Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years
December 1, 1960
Final 1960 census figures put Letcher County’s population at 30,102. Populations of individual towns are: Fleming, 670; Neon, 766; Jenkins ,3,202; McRoberts, 1,363; Seco, 531; Whitesburg, 1,774.
As a result of the U.S. census report of Letcher County’s population, county magistrates stand to receive pay raises of $100 a month each under a provision of state law which sets magistrates’ pay by the total county population. The increase will double the magistrates’ salaries, which the county had set at $100 a month on the basis of preliminary population estimates.
A new water pump has been installed in the Whitesburg municipal water system. Officials say it will pump more water than the city’s residents can consume.
December 3, 1970
An organization called the Citizens’ League to Protect Surface Rights was formed this week in Blackey. The purpose of the new group is to assure landowners that their surface rights should be protected and that the new organization will off er whatever assistance it can to see those rights guaranteed. Most of the people at the meeting are from sections of Letcher County where oil and gas companies have been doing extensive drilling.
David Zegeer, superintendent of Beth-Elkhorn Corp. in Letcher County, says he believes the land being stripmined on the hillsides around Jenkins will provide many new housing sites. He also expressed interest in using the overburden from strip mines to fill in valleys which then could have level sites for use by industry or as housing sites.
December 4, 1980
A United States marshal has confiscated the absentee ballots in the general election held on Nov. 4 in Letcher County, and all election materials concerning the five precincts in the Jenkins area.
Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg refused to order striking members of the Jenkins Independent Employees Union back to work after they walked off their jobs to protest the firing of at least seven other city workers.
The Whitesburg High School mathematics team took top honors at the 10th annual math-science contest at Clinch Valley College in Wise, Va. Team members are Kim Arthur, Teresa Nichols, and Chris Combs.
December 5, 1990
Police cited more than 50 truckers in a crackdown on overloaded and speeding coal trucks on Hwy. 7 in Letcher County.
Funeral services were held in Whitesburg for Harry M. Caudill, 68, lawyer, author, and nationally known spokesman on Appalachian issues.
Herman Combs, who had owned and operated the Suburban Motel in Whitesburg since the 1960s, has retired because of poor health.
Letcher Fiscal Court, which owns the former Jenkins High School building, proposed turning part of it into housing for elderly residents.
December 6, 2000
A contract for a veterans’ outreach clinic in Whitesburg should be awarded shortly and full services should be available here within 60 days, a Veterans Affairs spokesman said.
Attorneys claim in court documents that the spill of 250 million gallons of coal sludge in Martin County by the Martin County Coal Corp. was ‘an act of God.’ The October disaster was the nation’s largest black water spill.
Much of the property needed to build the Red Fox Golf Course in Knott County is now in the hands of the state of Kentucky. The development is a joint project of Knott, Perry and Letcher counties.
The Jenkins Lady Cavaliers opened their season with easy wins over June Buchanan and Wolfe County.