Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

The way we were



March 1, 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Fred B. Jones and their son, Haskell, were forced to move out of their homes at Blair in the Cumberland River Valley by a giant slide of trees, rock and mud from a U.S. Steel Co. strip mine high on Blair Mountain. Hundreds of tons of mud and giant trees up to two feet thick roared down on the Jones’s residences during the avalanche that began about noon and continued for several hours. Mrs. Jones that since December, when another slide threatened the homes, a representative of U.S. Steel would stop by each morning to tell her whether it was safe to remain in the home that day, and each evening he would tell her whether she could spend the night at home. Residents of the area say similar slides have occurred at many other points in the area.

. South-East Coal Co. says it hopes to negotiate a new contract with its workers. The firm said it will retain its current wage scale but planned to make some other changes. It said it can no longer afford to pay the 40-cents per ton royalty used to finance the United Mine Workers of America health and welfare program. South-East is about the last UMWA operation remaining in the Kentucky River valley.

. Work is underway in Wolfe County on the new Eastern Kentucky Turnpike between Winchester and Campton, and the road is scheduled to open next December.

. A new Chrysler Newport sedan is selling at Wright Motor Co. at Neon for $2,964.

March 2, 1972 Danny R. Webb of Millstone, Tommy Carl Fields, formerly of Mayking, and Tilden Crase Jr. of Whitesburg were graduated from the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort and have been assigned to the Hazard state police post.

. A deluge of coal mine debris which raced through Buffalo Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, after a coal-mine sludge pond broke last Saturday morning, obliterated whole towns in its way and killed more than 500 people. One survivor said the flood was “more like a rolling ball of wood with fire flying out where the houses and cars hit power lines.” Mobile homes were the hardest hit, with many split open like cardboard shoeboxes, wrote Mountain Eagle reporter Phil Primack after a visit to the area. Houses were pushed along the stream like paper cups and seven frame houses crashed together against a concrete bridge and fell apart, he said. The disaster left more than 5,000 persons homeless, said Primack, “and a panorama of destruction surpassing in reality every attempt made to describe it.” West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore insists the disaster is a natural one, and that state officials had followed their regulatory obligations. But West Virginia Congressman Ken Hechler disagrees, saying for too long “coal companies have been able to get away with murder, whether in unsafe mines, surface mines or slag heaps.”

. Four dangerous coal mine waste piles located in Letcher County are among 100 unsafe structures in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to federal officials.

March 4, 1982 Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg has ordered Jenkins city officials to make “drastic cuts” in the city’s operating budget to help satisfy demands of Kentucky Power Company for payment of $67,000 the city owes in back power bills. The power company has attached the city’s bank accounts in an effort to get the money it says the city owes it.

. Police are looking for suspects in connection with the theft of a safe containing “a substantial amount” of money from the A&P Food Store in Neon. The theft took place after closing hours on Saturday and before the store reopened on Sunday. Store manager Jerry Nantz said the thieves “knew what they were doing.”

. Some 270 miners at Falcon and Leeco coal companies in Breathitt County have been laid off in two separate actions. Leeco has disposed of its Breathitt County holdings and has left the county, leaving more than 140 workers without jobs. Falcon says it laid off 130 employees because of “a coal squeeze and a sluggish coal market.”

March 4, 1992 Officials in the Kentucky attorney general’s office say detectives are “making progress” in the investigation into Letcher County government agencies. They declined to give details but say the effort has not been derailed. Prosecutors and investigators have been tight-lipped since early February when Letcher County Circuit Judge Larry D. Collins ruled that Letcher County Jailer Eugene Banks and his stepson broke no laws when they signed the name of Frank C. Fleming to the back of checks issued in payment for coal by the Letcher County Board of Education.

. Whitesburg High School students are presenting a play written by the late Belinda Mason Carden, a Letcher County native who died at the age of 33 last September. She had contracted AIDS from contaminated blood used in a transfusion she received after the birth of a child. She became an AIDS activist after she contracted the disease and was a member of the President’s Council on AIDS. She was the panel’s only AIDS-infected member.

. A local group — Southern Recycling Inc. — is hoping to raise money by collected junked cars from around Letcher County. The group plans to use the money to teach schoolchildren about recycling.

. Estevah Elizabeth Webb, 88, formerly of Whitesburg, died in Lexington. She was a daughter of Nehemiah M. Webb, who founded The Mountain Eagle and was its editor and publisher for many years.

March 6, 2002 A Letcher County Grand Jury indicted Jerome W. Boggs, 33, of Whitesburg and his wife, April Dawn Boggs, 20, March 1 on a variety of charges in the murders of Timothy L. ‘Blister’ Cook and his four-year-old son T.J. Jerome Boggs is accused of shooting Blister Cook once in the head with a .22 pistol, then shooting T.J. Cook twice in the chest.

. Big Bob’s School of Learning, Letcher County Offcentral High School and Canabis High School are among names suggested to a steering committee appointed to lead development of the new school in Letcher County.

. Carbon River Coal Corporation is offering a $1,000 cash reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involve in the destruction of vehicles on Carbon’s property in Letcher County. On Jan. 31, two Mack mud trucks were vandalized and destroyed at Camp Fork, and a Chevy tire truck was burned at Cane Hollow on Feb. 15.

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