Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years


 

 

May 17, 1962

The Coffey House restaurant opened this week in Whitesburg in space in the Daniel Boone Hotel formerly occupied by the City Café. The new operators are Mr. and Mrs. Cossie Quillen and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Coffey, who also operate the Quillen Drug Store in Whitesburg.

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Goebel Ritter, who has been basketball coach at Hazard High School for the past 10 years, has been named to replace Ted Cook as Whitesburg High School athletics director and assistant principal Ritter was a basketball star at Eastern State College in Richmond and later played three years with the New York Knickerbockers professional basketball team.

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A major new plan for developing Letcher County’s scenic beauty into a national tourist attraction was outlined this week, and an organization was created to carry out the idea. The plan envisions the creation of a complete new tourist-centered city on top of Pine Mountain, with its outstanding views of the Cumberland and Kentucky River valleys. The name chosen for the project is Cloud City.

May 18, 1972

Whitesburg parents received assurances that certain improvements suggested for the old Whitesburg grade school building will be carried out “if possible”. Current plans are for the old building to be used for the upper elementary school grades and moving pupils in lower grades to the new elementary school in west Whitesburg.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) says it is amending its contract with Falcon Coal Co. of Perry County “in an effort to expand strip-mining and reclamation controls.” All coal from Falcon’s eastern Kentucky operation goes to TVA’s Bull Run Steam Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn. The recently enacted severance tax on coal is expected to add $10 million a year to the cost of Falcon’s coal.

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An official of the U.S. Bureau of Mines confirmed that if any of three bureau regulations had been enforced, the tragedy at Buffalo Creek, W.Va., last February might have been avoided. At least 118 people died when a coal waste dam collapsed.

May 20, 1982

One hundred mines at Beth-Elkhorn Corp.’s mines 25 and 26 have been laid off indefinitely. The mines are in Pike County but most of the employees live in Letcher County.

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Voter turnout is expected to be lower than usual for the May primary election because of confusion created by changes in the county’s congressional district lines. Several precincts in the fifth and seventh congressional districts have been split by the changes, making Letcher County the only county in the state to have divided precincts.

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July 1 is expected to be the beginning date for a state campaign to halt “wildcat” strip-mining in Letcher County.

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A reception has been set for three retiring Whitesburg High School teachers — Preston M. Armstrong, who taught science for 25 years; Joy Wray Breeding, who taught English and French; and Mary Emma Lewis, who taught English and American history for 26 years.

May 20, 1992

Kentucky marriage rates are declining but divorce rates are rising, says sociologist Dr. Thomas R. Ford of the University of Kentucky. In Letcher County marriage rates have been stable for the past few years and were in the range of 9.5 to 9.7 per thousand population in 1988-1990 compared to a state rate of 13.4 to 13.5 for the same period. The county divorce rate rose to 4.1 in 1990, but was still considerably below the state’s 5.6 rate.

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South East Coal Company has agreed to settle more than 280 charges of unfair labor practices filed against the company by members of the United Mine Workers of America union. The charges were filed last November on behalf of miners who were laid off in the weeks after South East’s 700-member work force voted for union representation.

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South East Coal Company has notified its employees that it intends to cease operations on July 17 but has also asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to expedite a ruling which the firm hopes will enable it to stay in business. The dispute involves terms of an agreement with Kentucky Utilities Company.

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Education in Letcher County employs more people than any other industry except coal mining, reports Jack M. Burkich, superintendent of the county school system.

May 22, 2002

Construction could begin in a year on Letcher County Central High School, if the board of education can find enough money.

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Neon residents and businesses can now get Internet access up to 50 times faster than that possible over conventional phone lines courtesy of an upgrade to their BellSouth service.

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Workers for the Letcher County Water and Sewer District will soon be knocking on doors in the Jeremiah and Isom areas to ask residents to sign on for public water serving. Construction of the $4 million water system between Letcher school and Isom is expected to begin some time this summer.


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