Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

September 21, 1961 R.B. Caudill, 84, a member of a pioneer family of Letcher County, retired businessman and an authority on the history of southeastern Kentucky and the families of the first settlers, died at Whitesburg Memorial Hospital of a heart attack. He had been active in farm improvement work since the early days of the Roosevelt administration and was chairman of the board of supervisors of the Letcher County Soil Conservation District. He was the first postmaster of the Blackey Post Office, which was established near the mouth of Elk Creek in 1911.

. Whitesburg’s increase water problems are to be discussed at a meeting of a citizens’ advisory committee at City Hall. Dr. Clayton Bennett says water will have to be rationed by this time next year if a new water supply is not found. The water level in the city’s wells is lowering about 18 inches a year, he says.

. Members of the Whitesburg Community Development Association say they are behind a proposal for a special health tax to build a building for the Letcher County Health Department and to pay a staff to run the department.

September 23, 1971 Thirty-seven new coal companies have been incorporated in Letcher County since January 1, 1970. Most of the new firms are small-capital corporations which are presumably strip mining. The number of coal mines opened in 1968 and 1969 was only about 10.

. Letcher County is slated to receive $32,400 under the new federal Public Service Employment Act, which was passed by Congress as part of an effort to help fight unemployment. The money is to be used to give jobs to local people. At the rate of $5,000 per job, the money will give work to six persons.

. New home are rising fast in the new subdivision in the West Whitesburg Urban Renewal Area. Thirty of the 44 lots in the subdivision have been sold. Some homes are occupied and many others are nearing completion. The subdivision is in the area formerly known as Graveyard Hollow.

September 24, 1981 Letcher Fiscal Court has voted to pay the City of Whitesburg $2,500 in sanitation fees which the county has owed for more than a year and a half. The county argued that it should not have to pay the city since the city didn’t have to pay a fee to dump garbage at the county landfill at Millstone. But the city said that since no one else is required to pay a dumping fee, it shouldn’t have to pay one either.

. Paul Hounshell and Mike Rudd, both members of the United Mine Workers Union Local 1468 in Letcher County, and miners Steve Brewer and Dean Bentley, also of Letcher County, were with a group of miners who went to Washington, D.C. to join the UMWA’s Solidarity March and to protest the Reagan administration’s cuts in funds for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Among changes the miners were protesting was a plan to cut the number of mandatory safety inspections from four times a year to two.

. Tom and Amanda Boggs of Linefork are celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary.

September 25, 1991 Gov. Wallace Wilkinson flew to Letcher County by helicopter to induct State Rep. Paul Mason of Whitesburg into the Letcher County Hall of Fame. Others inducted include Gladys Stallard Berchtold, Raymond Smith, George W. Fugate and Virginia Harris Combs.

. Police charged nine persons as a result of an alleged drug deal recorded on a Whitesburg Fire Department telephone. Six men were arrested on marijuana related charges and four on burglary charges. Five of those arrested face felony charges. The investigation began after an 18-yearold Whitesburg man allegedly made a phone call from a Whitesburg telephone. Police Chief Roland Craft said the caller apparently did not know all fire department calls are recorded.

. Factories and other businesses wishing to locate or expand in Letcher County will no longer qualify for assistance from the East Kentucky Corporation if the Letcher Fiscal Court refuses to become a dues-paying member of the organization. Judge/Executive Ruben Watts says the county doesn’t have the $14,000 necessary to pay dues to the corporation.

. The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department raided a marijuana-growing operation on Blair Branch at Jeremiah and confiscated cars, a house trailer, and a large amount of marijuana, including about 300 green plants and several containers of dried and stripped marijuana.

September 26, 2001 Sparks caused by falling rock ignited volatile gas in one of the country’s deepest mines, killing four miners and leaving nine other missing and presumed dead. Most of the victims were miners who sought out three trapped co-workers after an initial explosion, then were caught themselves in a second and larger blast at the Blue Creek No. 5 mine in Brookwood, Ala., owned by Walter Industries.

. The Letcher County Board of Education has chosen a site for a new central high school. The board voted 4-1 to buy the Reynolds property off US 119 at Ermine. But J.C. Reynolds, who along with his brother and sister own most of the site, said that he has changed his mind about selling.

. Letcher native Major Tim Blair was in Washington watching TV news coverage of attacks on the World Trade Center when he felt a thud and felt his chair shake. A moment later someone came to his office in the Pentagon and told him that a plane had hit the building. “Myself and another person started going room to room to make sure everybody got out,” Blair said.



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