Whitesburg KY

The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

September 28, 1961 Twenty-nine members of the Neon Army Reserve Unit left this week for active duty at Fort Chaffee, Ark. The unit is included in President John Kennedy’s call-up of the 100th Division. A large crowd turned out to watch Capt. Jesse C. Holbrook, company commander, lead his men along Main Street in Neon.

. Hazard residents have started a move to obtain an extension of Eastern State College at Hazard. Letcher County residents are accusing them of try to “steal” the junior college Letcher County is trying to get at Blackey.

. Gov. Bert T. Combs and members of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are expected in Whitesburg next week. The stop is part of a tour of eastern Kentucky. Local leaders are organizing a motorcade to meet the group at the Pike County line and escort them to Jenkins and Whitesburg.

September 30, 1971 The number of food stamp cases in Letcher County rose from 1,558 in July to 1,731 in August, state officials said. Local workers in the federal food stamp program blame the rise on the serious unemployment situation in the local coal industry.

. Members of the United Mine Workers are set to strike unless their contract with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association is renewed.

. Hepatitis is once again becoming a problem in Letcher County, particularly in the Blackey area. There have been 41 cases of hepatitis reported in Letcher County this year, say local health officials.

October 1, 1981 At least 455 Letcher County residents are to lose their welfare benefits this week because of cutbacks by the Reagan administration. Two hundred sixty-six residents have been told they will lose their cash benefits from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and 189 have been told they will no longer receive Medicaid benefits. Three hundred twenty additional families have been told they will lose their food stamps over the next few months. State officials say the cuts will mean a loss of $908,000 to the county’s economy.

. Residents of the Dunham area can rest easier after a nine-year-old water tank was drained. Managers of the Jenkins Water Co. said the tank was drained on the advice of engineers and state officials after water was spotted leaking from an intake pipe beneath the tank’s foundation. Dunham residents were afraid the tank would burst, with the result being a repeat performance of a tragedy which occurred two years ago, when another tank in the Jenkins water system — the same age as the one at Dunham — burst, killing a longtime Jenkins physician, Dr. T.M. Perry, and destroying his home, another home and a grocery store.

. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets football team defeated the M.C. Napier Navajos 33-0.

October 2, 1991 More questions were raised this week concerning bids submitted to the Letcher Fiscal Court. Sheriff Steve Banks said he had completed an investigation request by Magistrate Mack Fultz into the county culvert purchases. Fultz had asked Banks to check to see if the county had been getting the 12-gauge steel culverts guaranteed by the bids. Banks said he made a random check throughout the county, during which he checked 67 culverts and he “found no culverts of 12-gauge material.” Members of the court voted to continue the investigation.

. The Fleming-Neon Pirates rowed past Wheelwright 60-6.

. The 1990 census showed that Letcher County had lost 330 households from 1980 to 1990. Single-person households increased by 19 percent, while those with six or more persons decreased by 58 percent. Letcher County households numbered 9,730 in 1990.

. For the past 30 years, travelers along the Mountain Parkway saw no mention of Whitesburg as a potential destination. Now, however, there is a sign on the entrance to the Parkway from Interstate 64 near Winchester giving directions to Whitesburg.

October 3, 2001 Fifty years after reaching the Final Four of the boys’ Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament, members of the 1951 Whitesburg Yellowjackets and three of the school’s 1951 cheerleaders got an encore ride atop a fire truck through Whitesburg as part of the 2001 Mountain Heritage Festival Parade.

. The first legal bottle of wine sold in Letcher County in more than 50 years left the Highland Winery at Seco on Monday.

. An order by Gov. Paul Patton blocking any new permits for non-coal mining on Pine Mountain and requiring a new review of oil and gas drilling on the mountain was issued on Sept. 21. State Sen. Ray Jones requested that Gov. Patton issue a moratorium on oil and gas drilling and on non-coal mining on Pine Mountain.

. Several former Letcher County miners are among those who migrated to Alabama in recent years to work in union mines. At least three former Letcher Countians worked in the Blue Creek No. 5 mine in Blackwood, Ala., which was sealed and flooded last week after a methane explosion killed 13 men. None of the dead miners were from Letcher County.

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