Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

February 16, 1961

Southern Bell Telephone Co. officials told Whitesburg city officials they would be happy to remove hazardous telephone poles from Whitesburg’s Main Street if someone would pay them $10,000 to do it. The company’s proposal got a cool reception from members of the Whitesburg Community Development Association, who pointed out that Kentucky Power Company had removed its poles from Main Street some time ago in cooperation with the city’s community improvement efforts and the power company made no charge for the work.

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For the first time, voting machines will be used in every precinct in Letcher County in the May primary. The county already has 21 machines and is buying 11 more. State funds will finance the purchase.

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The Letcher County Board of Education is considering requiring all teachers at Whitesburg Elementary School to have degrees or be working on toward them in order to hold their jobs.

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A new full-size Chrysler Newport automobile is selling for $2,964 at Wright Motor Co. on Highway 119 at Neon.

February 18, 1971

The U.S Bureau of Census released county-by-county populations figures from the 1970 census this week. The report shows that Letcher County has lost nearly a fourth of its population since 1960. The figures show a drop of 5,937 residents — from 30,196 in 1960 to 23,165 in 1970.

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Elijah Maggard of Partridge died at his home at the age of 93. He was the father of 13 children, all of whom survive him. He had a total of 367 descendants.

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More and more oil and gas wells are popping up all over Letcher County. Geological authorities say the oil and gas deposits in eastern Kentucky are “of the same order” as the famous ones off the Louisiana-Texas Gulf coast.

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Miners seeking black-lung benefits are to meet this weekend at Neon and in Millstone.

February 19, 1981

Five persons were killed in Knott County when the Dodge Ram Charger in which they and 10 others were riding collided with an empty fuel tanker truck from Matewan, W.Va. The dead included four children four years old or less and one woman. They were members of two families who had just returned to eastern Kentucky from Ohio and were on their way to ready two houses for occupancy. The truck driver suffered only minor injuries when the Ram Charger swerved into the path of his truck on a road slicked by mud and rain.

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Spokesmen for community groups say the Reagan administration is creating a disaster with its proposal to combine many federal programs aimed at poor people into block grants for states. Rep. Carl D. Perkins of Hindman says the proposal and the administration cuts in general were particularly disastrous for the Appalachian area which he represents.

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The Letcher County medical profession is embroiled in a dispute over the use of federal money to support some doctors and health services in the county. The issue erupted over plans of Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp. to built a 20,000-foot clinic building at Whitesburg and to install services which the local medical society says are already available at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital and in private physicians’ offices.

February 20, 1991

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of a South East Coal Co. mining operation to Bill Sturgill, despite objections from the United Mine Workers of America. Union members asked for a delay to give them time to put together an offer for the property, but the court did not grant their request.

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Letcher County teachers are finding they can get along ne without paddles, thanks to a new assertive discipline program which has been implemented in all but one school in the system.

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Eight of Kentucky’s top 10 coal producers have offices outside the state. Only Arch Mineral Corp. — owned by Ashland Oil Co. of Kentucky and the Hunt Brothers of Texas — and Addington Brothers Coal are quartered in the state.

February 21, 2001

State mine inspectors have cited Premier-Elkhorn Coal Co. for five violations related to a mudslide that forced about a million gallons of water and mud out of a silt pond and down Elkhorn Creek through the community of Dunham.

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State lawmakers have heard testimony about a bill to take away the power of eminent domain from gas companies that build natural gas transmission pipelines, but a date for a vote on the bill hasn’t been set. About 20 Letcher County residents went to Frankfort on Feb. 13 to testify in support of the bill.

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Scores of Letcher County residents are mourning the loss of their favorite racecar driver, Dale Earnhardt, who died after wrecking on the final lap of the Daytona 500.

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The City of Whitesburg has agreed to lease oil and gas rights under the city industrial site in West Whitesburg to J.W. Kinzer of Allen in exchange for royalties and wholesale gas for industry.



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