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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, MARCH 25, 1909

This week’s front page of The Mountain Eagle is dominated by political announcements from candidates for county offices. Among the statements are those from R. Monroe Fields, of Kingscreek, who is seeking the office of county attorney; sheriff ’s candidate Samuel Collins; James S. Pendleton, who is seeking reelection to the office of Superintendent of Common Schools of Letcher County, and Robert Bryant Bentley, who is running for the office of county court clerk. Bryant, who lost both his legs after being run over by a railroad car, apologizes for not being able to visit many potential voters before the April 6 primary election. Bentley states in a “public notice” that beginning March 29, he will visit 14 locations where he “will exhibit his artificial legs so that people may actually see the real condition of the man whom N.R. Day is running against. He will give you the reason why he thinks you should vote for him.”

THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1919

This edition of The Mountain Eagle could not be located.

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 1929

Newberry Meade, the Letcher County man convicted of murdering Deputy Sheriff Patrick Bates, died from complications of pneumonia a few days ago in the Kentucky State Reformatory, less than a year into his 18-year sentence. He is buried near the head of Rockhouse.

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Uncle Chunk Craft, a Civil War veteran from Craftsville who fought for the Confederates, called The Mountain Eagle to report his loss of a very valuable cane, which he thinks he left in the A&P Food Store a few ago. Craft, 87, hopes the person who took the cane will return it to The Eagle office. He will pay a reward.

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Clark Day, Kentucky’s best-known prohibition enforcement officer, has announced his resignation, saying he is tired of the dangers that surround him in the performance of his duties.

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Martin Craft was released from the county jail Tuesday after posting a $20,000 bond. He had been held since February in connection with the death of Letcher County Deputy Sheriff W.H. Carter.

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Two new county patrolmen have been assigned to watch for violators on the state highway from Pound Gap to Garner Gap. The two are S.M. Banks and George Beverly. The Mountain Eagle says the men “are cool, quiet, law-abiding citizens and will make faithful men on the job.”

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Albert Hall, the 18-year-old son of former Roxana resident Jim Hill, is charged with murdering 35-year-old Jesse Whitaker at Cornettsville late Monday night.

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The community of Sergent is hoping for “a continuance of this taste of prosperity” it has been given since the Puritan Elkhorn Coal Company of Columbus, Ohio purchased the coal mining operations of Imperial Elkhorn Coal Company. “The entire camp is filled now and mines are running practically full-time,” writes the anonymous author of Sergent News.

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“The road from here to the main highway at Bastin [Thornton] is drying up and we will soon be able to get over it now with cars with ease,” writes the community correspondent for Sergent. “Heretofore it has been impossible to get over it with any kind of vehicle.”

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 1939

This edition of The Mountain Eagle could not be located.

THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 1949

Neon American Legion Post 104 has the most members among the Legion posts in Letcher County, with 67. The Whitesburg post has 55 members, and the Jenkins Colored post has 12 members.

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Ferdinand Moore, son of Attorney and Mrs. Harry L. Moore of Whitesburg, has filed to run for the Republican nomination to the office of state representative.

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Dr. Lee Moore, brother of Ferdinand Moore, has opened a dental office in the Letcher County Health Department building in Whitesburg.

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Teenagers Ralph Griffith and Clyde Collier are in the Letcher County Jail this week. The two were arrested in Ashland last Tuesday and charged with burglarizing Johnny Craft’s Clothing Store in Neon about 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Authorities say the boys admitted to stealing two suits, five watches, and about $50 in cash.

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Members of the Pine Mountain Coon Hunters and Game Club released twelve raccoons shipped from Florida in the Mayking area last week.

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling by Special Letcher Circuit Judge Astor Hogg. The Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling handed down January 21 by Special Letcher Circuit Judge Astor Hogg that stopped J. Mitchell Ladd’s plan to convert his garage building on North Main Street in Jenkins into a movie theater. Consolidation Coal Company and Lincoln Investment Company filed suit against Ladd on grounds his deed from Consolidation prevented him from making the change. Lincoln Investment had already purchased a lot on Main Street for the purpose of building a theater.

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Work is expected to start soon on a new movie theater in Jenkins to be owned and operated by the Huntington-Logan Theater Corporation. The 850-seat theater is expected to cost $100,000 to build.

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Sarah Bowen has purchased the Lewis Beauty Shop in Whitesburg. Lois Knox and Pauline Cole will operate it.

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Father William F. Schreder and Father Paul M. Graycar have been appointed pastor and assistant pastor at St. George Catholic Church in Jenkins.

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Georgetown College students Ed Moore, John Brown, Henry Frazier, Van Cornett and Jacqueline Combs are expected home in Letcher County this weekend for spring break.

THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 1959

Coal mine operators and the United Mine Workers of America are scheduled to meet in Frankfort on Friday with Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler, who has offered to act as mediator in the current coal strike in Letcher, Perry, and Knott counties. Among those expected to attend the meeting are Roland Price of Lexington and Whitesburg, whose tipple at Colson has been the scene of several incidents since the strike began. Meanwhile, Letcher County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg is gathering information about the strike disturbances to present to the April grand jury, which convenes in Whitesburg April 6. About 75 Kentucky State Police troopers were standing guard at Price’s tipple today (Thursday).

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The Kentucky Department of Highways has taken over maintenance of the principal streets in Whitesburg. The Whitesburg City Council signed a contract with the state Thursday night authorizing the state to maintain Kentucky 15 through Whitesburg along Bentley Avenue, Main Street, Railroad Street, and Madison Street. Also in the agreement is the alternate route via Solomon Road. Mayor Arthur T. Banks said the savings to the city will be signifi- cant.

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Jenkins Police Judge Jess Bates is entitled to a salary of $200 a month, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled. The ruling by Kentucky’s highest court reverses a judgment handed down by Letcher Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells, who had upheld the Jenkins City Council’s decision to reduce the pay for Bates to $100 per month.

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Hazard resident Edgar LeMaster has assumed ownership of the Credit Bureau of Whitesburg from Mrs. Della Ferguson. Coburn Ison, head basketball coach at Kingdom Come High School, is the credit manager.

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Whitesburg High School Principal Jack M. Burkich will deliver radio addresses concerning education on Sunday, March 29, on radio stations WTCW, Whitesburg (2:45 p.m.) and WNKY, Neon (4:45 p.m.). The talks are sponsored by the Letcher County Council for Education.

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Johnny Wayne Webb, 11, died accidentally while playing with playmates on a “low-boy” trailer on March 22. Funeral services were held at the Thornton Old Regular Baptist Church at Mayking. Burial was in the Mayking Cemetery.

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Smoked hams are on sale at the A&P Food Stores in Whitesburg and Neon for 49 cents per pound. Turkeys are on sale for Easter for 39 cents per pound. Bacon is on sale for 95 cents for a two-pound package, and bananas can be purchased for 10 cents per pound.

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Andy Griffith stars in “No Time For Sergeants,” showing March 29 through April 1 at Isaac’s Alene Theater in Whitesburg.

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Little Melody Ann Moore, daughter of Coach and Mrs. Ed Moore, celebrated her first birthday on Friday, March 20, with a party at her home. Assisting Mrs. Moore was her sister, Mrs. W.L. Stallard Jr.

THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 1969

A Mountain Eagle editorial praised east Kentucky Congressman Carl D. Perkins for his work in showing that anti-poverty programs should be expanded rather than cut back. Perkins “has become the principal spokesman in Congress for the poor and downtrodden of the whole country,” says the editorial.

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The road to the Whitesburg airport will be blacktopped this year by the Kentucky Highway Department, according to word received here. The airport road, built by the state several years ago, is nearly impassable during the freeze and thaw season.

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Marine Private First Class Danny Collins, son of Mrs. Dewey Collins of Sandlick, is serving with the First Marine Division in South Vietnam.

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Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Picklesimer were guests of honor at a reception at the home of their daughter, Judy Vermillion. The five Picklesimer children joined their parents in observance of their 50th wedding anniversary. The Picklesimers lived at Seco and Whitesburg for many years before moving to Lexington.

THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 1979

The Letcher County Board of Education voted to ask the Fiscal Court for help in repairing the Elk Creek-Carcassonne Road. A mother of a child traveling the road to school showed pictures of the damaged road, and the bus driver said the road “broke away and threw me into a ditch and broke two windows.” Seven children were on the bus but no one was injured.

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In a special, hastily called and possibly illegal meeting, the Jenkins City Council voted to increase water rates by 15 percent. Several of the 40 citizens attending the meeting asked Mayor Jesse Bates about the legality of the special meeting and questioned whether the people of Jenkins had been given sufficient notice of the meeting. If the meeting was held in violation of the law, all action taken is invalid.

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Filming of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” got underway in Blackey this week. This is Universal Studio’s second week of filming in Letcher County and scenes have already been shot in Neon and Bottom Fork. Blackey had been the scene of ferocious debate after Universal requested permission to use the town as a location for filming the life of country music singer Loretta Lynn. Some Blackey residents had objected to the film company using the town, fearing that the movie would perpetuate stereotypes of the backwoods “hillbilly.” Film company spokesman assured Blackey citizens that the film was an eastern Kentuckian’s success story and would portray the people of the area in a favorable light.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 1989

Writing about the future of east Kentucky, attorney and author Harry M. Caudill says, “The present economy is based largely on coal, retirement pensions and public assistance. In some counties the schools are the largest employer. Recent developments in the technology of mining have brought enormous reductions in labor crews. Longwall machines and continuous miners are producing floods of coal with only minimal human supervision. The laying off of coal miners is spreading dismay everywhere. And this shrinkage of mining jobs has just begun. We must face the harsh fact that coal production is at an all-time high while employment levels are miniscule and falling.”

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Letcher County is “moving in the right direction” to attract new businesses, A.V. Rash, an industrial recruiter for Kentucky Power Company, told the Letcher County Chamber of Commerce and the Letcher County Industrial Development Corporation. Rash called the Whitesburg Industrial Site a “piece of gold,” especially since it already has water and sewer lines.

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Another section of US 23 will be built in Pike County, but the Letcher County sections of the road have been taken off the construction schedule. A transportation cabinet spokesman said the 9.2-mile section from Dorton to Jenkins, which in 1987 was scheduled to be designed in 1992, is not scheduled for design at all. The 2.4-mile section of 23 from Jenkins to the Virginia state line was scheduled in 1987 to have right of way purchased and utility poles moved last year, but that was never done and it is no longer scheduled.

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The 14th Region champion Fleming- Neon Lady Pirates advanced to the state after defeating Whitesburg 29-28.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 1999

The Letcher Fiscal Court has stopped the condemnation of property beside the Whitesburg bypass and has authorized Judge/Executive Carroll Smith to make a final offer of $345,000 for the 11-acre tract. Smith made the offer to the Willie Lucas heirs last week, and the family has decided not to accept the offer. The fiscal court hopes to acquire the Lucas property and two smaller adjacent tracts for use as a Little League baseball complex.

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Tampa Electric Co. officials will meet with Dunham and McRoberts residents this week to listen to complaints about blasting on the company’s strip mines. The residents say the blasting has damaged foundations, roofs, and walls. The residents also say their water has turned red after the blasting.

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Whitesburg city officials have begun steps to sell the Whitesburg Municipal Airport.

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“The Other Sister” and “The Rage: Carrie 2” are playing at Whitesburg Cinema this week.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2009

A group of Letcher County Central High School chemistry students and their teacher, Regina Donour, are recommending that the North Fork of the Kentucky River, whose headwaters lie in Letcher County, be abandoned as a source of public drinking water. They attended a Letcher Fiscal Court meeting to talk about the results of river water tests they say indicate serious problems with the current water supply. Donour pointed to the high incidence of cancer in the county and said that as a cancer survivor she is very concerned about the quality of the water.

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A proposal to use three days of spring vacation to make up for some of the days missed because of bad weather and other problems has been defeated by the Letcher County Board of Education. Students so far have missed 17 days of classes because of bad weather and three days because of a non-consumption water advisory in November when petroleum was found leaking into the Whitesburg water system. If schools aren’t forced to close again and the state doesn’t grant any calamity days, classes will be in session until June 9. May 28 was the original closing day.

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Letcher Fiscal Court is moving forward with plans to build a county recreation center in downtown Whitesburg. The court met in special session last week to approve the application for a $5 million loan through the Kentucky Association of Counties to fund the project planned for the old A&P grocery building next to Dairy Queen. If awarded, the grant would have a cap of $7 million.

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