Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

‘Star Wars’ arrives at the Alene Theatre 7 months after release date

Pictured from far left, Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia, and Harrison Ford portrays Han Solo in the movie Star Wars, which arrived at Alene Theatre in Whitesburg in December 1977, seven months after its official release. Written and directed by George Lucas, it quickly broke all box office records at the time and was the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Its name was later changed to Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, and is now one of eight Star Wars films, the latest being The Last Jedi, which was released December 15.

Pictured from far left, Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia, and Harrison Ford portrays Han Solo in the movie Star Wars, which arrived at Alene Theatre in Whitesburg in December 1977, seven months after its official release. Written and directed by George Lucas, it quickly broke all box office records at the time and was the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Its name was later changed to Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, and is now one of eight Star Wars films, the latest being The Last Jedi, which was released December 15.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, December 29, 1927 The churches of Whitesburg will begin the New Year by observing a week of prayer, beginning Monday and Tuesday, January 2 and 3, at the Methodist Church with Rev. Caudill conducting the ceremony. Rev. Enlow will lead prayer Wednesday and Thursday, followed by Rev. Tomlin on Friday and Saturday.

. “The Christmas holiday went off without any disturbance of any kind, so far as reports have come in,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Very little liquor drinking was seen, and there was almost no rowdy-ism. … The newspaper boys downstate will be greatly surprised when no reports of killing reach them. They should give us some publicity of the good kind now, but we’ll bet a gingersnap they don’t.”

. A posse of 150 men shot and captured a 42-year-old Pike County man Monday who was wanted in connection with Sunday’s shooting death of Malcolm Slone, 38, of Wolf Pit. Arrested after he was shot while hiding out about a mile from the drift mouth inside a lower seam mine operated by Corrigan McKinney Steel Company, also at Wolf Pit, was Homer Mitchell, a black man who is said to have escaped custody just after the shooting of Slone, who is white. Mitchell was not seriously injured by the gunshot wound. Members of the posse say Mitchell was found on the tracks of the mine and was armed with two pistols. Despite being shot twice, Mitchell was able to escape a second time after he broke free from the posse outside the mine and sought help at a nearby home before being turned away by the woman who answered the door. “The man will be given an immediate trial, it is said,” reports The Mountain Eagle. “A dozen members of the National Guard and a number of deputies returned to Wolf Pit to assist in keeping down mob spirit.” The National Guard’s presence comes a month after a Letcher County man, also black, was hanged and his body burned in after a mob broke him out of the jail in Whitesburg. He, too, was accused of murdering a white man.

. James Deem, 40, died while working inside the Apex Mine on Monday, apparently of suffocation. Miners working near Deem say they heard him gasp for breath and call for help. He died before they could get him outside the mine. Deem was a son-in-law of Ben Webb of Sergent.

. A shipment of the new Ford automobiles will arrive in Whitesburg by rail within the next few days, says Letcher Motor Company manager James Fairchild. Boone Motor Company says it will receive a shipment of new Chevrolets soon.

. Kentucky’s coal production will show an increase of 7-million tons in 1927, says Chief Mine Inspector W.H. Jones.

Thursday, December 30, 1937 The L&N Passenger Train No. 3, due in Whitesburg at 8:44 Sunday, derailed just as it passed onto the bridge at Red Star, about three miles below Blackey. A broken rail is believed to be the cause of the mishap, which resulted in the engine, tender and two cars leaving the track. No serious injuries were reported despite there being 100 passengers aboard. Two heavy steel beams of the bridge kept the train from plunging into the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Rail traffic was tied up until Thursday because of the derailment. While mail and passengers were transferred around the wreck, the Neon rail yard could supply only one engine and two cabooses to move the mail and passengers from Red Star to Fleming, as all coaches and baggage cars were already in use because of the holiday rush. Because the bridge was so heavily damaged, most coal mines in the area were idled because of a lack of cars.

Thursday, January 1, 1948 Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon on Tuesday referred charges against five people held in the killings of Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputies Willard Hall and Dave Galloway to a Letcher County grand jury. Charged with killing the deputies on the

Saturday before Christmas are Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Fields and their son, Charlie; Henry Boggs, the father of Mrs. Fields, and Willard Collier. The shootings occurred inside the Fields home at the foot of the Cumberland River side of Pine Mountain, where Hall and Galloway had gone to check on complaints of unlawful behavior and to serve a warrant on Collier. Mrs. Fields says she shot the deputies, a claim that is backed up by her husband.

. A four-year-old Colson girl died a tragic death Sunday after she was accidentally shot while her brother was cleaning his father’s .22. Florence Bates, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Beckham Bates, died during surgery at the Jenkins hospital, where she had been taken for treatment. Four brothers and three sisters survive in addition to her parents.

. Arch Hunsucker of Sergent died Tuesday evening about 6:30 while fighting fire near his home. Funeral arrangements remain incomplete at press time.

. “For many years we have listened to people berate police officers (to the point) we have often wondered whether the people who do some of the lambasting are really criminals at heart, but are law-abiding through fear alone,” Mountain Eagle editor W.P. Nolan writes in an editorial concerning the recent shooting deaths of two Letcher County sheriff ’s deputies near Oven Fork. “The fact that two of our officers were killed recently and a former officer recently killed in Neon should make all citizens stop and think. It is our belief that all peace officers should receive the wholehearted support of the entire public. As long as any officer does the duty he certainly is deserving of our support.”

. Carcassonne native Raymond I. Fields is now an instructor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

. The McRoberts Recreation Building and Theatre has been remodeled and is now under the new management of James Hall and James Cassinelli.

Thursday, January 2, 1958 A new set of county officials led by County Judge-Elect Arthur Dixon will take office next Monday. Meanwhile, current County Judge James M. Caudill released a statement this week thanking Letcher County voters for his term in office. Among the accomplishments cited by Caudill during his four-year term were the rebuilding of U.S. 23 on the hill at Jenkins; the contract for construction of 2-1/2 miles of road from Payne Gap down the North Fork of the Kentucky River; the construction of four miles of roads in almost every section of Turkey Creek to Big Branch, and construction of three miles of new road from Daniel to the mouth of Camp Branch.

. The Whitesburg hospital reported the condition of Whitesburg Waterworks Supt. Archie Wadell as improved Thursday morning, three days after he was burned seriously about his face and hands as the result of an explosion at the water station pump house. Fire Chief Remious Day said the blast occurred when a pump motor arced and ignited natural that had seeped into the pump house from the water well.

. Miss Julia Plummer is the new postmistress at the Jenkins Post Office. She was appointed Tuesday after she resigned from her position at Whitesburg Memorial Hospital. Miss Plummer’s appointment came as a surprise to Letcher County Republican Party Chairman Roger Kersey of Whitesburg who, after conferring with GOP leaders in Jenkins, had recommended the appointment of J.C. Stambaugh as postmaster. Kersey’s recommendation was reversed by the district Republican chairman at Pikeville.

. The outlook for coal mining for the year 1958 is being termed as “rough.” David Francis, president of Princess Coal Sales of Huntington, W.Va., says “the trend downward has already begun,” citing the slowing market for U.S. steel in Europe and the outlook for a warmer than normal winter.

. Whitesburg businessman Joe Reynolds plans to set about 40 acres of trees this year.

“To hold these hills in place and to prevent erosion, we must again call upon Letcher County’s greatest soil conservationist, the tree,” Reynolds said. The trees will be set in February and should be established by spring. Cecil Hensley, county soil conservationist, says Reynolds’s undertaking would be the largest acreage of trees any one landowner has planned to set out in any one year in the county.

. Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier star in “The Prince and the Showgirl,” showing January 5 and 6 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, December 28, 1967 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public hearing this week on the proposal to build a flood-control dam at Ulvah. A Corps representative said, “The Kingdom Come Reservoir is under consideration for flood control, water quality control and other purposes.” Leaders of a group of Letcher County residents formed to oppose the dam will hold public meetings to plan strategy for the hearing. D.B. Barker, assistant principal of Letcher High School, is chairman of the citizens group.

. Congressman Carl D. Perkins announced that 24 Letcher County men would not be dropped from the Work Experience and Training program (Happy Pappies or Jobless Fathers program) as they had been expected to be. Instead, Perkins said the men will remain on the WE&T program for two months and then will be transferred to other federally-aided training courses.

. Sp/4 Larry D. Maggard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie B. Maggard of Isom, has received a certificate of achievement for meritorious performance of duty in Vietnam. He is a member of the 720th Military Police Battalion of the 18th Military Police Brigade. His citation was signed by his commander, Brig. Gen. Karl W. Gustafson.

. Southern Bell Telephone Co. will form new company, South Central Bell Telephone Co., to operate in a five-state region including Kentucky. Officials said there would be no change in company policy.

Thursday, December 22, 1977 Non-union mines stayed open in Letcher County, despite the presence of several hundred pickets from Ohio, perhaps because of an almost equal number of Kentucky State Police troopers. Striking miners from United Mine Workers District 6 formed a caravan of close to 100 cars and struck out for the eastern Kentucky coalfields, pausing once in Prestonsburg to rally before moving into Letcher County and setting up picket lines at South East Coal Co.’s Polly Mine.

. The Kentucky Housing Corporation moved this week to make money for the purchase of homes more readily available to coal miners and other residents of the 36 coal-producing counties of eastern Kentucky. The corporation raised its income limits for eligible borrowers to a basic $16,500 a year for a single person. This is an increase of $1,500. The increase will mean that a family with four children can earn as much as $20,500 a year and still be eligible to borrow KHC money for a home mortgage.

. Full United Mine Worker pensions will be paid in January but the outlook for subsequent months remains extremely uncertain. Three of the four UMW Health and Retirement Funds have no cash reserves and will suspend payments in February unless UMW and coal industry officials devise a way to refinance the plans. Medical bills received prior to Dec. 6, when UMW miners began their contract strike, will be paid but no bills incurred after that time will be paid until the health plans receive more money.

. ”Books and more books have been brought to a temporary location in the Blackey Community Center awaiting the new library which will be built here,” writes Blackey correspondent Gaynell Begley. “County librarian Mrs. Peggy Watts says the temporary library will be open for use the first week in the new year, from 8:00 until 4:00 five days a week and until noon on Saturdays.”

. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

“Star Wars” is playing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Wednesday, December 30, 1987 Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney James Wiley Craft is among nine candidates a judicial selection committee has chosen for the federal district judge’s position in Pikeville.

. Three of the first five Top Ten stories in 1987 compiled by The Associated Press and Kentucky members are hard-core political. The stories are Gov. Wallace Wilkinson’s victory in the Democratic primary; Larry Forgy’s crippling withdrawal from the Republican race; and the Democratic sweep of statewide offices in the November general election.

. A Letcher County couple, Cathy and Larry Boggs, have received a patent for a cordless, no-hands telephone that allows the user to receive calls, place calls, and put the person on the other end of the line on hold. The Boggses began working on the idea in 1984 when Larry’s backyard hobby called for the use of a telephone. “He was rebuilding an engine in a truck and every few minutes he’d come in and say ‘dial this number for me, my hands are dirty,’ or ‘hold the telephone up to my ear, I’ll get grease on it,’” Cathy said.

. The Jenkins Cavaliers raised their record to 6-4 with a convincing 76-66 victory over visiting Appalachia, Va. The home standing Whitesburg Lady Yellowjackets fell to Fleming-Neon 62-55.

Wednesday, December 24, 1997 A picture on the front page of The Mountain Eagle shows five babies born at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital and dressed by the nurses as elves as they lay in the hospital nursery.

. Letcher County and the other seven counties in the Kentucky River Area Development District had the highest percentage of smokers of any ADD in Kentucky over the past two years. A survey showed that 35.2 percent of adults in the KRADD area are smokers. That rate is an increase of two percent from a 1991-93 survey.

. Letcher, Knott and Perry counties have agreed to contribute coal severance tax money to the proposed Red Fox Industrial and Recreational Development project. The Letcher Fiscal Court voted to put $700,00 in coal severance tax funds into the project, Knott Fiscal Court $1 million, and Perry Fiscal Court $700,000.

. Students at Whitesburg Elementary School had questions for Santa Claus including: Amber McPeeks -How would you fly if your reindeers were out of breath; Craig Ison – How many elves do you have; James Curt Gose – Why do reindeer need names; James Sturgill – Will you come to my house?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 B.J. Services Co. is looking to expand its operations, just three years after becoming the first tenant at Gateway Industrial Park. Houston-based B.J. Services, a Fortune 500 company that provides pressure pumping and other services to the natural gas and oil drilling industries, is considering opening a tool division at the industrial park.

. Registered nurses who have been striking against Appalachian Regional Healthcare hospitals in Whitesburg and eight other locations, are expected to begin returning to work the day after Christmas. The strike against ARH in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia ended Saturday night when nurses voted to ratify a new contract.

. The Mountain Eagle is changing its distribution schedule. Beginning with the January 9 edition, The Eagle will be distributed early on Wednesday morning instead of on Tuesday afternoon. The change is the first in more than 20 years.

. Funeral services were held Monday for Letcher County Board of Education member Attwell Turner. Turner, 75, was a retired school teacher and bus driver in the Letcher County School System. Before retiring from the school system, he was active in unions and organizations representing both teachers and classified employees.

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