Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

January 26, 1961

The Letcher County school system will advertise for bids for new school buildings — a 14-classroom building to be located at Colson and an eight-classroom unit to be located at Campbell’s Branch.

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Two men died in a house fire across the road from Graveyard Hollow in Whitesburg. A third man who escaped from the burning house told officers he and the others had been drinking shaving lotion and taking pills commonly referred to as ‘yellowjackets’..

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The City of Whitesburg has created a Municipal Housing Administration to acquire, construct and administer a low-rent housing project in Whitesburg.

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The possibility of adding a third floor to the rear of the Letcher County Courthouse to house a county jail is being investigated by interested persons in Whitesburg. Members of the Whitesburg Community Development Association condemned the present jail as a disgrace to Letcher County and unfit for use by human beings.

January 28, 1971

Expectations are that a contract will be awarded for the new West Whitesburg Elementary School sometime in May. Superintendent of Schools Kendall Boggs told a group of West Whitesburg parents that the Kentucky Department of Education has approved financial arrangements for the $1,400,000 building.

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The U.S. Bureau of Mines is expected to release its ndings this week in the Finley Coal Co. explosion which killed 38 miners in Leslie County last Dec. 30. The report is expected to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue prosecution of the coal company under federal law, which provides for fines, imprisonment, or both , of operators who violate provisions of the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.

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A local group announced this week that it plans to stage an outdoor drama based on the novel ‘The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come’ by John Fox Jr. The novel used the Kingdom Come area of Letcher County as a principal locale, and several characters were based on Letcher County residents at the turn of the century.

January 29, 1981

Indications are that Letcher County is heading into the worst drought since 1931. A severe water shortage had plagued the City of Jenkins since last fall. Residents all over the county are reporting wells, creeks and springs that have never gone dry before are drying up now.

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Contract talks between the United Mine Workers of America and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association opened last week with both sides confident they can work out an agreement without a work stoppage.

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Residents of eastern Kentucky’s coal mining counties are being asked to help locate dangerous abandoned mine sites. State officials are beginning to inventory abandoned mine lands and determine the extent of the problem in order to get funding to reclaim potential hazards, said David Rosenbaum, director of the Division of Abandoned Lands of the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

January 30, 1991

Letcher County had the highest percentage of population loss in the eastern Kentucky coalfields during the 1980s, according to new 1990 census figures released this week. The latest count from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 3,687 residents — 12 percent of the 1980 population — left this county between 1980 and 1990.

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Ten Letcher County schools have rejected the sitebased management form of government within the schools which had been proposed by the Kentucky Department of Education.

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Two ‘snow days’ are enough time off for bored children to stay out of school, wrote Darlene Pettibone from Colson.

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Residents of Kodiak in Perry County are complaining that Letcher County’s stricter law enforcement on coal trucks has caused truck drivers to bypass Letcher County and take the road through Kodiak. The residents say heavily loaded trucks have destroyed their road.

January 31, 2001

Funeral services for Elder I.D. Back, 75, were held Jan. 26 at the Mt. Olivet Regular Baptist Church in Blackey. Back helped organize the Mt. Olivet Church and has been the church’s only moderator.

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Kentucky Department of Highways officials hope the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will approve a route for a new U.S. 119 across Pine Mountain by mid- 2002.

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Two armed men forced a store employee to let them in the back door of Autozone at Whitesburg Plaza and stole several thousand dollars from the safe, police say.

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Internet access up to 50 times faster than that possible over conventional phone lines should be available in Whitesburg this summer. BellSouth will make an announcement in two weeks, outlining exactly where and when the service will be available.



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