms continue stripping.

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Grace Wells Collins, a public health nurse in Letcher County for the past 40 years, has retired from her job at the Letcher County Health Department. Her husband, Dr. R. Dow Collins, retired a few years ago after a lifetime career as public health officer for Letcher County.

October 9, 1980

Kentucky Energy Secretary William B. Sturgill predicts that when the L&N and C&O railroad join the lines at Deane, the price of eastern Kentucky coal should go down at least $4 a ton.

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Kentucky’s unemployment rate for August was 14.1 percent, the seventh highest in the state.

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A special grand jury investigating the conduct of Letcher County officials met two days and adjourned until next week. There was no indication when the jury would complete its work or make a report.

October 10, 1990

A Letcher County college student, 20-year-old Patricia Ann Widner of Partridge, and three other students, all of Cumberland, died in a fire that gutted a Cumberland home Sunday. Police listed the fire as “suspicious” but said they did not know what caused it.

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The question of whether South East Coal Co. would lay off employees because of financial problems is still up in the air, but company president Harry LaViers Jr. says the firm is entering “serious economic times.”

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Eastern Kentucky residents who thought the 1988 broadform deed amendment protected their property from further abuse by mineral companies are being rudely awakened — by oil and gas companies which want to construct new wells, pumps and power lines.

October 11, 2000

Unemployment dropped in more than half of Kentucky counties during August, but jobless rates in nine eastern Kentucky counties — including Letcher — remained among the top 10 Letcher County has the most unemployed residents — 753 — of any county in the Kentucky River Area Development District.

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Getting irrigation water to the proposed Red Fox Golf Course could cost $700,000, but that’s no worry yet. So far, planners don’t have the property to build the golf course, even though the design for the course is “95 percent complete,” officials said.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court has declined to back off its refusal to allow Columbia Natural Resources to cross county roads with a proposed gas pipeline. Attorneys representing Columbia attended the fiscal court meeting on Monday to ask that the court reverse itself and give the company permission to cross the county roads. The court refused, saying the company still hasn’t dealt fairly with county residents.

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Eleven diff erent players scored touchdowns for visiting Fleming-Neon in Thursday night’s 92-9 hammering of district foe Elkhorn City.


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