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Breaking News: Two dead at Cowan

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 1929

The two-year-old child of Mr. and Mrs. John Ratliff of Lackey in Floyd County died of poisoning Friday. The child became ill after eating polk root that was mixed in with some potatoes Mr. Ratliff plowed up.

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The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that search warrants issued on Sundays are as legal as if issued on any other day of the week.

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The Mayo Trail, passing from South Portsmouth through Ashland, Louisa, Paintsville, Prestonsburg, Pikeville, Whitesburg and Cumberland, is to be known as U.S. Federal Highway No. 23, and is already so numbered from Ashland to Prestonsburg. The entire road will be so numbered when all sections are complete.

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Another big garage is now under construction in downtown Whitesburg. The building is to be a two-story brick structure and will stand on the corner of the Herman Combs property across the railroad tracks opposite Kyva Motor Company’s plant. The building will be owned by John W. Combs, father of Herman Combs.

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The Rev. H.M. Franks, Linefork Settlement School superintendent, was in Whitesburg this week addressing civic clubs as part of an effort to raise $12,000 for a school building. The school was organized about four years ago by Laura Bridges.

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The White Star Bus Service is now making five trips per day from Hazard to Jenkins. The first bus leaves Hazard at 5 a.m. and arrives in Jenkins in time for the 8 a.m. train from Jenkins to the Big Sandy River towns.

THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 1949

Funeral services were held Monday for Lester Johnson, 32, of McRoberts, who died Saturday in Sharon Heights Hospital from injuries received during a roof fall at Consolidation Coal Company’s Mine No. 204 at McRoberts. He was the father of seven small daughters.

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Five men, including two from Letcher County, were arrested after a raid on a Cornettsville liquor store Saturday. Sam Bates and James Jackson of Letcher County, Charles Robinson of Pike County and Curtis and Gene Griffith of Cornettsville are charged with conspiring to violate federal law and with selling liquor in wholesale quantities at a retail establishment. The arrests were made after the raid on the liquor store netted 250 cases of whiskey and between 500 and 600 cases of beer. A truck belonging to Bates and driven by Jackson and Robinson was seized during the raid.

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Roy Gilley, owner of Farmers Supply Company of Whitesburg and a dealer for Ralston-Purina, will appear on WSM’s broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Saturday, April 16. Gilley will report on his calf Beautina, which has been on display for the past 10 week at Farmers Supply. Beautina comes from the Isaac Hogg farm at Roxana, and has gone from 178 pounds to 327 pounds while eating Ralston-Purina products while at Farmers Supply.

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Whitesburg’s new fire truck and firefighting equipment is scheduled to arrive here at noon Monday, after which it will be on display in front of the Bank of Whitesburg building. The International truck, equipment and 1,000 feet of firehose cost $8,500. Those contributing large amounts toward the purchase were South-East Coal Company, Kyva Motor Company, and the Lions Club, each donating $500.

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A Letcher Circuit Jury deadlocked Saturday in the manslaughter case of Jordan Niece, about 30. A retrial will be docketed for the next term of court. Niece is accused in the hit-and-run death of 13-year-old Jimmy Finchum, who was struck and killed by an automobile last October while pushing his bicycle and carrying a pumpkin intended to be carved into a Halloween jack-o’-lantern. Police say the child was eight feet off the pavement when he was hit. Niece testified in his own defense during the trial, admitting his car had been wrecked at the scene but denying the car hit young Finchum, son of lumberman Curtis Finchum.

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Funeral services were held Sunday at the Catholic Church for 67-year-old Nick Dann, who was one of the first taxi drivers in Letcher County. Dann, a garage owner, also operated filling stations at McRoberts and Payne Gap for many years.

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Mrs. Amanda Ison and her three teenaged sons were released from the Letcher County Jail on Friday, three days after they were taken into custody on suspicion of murder. The three were being held in connection with what authorities believed to be the disappearance of Mrs. Ison’s husband, Kingdom Come merchant Herman Ison. The family members were released after Letcher County Jailer John M. Adams received a telephone call from Cincinnati from Mr. Ison’s daughter and son-in-law, who said he was in another Ohio city buying merchandise. Adams did not talk to Herman Ison. The arrests came after the Ison’s youngest son said his mother and older brothers had killed Mr. Ison and buried him in a shallow grave.

Kermit Combs has been elected president of the Whitesburg Rotary Club. The new vice-president is Herman Hale. Oscar Lewis was elected secretary, while Arthur Dixon received the nod for treasurer.

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The Letcher Grocery Company of Whitesburg has purchased an advertisement in this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle listing 111 small grocery stores to which it sells goods wholesale.

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Better ventilation, better use of rock dusting and other safeguards are proposed for two Letcher County coal mines inspected recently by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The mines are B&M Coal Company’s No. 1 mine at Farraday and Sturgill Coal Company’s No. 1 mine at Kona. The B&M mine employs 14 men and produces 130 tons of coal a day. The Sturgill mine employs 15 men with an average production of 100 tons per day. The inspections were conducted in June.

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The senior class of Fleming High School will leave next week for a visit to New York City and other points of interest in the east.

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“The shop of the Messenger Florist in the Combs building is an attractive place and a beautiful accent to the passerby as he or she drives or walks into town from the East End,” writes The Mountain Eagle’s Whitesburg correspondent, Mrs. Virginia Combs. “At their opening on Wednesday they presented each visitor with a pretty flower.”

THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 1959

The Lakeside Hotel in Jenkins is being leased to Mrs. Helen Miller, who will be assisted in its operation by Mrs. Lucille Horne. The hotel is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Fitzpatrick.

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The coal strike took a new turn today as a federal judge in Lexington said he would order United Mine Workers not to interfere with coal trains during the next 10 days. U.S. District Judge H. Church Ford indicated he would grant a temporary restraining order to the L&N Railroad. The L&N brought suit against the UMW on Tuesday, asking for $450,000 in damages and $75,000 a day for each day it is unable to provide rail service to coal mines in the strikebound area.

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Fire exploded a dynamite magazine at a coal tipple at Kona, resulting in about $10,000 worth of property damage. The tipple was formerly owned by Roland Price but is now the property of Electric Machine and Supply Company. Letcher County Sheriff Johnny Fulton said that so far there is no evidence of arson or any other criminal activity that might be related to the current coal strike.

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A Letcher Circuit Court jury has found 21-year-old Rayburn Hensley not guilty of being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Conley Potter. Potter, 34, was shot and killed in August 1958 after his cousin, Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Curtis Potter, arrested Maxwell Oliver, 20, and Jeneva Burchum, 18, at Hemphill on charges of disorderly conduct. Conley Potter had been riding with his deputy cousin and was accompanying him to the county jail in Whitesburg when Deputy Potter agreed to stop by Miss Burchum’s Sergent home so she could retrieve her shoes. Police said Hensley was at the Burchum home and slipped the gun to Oliver that was used to murder Conley Potter. Oliver pleaded guilty to murder during the last term of circuit court and is now serving a life sentence.

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A 22-year-old Blackey man was charged with armed robbery after he admitted to beating and robbing an elderly Elk Creek couple. Franklin Bailey was arrested Wednesday and charged with entering the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Jones and hitting Mr. Jones with the butt of a gun and assaulting Mrs. Jones before tying them up and taking $300 in cash from them. Bailey then left the home, taking the Jones’s 11-year-old grandson with him. The couple were eventually able to get free and walk about one mile to a home with a telephone. After keeping the boy with him all night, Bailey blindfolded him and set him free on a mountain near Blackey at daylight. Police have recovered $86 of the money stolen from the Joneses.

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Jailer Robert Sexton and Deputy Jailer Jesse Holbrook were indicted by the Letcher County Grand Jury this week on a charge of malfeasance in office. In filing the charges, Letcher County Sheriff Johnny Fulton said Sexton and Holbrook neglected to “keep safe and guard the custody of a prisoner,” identified as Jimmy Hunsucker. Fulton said Sexton and Holbrook illegally allowed Hunsucker to leave the jail in order to find someone to sign his bond. Hunsucker never returned to the jail, Fulton said.

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Hemphill School Principal Columbus Sexton will deliver a radio address to parents and other citizens on Sunday on local radio stations WTCW (at 2:45 p.m.) and on WNKY (at 4:45 p.m.).

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Creighton Wright of Jenkins is named in an indictment returned this week charging him with malicious shooting and wounding in connection with an assault on his wife, Imogene, at her home two weeks ago. Mrs. Wright, who was wounded in the face, is expected to undergo plastic surgery soon.

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A clean community increases the value of individual property, builds better business, induces the tourist to stop for a visit, and is a booster for civic pride, says B.E. Boggs, sanitarian with the Letcher County Health Department.

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Cheryl Kaye Frazier, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Frazier of Whitesburg and a student at Whitesburg High School, is the district champion of a cake baking contest held in Hazard for students in Home Economics I by the Kentucky Power Company. The girls who entered the District Bake-Off all made chocolate cakes. Miss Frazier, whose teacher is Ann Dugan, was awarded a Sunbeam “mixmaster.”

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Lana Turner and Hope Lange star in “Peyton Place,” scheduled to show April 21 through April 24 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 1969

Work will begin next week on improvement of Whitesburg’s 16-acre industrial site near the west city limits. When the work is completed, the site will be about four feet above flood level and will be ready for installation of paved roads and whatever buildings and other auxiliary services a potential industry might want.

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The family of Gary Pace was informed this week that he was killed in Vietnam. Pace is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Pace of Columbus, Ind., formerly of Mayking.

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Services were held here April 8 for Pfc. Everett Tipton Culp who was killed March 27 on duty in Vietnam. Pfc. Culp was the third Letcher County soldier killed in Vietnam in as many weeks. Six Letcher Countians have reportedly died in the war since the end of February. Pfc. Culp, 20, was drafted into the army in March 1968 and had been stationed in Vietnam for less than four months. He was the son of E. W. Culp and Stacy Collier Halcomb.

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Five pages of The Mountain Eagle are filled with the names of people owing delinquent property taxes. The tax bills will be sold at public auction at the courthouse door in Whitesburg on May 1.

THURSDAY, APRIL 5, 1979

Eastern Kentucky’s deepening coal crisis drew attention of US. Rep. Carl D. Perkins who called on President Carter to take immediate action blocking any increased price for imported oil and to move the country into full-scale commercial synthetic production from coal.

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Hopes for expanding commercial airline service within Appalachia received a major setback this week when Appalachian Airlines announced it is suspending its air service between the Tri-Cities and Lonesome Pine Airports.

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State troopers are investigating the theft of one truck and damage to another owned by Universal Studios, which in Letcher County for the filming of the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Sheriff Vernon Hall said someone slashed the tires on a large truck parked near Burger Queen in Whitesburg. A second smaller truck was stolen from Whitesburg and was recovered later near Kona. The second truck had been ransacked; it contained furniture from the movie set.

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“Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” is playing for 14 days at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 1989

A landslide that narrowly missed a Jeremiah home may be “just the tip of the iceberg” said Jim Mullins, chief inspector for the state Department of Surface Mining in Letcher County. He said there are so many forgotten deep mines in eastern Kentucky that more and more slides can be expected as the mines collapse. The Jeremiah slide started when an old underground mine apparently “blew out” on Adams Branch. The resulting collapse took part of a two-acre stripmine with it and deposited the whole thing in Alan and Eva Adams’s backyard. The Adamses and state officials agree that a farm pond behind the house is the only thing that saved their home.

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Employees at Golden Oak Mining Co. of Whitesburg are undergoing company-required physical examinations and drug screenings, while miners at Blue Diamond Mining Co.’s Scotia Mine at Oven Fork are still adjusting to a new “four days on, four days off ” work week at some of its mines. Meanwhile, United Mine Workers officials are monitoring activity at two underground mining operations which had been idle since well before Bethlehem Steel Corp. sold them to Westmoreland Coal Co. nearly two years ago.

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Kentucky’s lottery ended it debut week with more than $24 million in sales. Tickets sales for the $1 Beginner’s Luck game prompted a reorder of 25 million tickets.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 1999

Kentucky State Police served a search warrant for alcoholic beverages on the Neon American Legion and served notice that they plan further investigations of Letcher County’s veterans’ clubs. Police charged one man at the Neon club with bootlegging and confiscated “a substantial amount” of beer and liquor. The raid stemmed from the club reporting a burglary. When a state trooper went there to investigate it, club members told him how much beer had been stolen, how much it was sold for, and how much profit was made from it.

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A committee planning a $12.5 million exposition center in Pikeville is seeking support from Letcher County residents. Organizers of the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center say it will be a regional center, and will hold at least 127 events a year and seat 8,000 to 10,000 people.

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An appliance buyback in March worked so well that the North Fork Clean Water Project and the Letcher County Conservation District are planning another buyback in April. The buyback took in 1,438 old refrigerators, stoves and other goods. The groups paid $5 each for the appliances.

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“Mae Hatton, Ida Hatton and Oma Hatton got together and made fried apple and raisin pies to raise money for Whitco Pentecostal Church,” writes Whitesburg correspondent Mary Majority. “They were real pleased they sold $220 worth by 12 o’clock.”

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2009

Officials with natural gas producer EQT say the company is willing to help pay for regular inspections of a water supply tank located near its drilling operations in Jenkins, but won’t pay the cost of relocating the tank. City officials and residents are concerned that drilling beside the hilltop tank might cause it to rupture and endanger the lives of those who live below. A previous water tank ruptured in July 1979 and released 300,000 gallons of water and caused the death of Dr. T.D. Perry. That rupture was caused by a weakened foundation.

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The Jenkins Independent School System is losing 13.5 full-time and part-time positions because of state budget cuts. The Jenkins Independent Board of Education learned that jobs will have to be cut at each of the three schools in the system, as well as one administrative post. The funding cuts were mandated by the Kentucky General Assembly.

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“Sara and Clarence Ison will be having their 71st anniversary soon,” writes Whitesburg columnist Oma Hatton. “He’s still putting a little garden out. He is past 90 something. Not many people his age will do that.”

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