Whitesburg KY
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The way we were



Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

January 9, 1958

Arrangements have been made to send 138 pupils at the burnedout Seco school to classrooms in Tollivertown, Kona and Haymond, School Superintendent W. B. Hall said today. The six-room school burned last Friday. The building was owned by the South-East Coal Co.

Former Commonwealth’s Attorney Emmett G. Fields has dropped his suit against Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells, contesting the results of the circuit judge’s election in the November election.

Dr. T.M. Perry, Jenkins, was elected president of the Letcher County Medical Society at the group’s regular meeting Tuesday night. Dr. Lee Moore, Whitesburg, was named secretary-treasurer.

The 62-bed Fleming hospital, in operation since 1917, will close its doors and go out of business on or about February 1. The hospital has been privately operated by Dr. E.G. Skaggs with Dr. A.B. Carter Jr., with the help of Dr. Roscoe Acker. The Fleming hospital is the second private hospital within Letcher County to close following the establishment of the United Mine Workers Welfare Fund and the building of the UMWA-owned Whitesburg Memorial Hospital. Dr. B.F. Wright closed down his Seco hospital some two years ago.

January 11, 1968

A mid-morning fire Monday destroyed the Quillen Apartment building on Main Street. Whitesburg firemen fought all day in an effort to save the building. They were successful in attempts to keep the flames from spreading to Pigman Cleaners and other nearby structures.

Hobart Ison, a Letcher County resident accused of murdering a Canadian film producer at Jeremiah Sept. 20, will be tried in Harlan County. Letcher County Circuit Judge J.L. Hays decided to transfer the case after two days of efforts to seat a jury here this week had ended unsuccessfully. A total of 92 prospective jurors were summoned Monday and Tuesday; all but 11 were dismissed by Judge Hays after indicating that they hold opinions about the guilt or innocence of the defendant.

Letcher County was still reeling this week from the onslaught of winter weather which began just after Christmas. Snow, sleet and freezing rain forced the dismissal of school for several days and made highways treacherous.

January 12, 1978

New officials in Neon are questioning the use of $55,500 in federal money to purchase 1.72 acres of unimproved hillside land for a public housing project. The land, located across a creek and railroad tracks from downtown Neon, was sold to the county last August by the late Jesse Meade, father-in-law of then-Mayor Terry Sturgill. Meade paid L&N Railroad $5,000 for the land in June of 1976.

Everything in sight was coated in white this week as a winter storm brought six inches of snow to Letcher County and sent temperatures as low as eight below zero. Schools were closed most of the week, and the Kentucky Power Company had to appeal for lowered electricity use because of the unusual demand brought on by the cold spell which taxed its power supply.

The Letcher County school board has renewed Kendall Boggs’s four-year contract as superintendent of county schools. Boggs’s contract would have expired in June. The new term will be his fourth.

January 13, 1988

A Louisville firm is seeking some Fleming-Neon property for a new housing project. Capitol Properties, a for-profit corporation, reportedly is seeking a six-month option on 2 1/4 acres belonging to HOMES Inc. to build low-income housing. Fleming-Neon Mayor James Seals said the company is looking at a Goose Creek site for a 32-unit housing development for elderly and handicapped residents.

A tractor-trailer stopped inches from the edge of Pine Mountain, but kept U.S. 119 blocked for more than six hours as a result of the mishap. Police say the accident was the second in which the truck was involved within minutes. The Arrow Trucking tractor-trailer hit a Childers Oil tank truck about 4 p.m. Monday, but the accident was minor. The truck continued about a mile farther up Pine Mountain and met a truck on the wrong side of the road in a stiff curve just south of the old American Legion Hall. The driver of the tractortrailer apparently attempted to dodge the on-coming truck and two wheels of the tractor-trailer dropped over the mountainside.

Snow and sub-zero temperatures last Thursday turned KY 15 on Whitco Hill into a solid sheet of ice that left motorists stranded on the roadway. Main highways in Letcher County were clear, but many side roads remained snowcovered through the weekend.

January 14, 1998

Nearly 50 residents of the Camp Branch area of Letcher County gathered in Whitesburg Monday night to tell of their frustration and anger over damage to their property caused by recent underground coal mining. Their complaints involve mining under their homes and wells by Golden Oak Mining Company and the refusal or insufficient efforts of state and federal officials to help them get the damage corrected. The Golden Oak mining activity which has resulted in the destruction of a number of private wells covers more than 1,300 acres and affects the homes of 140 families.

Two current Letcher County magistrates, Randy Blair of Mayking and Delbert Anderson of McRoberts, have picked up candidacy papers from the office of County Clerk Charlie Wright indicating that they are considering making a run for the office.

Last year was the warmest on record for planet Earth, and for the first time federal climate researchers are willing to say people are at least partly to blame. “I wouldn’t have been willing to say this two years ago. I believe we are seeing evidence of global warming at least some of which is attributable to human activities,” said Elbert W. Friday, research chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Earth’s average temperature last year was threequarters of a degree Fahrenheit above normal. Normal is 61.7 degrees, the average for the years 1961-1990.

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