Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years
October 20, 1960
The fourth Letcher County Community Forest Fire Prevention meeting was held at Kingdom Come School and Lt. Gov. Wilson Wyatt and his wife Anne dropped in to report that 40 such community meetings have been held in eastern Kentucky since the Southeastern Forest Fire Conference in Berea. Wyatt expressed interest in developing the Pine Mountain are and in the possibility of a state park in the area.
All 17 children of Frank and Nannie Blair gathered at the family home on Crase’s Branch of Rockhouse Creek over a weekend earlier this month. Ten of the children live in Letcher County. Frank Blair celebrated his 73rd birthday on Oct. 14.
The Fleming-Neon Pirates rallied in the second half of a football game with Whitesburg’s Yellowjackets and defeated Whitesburg 34-19. The win allowed the Pirates to keep their second-place rating in the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference.
October 22, 1970
Gas and oil drilling is becoming a problem for residents of Letcher County, where drilling activities are stepping up at “an unbelievable rate.” Other parts of the county might be facing higher fuel rates and occasional power shortages, wrote Eagle
reporter Phil Primack, but Joe and Susan Haynes, who live on Bull Creek, are “facing a lot more than that.” Kentucky West Virginia Gas Co. was laying a pipeline across their farm. The company says $1 a rod (16.5 feet) is the going rate for a pipeline right of way, and off ered the Hayneses $60 for the right to put a pipeline on their land. The Hayneses posted their land and wired their fences. Their sons confronted the company workers with shotguns. When a company representative came to complain, Mrs. Haynes told him the land was posted “and they went and never came back again to settle with us.”
People are worried about the price of coal to burn in their fireplaces this winter, wrote Siller Brown from Ice. “It is so high priced that poor people can hardly buy what they need.”
The Letcher County Board of Education bought two new school buses to take children from the Cumberland River area to classes at Whitesburg High School. Asst. Superintendent Goebel Ritter said the buses would be equipped with sandboxes and spiked tires to aid in winter driving across Pine Mountain.
October 23, 1980
County Attorney Guy Palumbo obtained an injunction against members of the Letcher Fiscal Court after three of them failed to show up for the court’s October meeting. Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg order the magistrates to hold a special meeting to take care of “urgent and routine county business.” It was the second time in less than a month that a regular meeting of the court had to be cancelled. The September meeting ended before it started when three magistrates failed to approve the minutes of the previous meeting, making it impossible to take care of any new business.
Kentucky received more than $13 million from the federal Department of the Interior to be used to finance the state’s interim surface-mining regulatory program.
correspondents report that people at Isom are busy gathering wood. Curtis Helton of Blair Branch grew some three-pound sweet potatoes, and Linefork is noticeably quiet since so many miners laid off .
October 24, 1990
Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg said he was not going to stand by while gas and oil companies “run roughshod” over property owners. Hogg delivered a strong courtroom lecture to a drilling company which had drawn the anger of many county residents and public offi cials. His comments came during a hearing to determine whether Letcher Sheriff Steve Banks should be ordered to arrest people who had been blocking Equitable Resources Exploration, a Pennsylvania company, from moving its drilling equipment along the Cram Creek-Pert Creek Road near Mayking.
The Nature Conservancy says it plans to make the property it is buying at Bad Branch Falls in Letcher County, “a showcase of conservation.”
South East Coal Co. President Harry LaViers Jr. says his company plans to stay in business despite the fact that is has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. South East, the state’s third largest independent coal producer, laid off 400 workers this month in three eastern Kentucky counties.
”Headwaters”, a public television series based in Letcher County and produced by Appalshop, received an “Excellence in Television” award from a television magazine, Channels.
October 25, 2000
Police were still searching Monday for a man who robbed the Isom branch of the Bank of Whitesburg with an assault rifle on Friday. The man came out of the woods and took an elderly man hostage in Knott County the night before, then stole the hostage’s truck and used it in the robbery. He disappeared back into the hills afterward.
A least one sludge pond in Letcher County is listed as a high risk for failing by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The pond listed as high risk here is at Clay Hollow, near the Golden Oak Mining’s Company’s Sapphire preparation plant.
Trick-or-treat night in Letcher County is set for Saturday rather than on Halloween. Letcher County Judge/ Executive Carroll Smith said he set trick-or-treating for Oct. 28 at the request of the cities, since Halloween falls in the middle of the week.