Whitesburg KY

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



April 17, 1958

Extensive repairs to the Letcher County Jail in Whitesburg were recommended by the April Grand Jury, which would up its business and made its final report Monday. The jury also was concerned with needed repairs at the county courthouse and with a health hazard at the WPA building behind the jail.

A special citizens’ committee is being organized in Jenkins to work toward a solution of the city school system’s problems. Organization of the committee began at the March meeting of the Jenkins Board of Education. The board invited Parent-Teacher groups, business houses, professional groups and civic clubs to send representatives to the meeting.

Elmer Collins, Whitesburg grocer, was installed as president of the Whitesburg Junior Chamber of Commerce Friday night.

Letcher County will have no primary election this May. The only election which might have required a primary this year is the race for Congress from the Seventh District. However, neither the Democratic candidate, incumbent Carl D. Perkins of Hindman, or the Republican candidate, E.L. (Bud) Raybourn of Olive Hill, had any primary opponent.

April 18, 1968

A group of state officials headed by Commissioner of Commerce Paul Grubbs visited Letcher County this week to inspect sites which might be developed for industrial use.

Candace Honeycutt, daughter of Mrs. Nora Honeycutt, was crowned “Miss Letcher County” of 1968 in ceremonies at the Whitesburg gymnasium Saturday night.

Dedication ceremonies for Fishtrap Dam, the highest in eastern Kentucky, are set for April 27 at the dam site 15 miles southeast of Pikeville. The flood control, recreation reservoir project, developed by the Army Corps of Engineers, dams up the waters of the Big Sandy River with a rockfill dam 195 feet high and 1,100 feet long.

Sliced bacon is $1.17 for a two-pound package this week at the A&P Food Store. Ocean perch fillets are $1.39 for a five-pound package.

April 20, 1978

Citing a shortage of rail cars, Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. cut back production at its Letcher and Pike county mines to three days last week, and may reduce production again this week.

Over 22 months since the United Mine Workers struck the Stearns Mining Co. in a representational dispute, the McCreary County mine is once again producing coal. Officials of the Blue Diamond Coal Co., Stearns’ parent firm, told The Eagle that one section of the Justus Mine is now producing coal on a “limited basis.” The mining began last week for the first time since the strike began in July, 1976.

The Letcher County school board voted to re-open schools on August 10, following summer vacation, for the next school year. The board action, taken Tuesday night, sets the opening date up five days from last year’s August 15 opening date.

April 20, 1988

A federal prosecutor says “citizen unrest” prompted a hearing to be set for Tuesday and today on the Fleming-Neon Baseball Park, which the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement contends became an illegal stripmine. The problems began in 1986 when Fleming-Neon contracted with CH&G Construction to prepare land for a baseball field at the mouth of Goose Creek. In return for the site preparation, CH&G was allowed to remove all of the coal on the site as long as Fleming-Neon received a $4-perton royalty. When a coal augering machine was taken on the site, OSM contended the work was actually an illegal stripmine operation and filed a cessation order.

The City of Whitesburg will offer its residents one more chance to clean up their garbage before city police begin enforcing the new Letcher County litter control ordinance. The city council voted to designate April 24-29 as cleanup week, and to have city garbage workers pick up any kind of refuse they can carry during that week to help residents clean up their property.

The Jenkins Cavaliers baseball team, which started five freshmen last season en route to an 8-12 record, has established itself as the clear favorite for the top spot in the 53rd District this season. After the first two weeks of the season, the Cavs have posted a 7-1 record.

April 22, 1998

Streams in Letcher County rose out of their banks three days out of the four last week, but damage was mostly limited to public roads and bridges. The biggest slide occurred on Black Mountain, where county crews spent two days moving more than 100 truckloads of mud and debris that came from an old mine.

Miners and former miners from Letcher County spoke about their experience with coal dust and their fears about it in conversations over the past year about the continuing deaths of coal miners from black lung. They were among 255 miners and former miners who spoke with Gardiner Harris, a reporter for the Louisville Courier- Journal, who is based in Hazard. A five-part series by Harris began in the April 19 issue of the newspaper and continues through next Sunday.

Letcher County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith and members of the Letcher County Water and Sewer Study Group will be honored in Frankfort today for their work in protecting the environment in Letcher County. Smith and the study group members are being honored for their dedication to the elimination of straight-pipe sewer discharges in Letcher County and their commitment to the formation of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District, which is now in existence. Members of the study group, which has now disbanded, included James McAuley, Joe Begley, Mayors Arlie Hall, Jack Howard and Robert E. (Pud) Shubert, Ralph Marcum and Steve Taylor.

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