Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

February 2, 1961

A photo shows City of Whitesburg sanitation employees on Whitesburg streets away from the curbs and into the city sewers. The work is done at night after businesses close.

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Wilburn D. Collier, also known as Uncle Wib, died at the age of 95. He once operated a store and hotel where Craft’s Funeral Home now stands and he also dealt in real estate. He served as police judge in Neon and held the office of Letcher County magistrate for two terms.

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Among Letcher County residents attending the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C. were Mr. and Mrs. Archie Craft and Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Gentry.

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Reports are that bituminous paving, not concrete, will be the surface for the portion of the new Mountain Parkway highway between Campton and Whitesburg. The portion from Winchester to Campton will have concrete paving, however, because the firms buying the bonds to finance that portion of the road say they will not finance the road unless the paving is concrete.

February 4, 1971

The Jenkins building which served for many years as Sharon Heights Hospital, operated by the Catholic Church, will become a home for aged men and women and will be remodeled with the aid of a $142,700 grant from a Special Impact fund obtained for Letcher County by the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The rest home will be operated by a non-profit agency, Golden Years Rest Home Inc., and will have room for 39 elderly patients.

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The U.S. Bureau of Mines said various illegal operating procedures killed 38 coal miners at the Finley Mine in Leslie County last December 30, but it did not assess where and with whom the responsibility for the tragedy lay.

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Fifteen girls at Johnson Central High School in Paintsville are facing paddling or expulsion for wearing long pants to school during the cold weather. Principal Herschel Conley said he will do the paddling himself, using a slat-like board.

February 5, 1981

The federal Office of Surface Mining said it would hire a contractor to stabilize a mudslide, restore the stream channel and revegetate the area on Pases Branch where the slide occurred. The slide, which is estimated to be 20 feet deep and 150 feet long, blocked the road leading to the homes of Doyle Callahan and his father-in-law Chester Cornett.

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The Jenkins Employees Independent Union says it will appeal a decision by Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg which said Jenkins Mayor James F. ‘Chum’ Tackett acted within the power vested in a mayor when he laid off seven of the union’s 13 members near the end of last year.

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Even with a crash program to protect American farmland, food prices are expected to rise ‘as much as double the 1980 price level by 2000.’ Conservationists say the U.S. is cutting into its rural land base at the rate of 3,000,000 acres a year.

February 6, 1991

The Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned a Fayette court ruling against South East Coal Co. which had sent the firm into bankruptcy and forced the layoff of more than 400 miners last fall. The suit was filed by Kentucky Utilities Co. of Lexington after the price of coal on an open market fell dramatically and South East refused to sell the coal at a price lower than the utility had contracted. The utility says it will appeal the case to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

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The federal Farmers Home Administration has agreed to lend the City of Whitesburg $300,000 to be used in remodeling the Lewis Wholesale building on East Main Street into a new Whitesburg City Hall.

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Dr. Shelba Proffitt, a Whitesburg native, has become the rst woman member of the Senior Executive Service, an elite group of federal employees, at the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, and the new director of the Command’s Advanced Technology Directorate in Huntsville, Ala. Members of the Senior Executive Service hold the top career management and policy jobs in the federal government. Dr. Proffitt is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Proffitt of Tillie. She is a graduate of Whitesburg High School and Centre College.

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Local residents placed hearts on a tree in downtown Whitesburg to honor Letcher County soldiers fighting in the Middle East.

February 7, 2001

Spot-market coal prices have more than doubled since last summer, from $18 a ton to the high 30s now, and many companies are looking to increase production to help meet the new demand. Companies which were laying off workers a year ago are now having a hard time finding enough experienced miners to meet the new production demands.

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Vandals broke windows in a van belonging to the Burdine Freewill Baptist Church and the church’s auxiliary, and four businesses in Jenkins in a single night.

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Police say they have broken up a methamphetamine laboratory at Fisty in Knott County, only the second ever in the area patrolled by troopers from the Hazard Post of the Kentucky State Police.

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The Whitesburg Lady ‘Jackets successfully defended last year’s 53rd District regular-season crown when they won 79-70 Jan. 29 at Jenkins. The Lady ‘Jackets are 5-0 with only Saturday night’s visit to Letcher remaining on their 2001 district schedule.



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