Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years
December 15, 1960
Whitesburg had its first major fire in 11 years. Flames destroyed the Combs building in downtown Whitesburg, leaving four families homeless and damaging property owned by five businesses.
The Whitesburg Ministerial Association is seeking money to help buy Christmas food and presents for needy families. The group says it will also accept canned goods, fruit and other commodities as well as toys.
An Army helicopter from Fort Knox attracted considerable attention when it landed on the Whitesburg football field. The helicopter ferried members of a military honor guard for Pvt. William Darrell Powell of Letcher County, who was killed in an automobile accident. With Whitesburg Police Chief Burl Combs on guard, the helicopter was left open for all to inspect, and a good many people took advantage of the opportunity.
December 17, 1970
Two Fleming-Neon High School football players, Rick Combs and Craig Reynolds, were named to the all-conference team of the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference.
Golden Years Rest Home is scheduled to open in about six months. It will be located in the former Sharon Heights Hospital building in Jenkins.
The future of a large-scale health program in Leslie County financed by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is in doubt this week as the result of action taken by the executive committee of the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community (LKLP) Action Council. OEO says it will not refund the program unless it is extended into Letcher, Knott and Perry counties. LKLP says it will accept the expansion only if OEO also includes enough money to operate the program in the three new counties at the present level of service in Leslie County.
December 18, 1980
The Letcher County Board of Education says it may have to look into assigning county elementary schools to districts. The board says it may have to designate districts and require children to attend the elementary school in the district in which they live as a means of coping with transportation costs.
Letcher County’s population increase 30.6 percent from 1970 to 1980, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The 1980 census shows Letcher County with 30,253 residents, up 7,088 from the 1970 count. The increase is attributed to the return of mountain people to their homes and the improvement in the coal industry economy since 1970.
An estimated 87,300 workers in Kentucky will be eligible for a pay raise on January 1 when the federal minimum wage will increase from $3.10 to $3.35 an hour.
December 19, 1990
Letcher County schools gained $2.7 million in state money over the past year, but the school system is still operating on a tight budget with little room for extras. Asst. Supt. Daryl Boggs says the board may have to eliminate some unnecessary positions to save money. Instruction costs are up $2.5 million this year and transportation costs are up half a million dollars.
Most of Jenkins’s new sewer treatment plant is already in operation and the plant is expected to be completed by February, an engineer told the Jenkins City Council.
Jenkins public schools have approved a policy on school-based decision making, clearing the way for school employees to decide by vote whether they want to help run their schools.
Preliminary tests show that residents of the Whitco community may be eligible for money for a public water system to replace wells damaged by coal mining. John Smiley, assistant director of the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands in the state Department for Surface Mining, said he was encouraged by well water samples taken in the Whitco and Cowan areas. He said a computer analysis showed six of the seven samples definitely had been affected by mining and the seventh one probably had been. Congress recently passed a bill that made all states with mining eligible to use 30 percent of the federal Abandoned Mine Lands money for public water systems.
December 20, 2000
Classified employees won two victories from the Letcher County Board of Education on Monday night, gaining more paid sick days for non-teaching employees and higher pay for bus drivers on extra-curricular trips.
Beckham Bates Elementary School is among 30 in Kentucky signed up for a $21 million program to encourage middle school students to stay in school and go on to college. GEAR UP targets low-income children who are at higher risk of dropping out of school.
Kentucky State Police say troopers and officers from the Hazard City Police Department raided the first methamphetamine laboratory ever in the Hazard State Police Post area, signaling the arrival of a new, dangerous drug to eastern Kentucky.