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The Way We Were




When ‘Jaws’ had people scared of the water This week in 1975, “Jaws,” a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977’s Star Wars. “Jaws” was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category and took home three Oscars, for Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. The film, a breakthrough for director Spielberg, then 27 years old, spawned three sequels. The film starred Roy Scheider (center) as principled police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss (right) as a marine biologist named Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as a grizzled fisherman called Quint. It was set in the fictional beach town of Amity, and based on a best-selling novel, released in 1973, by Peter Benchley. Subsequent water-themed Benchley bestsellers also made it to the big screen, including The Deep (1977). Filming, which took place on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was plagued by delays and technical difficulties, including malfunctioning mechanical sharks. Source: The History Channel

When ‘Jaws’ had people scared of the water This week in 1975, “Jaws,” a film directed by Steven Spielberg that made countless viewers afraid to go into the water, opens in theaters. The story of a great white shark that terrorizes a New England resort town became an instant blockbuster and the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was bested by 1977’s Star Wars. “Jaws” was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category and took home three Oscars, for Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound. The film, a breakthrough for director Spielberg, then 27 years old, spawned three sequels. The film starred Roy Scheider (center) as principled police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss (right) as a marine biologist named Matt Hooper and Robert Shaw as a grizzled fisherman called Quint. It was set in the fictional beach town of Amity, and based on a best-selling novel, released in 1973, by Peter Benchley. Subsequent water-themed Benchley bestsellers also made it to the big screen, including The Deep (1977). Filming, which took place on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was plagued by delays and technical difficulties, including malfunctioning mechanical sharks. Source: The History Channel

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, June 28, 1928

Ed Stratton of Neon, longtime conductor on the L&N Railroad’s “Short Dog” passenger train between McRoberts and Hazard, was shot and killed in downtown Whitesburg Sunday night by a fellow railroad employee. Stratton, 41, was shot five times while sitting at a table in the Day Hotel with two women, one of whom is the former wife of the man accused murdering Stratton, 32-year-old Morgan Collier. The shooting occurred at 6:40 p.m. while Stratton was eating dinner with Bertha Collier, the ex-wife of the suspect, and Mrs. Collier’s sister, Lou Day. A few minutes before the shooting, Collier, a fireman on a separate L&N train, walked into the hotel restaurant and spotted Stratton and the two women seated together. Collier then walked outside the hotel, took an automobile by force, and drove up the road a short distance before returning and parking the stolen car, with the engine still running, in front of the hotel. He then walked back inside and fired the five shots at Stratton before jumping back into the car and speeding away. The shooting occurred in front of several others who were also eating there. The stolen car, which belongs to Curtis Lewis, was later found at Pert Creek. Collier, who is believed to have fled into the woods of Pine Mountain, had not been arrested by Mountain Eagle press time.

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The Neon Post Office was burglarized Sunday night. Postmaster Willie Quillen reports that an unknown amount of money was stolen during the break-in. No arrests have been made.

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Engineer Wallace was killed Tuesday when the engine and baggage car of the afternoon train from McRoberts overturned after hitting a large rock on the track at Yellow Rock, near Irvine. The train’s fireman, who wasn’t identified, was seriously injured. Train service Wednesday was delayed for several hours because of the mishap.

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A truck containing several cases of dynamite overturned on the Pine Mountain road at Cowan ridge, but no serious injuries were reported. “The jar of the wreck was not sufficient to set off the charge or there probably would not be any Cowan ridge now,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

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A portion of the Will Hall Farm, located three miles above Whitesburg, has been divided into 60 lots that will be sold at public auction Saturday. The lots are located next to the new state highway at Ermine that is to be hard-surfaced this summer. The lots are expected to rise in value if the much talked about railroad yards at Ermine are built.

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Three men escaped death Sunday night when the Chevrolet coupe in which they were riding plunged over a cliff on the Pine Mountain road, just below the summer home of South-East Coal Company official Henry Pfening Jr. Driver Henry Blair and passengers Charlie Blair and Riley Moore were badly cut and bruised as a result of the wreck. The three men were located after passersby heard their cries for help.

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Cartons of 200 cigarettes are on sale at the A&P Store for $1.15 each. The sale includes all popular brands.

Thursday, June 23, 1938

The marriage of Miss Irene Lewis and Mr. Joe Reynolds was held in Mayking on June 11 at the home of the Reverend G.B. Adams. The bride, the attractive daughter of Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Lewis, was educated and graduated from the Junior Home in Tiffin, Ohio and taught kindergarten last year in the Whitesburg school system. Reynolds, son of Mr. William Reynolds of Ermine, holds a position with Jackson Furniture Company of Neon Junction. The new Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds will make their home in Neon, where Mrs. Reynolds will teach this fall.

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Beginning Friday, July 1, a new and different dry cleaning service will be available to the people of Letcher County when Mountain Dry Cleaners of Whitesburg begin using the new odorless Zoric system at the plant on Broadway Street.

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court ruling declaring J.M. Crase the winner over Dr. B.F. Wright in the 1937 general election for the office of Letcher County Judge.

Thursday, June 24, 1948

An argument over cold beer resulted in the recently shooting death of Henry Cornett by his brother-in-law James Day. This week, Day waived a preliminary hearing and agreed to have the murder charge against him considered by the Letcher County Grand Jury when it convenes July 5. According to arresting police officer George Cook, Cornett had been staying in Day’s home for the past several weeks and had worked in Day’s garden much of the day of the shooting. After Day traveled to Whitesburg to get money to pay Cornett, Day returned to his home to find that Cornett had drank his beer that was in the refrigerator. After an argument broke out, Cornett drew a knife on Day, who said he had no choice but to shoot Cornett in self-defense. Cornett, who is survived by several children, was buried at UZ.

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Since they first started here about eight years ago, small truck mines have brought “prosperity to small groups and individuals (that) has paralleled the Gold Rush of the 1890’s in California,” industry official Ira B. Bowers said recently while speaking to a group of about 40 Letcher County truck mine operators and officials. “Where five-dollar and 10-dollar purchases were made in the pre-truck mining days, there are now 20- and 100-dollar bill.” However, Bowers cautioned that if mine operators and ramp operators don’t stop sending poor-quality coal and “Jack Rock” to steel mills industry the small mines will be forced to close much quicker than they opened. “So it’s better to leave the slate and sulphur in the ground than to put it in our trucks,” said Bower. “It will save the truck mining industry from as sudden a collapse as its debut.”

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Positions as federal coal mine inspectors with the U.S. Bureau of Mines are now open in various coal mining sections of several states, the bureau has announced. Salaries range from $4,150 to $5,905 annually.

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Samuel Sexton, 31, died of injuries he received Tuesday on Camp Branch when the truck in which he and at least 15 others were riding overturned while the men were being hauled to work in a coal mine. The driver of the truck, Estill Banks, said he was driving along at a moderate speed when “something happened” to the truck, causing him to lose control. Sexton was pinned underneath the wreckage. Banks and the other 14 passengers were being treated at the Jenkins hospital.

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Kentucky’s oldest city, Harrodsburg, is celebrating its 174th birthday.

Thursday, June 26, 1958

The Jenkins City Council has joined forces with the Kiwanis club and the American Legion to take steps to try to prevent the removal of the Kentucky Power Company office from downtown Jenkins. Mayor Bill Terrill said plans are being made by Kentucky Power officials to move the office from Jenkins to Pikeville.

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The Fleming-Neon High School Parent- Teacher Association (PTA) is sponsoring an alumni dance to raise funds to replace library books lost in the fire that destroyed the high school building last February.

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Letcher County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg has filed the first of what will be several lawsuits to collect delinquent taxes on real estate in Letcher County. The first two defendants live in Jenkins and in the head of Craft’s Colly.

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Whitesburg VFW Post members Kermit Lucas and Mrs. Kyle Campbell were elected as commander and president, respectively, for the 14th District, Department of Kentucky, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary.

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The dining room of the Daniel Boone Hotel of Whitesburg has been remodeled and enlarged and is now open for business. Mrs. Clara Williams, who operates the City Café in the hotel building, will also manage the dining room.

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Letcher County schools will open August 25 and close next May 21, according to the new school calendar released this week by the Letcher County Board of Education.

Thursday, June 20, 1968

Funeral services are set June 21 for Letcher Circuit Court Judge J.L. Hays, 70, who died after a long illness. Hays was a member of the first graduating class of Whitesburg High School in 1914. He was also a graduate of Berea College and the University of Kentucky College of Law.

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Sgt. Larry Dwight Maggard, 22, of Isom, was killed in an aircraft crash in Vietnam on June 9. He was a son of Charlie and Berta C. Maggard of Isom.

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Henry Ed Wright has been named superintendent of the Jenkins Independent School system. He had been principal of Jenkins High School for three years.

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The Kentucky Department of Revenue has ordered a 20-percent increase in assessments on real estate in Letcher County. The boost would add about $7,000,000 to assessments in the county, which now total $35,662,900. The department said the increase is necessary to comply with the state constitution and state law, and to equalize the assessment of real estate with other property in the county.

Thursday, June 15, 1978

Officials from five federal agencies will visit Letcher County next week to view areas included in plans for a massive fourcounty water and sewer district. Plans call for water and sewer service throughout the lower end of Letcher County, stretching from Isom past Ulvah, to connect with systems in Perry, Knott and Floyd counties.

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The minimum wage in Kentucky has been raised effective July 1 by $2 an hour from the present $1.60 an hour. Some businesses are now paying their employees once a month. This will no longer be acceptable under Kentucky wage and hour laws. Businesses operating in Kentucky will have to pay employees no less than twice a month.

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Funeral services for John Palumbo Jr., 56, were held June 10. Born in Blackey, he served for in the Air Force and Army for 22 years. He worked in Thailand and Scotland for three years for the Philco Corp. After returning to Whitesburg, he worked as a radio technician at radio station WREM in Jenkins, and at WTCW in Whitesburg.

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“The Sentinel” is playing this weekend at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Wednesday, June 22, 1988

A Letcher County Grand Jury has found the civil defense building at Mayking nearly empty of food and equipment, the ground floor used as an office for the senior citizens coordinator, and the basement bomb shelter flooded. According to the report, the building cost $150,000 to $200,000 in 1978 and its only use to date has been as a senior citizens office. The jury “strongly recommended” that the county make additional use of the building.

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Whitesburg attorney and author Harry M. Caudill writes of the Great Depression, “The collapse of the national economy left Kentucky with a per capita income in 1922 of $198. Out of that money the average Kentuckian had to pay rent or maintain his house, pay for medical care, obtain food, buy clothing, and send his children to school. There were no Social Security system, no public assistance programs, no Aids for Dependent Children, no publicly supported medical programs, no lunch programs, and no forms of public housing.”

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Whitesburg will try again to expand its water lines to Whitco and Mayking. The city council last week approved a recommendation by Mayor James Asher to ask engineers to develop grant proposals for renovating the city water system and extending the service area.

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David Dixon of Carcassonne swept the modified division Saturday night at Mountain Motor Speedway at Isom. He won both the 10-lap heat race and the 25- lap feature.

Wednesday, June 17, 1998

Campbell’s Branch Elementary School will not reopen in the fall. Members of the Letcher County Board of Education voted 3-2 to close the school, which was expected to have only 69 pupils enrolled for the fall semester.

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Whitesburg may have a new post office by this time next year, but it probably will not be in the center of town. Whitesburg Postmaster Regina Holmes and Tim Reynolds, a postal operations supervisor from Hazard, told the Whitesburg City Council that the postal service outgrew its present quarters, built in 1937, long ago but could not obtain money for another one until now.

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Letcher County broadcaster G.C. Kincer officially became a candidate for mayor of the City of Jenkins this week. Kincer is seeking to defeat incumbent Robert “Pud” Shubert in November.

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Both Whitesburg and Fleming-Neon will open their fall football seasons in the Letcher County Pine Mountain Bowl at Gose/Chandler Field in Whitesburg.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Deborah Watts of Mallie, has been named to replace John Shook as superintendent of the Jenkins Independent School System. She will begin her fouryear contract July 1. Shook announced his retirement earlier this spring after being employed seven years as the district’s superintendent.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court has voted to enter into an agreement with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will allow the county to move forward with the Pioneer Horse Trail project on Pine Mountain. Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward said the agreement with the state agency still isn’t perfect, but he feels it is best to move on and get the project going rather than continue to negotiate.

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Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb recently arrested two juveniles who allegedly stole $1,000 worth of cigarettes from Old Style Market and Deli in Mayking, owned by Johnny Craft of Thornton. Webb said the juveniles broke a window around 3:30 a.m. on June 10 and took the cigarettes. Webb said the suspects were identified by surveillance tape.

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Army National Guard Spec. Paul R. Maggard has been mobilized and activated at Fort McCoy, Sparta, Wis., for deployment overseas to a forward operating base in Iraq. He is a combat engineer with four years of military service. He is the son of Paul R. Maggard of Hazard, and Glenna F. Perry of Whitesburg.


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