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The Way We Were

News about D-Day hits home The June 8, 1944 edition of The Mountain Eagle carried the news about the invasion of the peninsula of Normandy in northern France. The invasion by the Allied forces, under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, became known as D-Day. This week marks the 75th anniversary of the World War II event that affected the lives of several Letcher County soldiers. More information appears elsewhere in this edition.

News about D-Day hits home The June 8, 1944 edition of The Mountain Eagle carried the news about the invasion of the peninsula of Normandy in northern France. The invasion by the Allied forces, under the command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, became known as D-Day. This week marks the 75th anniversary of the World War II event that affected the lives of several Letcher County soldiers. More information appears elsewhere in this edition.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 1929

Herman Cox, 42, was killed yesterday in a motor accident near the mouth of a Carbon Glow coal mine. He leaves behind his five and five children.

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The Mountain Eagle comes each week, bringing its message of hope and comfort,” a Craftsville who goes by the initials P.C. writes. “If it should fail to come there would be a void that could not be filled.”

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Dr. Ed Crawford, a recent graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is opening a practice in Whitesburg. He is a son of former Letcher County Sheriff C.C. Crawford.

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The Mountain Eagle, in a front-page commentary, is calling on the City of Whitesburg to help bring news business to the county to take advantage of the new Great Appalachian Highway that is scheduled for construction. “If the business people of Whitesburg and Letcher County loiter on the job, the advantages that we ought to reap will pass on to somewhere else. The time is now, not tomorrow.”

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Persons interested in knowing the size of paper money to be circulated after July 10 to take the place of all other paper money bills can see samples at the First National Bank.

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Six models of Buick Motor Company’s new Marquette automobile are now on sale at Kyva Motor Company in Whitesburg and Millstone for prices ranging from $965 to $1035.

THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 1949

Letcher County’s first drive-in movie, the Elinda Ann Theatre, will celebrate its grand opening in Whitesburg on June 15. Showing as the drive-in’s first movie is “Black Gold,” starring Anthony Quinn and Katharine DeMille. Admission is 49 cents for adults in cars. Children under 12 are admitted free. The drive-in also offers a “seat-in” section, where admission is 40 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. The theatre, which holds 300 cars and “in-seats” for an additional 360 persons, is owned by Dr. B.F. Wright, who invested $100,000 in the project. [The drive-in was located on the lot now occupied by the Letcher County Recreation Center.]

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The Elkhorn Coal Company is recommending that one of its miners be awarded the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Award for the bravery he showed while preventing a serious accident at the Kona Mine on May 12. A letter from Elkhorn Coal says that after a “man trip” caught fire, the motorman fell off the motor that was pushing 23 miners riding the trip. Ellis Bowman, 53, crawled over two cars and stopped the motor before it crashed into another trip of loaded cars that had stopped at the foot of the grade. “Had Bowman not acted so courageously, the best we could have hoped for was some serious injuries, and possibly some fatalities,” Elkhorn Coal Superintendent V.C.O. Gabany writes in his letter to the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association. The company rewarded Bowman with a check for $25.

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Russian authorities have released a Letcher County soldier involved in a Berlin street quarrel that resulted in the death of a Russian civilian. Private Milker Walkov, son of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Walker of McRoberts, was with Private Thomas Lee of New York and two other soldiers when Lee was wounded in the fight in the Soviet sector of Berlin Sunday night.

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Hennie Bates bought the 300 Club, Pearl Combs purchased The Grill, and Bill Hall bought the Hen Day residence during a land auction Saturday at Pine Mountain Junction near Whitesburg. A total of $23,751 was paid for the three properties, which are located at the junction of US 119 and KY 15.

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Three men were being held by authorities Monday in connection with the burglary of $150 in cash from the Haymond Post Office. A fourth suspect is being sought. The names are being withheld pending further action.

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Glenn Ford stars in “The Undercover Man,” showing Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

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“The new tipple being erected here is progressing nicely,” writes Deane correspondent Vivian Bentley. “The Consolidation Coal Company has three mine openings and good prospects for lots of work.”

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More than 1,000 Consolidation Coal Company workers were back on the job Monday after Sunday’s settlement of a strike that began Friday when three men were laid off from a loading crew at Mine 204. The work stoppage shut down the central preparation plant at Dunham, causing Mines 204 and 207 to close as well. C.C. Conley, chairman of a UMW committee, said the company offered Saturday night to give other work to the three men who were laid off. The union accepted the offer Sunday. The men were laid off after the company installed a new type of loading machine.

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Funeral services were held Thursday for AD2 Wayne Crase, 23, who was killed in an automobile accident May 21 in California, where he was stationed with the U.S. Navy. He was a son of Ira Crase of Kingscreek.

THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 1959

Two coal firms hit by the eastern Kentucky coal strike filed a joint $6.6 million damage suit this week against the United Mine Workers of America. The widow of James O. Adams, shot to death in the strike that began March 9, also brought suit against the UMWA for $200,000. Ashlo Coal Company and Sun Fire Coal, both of Perry County, are the two companies filing the claims. Adams was killed April 16 while delivering coal to a non-union coal-loading ramp in Letcher County.

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Carol Brown, 19, will represent the Whitesburg Jaycees in the Miss Kentucky Pageant in Lexington on June 13. She was chosen from a field of 14 contestants for the title of Miss Letcher County.

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The Mountain Eagle won first place in the Community Service Division of the Kentucky Press Association’s 1958- 59 Newspaper Production Contest. The award was presented to the paper for its activities in calling attention of Letcher County residents to fire hazards and other poor conditions in public schools, encouraging the Whitesburg City Council to adopt planning and zoning laws so the city could take advantage of federal and state aid programs, and encouraging Letcher Fiscal Court to purchase voting machines for use in the county.

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Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Charlton Heston and Burl Ives star in “The Big Country,” showing June 14-17 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 1969

Beth-Elkhorn Corporation expects to launch a major new surface mining operation in Letcher County within the next few weeks. The project will involve timbering more than a thousand acres of heavily wooded terrain, much of it owned by Beth-Elkhorn, and is expected to yield 7,000,000 tons of coal from three seams, according to Beth-Elkhorn division superintendent David A. Zegeer.

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The announcement a week ago by Joseph A. Yablonski that he will fight Tony Boyle for the presidency of the UMW seems almost certain to stir up all kinds of sound and fury in the union between now and December, when the election is scheduled to held.

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“Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Hensley went with their son, Harold Hensley, to Bristol, Tennessee to catch a plane to California,” writes Sandlick correspondent Daisy Halcomb. “He is on his way to Vietnam. May God go with him all the way.”

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The Fleming-Neon Grade School had a very successful basketball team this year, winning 15 games, to 9 losses. The team, coached by Harold Vance and Bill Lewis, won four trophies and was winner of second place in the Letcher County Tournament.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 1979

The Millstone landfill was opened Wednesday, just minutes after Al Howell of the Kentucky Department of Local Government gave Letcher County Judge/ Executive Robert Collins the go-ahead to borrow $16,850 to make a partial payment to the Kentucky River Garbage and Refuse Disposal District. The district closed the landfill Friday, after threatening the county since March because of nonpayment of nearly $37,000 the county owes in past due garbage fees.

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The Scotia widows’ $60 million federal lawsuit against Blue Diamond Coal Co. has been assigned a June 25 hearing on all pending motions in Catlettsburg U.S. District Court. The motions include a move by the widows to transfer the suit back to the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northern Division district court. A federal grand jury is currently investigating alleged criminal violations by Blue Diamond in relation to two March, 1976 explosions which killed 26 men at the Scotia Mine in Letcher County.

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Letcher County joined the rest of Kentucky in giving an overwhelming margin to John Y. Brown Jr. for the Democratic nomination for governor in Tuesday’s primary.

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Lily Tomlin and John Travolta star in “Moment by Moment” which will be shown at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 1989

Big Elk Creek Mining, a Letcher County coal company, has been charged with violating the National Labor Relations Act in dealing with its employees’ attempts to unionize. Seven employees have filed complaints against the firm claiming their employers tried to stop them from talking with other workers about organizing a labor union. Based on employee complaints and an investigation, the labor relations board issued its own complaint against the company, charging that it laid off and transferred workers because of their connections with the United Mine Workers of America.

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Authorities say rumors concerning the discovery of a headless body in Fleming- Neon are just that — rumors. Reports began circulating Sunday that a decapitated male body had been found behind a service station inside the Fleming-Neon city limits. “From what we can find out it’s just a bunch of bull,” said Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputy Ed Roland.

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Performers at the third annual Seedtime on the Cumberland arts festival at Appalshop included musicians Nimrod Workman, Hazel Dickens and Wade Mainer and storyteller Ray Hicks.

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In the midst of reunion season, nine upcoming family reunions and a community reunion are listed in this week’s issue of The Mountain Eagle.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, 1999

The state Cabinet for Health Services has approved a plan by the Neon Volunteer Fire Department to teach the first-ever paramedic class in Letcher County. County ambulance services have had paramedics for only two years. Before that, ambulances were staffed by emergency medical technicians, who have a lower level of training.

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Design work on the proposed Red Fox golf course could begin by mid-September. Letcher, Knott and Perry counties have voted to draw down their coal severance tax money that was promised to the project, and that money will be combined with state money already in place. Including money from the Transportation Cabinet earmarked for roads, $12.5 million is available for the project.

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Letcher County had a rising unemployment rate between March and April. Letcher County had a jobless rate of 7.4 percent for April — up nearly half a percent since March and since April of 1998.

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Judge/Executive Carroll Smith said that he expects the 22 road and bridge department workers and two recycling center workers laid off in April because of a lack of money to pay them will be called back to work June 7.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2009

The Letcher County Board of Education is speeding up the process of selling one of the old Whitesburg High School buildings. The board met to approve the transfer of a portion of the old high school from the Letcher County School District Finance Corporation to the school board itself after it was discovered that a portion of the WHS property is still deeded to the Finance Corporation. The issue has to be resolved before the board can sell the property.

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Letcher County’s unemployment rate has risen slightly, but remains the lowest in the eight-county Kentucky River Area Development District. The county’s jobless rate was 9.4 percent in April, up from 9.1 percent in March.

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Letcher County resident Willa Johnson is part of a U.S. delegation visiting the coalfields of Colombia, South America this week. “I am looking forward to this trip and the learning experience of what coal is like outside of my region and how large the industry is on a global scale,” said Johnson of McRoberts. “We will be traveling to rural parts of Colombia to the coal mining regions … see the connections between the Colombian coalfields and the coalfields here in my community.”

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“Turkey season is gone, and a record number of longbeards were killed by Kentucky hunters this year,” writes Struttin’ Time columnist Steve Brewer. “A record total of 29,006 turkeys were reported.”

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