Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
‘Animal House’ turns 40 This July 27, 1978 photo shows actor John Belushi at the opening night party for “Animal House” at the Village Gate in New York City. According to the History Channel, it was on this day 40 years ago when “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities starring Belushi, opened in U.S. theaters. Produced with an estimated budget of $3 million, “Animal House” became a huge, multi-million-dollar box-office hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history with such memorable lines as “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Set at the fictional Faber College (the University of Oregon served as a standin during filming), “Animal House” centered around the disreputable Delta House fraternity, whose members enjoyed beer-soaked toga parties and crude pranks such as putting a horse in the dean’s office. “Animal House” was the first big hit for director John Landis, who went on to helm “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Trading Places” (1983) and “Coming to America “(1988). The film’s cast included a thenunknown Kevin Bacon (“Footloose,” “Mystic River”) and Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), the History Channel notes.

‘Animal House’ turns 40 This July 27, 1978 photo shows actor John Belushi at the opening night party for “Animal House” at the Village Gate in New York City. According to the History Channel, it was on this day 40 years ago when “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” a movie spoof about 1960s college fraternities starring Belushi, opened in U.S. theaters. Produced with an estimated budget of $3 million, “Animal House” became a huge, multi-million-dollar box-office hit, spawned a slew of cinematic imitations and became part of pop-culture history with such memorable lines as “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Set at the fictional Faber College (the University of Oregon served as a standin during filming), “Animal House” centered around the disreputable Delta House fraternity, whose members enjoyed beer-soaked toga parties and crude pranks such as putting a horse in the dean’s office. “Animal House” was the first big hit for director John Landis, who went on to helm “The Blues Brothers” (1980), “Trading Places” (1983) and “Coming to America “(1988). The film’s cast included a thenunknown Kevin Bacon (“Footloose,” “Mystic River”) and Karen Allen (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), the History Channel notes.

Wednesday, August 2, 1928

It’s been a busy summer for Henry Shell of Kingscreek. Shell’s neighbor, Joner Mitchell Jr., stopped by The Mountain Eagle office this morning to renew his subscription. While here, Mitchell told us that Shell so far this summer has killed 27 copperheads and two rattlesnakes, all of which he came across while out hand-digging $200 worth of ginseng.

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Isaac Fields of Letcher County is having a unique experience with the whiskers on his face. Known to many here as “Uncle Isaac,” the 68-year-old Fields noticed recently that his whiskers have been turning black after being “snow white” for many years. “The change, as yet, is not nearly complete,” The Mountain Eagle reports, “but it is very noticeable.” The Eagle explains: “Uncle Isaac is 68 years old and never was shaved but once in his life. Soon after he married he bought an old-time Wade & Butcher straight razor, manufactured in Sheffield, England, and proceeded to shave himself. The punishment was so severe to his face that he threw the razor away and said he would never shave again. He has lived up to his word.”

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Construction of the last 15.5 miles of road known as “The Mayo Trail” will begin August 31, when workers start grading work and drain installations on 10.2 miles of road along the Cumberland River in Letcher County and 5.3 miles in Harlan County. Blueprints of the plans are on display at that Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg. According to The Mountain Eagle, the roadwork will “mean a development of the best section of farming land in [Letcher] county and will give added strength to the drawing card this county has in the Pine Mountain scenic highway.”

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State officials have approved a request to extend the Jenkins-to-Whitesburg bus service all the way to Hazard. The new Jenkins-to-Whitesburg-to-Hazard bus run will be operated by White Star Transportation Company will begin August 8, with five round trips scheduled each day. Charlie Wallen owns the company.

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Four coal companies announced they week they are relocating their general offices from Lexington to Blackey. Making the move to Letcher County are Marian Coal Company, Rockhouse Coal Company, Defiance Coal Company, and Solar Coal Company. Carel Robinson, general manager of the four firms, authorized the announcement.

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D.W. Little has leased the corner of J.H. Frazier’s yard in Whitesburg and is building a modern new filling station on the corner location. According to Little, the building will be 20 feet by 14 feet of rough “Texican” brick and will include both ladies’ and men’s restrooms. The station will feature a hydraulic greasing rack and three gasoline pumps. Free air and water will be available at all times. Mr. Little will handle Standard Oil products.

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Dr. Ford has left Elsiecoal for Fleming, where he will look after the office of Dr. Skaggs while the latter is away for a two-week vacation.

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Relief work that began in Letcher County and elsewhere in eastern Kentucky after the flooding of May 30, 1927, is officially ending on August 10, 1928. No new applications for relief will be accepted after that date.

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A merger of coal reserves estimated at 50 million tons in Knott, Floyd and Pike counties was announced this week in Cincinnati. The company formed by the merger, the Utilities Elkhorn Coal Company, is valued at $4 million. The merger includes seven going operations and two undeveloped leases, all of which are located in the Elkhorn fields. The properties are mines 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Beaver Mining Company, the Rogers Elkhorn Mine, and the mine of the Furnace Mining Company.

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The heaviest crop of huckleberries in several years is drawing a large number of berry pickers to the High Rock section of Pine Mountain, where “the folks are taking advantage of the lavishness of nature.”

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The Mountain Eagle’s new motto describes the soon-to-be 22-year-old weekly newspaper as a “constructive newspaper for progressive people.”

Thursday, July 28, 1938

A prisoner being held in the Letcher County Jail on a minor charge was shot and killed during what is being called an escape attempt. John T. White, 28, was working on the road at Camp Branch with other prisoners when he was shot and killed by guard Andrew Holbrook, who has been charged in connection with the case. Holbrook, a Fleming High School teacher who has worked summers guarding prisoners working on roads, surrendered to Letcher County Sheriff Doyle Hogg immediately after the shooting. Holbrook appeared in court Friday, after which his case was referred to the Letcher County Grand Jury. Funeral services for White, of Jenkins, were held Monday morning in Pound, Virginia.

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The Nehi Beverage Company of Neon, bottlers of Nehi sodas and Royal Crown Cola, report a sales increase of 76 percent over last year. Mrs. J.B. McCauley, plant manager, also announced the plant has all new equipment, including a new bottle washer with a capacity of 90 cases an hour.

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Sylvan Taylor, 24, died July 24 of gunshot wounds he received during a “melee” involving three other men the week before. Those being held in connection with the shooting are Otis Collins, Lenville Gibson, and Ted Niece.

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Ted Nunley, 41, died Monday afternoon of injuries he suffered during a slate fall in the Consolidation Coal Company mine in McRoberts.

Thursday, July 29, 1948

George Adkins of Jenkins has filed a first-degree murder affidavit against a Columbus, Ohio man who was driving a car from which Ethel Adkins, 20, fell or jumped on July 13. The affidavit names Lawrence Cook, 21, who is being held without bond in the Columbus jail. Ohio officials say the charge is based on a seldom-used statute covering the perpetration of a slaying during a kidnapping. Police say Cook and Miss Adkins met in a west side bar and went for a ride. Miss Adkins eventually left the car but was persuaded to return by Cook. Soon thereafter she jumped from the vehicle, suffering fatal injuries as a result.

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Kentucky Governor Earle Clements declined Wednesday to issue a stay of execution in the case of Jasper Nease, 24, of McRoberts, who is scheduled to die in the state’s electric chair on Friday. Clements had been prepared to postpone the execution for 30 days to allow Nease’s wife and twin babies to visit him from Belgium. That was before Clements learned the babies had died and their mother had no plans to come to the U.S. to visit Nease. Meanwhile, the prison warden at Eddyville, W.J. Buchanan, reports that Nease has become religious since he and two other men were convicted for their roles in the robbery, kidnapping and eventual murder of Vernon Hodge, a Louisville man and World War II veteran who had picked them up while they were hitchhiking after escaping a military prison at Fort Knox. “He reads the Bible a lot,” Buchanan said of Nease. “He doesn’t have much to say, but like all doomed men he will have hopes until the last minute.”

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Kenneth Stanley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Farris Stanley, drowned Sunday in the Jenkins Lake. Stanley and several others were attempting to swim across the lake when Stanley became tired and went under. His body was recovered about an hour later. Stanley had re-enrolled as a student at Jenkins High School after serving in the Army.

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Dewey Stacy was sentenced to two years in state prison after it was proven that he stood on his porch and shot at Martin Bates and his family at Thornton.

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South-East Coal Company’s LaViers No. 2 Mine at Millstone employs 123 men who produce 1,000 tons of coal each day. The U.S. Bureau of Mines released a report this week commending the company for its many recent safety improvements.

Thursday, July 31, 1958

A friendly cup of coffee grew into plans today for a possible eastern Kentucky march on Frankfort to demand more in the way of roads and other public facilities for this area. There is even talk of setting up a new state — to be called East Kentucky — unless state officials and the rest of Kentucky do something more than pay lip service to problems here. Plans are being made for a mass meeting of Letcher County residents at the courthouse on Friday, August 8 at 8 p.m. The group that came up with the idea over coffee at the City Café included Bill Adams, Dexter Dixon, Ray Collins, Pearl Dixon, Steve Adams, Emmett Fields, Steve Caudill, Lindsey Webb, Jesse Holbrook and Harry Caudill.

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Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon entered an executive order Friday establishing a new county patrol agency. Letcher County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg cautioned that the county is nearly bankrupt and would have to pay county patrolmen salaries of at least $125 per month under state law. Dixon has so far appointed two men to the county force. In addition to the two county patrol officers, Letcher County has a sheriff and 50 deputies, two Kentucky State Police troopers, eight constables, and a dozen city police officers.

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The new Letcher Consolidated School, to be located at Jeremiah, will bea24-classroom unit in a V-shape with additional space for a library, a lunchroom and a home economics department. One side of the V will be occupied by the elementary school and the other the high school. The new Fleming-Neon High School building will be a two-story structure with and all-glass front. It will include 14 classrooms, a library and a home economics department. Bids for the two new buildings will be awarded within the next month.

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A double feature of “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” and “Blood of Dracula” will be shown at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg July 31 through August 2.

Thursday, July 25, 1968

The United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund reports that it had paid out more than $152 million to bituminous miners and their families in the year ended on June 30. The amount is the highest in the Fund’s 22-year history. The Fund is financed by a royalty of 40 cents a ton on bituminous coal produced under a UMW contract. Pension payments, about $115 a month to miners retiring after age 55, totaled nearly $97 million, and go to 69,750 former miners. Health care and hospitalization payments totaled nearly $50 million for the year. Widows’ and survivors’ benefits came to $5.1 million.

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The Kentucky Department of Revenue has notified Letcher County that it will not enforce its earlier order directing a 20-percent blanket increase in assessments of all real estate in Letcher County. The department said county officials had convinced it that blanket assessment increase is unnecessary. The order would not have increased income for the county, but would have transferred the major tax burden from the mining industry to small landowners.

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A 50-unit housing complex to be located on Solomon Road opposite the A&P Supermarket is expected to be under construction by fall. Apartments will be eligible for the federal government’s rentsupplement program, which will provide payments to make up the difference in what families can afford to pay and the market rent for the property.

Thursday, July 20, 1978

A contract for construction of the 2.2-mile Whitesburg Bypass has been awarded to S.J. Grovers & Sons Co. of Minneapolis, Minn., on a bid of $13,370,766. The new road will extend from KY 15 near the west city limits of Whitesburg to US 119.

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An official of Blue Diamond Coal Co said that a shortage of coal cars has forced the firm to lay off 10 to 12 percent of its workforce at Scotia Coal Co. and the Leatherwood Mine in Perry County, and to shorten work-weeks. Responding to rumors that Scotia plans to lay off another 180 miners, he said, “We are not planning any further layoffs in the near future that I know of; we hope it won’t be necessary.”

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Solid waste and sewage disposal is considered to be the number one problem concerning the natural resources base in Letcher County, according to participants at the Resources Conservation Act public meeting.

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Graduates of the Whitesburg High School Class of 1932 held a reunion July 1. Twenty-two graduates were present, along with several guests and one former teacher, Eunice C. Taylor.

Wednesday, July 27, 1988

At a Kentucky River Area Development District meeting, Sen. Benny Ray Bailey of Hindman said counties should begin collecting taxes on unmined minerals now and “let the state worry about what it’s going to do.” A Franklin Circuit Court ruled that the very low unmined minerals tax is an unconstitutional tax exemption earlier this year. Both the legislature and the state Revenue Cabinet have failed to move on collecting the tax, that some say would bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to local governments and school districts.

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Five former and present police officers have sued the City of Fleming-Neon for more than $36,000 in unpaid wages. In a suit filed in Letcher Circuit Court, the five claim the city has “failed and refused” to pay them for overtime work required in their jobs.

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Nearly three-fourths of the 770 Letcher County students who went to state-supported colleges last year attended three schools — Southeast and Hazard community colleges and Morehead State University.

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Maurice and Mary Emma Weakley Lewis of Whitesburg will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary August 6. Mr. Lewis is a partner in the family business, Lewis Wholesale Company. Mrs. Lewis, formerly of Shelbyville, taught high school English and history for 32 years in Letcher County before she retired in 1982.

Wednesday, July 22, 1998

Enrollment in the Letcher County school system has fallen 16 percent during the past eight years and the number of students in school each day has fallen 23 percent. The average number of students present each day dropped from 4,692.8 in the 1990-91 school year to 3,613.8 in the school year just ended. During that same period, enrollment fell by 755 students.

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Plans to create a high-tech computer services co-operative and new jobs in the wood industry will be the first focus of a group of volunteers trying to find some kind of private employment for 749 Letcher County residents who will lose their welfare payments in 2000. The volunteer effort will be known as Kentucky River Technical Works. The project calls for a small-scale co-operative with digital services to train people and then employ them to do work for firms outside the local area. Planners also hope to find ways of setting up a “secondary” wood industry, which would manufacture finished products from wood in addition to cutting raw wood.

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Loretta Sturgill caught a 35-pound, 37-inch catfish at 4-Star Village Pay Lake at Redfox. This is the largest fish she has caught. It took 25 minutes to bring the fish to the bank.

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The 21st annual Appalachian Writers Workshop will be held at Hindman Settlement School July 26-31. The first program will be an original one-woman play by Anne Shelby entitled “Lessons”. The play is based on the life and works of regional writer and AIDS activist Belinda Mason.

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