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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY MAY 9, 1940

Forty-seven seniors will receive diplomas at the Jenkins Commencement exercises in the Jenkins school auditorium May 22. The Jenkins school feels fortunate in being able to secure Dr. Frank C. Jenkins of Nashville, Tenn., who will deliver the Commencement Address. Dr. Jenkins is executive secretary of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and is well known in the southern states as an authority in the field of youth training.

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The last shovel of gravel and the last bucket of concrete were poured in the last handrail of Kentucky’s most beautiful bridge on the North Fork of the Kentucky River at what is now known as Red Star in lower Letcher County at 4:30 p.m., May 6, 1940. Work was first started on this structure April 23, 1939.

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The Kentucky Derby was held at Churchill Downs in Louisville Saturday. P.M. Bimelech, the favorite horse, came in second to the disappointment of the majority. Gallahadion, a Tennessee racer, won first honors, paying 25 to 1. It seems that the whole world stands up and takes notice of our “pretty horses and fast women” or maybe it’s vice versa.

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“Remember the Night” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray and “Hollywood Cavalcade” starring Alice Faye and Don Ameche are playing at the Kentucky Theatre.

THURSDAY MAY 11,1950

Sheriff Hassel Stamper reported the capture of a moonshine still on the head of Rockhouse. Constables Lewis Hall and Harlan Cornett assisted in the raid. Sheriff Stamper states the still belonged to Hobart Yonts who was in partnership with William Hall.

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A surprise dinner was given in honor of Miss Martha Jane Potter by the Letcher County Teachers Organization at the Pine Mountain Resort Hotel. More than 65 teachers and friends attended.

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Headquarters, 20th Weather Squadron, Honshu, Japan, recently announced the arrival of Pfc. William S. Wyatt, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Wyatt of Premium. Pfc. Wyatt was assigned to the 20-5 Air Weather Service Detachment, near Tokyo, where he will serve as clerk typist.

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Mrs. Hassel Stamper, wife of Sheriff Stamper, being on the lookout for law violators, spied a truck trailer that had been reported stolen at the Blackey Junction belonging to the Sandlick Coal Company. The guilty party was immediately arrested and is now being held in the county jail. The young man arrested gave the name of Roy Breeding.

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Donald Wright and J.W. Goode of Neon recently purchased The Quillen Electric Company from Cossie Quillen. The company is the authorized dealer for G.E. Appliances and will be known in the future as the The Neon Electric Company.

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The concrete block building erected in the early part of 1949 at Saw Dust Junction, the property of S.J. Bates, was wrecked on Monday night by some kind of high explosive. The corner of the building was torn away and the entire structure damaged. The place in recent years has been the scene of gambling, drinking and bootlegging, two or three murders, and several near murders. The building is owned by S.J. “Sam” Bates, now serving a term in federal prison for transporting liquor in dry territory. This is the third building lost to him since his confinement in prison. One building was burned and another was destroyed by dynamite blast.

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Edward Howard, son of Bill and Cinda Howard of Whitesburg, enlisted in the Regular Army for three years and was assigned to the Third Armored Division, Ft. Knox, for a 14-week basic training.

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Eddy Arnold stars in “Feudin’ Rhythm” and Yvonne De Carlo is featured in Buccaneer’s Girl” playing at Isaac’s Alene Theatre.

THURSDAY MAY 12, 1960

Letcher County residents may attend the University of Kentucky next fall merely by crossing Pine Mountain into Cumberland. The new Southeast Center will open for classes in September. The Center will offer up to 67 semester hours of college work toward an undergraduate degree. Students may take two full years of college work there and then transfer to another school or the university’s main campus in Lexington.

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Baccalaureate and commencement services are scheduled during the next few weeks in all of Letcher County high schools.

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Charles L. Mullins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arvid Mullins of Dunham, recently was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army upon graduation from the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga.

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The Girls Auxiliary of the Fleming Baptist Church will hold its coronation of service at the church Sunday. Leaders of the group are Audrey Stallard, Paulene Pece, and Billy McKinney.

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“Several local men are in the Jackson area working on the new highway project of 6.8 miles which will become part of the new Eastern Kentucky trunk highway,” writes Blackey correspondent Larry Caudill. “Astor Holcomb is grade foreman for the job for Juett Construction Co., Winchester, the contractor. Vadies Caudill and Varge Holcomb joined his crew this week. Melvin Ingram and others will join the crew soon.”

THURSDAY MAY 7, 1970

Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish has requested the Letcher Fiscal Court to reconsider recent action in which the court declared The Eagle no longer eligible to print legal notices. The court voted to switch legal publications from The Eagle, with its 3,700 circulation, to the Letcher County Community Press, which reports a 2,000 circulation. Gish said the intent of the legal publication statute is to assure that legal notices reach the widest possible audience, and that this intent would best be served by continued publication of the notices in The Mountain Eagle.

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Six solders with Letcher County ties who are now serving or who have served in Vietnam are named in articles in The Mountain Eagle. They are Army SP/4 A.J. Collier, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hobert Collier of Eolia; Willie G. Morris, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Morris of Mayking, who was recently promoted to Army SP/4; Mariana Valdez, grandson of Mrs. Polly Cornett of Smoot Creek; U.S. Air Force Master Sergent Thomas L. Henson, son of Mrs. Ruth Henson of Columbus, Ohio, who has received the Bronze Star Medal at Little Rock AFB for meritorious service while engaged in military operations against Viet Cong forces; Specialist Four Floyd Hall, Jr., 24, son of Mrs. Sarah Hall, Whitesburg, who is a radio operator and who received the Army commendation medal for action near An Khe, Vietnam; and U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Jimmie G. Quillen, son of Mrs. Thelma Quillen of Neon, who is on duty at Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base, Vietnam.

A new automatic carwash, the first in Whitesburg, has opened. It is located near to the A&P Supermarket. The owner is Billy Wayne Wright. It will be open 24 hours a day.

THURSDAY MAY 8, 1980

A fourth of Letcher County’s families face drastic cuts in their food budgets next month as a result of the failure of Congress to approve more funds for the federal food stamp program. Letcher County food stamp officials say 1,959 households in the county receive food stamps each month. Some families have no other income. Officials will meet Friday in hopes of finding ways of getting food to needy families if, as expected, the national food stamp program is curtailed or suspended because of lack of operating money.

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Armed U.S. marshals and federal Office of Surface Mining inspectors were helicoptered into the Stinking Creek area of Campbell County, Tennessee, in a surprise mop-up of “the wildcatters’ haven.” The inspectors and marshals issued seven cease orders, shut down one wildcat mine, and issued six notices for failure to abate violations. The principal issue is the right of inspectors to inspect mining operations peacefully without abuse, intimidation or physical harm, said Region 2 OSM Director David Short. One inspector was assaulted and his nose broken in a confrontation with an operator earlier this year. Other inspectors have faced locked gates, trees across the roads, vehicles blocking roads, ditches across roads, and found themselves surrounded by hostile miners.

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“It’s May now and gardening time in here in earnest,” writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser. “Things are growing green everywhere. But sometimes we wonder how they are growing for it stays so cool. It makes us fear it will be cool all summer long. When we look back there were very few really hot days last summer.”

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“The Monster of Gator Swamp” will play this weekend at Isaac’s Alene Theater in Whitesburg. The Saturday matinee is “Treasure Island”.

WEDNESDAY MAY 9, 1990

Bomb threats have apparently once again become the latest fad in Letcher County. At least two county businesses have received prank bomb threats after several sticks of dynamite were found in a coal mine. The first threat was to Isom Kwik Mart and a threatening note was left on the back of a commode in the men’s restroom. The building was evacuated and searched. The second threat went to Golden Oak Mining Co.’s office at Rockhouse near Isom. Kentucky State Police troopers and units searched the building, but again turned up nothing.

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The Jenkins City Council has voted unanimously to advertise for bids on garbage trucks after its garbage collection contractor apparently quit. The city has been collecting garbage for near a week since C&L Sanitation stopped its service.

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First Lady Barbara Bush and a thunderous cloudburst made graduation ceremonies at Southeast Community College an event to remember. Mrs. Bush was escorted under an umbrella from the stage about 20 minutes into the event, held in a campus parking lot. About 2,000 people — students, faculty and families — were drenched in the downpour.

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High Rock of Pine Mountain will join Bad Branch Falls as a protected area. The Nature Conservancy, a private nonprofit agency, is completing the purchase of more than 1,000 acres, which includes the High Rock area, a favorite hiking spot for generations of Letcher County residents. The new purchase is above the Bad Branch Falls area, which is also protected.

WEDNESDAY MAY 3, 2000

The Air Force honored Letcher County native U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers on the 40th anniversary of his downing over the Soviet Union. Powers’s family accepted a Distinguished Flying Cross, Department of Defense Prisoner of War Medal and National Service Medal on his behalf. Powers died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles in 1977. Powers’s spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960 and he was imprisoned there for two years.

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Danny Neil Yonts, 32, a former Fleming Neon police chief, pleaded guilty to robbing the Community Trust Bank branch in Neon in February 1998. Police say Yonts has admitted he was behind the robbery and stole a gun from his own department’s evidence locker to be used in the robbery. Two additional suspects were named and arrests are pending. Yonts was already facing charges that he helped steal drugs from a pharmacy in Neon and a pharmacy in McDowell and that he sold drugs and stolen firearms.

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Dewey Wayne Niece, 26, of Jenkins, died as a result of an electrical shock he received at the Garrett Mining number 3 mine at Dorton. The Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals said Niece was working on an electrical circuit breaker at a mine section power center when the accident occurred.

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Letcher County’s second recyclables buyback — planned for three days — ended at lunchtime just four hours after it started. During that four hours, county workers, volunteers and employees of the Letcher County Conservation District were deluged with junk glass, collected along the roadsides and creek banks and turned in for 20 cents a pound. The contest generated 20,000 pounds of recyclables.

WEDNESDAY MAY 5, 2010

Ferus Inc., a Canadian company which produces materials used in “fracking” natural gas wells, has agreed to locate a $30 million nitrogen production plant at the Gateway Industrial Park in Jenkins. The plant is expected to create as many as 80 high-paying jobs with benefits.

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The Letcher County Grand Jury is placing the blame for a widespread power outage, which affected many households in the county this winter, on Kentucky Power Company officials. After more than 10 inches of heavy snow fell in Letcher County on Dec. 18, around 7,000 residents lost electrical power. Most of the power wasn’t restored until Dec. 22, and several households didn’t have power turned back on until Dec. 24. “The grand jury is of the opinion that the primary cause of the widespread power outages and the delays in restoring electricity are the result of decisions of the current top management officials,” said a report issued by the grand jury.

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Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson is predicting a low turnout in the May 18 primary election. He said he expects about 30 percent of registered voters to cast ballots. Local registered voters needing to cast an absentee ballot can now do so in the Letcher County Clerk’s Office. People can vote on an absentee machine located in the clerk’s office until 4 p.m. on May 17.

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The Letcher County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual “Unsung Heroes” award, given to volunteers who make a difference.

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The Carcassonne Square Dance will be held Saturday Music will be by Randy Wilson, Gabe Wilson, Shawn Stamper, and Logan Dollarhide, and Eric Cokonougher- Stidham will be the caller.

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