Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

April 19, 1962

County Judge James M. Caudill announced that the state of Kentucky has agreed to build a recreational lake near Jenkins for the benefit of the county’s fishermen. It will be located on Fish Pound Creek at Payne Gap and will cover about 40 acres. The state Fish and Wildlife Department estimates the cost at about $90,000.

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Politics burst forth in the Letcher County school system again this week as Letcher County taxpayer was told again what happens in the county schools is none of his business. The incident erupted from a sore which has been festering since the county election nearly a year ago. In the course of the meeting, Tommy Wardrup of Blackey, recently elected president of the new United Citizens for Education, asked whether some Letcher teachers would be placed somewhere else if they were not placed at Letcher. Superintendent of Schools Sanford Adams said, “That’s none of your business.” Adams said a teacher in question at the meeting was from the upper end of the county, which he said didn’t concern residents of the Letcher area.

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Kathy Pigman and William Lewis Collins, dressed in their Easter finery, posed with a live rabbit for a front-page picture in The Eagle.

April 20, 1972

The Letcher County coal business is hurting again, and this time operators are saying it might not recover. A survey of mining and tipple operations in the county shows that few are working at full capacity with some just about closed down. Several operators said the new coal severance tax on coal is the cause of the latest slump. The immediate effect of the slump is large numbers of layoffs.

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The U.S. Senate has passed a bill liberalizing the federal black lung program.

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McCulloch Coal Company miners are back at work after a walkout involving a wage dispute.

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A slide is moving down the mountain above Jenkins Lake and officials fear the city could lose its water supply.

April 22, 1982

Jon Henrikson, a social studies teacher at Whitesburg High School, has been elected president of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the state’s major teachers’ organization. Henrikson, an Illinois native and Harvard University graduate, came to Letcher County during the 1960s as an Appalachian Volunteer and started his teaching career in a one-room school at Carcassonne. He will live in Louisville during his two-year term as head of KEA.

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Former Whitesburg High School and Lees College women’s basketball star Lynn Perry of Whitesburg has received the NLCCA All American Medallion from Lees College and signed to continue her college basketball career with the Pikeville College Panthers.

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The president of the union which represents miners at Benham Coal Co. says he is hopeful that layoffs announced there won’t last beyond the summer. Company officials announced they were laying off 221 workers temporarily because of a drop in the coal market. Only 30 employees will be left at the company, which is owned by International Harvester Co. in Chicago.

April 22, 1992

The jobless rate in Letcher County rose two-tenths of a percent to 15.3 percent in February. For the Kentucky River Development District as a whole, the rate was 13.2 percent, down from 13.5 percent.

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Blackey residents narrowly met the first deadline in their quest for a municipal water system. More than 200 residents were surveyed about their water needs. The city is applying for funds from the federal government’s Community Development Block Grant program.

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Heart disease was the leading cause of death in Letcher County from 1998 to 1990. Next were cancer, strokes, accidents, pneumonia and diabetes.

April 24, 2002

A defense lawyer for Jerome Boggs, the man accused of murdering Timothy L. ‘Blister’ Cook and his 4-year-old son T.J., is asking for criminal background checks and psychological evaluations of prosecution witnesses, and notes and memorandums of any police officers who may have been involved in the investigation.

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Nearly 80 years after U.S. 119 was built across Pine Mountain and more than 10 years since the first and latest major improvements were made, work began last week to widen and straighten dangerous curves on the mountain.

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Letcher County Central High School is now the official name of the proposed consolidated high school here. The Letcher County Board of Education approved the name Monday night on the recommendation of the district’s high school steering committee.



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