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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, February 3, 1944

Pvt. Billy Craft, son of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Craft of Thornton, was killed January 29 when the fighter plane on which he was a gunner crashed. He was 21 years old and has been in the Army for three years.

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In its report to Circuit Judge R. Monroe Fields, the Letcher County Grand Jury says that while crime conditions in the county are “a little better than usual” the next grand jury should look into the problem of “slot machines being operated in the county.”

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Three Letcher County men have been granted petty officer ratings of “qualified strikers” after graduating from the Naval Training School at the University of Wisconsin. They are: Chester O. Cantrell, 18, of Jenkins, Eugene Baker, 18, of Jenkins, and Herman L. Daniels, 18, of Millstone.

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Tech. Sgt. Raphael B. Salyer of Whitesburg says his Electrical Supply Shoppe will remain open even though he is returning to his post in the Army. Salyer said the business, which has been kept open in his absence by his father, B.F. Salyer, will now be operated by his sister, Elline.

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A Pound, Va., man was admitted to the Jenkins hospital last Thursday night after being shot during an altercation at a roadhouse in Pound. Authorities say Benny Bowling was shot by George Branham of Shelby Creek in Pike County.

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Recruiters with the U.S. Employment Center will be in Paintsville Feb. 4 and 5 taking applications for skilled workers and laborers need at Pearl Harbor. Each recruit must agree to accept duty for 18 months at Pearl Harbor. The Navy will pay for meals and transportation to Pearl Harbor, where housing will be made available at reasonable rates.

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Dr. Sam W. Quillen’s dental office is now open in Neon, next door to the General Electric Shop. Dr. R.H. McFadden is now seeing patients at Seco Hospital.

Thursday, February 4, 1954

Funeral services were held Tuesday for a 30-year-old Jenkins man who was shot to death at the home of his wife’s grandfather in East Jenkins. Letcher County Sheriff Robert Collins said Virlen Johnson was shot to death by 74-year-old Sam Vanover. Witnesses say Vanover, who has been released from the county jail after posting a $5,000 bond, fired a warning shot in an attempt to scare Johnson. However, the shot did not stop Johnson from approaching Vanover, who was then forced to shoot in self-defense. Officials say Johnson had been intoxicated for about a week, during which he had created several disturbances at Vanover’s home.

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U.S. Senator John Sherman Cooper released a statement this week in which he says he is not attempting to influence how his fellow Republicans vote on the “Mine Stripping Bill” now before the Kentucky General Assembly. “The only action that I have taken was to urge that Republican senators be present and vote, particularly some that I understood might be absent,” Cooper said.

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Whitesburg High School teachers and administrators are working with the P.T.A. and the University of Kentucky to organize a speech class college administrators say the school desperately needs.

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In what is termed as good news for Letcher County fishermen, two recent heavy rains have lifted the water level by 20 feet in Lake Cumberland, causing crappie to bite heavily. Fishermen are leaving the lake with stringers totaling 100 or more crappie, says Otis Noe, owner of Noe’s Fishing Dock.

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Noting that the “day is about over” for coal and other natural resources in Letcher County, the owner of Farmer’s Supply in Whitesburg is urging residents to enter the poultry farming business. “As we all know, time changes everything,” says Farmer Supply’s Roy Gilley. “Time along with economical conditions and rapid consumption of our close coal beds have caused mine operators to install mechanical machinery to take the place of the once man-powered operations.” According to Gilley, the average person in U.S. consumes 400 eggs per year, meaning that Letcher County’s 36,000 residents need 1,200,000 dozens of eggs each year. Because county farmers now produce only 40 percent of those eggs, Gilley says the opportunity exists for local farmers to pick up the slack and start producing the 720,000 eggs needed to insure that all eggs consumed here are produced here. With 45,000 hens needed to produce Letcher County’s egg demand, Gilley says it is an opportunity for farmers to share in the $360,000 in eggs those hens would produce at the current market price of 50 cents per dozen.

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The Kentucky & West Virginia Power Company says it has spent $75,000 to improve electrical service to homes and businesses located between Fleming and Hazard.

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Letcher County officials will meet at the Big Branch School at Linefork Saturday to plan and discuss the Turkey Creek-Big Branch Road. Noting the importance of the road, County Judge James M. Caudill said the project would consume “the lion’s share” of the county’s road money for 1954.

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An accident at the Meade Mine has claimed the life of popular Jenkins resident Paul Sweeton. His wife and daughter survive.

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The son of a former Letcher County couple has been classified “presumably dead” by the Army Adjutant General. Sgt. Ralph K. Caudill, son of Mr. and Mrs. James E. Caudill, now of Waynesburg, Ky., has been missing in Korea since Nov. 27, 1950. Sgt. Caudill was 17 when he joined the Army.

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State Rep. Harry M. Caudill of Whitesburg has filed a bill that if passed will increase the salary of Kentucky’s governor from $10,000 a year to $12,500.

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Drawing has been held for the 53rd District high school basketball tournament, which begins March 3. Jenkins and Stuart Robinson are the only teams set to meet in a first-round game. Fleming-Neon, Kingdom Come and Whitesburg all received byes.

Thursday, February 6, 1964

The roving pickets who toured the eastern Kentucky coalfields two years ago are planning to resume picketing on April 1. The pickets say their objective is to bring better working conditions to small coal operations. The pickets hope to gain support from the 161 workers who have been laid off by Blue Diamond Coal Co. at Leatherwood. Blue Diamond has also served eviction notices on the men who are laid off whose families live in companyowned houses.

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A proposed tax-rate increase for the Jenkins Independent School District lost by 72 votes in a special election. The tax money would have gone to build a new high school in Jenkins.

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Jesse Phillips, captain of the Fleming-Neon Pirates basketball team, is the leading scorer in Letcher County. He is also a strong player on defense.

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Chickens at the Paul Poloskey poultry farm are turning out about 30 crates of eggs a day, according to Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser.

Thursday, February 7, 1974

A Mountain Eagle editorial addressed the subject of Watergate, saying, “It is long past time for Mr. Nixon to stop playing games with the American people. If he has evidence of his own innocence, let him produce it. If he does not — and speedily — let’s get about the business of impeachment.”

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Lexie Potter of Whitesburg, has been named Judge Pro Tem for Letcher County by Judge Estill Blair, replacing Ora Potter, who resigned for reasons of health.

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Beginning April 1, no one under the age of 18 is to be permitted on the streets of Whitesburg after midnight unless accompanied by an adult. The parent of a child under 18 found on the street after midnight could be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. The new curfew was passed by the Whitesburg City Council.

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”People are all the time griping about how hard times are,” writes Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “I can remember when the times were hard. There were no welfare checks, food stamps, public assistance or anything.”

Wednesday, February 8, 1984

Snow and low temperatures are keeping schools closed, but temperatures are expected to rise to the 50s.

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Letcher County’s unemployment rate for December, 1983, was 22.4 percent down from the 23 percent rate reported the month before. After holding the state’s highest jobless rate for more than a year, Letcher County ranks sixth in the number of unemployed persons actively seeking work.

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Former Letcher County tax commissioner Paul Mason announced that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state representative.

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The Jenkins City Council approved Mayor Ernest “Sam” Wyatt’s recommendation that the Jenkins Water Commission keep control of the city’s water system. In a meeting later declared void because five new council members had not legally taken office, the council voted 5-1 to strip the water commission of its financial duties, effective removing most of the commission’s power. After that meeting, however, many Jenkins residents protested the action and urged the council to leave the commission in charge of the city’s financially troubled water and sewerage systems.

Wednesday, February 9, 1994

Kentucky Criterion Coal Company, based in Lexington, is demanding that Letcher County pay a refund of $50,241.29 on its 1988 unmined minerals tax. The company says the money has been owed since Dec. 17, 1993, the date the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals issued its ruling in a 1991 case involving Kentucky Criterion and the fiscal court. “Every time I open a closet a different skeleton comes out,” said new County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith. The Letcher County Board of Education was also ordered to refund more than $50,000 to the coal company.

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The Lexington Herald-Leader is publishing a nine-part series on problems with local government, including a series of stories on Letcher County which have been reprinted in The Mountain Eagle. Among the subjects of the stories are: bids received for a garbage transfer station from two companies which didn’t exist; county leaders crying poverty while spending thousands of dollars on themselves, well-connected employees and influential contractors; and the state’s poor oversight of the county government “Letcher County represents much of what can go wrong with local government in Kentucky,” one of the stories in the Herald-Leader said.

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The population of Letcher County is 27,044, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure shows a rise of 2/10 of a percent between 1990 and 1992.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Sheriff Danny Webb said he will appear before a grand jury next month to present evidence he and his deputies have gathered during an investigation of timber theft in Letcher County. Webb began the investigation last fall after three landowners asked him for help in stopping rogue loggers from coming onto their property with permission and cutting and removing valuable hardwood trees.

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Facing with shrinking revenues and projection for a tough financial road ahead, the City of Jenkins is raising its sewer rate by 50 cents per 1,000 gallons.

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The Whitesburg Post Office will host a customer appreciation day on February 13.

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Joshua Lee Smallwood, Shanna Bradshaw and Whitney Banks are recipients of the Roy R. Crawford Memorial Scholarships.


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