Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


The April 20, 1994 edition of The Mountain Eagle carried the news that high school coaching legend and former NBA player Goebel Franklin “Tex” Ritter was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University “Hall of Distinguished Alumni.” Ritter received the award a year after retiring as an assistant superintendent in the Letcher County school system. Seen here is a screen shot taken from an EKU website that describes Ritter’s Award. Ritter died in 2004.

The April 20, 1994 edition of The Mountain Eagle carried the news that high school coaching legend and former NBA player Goebel Franklin “Tex” Ritter was inducted into the Eastern Kentucky University “Hall of Distinguished Alumni.” Ritter received the award a year after retiring as an assistant superintendent in the Letcher County school system. Seen here is a screen shot taken from an EKU website that describes Ritter’s Award. Ritter died in 2004.

Thursday, April 19, 1934

Five Letcher County residents have been charged with kidnapping Mrs. E. C. Boyce, 25. The arrests occurred at Vicco after Mrs. Boyce, wife of an L&N Railroad Company employee, was rescued from a vehicle by officers from Letcher County. Mrs. Boyce alleges the following five people, all of whom were arrested, “beat her up”: Rhoda Hall, Jessie Young, Cordelia Taylor, Henry Bentley and Selbert Poole.

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Former U.S. Senator Richard P. Ernst, a liberal from Kentucky, died Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was taken for treatment after falling ill onboard a ship returning from Panama. He was 76. Ernst, of Covington, was elected in 1920 and served until 1926, when he lost to Democrat Alben W. Barkley.

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Being 93 years old hasn’t slowed Preacher Dave Maggard, whose sermon at Partridge this past Sunday was as entertaining as ever.

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Governor Laffoon remains undecided on whether to call for a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly. A committee of the state legislature has set April 25 as the starting date for the session, but Laffoon, who has been resting in a sanitarium near Louisville, said, “I haven’t decided that I am going to call for a special session.”

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Mr. and Mrs. Mack Norman, who manage the Norman Hotel on the corner of Railroad Street near the depot in Whitesburg, will remodel and reopen a restaurant in the Joe I. Day building on Main Street. The restaurant was recently vacated.

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J. B. Smiles, proprietor of Smiles Bargain Store on Main Street in Whitesburg, is closing his business sometime in the next few days. Before closing the store, Mr. Smiles will offer some rare bargains on Friday and Saturday. “The town will regret to part with Mr. Smiles,” The Mountain Eagle says on its front page. “In his career here he has been able to save our people much money in the purchase of their goods.”

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The Mountain Eagle has learned that the Presbyterians in Whitesburg will begin an effort soon to finish the “fine church building on Eagle Street.” Just when construction on the building was started two years ago, the “depression came like a tornado and swept the project off its feet,” a front-page story says. “The stone foundation which was laid at the time has stood ever since and is today crying out to our people that it is ready to bear any burden on it. The church building is badly needed, as is evidenced by the small room in which the services are now conducted.”

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A 35-year-old Harlan County sheriff ’s deputy was shot and killed Monday evening after entering the Harlan County Courthouse. Deputy Bige Gross was shot three times before falling into a pool of blood on the stairs leading to the county judge’s office. Arrested and charged with the shooting was 28-year-old Lee Fleenor, who said Gross was drawing a pistol on him at the time. A few weeks ago, Deputy Gross shot and killed Fleenor’s halfbrother, Ewell Clem, and was free under heavy bond in that case.

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E. G. Howard, proprietor of the Howard Department Store, Neon, is leasing the L. M. Service Station at Neon Junction and plans to reopen it for business on or about May 1. The station will handle Standard Oil products exclusively.

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In a case that is of interest to many Letcher County residents, 19-year-old Willard Addington of Wise County, Va., was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tavy Donalds, 57, of Pound, Va. Addington, who has many connections in Letcher County, killed Donalds at a party at the Donalds home at the head of Indian Creek. Addington was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Donalds had previously been convicted and sentenced to six years in prison for being an accomplice to the killing of another young man in Pound. Donalds’s co-defendant in that case, E. Bolling, is serving a double life sentence in Richmond, Va.

Thursday, April 15, 1954

Mr. and Mrs. Lester Short of Blackey have received a condolence letter from the commander of Stewart Air Force Base, Tennessee, concerning their son, Airman First Class Rudolph V. Short, who was killed in the March 30 crash of a cargo plane. “Rudy was a radio operator on a C-119 which was transporting cargo from Pope Air Force Base, N.C., to Louisville, Ky., on March 30, 1954,” the letter from Lt. Col. Carl Nelson says. “The plane had just taken off from Pope Air Force Base when one of the engines began to lose power. The pilot shot off the engine and feathered the propeller so as to reduce drag from that side. While attempting to return and land at Pope Base, the plane rapidly lost altitude, finally striking the corner of a building, hitting the ground and crashing into a mess hall. The casualty which cost us the life of such a fine airman occurred in an instant, and, if it may be of any consolation to you, I would like to assure you that Rudy experienced no physical anguish during its course.”

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Sam Vanover, 72, an East Jenkins rooming house operator, was indicted by the Letcher County Grand Jury this week for murder in connection with the death of his 30-year-old step grandson, Verlin Johnson. Vanover said the shooting occurred after Johnson was “misbehaving” at the Vanover home January 14 and was ordered to leave. Vanover said he was acting in self-defense when the shooting occurred after Johnson left the home.

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Construction on the new Whitesburg Municipal Swimming Pool is moving along nicely, and the pool is expected to be ready for use during the summer season. The modern pool, which is being constructed by a Texas firm, is 75 feet long and 25 feet wide at the deep end and 45 feet wide at the shallow end. The pool, with depths ranging from three to 10 feet, is designed to take care of a population of 7,000. A 12 feet by 18 feet wading pool for tiny tots will be constructed adjacent to the regulation pool. It will range in depth from six to 18 inches.

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Jolinda’s CafĂ© is the name of a new business near the Whitesburg Ballpark opened by Mrs. Kay Enfusse and Mrs. Iva Maggard. Mrs. Enfusse is in charge of the new business and says it will sell Dixie Ice Cream products, sandwiches and short orders. The business is located in the new modern brick structure near the ballpark built recently by Mrs. Maggard, who has installed the latest and most modern equipment.

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The Neon Manufacturing Corporation has purchased seven commercial sewing machines and a cutter for use in its 1,500 square feet of floor space in the Craft Clothing Company building. The facility plans to start production as soon as possible and will make shirts, slips, shorts, handkerchiefs and blouses. Neon Manufacturing is now taking applications for free sewing lessons open to women over 17 years old. The corporation’s board of directors are Jack Craft, Guy Jackson, Dr. Sam Quillen and Dee Dawahare.

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Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company has appealed to the Kentucky Public Service Commission for authority to raise rates.

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower will participate in a convocation at Transylvania College in Lexington on Friday, April 23 — the opening date of a year-long celebration leading up the school’s 175th anniversary in May 1955.

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Kingdom Come High School will hold its 24th annual commencement on April 19. The motto of the senior class of 1954 is “Let us be seen by our deeds.”

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Thornton Elementary School’s 8th grade class visited My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown and Mammoth Cave April 1-3. Seven boys and five girls [names weren’t listed] made the trip.

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For the first time in the history of the Mouth of Colly School, the principal, Bradley R. Breeding, led his 8th grade boys and girls on a sightseeing trip to parts of Kentucky. The students — Billy Blair, Betty Joyce Breeding, Betty L. Stamper, Stella M. Ison, Merrita A. Yonts and Nickil Hensley — visited the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, the new and old Capitol in Frankfort, My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace in Hodginsville, and Mammoth Cave.

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Cowboy movie stars Monte Hall, star of 100 Republic movies, and Ray “Whip” Whitley, RKO’s Cowboy, will appear on stage together in a live performance of a western show at the Elinda Ann Drive-In in Whitesburg April 17.

Thursday, April 16, 1964

The U.S. Department of the Interior will conduct studies on using low-cost coal in the production of electric power for the Appalachian region. Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall said experts in his department are confident that power production from Appalachian coal can maintain a competitive advantage over developments in the power industry.

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Two representatives of the State Department of Education are trying to find ways to keep the Letcher County Board of Education from ending the fiscal year “in the red”. The men came to Letcher County at the request of Supt. Dave L. Craft, who became superintendent after the death of Sanford Adams.

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The newly organized Letcher County Historical Society is seeking contributions to purchase the log home of Mr. and Mrs. Jess Day at Whitco for use as a museum. The house is scheduled to be razed to make way for construction of the Whitesburg-Hazard road. The house was built by Day’s grandfather James W. Hogg, in the early 1850s. The historical society plans to preserve the logs and other original parts of the house and re-construct it later.

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”A New Kind of Love” starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward is playing at the Alene Theater. Also playing is “Fancy Pants” with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball.

Thursday, April 18, 1974

Striking Appalachian Regional Hospital employees are maintaining their picket lines at Whitesburg and elsewhere in the ARH nine-hospital chain. Non-striking hospital workers in Whitesburg who honored the strikers were reportedly told that their next paycheck would be their last.

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The Letcher Grand Jury report urges repairs for lights and commodes in the drunk tank of the Letcher County Jail and on plumbing throughout the courthouse, particularly the jail.

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Lavonda Rae Evanoff of Jenkins is Miss Letcher County.

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An editorial in The Mountain Eagle speak of the double standard in effect in Letcher County, where a teenager would be arrested for a traffic violation while coal truck drivers committing violations “had nothing to fear.” The editorial calls upon County Judge Estill Blair to repudiate the position taken by Judge Pro Tem Lexie Potter, who said overweight coal trucks will not be charged with violating state weight limits. The editorial also says that Blair should repudiate those who had made public threats to burn down The Mountain Eagle if anything was published about an agreement between county officials and coal truckers to permit the truckers to violate weight laws.

Wednesday, April 18, 1984

Whitesburg High School’s appropriation from the state legislature came through the final days of the legislative session without damage. The budget bill passed by the legislature contains $214,400 for each of the next two years to pay interest on a $3 million bond issue proposed to finance a new high school building.

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The Fleming-Neon City Council tabled an action that would have placed a 9-ton weight limit on Hogg Hollow Road. The council originally approved the limit after Hogg Hollow residents complained that heavy coal trucks were destroying the one-lane road. The council changed its mind after Crescent Energy Inc., a Richlands, Va., firm, which has deep mining and surface mining operations in the hollow, said the weight limit would force the firm to close down Hogg Hollow operations.

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Alexis Eversole, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Eversole of Jenkins, has been named to the Governor’s Scholars Program.

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Redbuds are blooming and redbud winter has arrived with reports of snow and hail on Pine Mountain. Clouds, drizzle, fog and slick roads are predicted.

Wednesday, April 20, 1994

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted to increase the fees franchise garbage haulers and city governments pay to dump at the county’s trash collection facility at Millstone. The court also voted to set a higher minimum fee for residents taking their own garbage to the Millstone station. The increases are to offset the high cost of transporting garbage to a regional landfill in Pike County, and to persuade more people to participate in the county’s mandatory garbage collection program.

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The Whitesburg City Council endorsed a proposal by Childers Oil Inc. for surface mining land along the road leading from Pine Mountain Junction to the Whitesburg Plaza shopping center. Childers Oil said it wants to remove dirt and rocks from the north side of the road and fill in the area on the south side from the shopping center to the junction. Six thousand tons of coal would be moved in the process. Childers is working with a University of Kentucky group which is interested in doing something with strip-mined land in developed areas other than returning it to its original contours.

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Parents of Whitesburg High School students will meet at the school for a discussion of drugs and sexuallytransmitted diseases. School officials have asked health agencies to meet with the parents because of an apparent increase of drug use among students.

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Gobel Ritter, a retired Whitesburg educator and coach, will be inducted into Eastern Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. A former Letcher County resident, Bert Bach, will also be inducted into the EKU Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Ritter earned a bachelor’s degree in history from EKU in 1948 and a master’s degree in secondary education in 1951. After playing five sports at EKU, Ritter played with the New York Knickerbockers (now the New York Knicks). He retired in 1993 after serving 42 years with Hazard Independent School and Letcher County Schools.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A Texas company that services oil and natural gas wells is considering expanding to Letcher County. Joe DePriest, industrial recruiter for Letcher County, said the company is very interested in opening a facility in the Gateway Industrial Park near Jenkins.

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Formal sentencing is set for next week for Dr. Subrata Dey, a Whitesburg pediatrician. He agreed to plead guilty after a felony indictment charging him with illegal use of a minor in a sexual performance was reduced to a misdemeanor count of voyeurism.

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Dean and Nina Fields are working in cooperation with the Letcher County Fraternal Order of Police to build public picnic grounds on Pine Mountain. They hope to complete the project by Memorial Day.

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Letcher High School will hold Earth Day ceremonies on April 21 to celebrate its solar energy project. Earth Day is April 22. The public is invited to join students in learning about solar energy.


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