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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
History.com reports that on November 21, 1980, 350 million people around the world tuned in to television’s popular primetime drama “Dallas” on CBS to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the seasonending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television’s most famous cliffhangers. The plot twist inspired widespread media coverage and left America wondering “Who shot J.R.?” for the next eight months. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, as the culprit. In photo above actress Mary Crosby poses jokingly with a gun during a party in Los Angeles, also on November 21, 1980. (AP Photo)

History.com reports that on November 21, 1980, 350 million people around the world tuned in to television’s popular primetime drama “Dallas” on CBS to find out who shot J.R. Ewing, the character fans loved to hate. J.R. had been shot on the seasonending episode the previous March 21, which now stands as one of television’s most famous cliffhangers. The plot twist inspired widespread media coverage and left America wondering “Who shot J.R.?” for the next eight months. The November 21 episode solved the mystery, identifying Kristin Shepard, J.R.’s wife’s sister and his former mistress, as the culprit. In photo above actress Mary Crosby poses jokingly with a gun during a party in Los Angeles, also on November 21, 1980. (AP Photo)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1909

On Blair Branch of Rockhouse Creek last Sunday, Isaac Banks was shot and seriously wounded by Sam Blair. Blair used a shotgun, and the blast hit Banks’s leg, about halfway between the knee and ankle. Doctors say the injury was so severe the leg had to be amputated. Banks is a stepson of Blair’s brother. Blair surrendered to authorities after the shooting.

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The allegation that reading “dime novels” is what caused a Kentucky boy to murder a bank teller while trying to commit a daring bank robbery in New Albany, Indiana is causing alarm to some Letcher County residents, including Mountain Eagle editor and publisher N.M. Webb. Last Thursday, in broad daylight, young Tom Hoal armed himself with five revolvers and forced a chauffeur to drive him from Louisville across the Ohio River to New Albany, where Hoal walked into a bank and shot and killed cashier Gary Fawcett and critically wounded bank president J.K. Woodward. Hoal said he had planned to rob the bank and had arranged to have himself shipped to Knoxville, Tennessee in a large dry goods box afterward. He told authorities he got the idea from reading about such daredevil escapades by reading dime novels. “The books over which children bend their mental energies will be lastingly impressed and become a part of themselves when grown,” editor Webb observes. “A novel like those written by Mrs. Southworth, Mattie D. Britts, Miss Clay, William Black and many others is as dangerous as fire carried in the pocket.”

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Two cows and at least 500 pounds of flour were awarded as prizes at a shooting match at J.F. Stamper’s store in the community of Banks.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1929

Jenkins High win its first football game of the current season, trouncing Fleming High to the tune of 40 to 0, writes sports reporter Swede Johnson. Saturday was the first game of the season in which the Jenkins boys have been able to score, Johnson writes, adding, “With this victory tucked away, I think it will give the (Jenkins) boys a little more confidence and they will win the next two starts, which are against Pikeville and Van Lear.”

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A young man identified only as “Mr. Sexton” was shot at Hemphill yesterday and is expected to die. Charged in the shooting is young Marcus Collier. The two are said to have been having trouble over a woman.

. The streets of Neon were again flooded after heavy rainfall on Saturday.

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James Caudill, police judge-elect of Neon, with his wife and little daughter, Pauline, are on an extended visit to relatives and friends in Prestonsburg.

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Students at the Bowens School at Camp Branch are progressing nicely and looking forward to a spelling and arithmetic match with Colson next Friday.

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Roads in Blackey are in poor condition after rains fell on the community for eight straight days.

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The Day Coal Mining Company of Smoot Creek has filed for bankruptcy protection. All of the company’s equipment, buildings and coal leases will be sold to the highest bidder at public auction in front of the Letcher County on December 2. The company formerly operated under the names Amburgey Coal Company and Letcher Coal Mining Company.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1949

A marching band has been organized at Fleming-Neon High School. The director is Gilmer Thomas Slusser, who started his career 21 years ago in Roanoke, Virginia. He comes to Fleming- Neon from Worwick, Virginia, where he directed a 114-piece band that was sent to represent the state of Virginia at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The new Fleming-Neon band began practicing on November 21.

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The Louisville and Nashville Railroad has filed application with the Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington, D.C., seeking permission to abandon part of its main line at McRoberts, approximately 1.63 miles in length.

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As The Mountain Eagle went to press this week, no developments were reported in the L&N Depot robbery case. The depot, located in Whitesburg, was entered last Wednesday night by three armed men who tied up Joe Eversole, the night operator, and took $24 in cash from the registers and left with a U.S. Mail pouch.

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Pigman Grocery, located in the Collins- Harvie Addition of Whitesburg on U.S. Highway 119, was burglarized last Thursday night. An estimated $50 to $60 worth of groceries were taken after thieves pried out a window, apparently with a wrecking bar, and entered the business owned by Jasper Pigman. The burglary occurred the night after three men robbed the L&N Depot in Whitesburg. According the Pigman, stolen were 16 to 18 pounds of coffee, the same amount of lard, two sacks of flour, two sacks of meal, some eggs, and some canned goods.

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Letcher County tobacco growers will vote Saturday on a referendum to determine whether they want burley-marketing quotas continued after 1949.

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Four Whitesburg boxers will journey to Louisville this week for amateur bouts in the Armory on Friday night. The amateur fighters from the county who will make the trip are Jack Banks (145 pounds), Don Morton (107 pounds), Junior Ray Adams (120 pounds), and Jack Fairchild (137 pounds).

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Lt. Commander Archie Reid Fields of Whitesburg is believed to be the first person from eastern Kentucky to play in a major motion picture. Fields, a brother to Whitesburg attorney Emmett Fields, has a part in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Slattery’s Hurricane,” which stars Linda Darnell, Veronica Lake, and Richard Widmark. Fields appears several times in the movie and has speaking lines. The movie will show at Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg November 29-30.

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A fire in the furnace room of the Whitesburg Grade School was extinguished Tuesday morning before it could cause much damage. The blaze started in a pile of wood and coal that was left next to the furnace. Whitesburg Fire Chief Remious Day praised Professor Millard Tolliver for his quick evacuation of all the children who were in class when the fire was discovered.

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Consolidation Coal Company mining engineer Dave Zegeer will be the featured speaker at this month’s meeting of the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Mining Institute, which will be held November 25 in Pikeville. Zegeer’s topic will be “Sinking a Shaft by Core Drilling.” Consol was recently confronted by a ventilation problem that was successfully solved by core drilling a four-foot shaft.

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Seven sets of twins are enrolled this year at Stuart Robinson School at Blackey. The eighth grade has three sets of twins, the third and sixth grades have one set each, the high school freshman class has one set of twins, and a set of twins are spit between the fourth and fifth grades.

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Shirley Temple and Barry Fitzgerald star in “The Story of Seabiscuit,” showing Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg November 27-28.

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Humphrey Bogart stars in “Sahara,” a movie that will show November 27-28 at the Elinda Ann Drive-In Theater in Whitesburg.

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Showing November 25-26 at the Haymond Theatre at Cromona is “Sergeant York,” starring Gary Cooper and Joan Leslie.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1959

A 20-foot pine tree has been transplanted to the lawn of the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg. The tree was planted on the farm of Byron Hunsucker near Sergent in the Spring of 1952. It is expected to grow an additional two and half feet taller by Thanksgiving 1960.

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Sixty-one forest fires burned 1,348 acres of Letcher County’s woodland last year, Forest Ranger Joe Boggs announced this week.

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Funeral services were held November 21 in Neon for Bobby Gene Wells, 25, who was killed in a mining accident in McRoberts on November 18. Wells pronounced dead at Sharon Heights Hospital in Jenkins as a result of the injuries he suffered in the accident at Bethlehem Steel’s Mine 21.

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The Bluefield School at Ulvah is warmer now that a new heating stove has been installed.

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Thursday’s lunch menu at Whitesburg Grade School and Whitesburg High School includes pinto beans, chilled tomatoes, mixed greens, cornbread, yellow cake with chocolate icing, and milk.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1969

Bethlehem Steel Corp. was permitted this week to resume full-scale strip mining at Millstone. State Reclamation Director Elmore Grim withdrew his order of a week ago which had suspended stripping because state law was being ignored. Grim also disclosed he has given Bethlehem permission to strip an additional 40 acres on Millstone Creek.

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Some students at Whitesburg High School observed the moratorium against the war in Vietnam on Friday, but the observation was without incident. Many students wore buttons bearing a dove as a symbol of peace. The buttons were distributed by members of the youth group of Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church.

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Tandy Industries, Inc., of Tulsa, Okla., has notified the executive committee of the Kentucky River Development District that it plans to go ahead with construction of a housing prefabrication factory at Goose Creek.

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Master Sergeant Emmit M. Higgs, son of Mrs. Faye C. Higgins of Cromona, received his second Army Commendation Medal recently. The award was for meritorious service during his last assignment in Vietnam with Advisory Team 87. He holds two awards of the Bronze Star Medal, three awards of the Air Medal, and the Combat Medical Badge.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 15, 1979

Representatives of the state highway department and the construction firm building the Whitesburg by-pass met with Letcher County Superintendent of Schools Jack Burkich to assess damage to the old Whitesburg High School building believed to have been caused by blasting connected with the road construction. The meeting was closed to reporters. School board architect John Threadgill recommended the building be permanently abandoned and razed.

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On Nov. 30, Letcher Fiscal Court will vote for the second time on a flood prevention ordinance in order to apply for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The county must participate in NFIP in order to be considered for a $3 million comprehensive grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a water and sewer project in the Fleming-Neon area. Mayking resident Willard Gilliam urged attendance at the next fiscal court meeting to stop the court from passing the ordinance.

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The Whitesburg Lady Yellowjackets played their first game of the season at home and destroyed the Jackson Lady Tigers, 82-18. The Lady ’Jackets have a new coach this year, John High.

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“Congratulations to Hassie Breeding, the Eagle’s Jeremiah correspondent, and Curtis Helton, who were married over the weekend in Clintwood, Va.,” writes Blair Branch correspondent Callie Blair.

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1989

The Letcher County Board of Education has approved an “assertive discipline” plan for seven county schools, that proponents say will do away with suspensions and corporal punishment. The assertive discipline program provides different punishments ranging from having students’ names written on the blackboard to afterschool detention. After they go through the entire list of punishments, they will required to spend time in Saturday school.

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State Rep. Paul Mason has invited the governor and the state transportation secretary to Letcher County to ride a school bus across Pine Mountain. In letters written to Gov. Wallace Wilkinson and Secretary Milo Bryant, Mason said he would like to give them “a better understanding of the … concern for the safety of our children.” The General Assembly’s Joint Interim Transportation Committee passed a resolution asking Wilkinson to place U.S. 119, which crosses the mountain, back into the state’s six-year roadbuilding plan after a group of Letcher County residents testified to the condition of the road. Many of the people testifying referred to the dangers facing school buses using the road.

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The Hemphill Elementary School Lady Hornets won the Letcher County Elementary Girls’ Basketball Tournament by defeating Martha Jane Potter 44-22.

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Former Letcher County physician Dr. Mary Anne Woodring, 58, last month completed the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, swimming 24 miles, running 26.2 miles and cycling 112 miles in 13 hours and 1 minute.

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 17, 1999

Interstate 66 would cut a swath through the middle of Knott County and would bypass Letcher County entirely, according to a state Department of Transportation routing proposal. The route is considerably different than that officials have indicated in the past. County Judge/ Executive Carroll Smith said he wasn’t surprised by the proposed route. “A lot of roads have gone around Letcher County in the past. It’s nothing new for us,” Smith said. “We’ve been 30 years trying to get a safe road across Pine Mountain and we can’t even get an existing road upgraded for safety reasons.”

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The Whitesburg City Council on November 9 approved the first reading of an ordinance that will raise the rates for everyone who uses more than 4,000 gallons of water a month or disposes of more than 2,000 gallons of sewage. The city needs about $51,000 a month to pay for the two services but existing rates are bringing in only $40,000. The cost for above 4,000 gallons a month will increase to $6 per 1,000 gallons for water and $4.60 per 1,000 gallons for sewage.

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The City of Whitesburg will attempt to sell its old city hall building, despite the fact that no one has been able to find a deed for the property. The city will have to rely on a quitclaim to sell the property. The city built the building in 1948-49 and occupied it from 1949 to 1992.

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Louise and Carnealous Bates, of Roxana, will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on November 18. The couple have six children, 18 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.

WEDNESDAY

NOVEMBER 18, 2009

The Letcher County Fiscal Court received a request from Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital for an additional $100,000 in coal severance funding for construction costs in a facilities renovation, however Judge/Executive Jim Ward told WARH Administrator Dena Sparkman that the funds she sought were in danger of being taken to balance the state budget. Ward said the state has proposed to take an additional six percent from severance taxes. He said coal revenues are down for the year and the state has already taken a significant portion of severance funds.

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Kenny Lewis, 32, was arrested Friday and charged with demanding money from Family Dollar Store in Jenkins less than 10 minutes after the crime was reported to police. Jenkins Police Office Jim Stephens said he was notified at 12:20 p.m. on Nov. 13 that money was taken from the store by a man armed with a utility knife. Stephens said when he heard the employees’ description of the man he knew who it was because he had conducted a “field interview” with Lewis just a few hours earlier.

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Gov. Steve Beshear has designated November as Coal Appreciation Month. His proclamation says, “the coal industry brought over $3.5 billion into Kentucky from out of state during 2006 through coal sales to customers in 30 other states and four foreign countries. Kentucky coal companies paid $221.42 million in coal severance taxes in Fiscal Year 2006-07.”

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