Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
Thursday, March 29, 1928 Each Letcher County schoolteacher will see his or her salary reduced by approximately $20 per year for the next two years to help the state purchase textbooks for students. Governor Flem D. Sampson has signed the statewide measure, which diverts between $300,000 and $400,000 to the state’s general fund to furnish free textbooks. The loss for Letcher County teachers is expected to total $4,831 per year.
. Kentucky Governor Flem D. Sampson has signed into law a measure to increase the minimum age for marriage from 14 to 16 years for males and from 12 to 14 years for females.
. The East End Service Station is now open for business in Whitesburg in the space formerly known as the Tunnel Hill Garage.
. A three-day camping trip to Bad Branch Falls left four Letcher County men impressed with what they saw. “That stream is correctly named; it is absolutely untamed,” writes Mountain Eagle editor Karl E. Davis, who visited the falls with Emery Frazier, Ray Logan, and J.L. Hays. “… The world is left behind when you turn from the trail that leads through Derberry Gap to the head of Cumberland [River]. … Here the veneer of civilization cracks, and man is once more a wild, carefree creature.” Concludes Davis, “Some day, when men in the crowded centers learn of this magic spot and the roads come to us, there will be many groups visiting Bad Branch and its Falls.”
Thursday, March 31, 1938 Last November’s general election in neighboring Harlan County has been declared “entirely void” by Special Judge Sanders E. Clay, who describes the election as “a most unfair one” in his ruling. Judge Clay also ruled that neither the present officeholders nor the contestants be allowed to occupy the offices involved — sheriff, county attorney, jailer, and coroner.
. Bids are being accepted for the installation of skylights in the post office building in Whitesburg. The skylights will give much more light in the mailing room. Bids are also being accepted for the construction of a retaining wall outside the post office, which has been a welcome new addition to Main Street.
. Postal inspectors investigating the theft of registered letters containing money consigned from Dunham, Jenkins, and Virgie have gotten a confession from Millard Adams, driver of the “star route” mail truck operating between Dunham and Pikeville. In his confession Sunday night, Adams stated that he permitted G.C. Honaker, who had obtained a key to mail sacks, took the money while riding in the rear of the mail truck on March 16 or 17. Adams said Honaker gave him a “was” of money and told him it was his part of the loot. Adams became a suspect after getting change for a $100 bill that was part of the loot.
. “Linefork’s most urgent need now is that the road be made passable,” writes a correspondent from that area whose name isn’t mentioned. “Many boys and girls are attending Kingdom Come Settlement School, [with] quite a number of them walking or riding horseback five or six miles to reach the school.”
Thursday, April 1, 1948 A Letcher County constable said to be jealous over a woman is charged with murder in the Sunday night shooting death near Hotspot of Howard Polly, 47. Authorities say Constable Jody P. Adams killed Polly after Adams became angry with a woman who refused his advances during a party at a location near the junction leading to Hotspot. An argument broke out after Adams threatened to take the woman to jail, resulting in the killing of Polly. Adams tried to flee the scene after the shooting, but was captured after he fell over an embankment and broke a leg. Adams, who is being held under $10,000 bond, is being treated at the Jenkins hospital.
. With transformers now being installed in the area, Carcassonne residents hope to have electricity soon.
. Ray Russell has been named playermanager for the Jenkins Cavaliers baseball club in the newly organized Class D Mountain States League. Before coaching at Virginia High School in Bristol, Russell had a career in semi-professional baseball.
. Men in the Jenkins area are far from being idle despite a continuing national coal strike. “The men who have been idled in this coal dispute have taken full advantage of the vacation,” reports The Mountain Eagle, “and on all sides can be seen remodeling their homes, building new additions such as basements, a new room, new walls, new fences, flower beds, and ploughed gardens.”
. A new theater expected to cost about $150,000 is among four new buildings scheduled for constructed soon in Whitesburg. Cossie Quillen is building a building a brick structure with a circular glass front for an appliance store on Railroad Street. Herman C. Combs said he would begin work April 15 on a new building to house the Ford Motor Company. Sanders A.
Collins announced this week that Boone Motor would start construction later this year on a new modern garage on its present site.
. Charles Edward Lucas, 13, received a reward for his honesty after returning a billfold containing $125 in cash to its owner. Young Lucas found the billfold Sunday inside the City Café, where he had gone to buy a soft drink while taking a break from shining shoes in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel in Whitesburg. After seeing that the billfold belonged to Sam Sexton, he found Mr. Sexton and returned it to him with every dollar still inside. Sexton then gave Lucas, a son of Jasper Lucas of Thornton, a reward of $1. Asked why he returned such a large amount of money, the young man said, “My daddy always taught me to never keep anything that doesn’t belong to me.”
Thursday, April 3, 1958 Letcher County’s eight magistrates voted Tuesday to pay themselves a salary of $200 per month each, effective April 1. The governor signed a new law permitting counties with a population of 30,000 or more to pay their magistrates salaries of up to $200, but does require them to do so. Until recently, magistrates received most of their income from fees collected for trying petty criminal cases. Letcher County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg objected strongly to the magistrates’ action.
. Letcher Fiscal Court has voted unanimously to repeal its rule on holding business portions of its monthly meeting in private. The motion for repeal was made by Magistrate Add Polly and seconded by Magistrate Willis Hawley.
. “There are no locks on most cells in the Letcher County Jail, and it appeared today that there won’t be any in the near future,” The Mountain Eagle reports this week after the Letcher Fiscal Court voted to deny Jailer Robert Sexton’s request that new locks be purchased. The fiscal court cited a lack of money in voting against Sexton’s request just a few minutes after magistrates voted themselves salaries of $200 monthly. “You know we’ve got a jail you can’t hold anybody in,” said Sexton, who is the only guard at the jail. “If you watch them close enough they can’t get out,” replied Magistrate W.R. Bates.
. The City of Whitesburg this week took the first step toward obtaining federal aid for local improvement projects when the Whitesburg City Council authorized Mayor Arthur T. Banks to write the Urban Renewal Administration and the Federal Housing Authority expressing the city’s interest.
Thursday, March 28, 1968 The trial of Hobart Ison, elderly Jeremiah landowner accused of slaying Hugh O’Conner, was postponed this week until a sanity hearing can be held. Ison was arrested on Sept. 20 after O’Conner, a leading Canadian film producer, was shot dead while filming several houses owned by Ison near Jeremiah.
. Steve Craft, well-known country music singer and instrumentalist from Letcher County, has finished his first record, “My Love Letter to You”, and the record is now available in Letcher County. He was accompanied on the record by Jim Branham, Ken Stephens, Bob Elkins and Larry Warf, all staff members at WCTW Radio Station. Featured on the other side of the disc is Sherlene Holbrook, daughter of Bummer Holbrook of Neon.
. Jenkins basketball coach Don R. Burton was named “Coach of the Year” for the second consecutive year in the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference. Burton, in his second year at Jenkins, guided the Cavaliers to a 23-6 record, and runner-up to Lee County in the 14th Regional finals.
Thursday, March 23, 1978 Rank-and-file coal miners will vote Friday on whether to accept the third try at a contract to end the longest coal strike in the history of the United Mine Workers of America. Opinion is divided as to the chances of the new contract proposal for approval, but most observers see the miners reluctantly leaning toward voting “yes”. Last week miners were hesitant to comment on contract provisions because they were under a restraining order issued by a federal court at the request of President Jimmy Carter who invoked the Taft-Hartley law in an attempt to force an end to the strike.
. Gina Collins and Donna Combs, two University of Kentucky nursing students, submitted a report to the Letcher Fiscal Court saying that uncollected garbage creates a health hazard in three counties and that Knott and Perry counties are looking to Letcher as a model for garbage collection systems. The UK students suggested that the fiscal court develop a set schedule with garbage franchise operators so that Letcher Countians may know when their garbage will be collected, and by whom.
. The University of Kentucky Wildcats will make their seventh try at the National Collegiate Basketball Championship in St. Louis next week. The Cats have won four championships — 1948, ’49, ’51 and ’58 — and last appeared in the final four in 1975 when they lost to UCLA in coach John Wooden’s last game. The Wildcats will play Arkansas in the semi-finals.
. “March is unpredictable as a young girl in love,” writes Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “This week her bag of tricks were surely dumped on us all at once. We have had high winds, hard rains and two days of deliciously springlike weather. Then the
next morning to get up and the ground be covered with a good skip of snow.”
Wednesday, March 30, 1988 The Kentucky Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to force coal operators to seek landowners’ permission to strip-mine their property. The bill would change the broad-form deed, which separates the surface and mineral rights to land. The bill passed 34-0 and the constitutional change will now be placed on the ballot in November, where a simple majority is needed.
. Letcher County’s unemployment rate rose nearly two percent from December to January. The county showed a 12.9 rate for January, up from 11.2 in December.
. High winds and severe thunderstorms left Dwight and Janet Frazier of Jeremiah and their two children homeless. The family was not home when the storm struck, and when they returned to Black Bottom, the roof of their mobile home had been ripped off and dumped on top of their pickup truck. Contents of the trailer were wrecked and the walls and doors hung at peculiar angles.
Wednesday, March 25, 1998 For nine days —March 27 through April 4 — several special cleanup activities will be going on throughout Letcher County, sponsored by PRIDE. During the cleanup, the Letcher County Transfer Station at Millstone will accept trash from Letcher County residents without charging a dumping fee and those having large items may call and have them picked up and taken to the transfer station.
. A marker has been placed at a cemetery at Carbon Glow to honor black coal miners and members of their families who are buried there. An Appalachian Studies class at Hazard Community College has been working to identify and clean up neglected cemeteries. At the ceremony, Arthur Christon, a former coal miner who has a relative buried in the cemetery, sang “Amazing Grace” and members of the
Letcher High School JROTC raised a flag.
. The Kentucky Wildcats, coached by Tubby Smith, defeated Duke to go to the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament. Duke had led by 18 points in the game.
. Whitesburg Police Chief Paul Miles and other members of the city police force want to start a neighborhood crime watch program so that citizens can help the police department “watch their properties as well as their neighbors’ properties.”
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 State mine safety officials have determined that inadequate conditions contributed to death of Roy Douglas Sturgill II, a rock truck operator working at Cumberland River Coal Co. Inc.’s Blue Ridge Mine at Ovenfork. The Kentucky Offi ce of Mine Safety and Licensing says the fatal accident could have been prevented if a safety berm designed to keep rock trucks from backing over a steep slope had been constructed.
. Charles Scott Howard, a Letcher County coal miner, claims in a lawsuit that his employer, Cumberland River Coal Co., improperly disciplined him for videotaping underground safety problems and showing the footage to federal inspectors.
The Letcher County Attorney’s Office announced that it will begin to “actively prosecute” any person charged with littering. Assistant County Attorney James A. Hubbard has pledged to prosecute persons who have unsightly trash around their homes as well as those who throw bottles, cans and fast-food containers from their cars.
. Chris Tolliver is the first Letcher County male to both play and coach in a state high school basketball tournament. Tolliver played for Whitesburg High School when the Jackets got to the quarterfinals of the state tourney, and helps coach the Rowan County Lady Vikings.