Whitesburg KY

The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

November 2, 1961
A vote of more than 8,000 is predicted for Letcher County
in the general election next week.

Kentucky Attorney General John Breckinridge has begun
legal action in four eastern Kentucky counties to enforce
the state’s strip mining and reclamation laws. One Letcher
County firm is involved.

A commission appointed by Gov. Bert T. Combs has
recommended a junior college in the Hazard-Blackey area.
A local group which has been trying to get the state to open
a junior college on the former Stuart Robinson campus at
Blackey says it will continue its efforts to convince the state
that the college should be at Blackey..

November 4, 1971
Mountain welfare rights advocates and poor people are
gearing up to march on Washington to protest the Nixon
administration’s welfare reform bill being considered by
the U.S. Senate.

Witness testifying before a congressional subcommittee
in Washington said major oil companies have invested so
heavily in the coal industry that they can control the rate
of production and prices.

The nationwide bituminous coal strike has gone into its
35th day with no end in sight.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate Wendell Ford carried Letcher County as the Democratic party swept back
into power in Tuesday’s statewide election. Letcher County
votes gave Ford a 1,000-vote margin and voted even more
heavily for his running mate, Julian Carroll, who had a
1,300-vote margin.

November 5, 1981
Democrats swept to easy victory in all but one countywide race in this week’s general election. The lone exception
was Republican Peyton Reynolds, who edged out Democrat
Guy Palumbo in the race for commonwealth’s attorney.
Former Sheriff Ruben Watts, a Democrat, won easily in the
race for judge/executive, and Democrat Ben Buster Taylor
defeated Republican Lewis Hall, who was seeking a third
term as sheriff.

A proposal by the Reagan administration allowing
schools to serve ketchup and relish in place of vegetables
at lunch is dead, but Kentucky will get $5 million less from
the school lunch program than it did last year. Sixty-four
percent of meals served in Letcher County schools are free
or reduced price. In the past year the price of lunches has
risen from 50 cents to 65 cents and the price of breakfasts
has gone from 25 to35 cents.

Jenkins votes picked former Jenkins Police Chief Sam
Wyatt as the mayor. Former Fleming-Neon Mayor Terry
Sturgill defeated incumbent James Seals in the race for
mayor of Fleming-Neon. Longtime Whitesburg Mayor
Ferdinand Moore won re-election.

November 6, 1991
Funeral services were held for 19-year-old John Emerson
Spangler, of Mayking, a volunteer fireman who died when
he was trapped in a forest fire.

Kentucky state attorneys and state police detectives arrived in Letcher County to begin their investigation of the
Letcher County Fiscal Court. Two assistants to state Atty.
General Fred Cowan and two Kentucky State Police investigators met with the Letcher County Grand Jury but then
went back to Frankfort. They are expected to return later this
week. The attorney general’s office agreed in mid-October
to enter the investigation at the request of the grand jury.

Letcher County men who worked for the federal Works
Progress Administration (WPA) and Public Works Administration (PWA) during the 1930s recalled their jobs with
those agencies, saying the $1 to $2.40 a day wage they
received was “the best money” they ever made and “the
least”, because times were “the worst.” Among the WPA
projects in Letcher County were KY Highway 7 from Isom
to Daniels Branch, bridges and stone headwalls all along
KY 7, the old airport road at Colson, and KY 931 from Camp
Branch to Sandlick Gap. Both the stone bridge at the Upper
Bottom in Whitesburg and the stone and concrete bridge on
Madison Street were built by the WPA and so was the River
Road from Roxana to Blackey. The Whitesburg Elementary
School, which burned in 1980, was also a WPA building.

November 7, 2001
Danny Webb of Whitesburg retired October 31 after 30
years in the Kentucky State Police, most of them in Letcher
County. Most recently, he served as commander of KSP
Post 13 in Hazard.

The Letcher County Cooperative Extension Service has
purchase 39 acres on the southeast side of the Whitesburg
bypass to build a new office for the county extension agents.

Veterans will march through Whitesburg on Sunday to
commemorate Veterans Day.

Rescue workers recovered bodies of three miners four
miles deep inside a coal mine after a methane gas explosion
more than six weeks ago killed 13 people. The bodies had
been trapped inside Jim Walters Resources No. 5 mine in
Brookwood, Ala., since the Sept. 23 accident.

Leave a Reply