Whitesburg KY

The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

December 12, 1957

Santa Claus will arrive in Whitesburg Saturday morning. Fire Chief Remious Day and the Whitesburg High School band will meet Santa at the city limits and will escort him through town to the steps of the Whitesburg Methodist Church.

Four Letcher County football players were presented with scholarships to the University of Kentucky. “Red” Hill and Junior Thomas of Fleming became the recipients of the second and third scholarships given to Pirate players since 1952. Gary Harrison and Bill Elkins of Jenkins were the sixth and seventh for Jenkins in that period.

Heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures kept most Letcher County residents at home Wednesday and Thursday, and most of those who did get out wishes they had stayed at home.

December 14, 1967

A Hazard coal firm, River Processing Co., has obtained a court order which temporarily halts enforcement of Kentucky’s tough new strip-mining regulations. The restraining order was granted after the coal firm said it was suing for itself and all other stripmine operators affected by the new rule.

A new concrete, steel and wood bridge crosses the Rockhouse Creek to the old Doc Whitaker farm and cemetery near Blackey. The bridge was built at the request of the Blackey Improvement Committee by a crew of men working in the Nelson project of the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council. Materials for the bridge were donated by Raymond Combs and members of his family.

A special study group appointed last year by Governor Edward T. Breathitt has recommended that a special severance tax be levied on each ton of coal produced in Kentucky. The Young Kentuckians Commission said that the tax should be used “to make a more significant contribution to the local tax effort, especially for schools.”

December 14, 1977 This issue of The Mountain Eagle could not be found.

December 16, 1987

Donald Terry Bartley was back in the Laurel County Jail this week awaiting sentencing for two other murders he helped carry out in 1985. Letcher County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Wiley Craft said Bartley probably would be sentenced later this week for his role in the robbery and murders of an elderly Jackson County couple. Bartley, 29, of Evarts in Harlan County, was sentenced last week to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years for taking part in the August 1985 murder of Tammy Dee Acker and the robbery and attempted murder of her father, Dr. Roscoe J. Acker of Fleming-Neon.

The Jenkins City Council has voted to pay the builders of its new water treatment plant only if the company retracts a letter charging the city with $900 interest. After nearly an hour of debate with a representative of W. Rogers Co. Contractors, the city council voted to pay the company the amount the city owes it, but only if the Jenkins Water Commission says the plant is complete, if Kennoy Engineers says it’s complete, and if company president William Rogers withdraws his letter charging the city interest on the unpaid amount. The council refused to pay the contractor last month because it was not satisfied with several items at the plant.

A Kona family is offering a $300 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of burglars who stole guns, money, and Christmas gifts from their home. The burglars struck the home of Jim McAuley sometime between 8 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The McAuleys’ daughter found the house ransacked when she went home from school.

December 17, 1997

The eastern Kentucky mountain economy continues to slide, and only about half as much of the total population here has a job as in other parts of the state. In Letcher County, only 26.6 out of every 100 persons are employed. In Fayette County, 59.8 of every 100 persons have jobs.

To say that 1997 has been a very good year for eastern Kentucky native Rebecca Gayheart might be one of the year’s biggest understatements. In December alone, the model/actress from Pine Top in Knott County has been featured in articles in Rolling Stone and Details magazines. Gayheart has a significant role in the new movie “Scream 2”, a slasher sequel which debuted this past weekend and set box-office records for the best December opening ever ($39.2 million).

A Michigan truck driver escaped serious injury late last Tuesday night when the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the cliff at the end of Whitesburg Bypass in West Whitesburg. City police say a dense fog was so thick that the driver, Joseph Howard of Monroe, Mich., could not tell the road had ended.

~ Police want the Kentucky Department of Highways to install lighting at the intersection to alert drivers of the danger ahead.

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