Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years
November 24, 1960
The number of farms in Letcher County dropped more than half from 1954 to 1959, according to the offi cial United States census of agriculture released this week. In 1954 there were 1,574 farms in Letcher County, but by 1959 the number had fallen to only 620, a loss of 954 farms.
The Whitesburg Miners Memorial Hospital announced a daily room rate increase from $30 to $33.
The Presbyterian Church announced it would not permit development of the Stuart Robinson High School property at Letcher as a private college, because church officials do not believe enough money would be available to develop a college. Church officials say they would be willing to make the campus and buildings available for development as a tax-supported institution.
The Neon Fire Department is proudly showing off a new $16,000 fire truck delivered this week.
November 26, 1970
U.S. Shoe Corporation, which disappointed Letcher County two years ago when it picked Jackson instead of Whitesburg as the site for a shoe plant, announced it was abandoning plans for the plant at Jackson. The firm said the state of the national economy and the increasing competition from foreign manufacturers were the reasons for its decision.
Sam C. Blair, 86, a barber who had cut the hair of just about everyone in Letcher County, died this week. He operated a barbershop at Seco for several years in the 1920s before moving to Whitesburg.
Attorneys for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund (Appalred) conducted a mock trial at Manchester during which witnesses responded to questions about the enforcement — or lack of enforcement — of federal black lung laws. The black lung program came in for strong criticism.
November 27, 1980
Letcher County took the first step toward franchising cable television service here. Citing reports of poor service, the court voted to advertise its intent to franchise all cable television territories in the county.
Federal officials say they expect Thanksgiving turkeys for next year to cost at least 15 percent more than this year. However, they say, the higher price would help ensure that farmers would be able to expand the U.S. food output steadily for the growing world market.
Letcher Fiscal Court divided $214,852 in coal severance tax receipts among the Letcher County Senior Citizens Organization, the Mayking Area Volunteer Fire Department, the Appalachian Regional Ambulance Service and the McRoberts Community Center.
November 28, 1990
Carroll Allen Smith of Sandlick is the first person to announce formally that he will be a candidate for Letcher County Judge/Executive in the 1993 election. Smith, 41, is a newcomer to politics. He said he would seek the Republican nomination for the office.
Former Letcher County resident Carol Brown Hubbard says she would move back to eastern Kentucky to run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Chris Perkins of Hindman. She is the wife of U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard of Mayfield, who says he may run for governor of Kentucky in 1995.
The Mary and Barry Bingham Sr. Fund says it plans to give $200,000 to the Whitesburg Community College fund during the next year.
November 29, 2000
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will not allow Columbia Natural Resources Inc. to build a gas pipeline across the Pine Mountain Wildlife Management Area.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week declined to review murder convictions and two death sentences for the killer of an elderly Jackson County couple. Benny Lee Hodge has twice been convicted and condemned to die for the robbery and murder of the couple. He is under a third death sentence for the murder of Tammy Dee Acker in a robbery of her home in Letcher County.
Letcher County students may see fewer snow days this winter no matter what the weather is. The Letcher County Board of Education approved a new plan for calling off school during inclement weather that could mean students will attend classes more this winter.
Unemployment rose two tenths of a percent in Letcher County during September. The jobless figure in the county — 9.2 percent — is the seventh highest in Kentucky.