Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years


 

 

Aug. 30, 1962

Whitesburg residents are upset because the Kentucky Department of Libraries has decided to locate the offices of a new regional library at the Jenkins Public Library. They asked Gov. Bert Combs to locate the regional library in Whitesburg but were informed the Governor wants it at Jenkins “and that’s where it will be.”

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Dr. Bert C. Bach, 80, who had practiced medicine in Whitesburg for nearly 50 years, has been named “Man of the Year” by the Whitesburg Chamber of Commerce. He came to Letcher County in 1913.

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Funeral services were held in Whitesburg for Sam Collins Sr., 81, who had a colorful career. He was appointed postmaster in Whitesburg when he was 19, and in 1901 he became deputy collector of internal revenue. He was asked to become a field collector and rode horseback through the Kentucky mountains seeking out tax violators. In 1908 he became United State Commissioner, a position he held until 1918, when he was elected judge of Letcher County. He resigned after two years to become federal prohibition director for Kentucky. He had offices at Lexington. He gained national prominence when he refused to accept an offer of $100,000 to quit his job. The offer came from a Cincinnati multi-millionaire known as the “bootleg king”. “No sir,” Collins told him. “I am not for sale.” Later Collins dealt extensively in real estate and he and Judge Lewis Harvey opened a subdivision in Whitesburg.

Aug. 31, 1972

The administration of Kentucky Gov. Wendell Ford closed down seven eastern Kentucky strip mines as the opening move in a full-scale investigation of strip-mining operations in the Kentucky mountains. All are in the Pikeville District of the state reclamation division. Ford’s statement is the strongest stand on strip mining ever taken by a Kentucky governor.

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A total of 238 junk cars have been removed from Letcher County. The Kentucky River Area Development District is supervising the project.

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Kentucky Lt. Gov. Julian Carroll and his wife flew into eastern Kentucky to attend a performance of “The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come” in Letcher County.

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Letcher County miners for the most part continue to work under primitive sanitary conditions, despite federal law designed to bless them with such things as showers that work and toilets that flush. Attorney Harry Caudill said the federal Bureau of Mines in 1970 issued regulations which would govern bathhouse facilities at all coal mines. But, he said, instead of universally enforcing the rules, the bureau has been issuing waivers which permit mines to operation with any bathhouse facilities.

Sept. 2, 1982

The Letcher County Board of Education says it will file suit against the L&N Railroad to acquire a parcel of land on which the board hopes to build a new Whitesburg High School. The board has offered $50,000 for the 2.8-acre tract, but the railroad says the offer is too low. The board has already entered into an agreement to buy the former Green & Webb Lumber Co. tract from Clarence Harlow for $400,000, but the L&N tract is needed also.

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Indications of a worsening coal slump were evident this week as more layoffs hit, market prices fell, and the smell of stockpiles burning worsened. South-East Coal Co. shut down its mining operations this week, and told employees not to report back for work for a week. Beth-Elkhorn, the county’s largest mining firm, reportedly has stopped buying coal from its small suppliers.

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Kentucky State Police say Leslie County is becoming the marijuana capital of Kentucky. Some $7 million worth of illegal weed has been confiscated and destroyed there since a series of raids began there August 12.

Sept. 2, 1992

Magistrates are again questioning bills to the Letcher Fiscal Court after bills for more than $70,000 for gravel showed up on the court’s agenda. Magistrate Mack Fultz said he has been telling his constituents what Judge/Executive Ruben Watts had told him — that no gravel was being hauled. Magistrate Lloyd Brown said he had been told that orders had been given that no work be done in his district or in Fultz’s district.

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Funeral services were held in Lexington for Samuel M. Cassidy, 90, who headed Consolidation Coal Co.’s operations at Jenkins from 1946 to 1953. From 1953 to 1967 he was vice president of Consolidation’s parent firm, Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal, in Pittsburgh, Penn., and later was a consultant to coal and potash mining companies and to mining-related companies. He was a member of one of the oldest families in Fayette County. The house where he died was built in the late 1700s by an ancestor who was a surveyor and came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone.

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U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky called on his colleagues in the Senate to emphasize health care, transportation and an energy plan that would expand the use of coal.

Sept. 4, 2002

It could be a week before the ruins of the Reynolds Furniture building in Whitesburg cool down enough for fire officials to determine what caused the blaze that destroyed that building and damaged four others on August 29. The fire started about 4 a.m., apparently in the basement of the three-story building. Fueled by varnishes, bedding and oiled wood floors, the fire was still burning Monday evening and firemen didn’t know when it would quit.

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Letcher County officials will break ground on a new water system for the Jeremiah and Isom areas on September 9.

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The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has scheduled a public hearing to update area residents on the proposed tunnel through Pine Mountain.

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Letcher County had the third highest jobless rate in Kentucky —10.4 percent — during July, according to state government figures released this week.


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