Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

January 4, 1962

The Jenkins Public Library has received a $5,000 grant from the Book of the Month Club for the purchase of new books. The award is made in honor of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, an author and a member of the club’s editorial board who died in 1958.

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The new Letcher County Commission is deadlocked on the question of whether Robert B. Collins, who lost the Democratic nomination for judge to James M. Caudill, will be appointed to the county board of health.

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Without discussion or debate, the new Whitesburg City Council voted 6-0 to remove the Pine Mountain Junction area from the city limits. Adoption of the ordinance could hamper or kill the city’s efforts to obtain effective planning and zoning for the city and to obtain federal help for housing, urban renewal and water and sewage.

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The new Campbell’s Branch School in the ‘lower end’ of the county was opened this week. The school consolidates three smaller schools — Turkey Creek, Lower Big Branch and Cedar Grove. Critty Stewart is principal of the new school.

January 6, 1972

F. Byrd Hogg served his first day as Letcher Circuit Judge when court opened January 3. He replaced former Circuit Judge Stephen Combs, who retired because of poor health. Hogg noted that he will be using a gavel made especially for him by Sam Collins Jr.

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Fritz Maggard, who had doctored the farm animals and pets of Letcher County families for many years, died at the age of 67 after a long illness.

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A federal court ruled that a coal company’s surface rights incident to underground mining did not indicate that the intention of the owner of the surface land is to give the mineral owner the right to destroy the surface or that the mine owner’s rights to use the surface would be superior to the competing right of the surface owner.

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A total of 8,458 Letcher County residents received food stamps during the month of November, 1971. The stamps were worth a total of $212,918.

January 6, 1982

Letcher County’s 18 officials took office this week. Fifteen of the county’s elected officials were sworn in by Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg. Six incumbents were re-elected, but the rest are new to their jobs. The new officials include Judge Ruben Watts, Sheriff Ben B. Taylor, Magistrates Steve Banks, Lloyd Brown, Winston Meade, Nathan Baker and Roger Burke.

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New Appalachian oil and gas discoveries could mean prosperity in the next decade, writes James Ridgeway of Washington, D.C.

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Kentucky reported more coal-mine deaths in 1981 than any other states. Kentucky reported 41 job-related deaths in the mines — 12 more than were recorded by the state of Virginia and 13 more than West Virginia.

January 8, 1992

Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg gave a farewell address on his last day in office after more than 20 years. He was defeated by then District Judge Larry Collins in the November election.

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The state Court of Appeals overturned the theft conviction of former Letcher County School Board member Bill Lewis of Fleming and ordered the dismissal of the indictment against him. Lewis was indicted in 1987 on a charge of allowing $2,000 worth of timber to be harvested without permission. The court reversed the conviction on grounds that Lewis had not been permitted to show that he had been at political odds with prosecuting attorney James Wiley Craft. Lewis had previously dismissed Craft from a position as the school board’s special legal counsel.

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While falling interest rates make a proposal to improve Kentucky state parks more appealing, Gov. Brereton Jones says the project could be delayed for two years.

January 9, 2002

The General Assembly, which went into session Tuesday, won’t be called a legislative session, state Rep. Howard Cornett said. It will be called World War III. The fight over redistricting will set the stage for much that is done, with Republicans and Democrats locked in a battle for control of the state Senate, Cornett said.

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Mining deaths fell to an historic low in the United States last year, despite an explosion that killed 13 people in Alabama. The U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration reported 72 mining deaths in 2001, the lowest number since the federal government started keeping records in 1910. Kentucky had five deaths.

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Oaks and hickories are claiming more ground in Appalachian forests in the wake of a three-year siege by an army of pine beetles. The pine trees killed by the infestation of southern pine beetles will be replaced naturally by deciduous hardwoods.



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