Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907


There have been two cases of Infantile Paralysis (polio) reported in the upper section of the county. Some of the nearby counties are having a number of cases. We may be in for an epidemic of this disease. It usually strikes children, occasionally adults. There is but little known that will aid in prevention — keeping away from public gatherings seems most effective. No vaccine as yet is worth much.

Young men between the ages of 18 and 35 in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia are literally flocking to the colors. That is why the Fifth Corps Army Area “went over the top” before the final day on its July requisition for recruits. The War Department’s preparedness requisition No. 2 asks for 7,581 men to be recruited from the four states. “Already we have 1,090 accepted on this requisition,” said Colonel S.G. Talbott.

Jr., Martin and Hoover, the three young sons of Mr. S.F. Dawahare, will leave about the first of September for M.M.I. Institute at Millersburg. This will be the young fellows’ first experience in a boarding school.

“Wolf of New York” starring Edmund Low and Rose Hobart is playing this week at the Bentley Theatre in Neon. Coming on Wednesday and Thursday is “Tarzan Finds A Son” with Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’ Sullivan.


Mr. Dave L. Craft, superintendent of Letcher County schools, said this week that plans are being made for a new consolidated grade school for Neon- Fleming. Estimating the cost of the school at around $200,000, Mr. Craft said the school will be built for merging the grade schools in Neon and Fleming and for transporting the seventh and eighth grades from surrounding communities to the new school. Such areas would include Haymond, Whitaker and Tolliverstown.

The three prisoners who escaped from the Letcher County Jail August 8 were captured at the mouth of Breedings Creek in Knott County last Thursday. The three men were returned to Letcher County and later transferred to the state penitentiary at LaGrange where they will serve sentences of one year for conviction of grand larceny.

The spraying of Whitesburg for fly and insect control has been started. The spraying is being done with a power sprayer furnished by the State Health Department with the chemical sprays being furnished by the City of Whitesburg. The spraying is being done for the health of the residents of the City, and possible polio prevention. s

Fifty-one Letcher County men will leave for Lexington on Monday for pre-induction physical examinations. Under the regulation of the Selective Service Act of 1948, each and every registrant between the ages of 18 and 25 is required to register.


A three-member commission has completed division of Letcher County into three magisterial districts instead of the present eight. The change will take place at the next election for magistrates, which will be held in 1961. The commissioners were appointed by County Judge Arthur Dixon. They are Pearl B. Dixon, A.C. Day and Anna Holbrook.

A&P Food Stores has started construction on a new modern food department store which will eventually replace the company’s present location on Main Street in Neon. Construction of the new building will highlight more than 30 years of A&P business in Neon. It will provide almost twice the amount of space in the present location.

Fred Coffey, retiring president of the Chamber of Commerce, was named Whitesburg’s Man of the Year. He was honored for his work toward obtaining a state park, better roads, and an airport for Letcher County and other civic activities.

Old age recipients of public assistance in Letcher County received $5,134 total increases in payments for the month of July over last year’s payments in the same month. This is an average pay increase of $6.60 for the county’s 685 old age recipients.


The federal Farmers Home Administration has approved a $130,000 loan to the City of Whitesburg for construction of a new sewage treatment plant and related facilities. The loan will bear five percent interest, and will serve as the local share for the project. Other funds will come as grants from the Federal Water Quality Administration and the Economic Development Administration.

Nathan Baker is the new chief of Whitesburg’s police force. He replaces Ray Frazier, who resigned to enter a mining operation. Frazier became chief a few months ago after the resignation of Burl Combs, who had served as chief for many years.

The Whitesburg High School Class of 1929 gathered for a reunion 41 years after graduation. All of the class members were present except the late Walter Enlow. Mr. Earl Banks took the class on a tour of the old familiar school grounds. They were greeted by Mr. Jack Burkich, Principal of Whitesburg High, who pointed out the changes that had taken place since 1929.

A condemnation suit is to be filed against the remaining privately owned mineral and timber rights in Lilley Cornett Woods. The National Resources Department requested that the action be filed against Virginia Iron, Coke & Coal Co. of Roanoke, Va., which owns certain rights on 160 acres of the 550-acre state-owned woods.


State cutbacks in education spending — cutbacks amounting to about $18.5 million — might make free workbooks, laboratory supplies and crayons a thing of the past in Letcher County classrooms. Because of the cutbacks, some $6 million set aside for use by the state to compensate school districts for the elimination of student fees — outlawed three years ago — has been cut by two-thirds.

Two small environmentalist groups and an individual connected with one of them have been named in a $200,000 libel suit brought by DLM Coal Corp., a subsidiary of General Energy Corp. of Lexington. Named as defendants were Mountain Stream Monitors, a group which tests streams for sulfuric acid contamination; Rick Webb, the 31-year-old coordinator of MSM, the Environmental Protect Agency; and the Office of Surface Mining. The suit, only the second of its kind, is the outgrowth of a newsletter published by Mountain Streams Monitors which said that acid drainage from a mine had “destroyed over seven miles of native brook and trout streams,” while jeopardizing the entire Buckhannon River. DLM contends the charge is “totally false and untrue.”

School officials in Letcher County say they are prepared to deal with extreme heat just as they are with extreme cold, and are ready to dismiss classes if heat becomes a problem. Extreme uncomfortable conditions, caused by searing heat and high humidity, forced officials with the Letcher County School District to dismiss classes an hour earlier than usual on Monday, the first day of the current school year. Temperatures in the upper 90’s combined with a humidity reading of more than 60 percent left only one word to describe the classroom conditions — unbearable.

“The McRoberts reunion was a big success,” writes McRoberts correspondent Madelyn Combs. “People started bringing in their campers on Wednesday and by Friday there was a huge crowd. They came from many states to greet friends and family.”


South East Coal Co. has warned more than 800 workers they could be laid off in October. South East President Harry LaViers Jr. said the company is enduring “serious economic times” because of a legal battle with its main customer, Kentucky Utilities Co. He said that South East, Kentucky’s third largest independent coal operator, is trying to sell assets to satisfy creditors. The United Mine Workers dismissed the announcement as a “scare tactic” to humble workers in upcoming contract talks. The UMW overwhelmingly won the right to represent South East workers July 24 after a bitter union election.

Gasoline prices in Letcher County have increased half again as much as prices nationally, leveling off 15 cents higher at the pump than prices three weeks ago. Fueled by threat of war in the Middle East, gas prices nationwide have increased 10 cents a gallon. Prices here for regular unleaded gas rose from $1.19 per gallon in mid-July before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, to $1.26.9 now for regular unleaded gasoline from all three Letcher County oil distributors. Plus unleaded prices are at $1.33.9 and super unleaded is now at $1.43.9, putting the average price for all grades at $1.34.9. That average is 7 cents per gallon higher than the national average.

More than 3,000 people — 10 percent of the population — moved away from Letcher County between 1980 and 1988, but an excess of births over deaths cut the net loss to 1,515 residents — nearly five percent of the total population. The county is expected to gain 2,060 residents — about 7 percent — during the next decade and to show a population growth of about seven percent over the next 40 years. That’s the forecast of the University of Louisville Urban Research Institute, which keeps track of population trends for the state and other agencies.

A plan to turn Hemphill Elementary School into a middle school that would serve the Fleming-Neon and Jackhorn area has been abandoned by the Letcher County Board of Education. Supt. Jack Burkich halted the plan after he and four other members of the school board met with about 100 parents at the Fleming- Neon High School gymnasium. The Fleming-Neon parents who objected to the plan told Burkich and the board that such a move would be an “unnecessary” disruption of their children’s education just before they enter high school.


The need for countywide insurance against flood damage to private property will come up again at the Letcher Fiscal Court’s meeting August 14. The cities of Fleming-Neon, Whitesburg and Jenkins have had flood insurance for years but attempts to adopt it for the whole county have failed. Recent flooding that affected many parts of Letcher County which do not have flood insurance have brought the matter to public attention again. County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith said an ordinance adopting the federal flood insurance program will be introduced at the court meeting next week. A representative of the state Division of Water will attend the meeting to explain the program.

Fast Internet service is coming. The Kentucky Public Service Commission on August 3 gave BellSouth permission to go ahead with a proposed Digital Subscriber Line expansion, also known as “broadband” telecommunications in 31 counties, including Letcher. The new service will allow Internet connection speeds on a level with those already available in most urban areas. But it also comes with a price. All residential basic rates will go up $1 a month. Customers who buy the service will pay $50 a month in addition to the BellSouth Complete Choice service or $59.95 separately. Normal Internet service here costs about $17 a month.

Southeast Community College has become the first institution in the Kentucky Community College System to be approved to offer programming in golf course management and hospitality management. Dr. Roger Noe, dean of academic affairs, said that both these new programs have tremendous potential for success. “We believe that students who graduate from the programs will find many opportunities for employment — not only in our region but throughout the state and nation as well.”

Free classes are being offered by Southeast Community College. The Donovan Scholars Program is available to those 65 and older with classes in painting, pottery, low-impact aerobics, walking and computers.


A public drawing for ballot positioning for the November 2 General Election is set for 2 p.m. on August 12 at the Letcher Circuit Clerk’s office. The deadline to run for non-partisan offices was August 10. Jenkins Mayor D. Charles Dixon decided not to seek re-election after one term. Among the candidates are: Mayor of Whitesburg — James W. Craft (incumbent) and Timothy Baker; Mayor of Jenkins — G.C. Kincer and Todd Depriest; and Mayor of Fleming-Neon — Susie Polis (incumbent), Joe Brown, Price Mullins and Leon Smith.

Two security employees assigned to watch a Defeated Creek coal mine were recently arrested after state police saw them at a marijuana patch located on federally permitted mining property.

“The Blackey Day Committee met July 20 at the Blackey Library,” writes correspondent Doris Caudill Adams. “Our theme this year for Blackey Day in ‘Coming Home to Blackey,’ and that is what we want to encourage you to do — come home for Blackey Day, October 16.”

Kentucky’s fall squirrel season opens Saturday, August 21, and the outlook is similar to last year. “Squirrels are our most stable and abundant small game species,” said Ben Robinson, small game biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Even a poor mast year is not going to be detrimental to squirrel populations.”

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