Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



May 22, 1958

Coal mine fatalities in Kentucky totaled 14 during March, a record low for the month since records have been kept. The total of fatalities for the January-March period was reduced from 135 in 1957 to 75 this year.

Two district championships went to Letcher County at the District 4-H Rally held at Quicksand on May 10. Joe Myrel Brown of the Little Cowan 4-H Club was chosen district champion in “The Tag on the Feed Bag” contest. David Profitt and Steven Brown of the Little Cowan 4-H Club were chosen Junior Team district champions in the general demonstrations. Their demonstration was on how to plant tree seedlings.

A circuit judge in Western Kentucky ruled today that it is unconstitutional for magistrates – including those in Letcher County – to pay themselves salaries of $200 a month. The decision came in a test case filed by several Muhlenberg County citizens after the county’s magistrates voted themselves salaries of $200 monthly.

May 23, 1968

The strong possibility developed this week that Whitesburg may have a totally useless $180,000 dam on its hands. And the town may be without a source of drinking water this summer. The intake pipes at the dam, installed to furnish the city water supply, already are buried under two or three feet of silt – and the dam isn’t even complete yet.

A planned “orientation day” for students from Kingdom Come High School at Letcher and Whitesburg high schools was canceled Monday after parents and students refused to let school buses carrying the students leave the campus on Linefork. The State Department of Education recently denied Kingdom Come High School accreditation for another year, an action that has the effect of closing the school since no state money will be available to it. The school had only 106 students.

Whitesburg’s new A&P store will open Tuesday. The new store is located on the former drive-in theater site near the junction of KY 15 and Solomon Road. The old A&P store on Main Street will remain open until Saturday night.

Ernest Gay Amburgey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Amburgey of Premium, was named the outstanding senior civil engineering student at the University of Kentucky.

May 25, 1978

Six young Woodrock residents decided to take action on the notso pint-size chug holes which booby trap the road to their homes. The older boys dug up dirt and gravel for fill and the littl’uns jumped on it to pack it down. The boys are Marvin Adams, 14; Robert Watts, 14; Keith Scott, 9; Jeffrey Messer, 15; Roger Adams, 12; and Howard Messer, 9.

Rep. Carl D. Perkins and Sen. Walter “Dee” Huddleston, both Democrats, won easy victories in Tuesday’s primary elections. Locally Perkins and Huddleston outstripped their opponents by large margins.

Unemployment in Letcher County, at 10.5 percent, was the second highest in eastern Kentucky during March. Lee County had the highest rate with 10.7 percent of the workforce unemployed.

Boneless chuck is $1.49 a pound at the A&P Food Store. Smoked hams are 79 cents a pound.

May 25, 1988

The City of Whitesburg is one step closer to renovating its sewage plant. Mayor James Asher said the governor’s office notified him Friday that the Appalachian Regional Commission has committed $300,000 to the city and that the federal Farmers Home Administration has indicated it will probably also grant the city money.

Letcher County Schools have only one 1977 school bus still in regular use and that bus will be retired at the end of this school year, Superintendent Bernard Watts said. Jenkins Schools Superintendent Alex Eversole said his system has no 1977 buses in regular use and only one substitute. A controversy has arisen across the state over the safety of school buses manufactured before April 1, 1977, since a church bus accident near Carrollton last Saturday that left 27 people dead.

More than 350 high school seniors will receive diplomas at ceremonies at Letcher County’s four public high schools over the next 10 days.

May 27, 1998

The Letcher County Industrial Development Authority has approved the use of coal severance tax funds for restoration of the old Jenkins High School and for a baseball/softball field. Members of the authority delayed action on a request to use the funds for a welcome center on new U.S. Highway 23 at Jenkins, saying they need more information on the proposed project.

The Letcher County Board of Education will hold a public forum at Campbell’s Branch School to discuss the future of the school with parents of students who now attend classes there and with other community members.

The city of Fleming-Neon is trying to set up a walking track in downtown Neon, and Letcher Fiscal Court has agreed to lend labor and equipment to pave a 20-by-900-foot area at the western entrance to Neon.

It’s still not safe to go into the water in some parts of Kentucky. The Natural Resources Cabinet and the Health Department say sections of the Upper Cumberland River, the North Fork of the Kentucky River, and the Licking River in Campbell County are contaminated.

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