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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
Fifty-six years ago this week, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time arriving in New York City on Feb. 7, 1964. Pictured on that windswept day as they stepped down from the plane that brought them from London to Kennedy airport are, left to right, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (AP Photo)

Fifty-six years ago this week, the Beatles arrived in the United States for the first time arriving in New York City on Feb. 7, 1964. Pictured on that windswept day as they stepped down from the plane that brought them from London to Kennedy airport are, left to right, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison (AP Photo)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1940

Members of the Letcher Fiscal Court are threatening to arrest “a number of lewd or undesirable women [who] have a habit of making the courthouse their loafing place.” The arrest threat comes after a committee of two magistrates appointed by the court — Joe I. Day and Frank M. Haynes — reported on their inspections of the county jail and the courthouse. Day and Haynes say that if the loafing by the undesirables isn’t stopped “a number of arrests will be made at an early date.” The two squires add: “We want the courthouse and its surroundings to be such that clean decent women and children will not be ashamed to come around.”

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After spending two months with his parents and relatives in Letcher County, James C. Banks is re-enlisting in the U.S. Army. On December 4, 1939, Banks was discharged honorably from the First Mechanized Calvary with the rank of private first class, but re-enlisted on February 1 with a specialist rating of fifth class, an increase in pay, and is now in position for further advancement. The First Cavalry of which Private Banks is a member was organized in March 1833, and for 100 years the regiment was mounted on horses. In 1933 the regiment became the Army’s first to be fully mechanized.

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Residents of Pound, Virginia have organized to establish and operate their own telephone system. Pound residents will have long-distance options of Jenkins, Kentucky and Clintwood, Virginia, with the possibility that Norton, Virginia will also be included on the circuit.

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The Kiwanis Club of Letcher County has erected a beautiful bright sign welcoming all to the City of Jenkins.

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The freighter City of Flint is back in America after three months of “wartime adventure.” The ship was seized south of Greenland by the German battleship Deutschland on October 9, 1939, six days after the Flint left New York for Liverpool, England. On November 3, 1939, the City of Flint was seized from the Germans by Norway after entering the neutral waters of a Norwegian harbor. It finally reached U.S. waters again on January 27.

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Construction of the Cowan Road, which will connect Whitesburg and Linefork, has been approved by the Letcher Fiscal Court and is now under the state’s rural highway program.

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The Mountain Eagle is carrying a story featuring the following text of a telegram sent from Washington by U.S. Rep. A.J. May to the Letcher County Fish and Game Club: “War Department advises that final orders for complete survey looking to construction of Cumberland River Flood Control Project has been signed by the Chief of Engineers directing that work proceed. Congratulations to your community.” In reaction to Rep. May’s notice, The Eagle writes that “it looks as though Mr. May has really accomplished great work for the people of Letcher and Harlan counties in his untiring efforts to build this great Dam [on the Cumberland River in Letcher County for] our community. … The scenic beauty of our mountains together with the awe-inspiring lake filled with clear, rippling waters from the drainage of the Big Black and Pine Mountains would perpetuate a steady flow of tourists from all parts of the country, filling our hotels, camps and tourist homes to a maximum capacity. If our Congressman is successful … he will be remembered as the man who made possible the greatest development ever accomplished in Letcher County and in eastern Kentucky.”

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Seventeen Letcher County students are enrolled at Pikeville College for the current spring semester.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1950

The recount in the November 1949 election for Letcher County Clerk has ended with Democrat Charlie Wright being declared the winner over Republican Troy W. Frazier. Wright, who at first was believed to have lost the race by 59 votes, was declared a 42-vote winner Friday by Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Ward. Frazier says he will appeal Judge Ward’s ruling to the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

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Funeral services were held this week for 68-year-old Proko Jurick, who was the victim of a hit-and-run driver on the streets of Whitesburg on Sunday. Mr. Jurick, who was nearly blind, was hit about 4 p.m. Sunday in front of the Kentucky Hotel at the intersection of Main and Railroad streets. He died Sunday night at the Fleming Hospital. Arrested about three hours after the accident were James Reed, driver of the car that hit Jurick, and Reed’s uncle, Hargis Reed, who is wanted in Morehead for jail breaking. Funeral services for Jurick were held in Whitesburg on Wednesday. Burial was at Sandlick.

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A Letcher County man is being held under a $10,000 cash bond after being returned to Whitesburg from Dayton, Ohio to answer charges filed in connection with the December 27, 1939 robbery of the C.B. Caudill Store at Blackey. Homer Caudill, who was arrested in Dayton early last week, is accused of helping two other men tie up proprietor C.B. Caudill and rob his store $800 cash and merchandise.

Sheriff Hassel Stamper has started his promised drive to get crime out of Letcher County. In raids during the past week, Sheriff Stamper found two illegal punch boards and half-pints of red liquor for sale at Ossie Johnson’s store at Mayking; 41 half-pints of liquor, one case of beer and 15 individual cans of beer at Pearl Combs’s grill at Pine Mountain Junction; and illegal liquor and an automatic shotgun at George Tolliver’s place at Neon Junction. Stamper and his deputies also raided a moonshining operation on Bull Creek, but the still had been taken away just before they got there.

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The Whiskered Wizards, a basketball team that features beard-wearing players including two formerly with the University of Kentucky, will be in Whitesburg in February 8 to play the Whitesburg Comets. Former UK forward Jack Garrett and former UK All-American Jack Parkinson, play for the Wizards.

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The Belcraft Mine of the Sandlick Coal Company now employs 78 men who average producing 450 tons of coal daily, according to the U.S. Bureau of Mines.

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The U.S. Bureau of Mines reports that Jeanne Francis Coal Company’s Marion Mine near Letcher employs 55 men who produce an average of 260 tons of coal daily.

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A new drug store will open soon in Neon. It will be owned and operated by Dr. Sam Quillen and Cossie Quillen.

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Goodwin’s Department Store in Whitesburg has been purchased by Dawahare’s Department Stores.

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Captain John Verdell Back, formerly of Whitesburg and now stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been selected for highly specialized training in the first fighter gunnery school. The new class is comprised of only 11 Air Force veteran combat fighter pilots. They will receive extensive training in aerial gunnery at high and medium altitudes, rocketry, and dive and skip bombing.

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United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis will not be required to retire when he turns 70 on February 12, the union announced this week.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1960

Letcher Circuit Judge Courtney Wells ruled this week that Whitesburg may annex a three-mile strip of territory from the mouth of Sandlick to Pine Mountain Junction. The annexation, which was approved in 1958, will nearly double the present size of Whitesburg and will leave the way open for Whitesburg to become a fourth class city, which would allow it to authorize legal alcohol sales even the rest of the county would remain dry.

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Raynor Mullins, the hot shooting junior for the Jenkins Cavaliers, racked up 40 points to shatter the Jenkins Field House scoring record previously held by Dunham High School’s Ousley and Curtis Slone, who were tied with 36 points each.

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Jenkins city government remains in turmoil as a Democratic slate of the city council led by Police Judge Jesse Bates battles with the two-member independent slate of Mayor William Terrill and Councilman Ted Bumgardner. The two sides are now battling over the selection of a new council member to replace George W. Chiffin, who resigned after disagreeing with his Democratic running mates.

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State Rep. Harry M. Caudill is co-sponsoring a bill to set up a state monopoly on package liquor sales. Caudill says his measure would add $35- to $40-million per year to Kentucky’s income. The bill would not affect places selling liquor by the drink and would exempt beer and other malt beverages.

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Speaking on behalf of the Letcher County Bar Association, attorney F. Byrd Hogg says that setting up a separate circuit court for Letcher County will not cost county taxpayers any more money, but will result in a savings.

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Eighty-seven of Kentucky’s 120 counties are now in dry, or local option, territory. More than 58 percent of Kentucky’s estimated population of 2,944,806 persons live in legally dry territory, according to a new report on local option facts.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 5, 1970

A pioneer log house will be moved from its site near Cody, because that site lies directly in the path of the Carr Fork reservoir now under construction. The house, known as “the old Johnson place,” was built by Thomas Johnson around 1786. According to historian Harry Caudill, it is believed to be the oldest house in the mountains. The house will be moved to a location on Hwy. 160, about three-fourths of a mile from its present site, and will be developed for a museum.

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The Farmers Home Administration gave formal approval to use of a half-million dollars to finance construction of a Letcher County factory to prefabricate housing. A bit of surveying work remains before contracts can be signed formally. The FHA is insisting on an absolutely clear title to the factory site, upon which Bethlehem Steel owns the mineral rights. Bethlehem has agreed to release its mineral rights, but the tract will have to be engineered before formal contracts and release documents can be prepared.

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“Well, it won’t be long until it will be gardening time again and it sure can’t come too soon for me,” writes Roxana correspondent Alma Whitaker. “I love to get out in the sun and start putting seeds in the ground and watching them grow.”

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“Where Eagles Dare” and “Stranger Returns” will play this weekend at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. Both films are recommended for mature audiences.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 7, 1980

Fleming-Neon’s City Hall was destroyed Saturday morning when fire swept through two adjoining buildings in downtown Neon housing the City Hall, a barbershop and a grocery store. A Western Auto store, in a building joined to the other two, was saved. Fleming-Neon Fire Chief Carter Bevins said he thought the fire started in an electrical power junction box behind the police station at City Hall.

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Uriah Morton, of Blackey, and Roger Whitaker, of Skyline, died as the result of accidents contributed to by extreme weather conditions. Morton was killed when a county road department truck salting icy roads slid over an embankment at Elk Creek near Blackey. Morton was riding in the bed of the truck while salting the road and was thrown from it when the truck slid off the road. Whitaker was killed when fire took the home of Don Creech, a neighbor.

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The average cost of gasoline jumped six cents a gallon in January at full-service stations for the second consecutive month. Over the past six months the average cost of gasoline has increased 15 cents a gallon to $1.17 at full-service stations and 19 cents a gallon to $1.08 at self-service stations.

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Enrollment for the spring semester at Southeast Community College at Cumberland has reached an all-time high of 600 students. This is a 37 percent increase over enrollment in the spring semester of 1979.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 7, 1990

Letcher County may join four other eastern Kentucky counties in a regional “911” emergency dispatch system run by the Hazard post of the Kentucky State Police. Lt. Danny Webb of the Hazard post presented the proposal to the fiscal court last week. Magistrates authorized Judge/ Executive Ruben Watts to write a letter to the state police commissioner supporting the plan.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court may begin charging per-ton fees for commercial haulers to dump garbage in the county landfill. The court again last week delayed action against some garbage haulers who had franchises with the county but have not paid their franchise fees. The court has been talking about the problem for more than two years but so far has taken no action.

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Joyce Osborne of Leslie County will face trial in Harlan District Court on charges of obstructing a highway and disorderly conduct in connection with a standoff with about 30 coal trucks on a muddy mountain road. Osborne was arrested and taken to jail in mid-January because she refused to move into the wrong lane of Hwy. 2009 so a coal truck going in the opposite direction could drive in her lane, which was safer.

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Letcher County’s already low unemployment rate fell even lower to 4.9 percent for December, down from 5.1 percent in November. However, 19 fewer Letcher County residents had jobs in December than in November. The jobless rate appears lower because 42 people fell off the official employment rolls after their unemployment insurance benefits expired.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 2, 2000

Snow that has closed schools for more than two weeks and has left roads nearly impassible at times has had little effect on the drought that began a year and a half ago. Rainfall in Letcher County was 18 inches below normal for 1999 and is already an inch below normal for January. The 11.5 inches of snow at Whitesburg between Dec. 25 and Jan. 26 equaled only 1.15 inches of rain. Whitesburg got 1.47 inches of rain in a single day Nov. 26.

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The newest American coin made its debut last week. The golden dollar, featuring a depiction of Sacagawea and her son, Jean Baptiste, began showing up at Walmart late last week as part of a promotion with the U.S. Mint.

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The Whitesburg Lady ’Jackets have improved their district record to 5-0 with wins over Fleming-Neon and Letcher. The Jenkins Lady Cavs are in second place in the district with a 2-1 mark.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 3, 2010

The Winter of 2010 continued its onslaught in Letcher County. Freezing rain and light snow were expected to return to the region on Friday, with little accumulation expected.

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Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, which works with Jenkins on water and sewer projects, told the city council that both the Number Two Bottom Sewer Project and the Camden Water Project will have pre-construction meetings on February 16 and will begin construction shortly thereafter. The Number Two Bottom Sewer Project will relieve a blockage problem caused by lines from Mountain Breeze Apartments overwhelming the smaller line at Number Two Bottom by routing the Number Two line around the existing lines. The Camden Water Project will run a new line around a “mishmash” of older water lines that have been a constant source of leaks and line breakages. The old lines will then be disconnected.

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The state Public Service Commission has ruled that if Kentucky Power Company wins approval of any portion of a proposed 34.5-percent rate increase, the rate hike would not take effect for five months.

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The Letcher County 4-H Teen Club is accepting orders for chocolate-covered strawberries until Feb. 10 as a Valentine’s Day fundraiser. The cost is $6 per half-dozen and $12 per dozen.

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