Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907


Elmer McDaniel, age around 30, miner of McRoberts, was accidentally killed in 214-A mine Friday morning. According to friends, Mr. McDaniel had cleaned up his place in the mine and was preparing to go home when a huge slate fall came, crushing him to death.

Operators of coal mines in Letcher County should lose no time in obtaining certificates of age for workers who are listed as 18 and 19 years old, thus protecting the employer from unintentionally violating a recently enacted order under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The order, made effective September 1 by the United States Department of Labor, classes as hazardous the working in a coal mine by persons under 18 years of age. This raises the prohibitive age two years above the state limit of 16 years for the mining industry.

Warrants were issued Thursday for the Rev. R.C. Burns and four other members of Vicco Holiness Church, charging them with violating the State law prohibiting snakes at religious services. Judge Baker said he had information that the accused had been handling snakes in an open revival since Sunday night and that the Vicco congregation had added the handling of fire to its services. Judge Baker said he was told a member of the church had taken a kerosene lamp, turned the flame up as high as it would go and had held the flame under his chin for about 20 minutes.

“The Human Monster” starring Boris Karloff will play Tuesday at the Bentley Theatre in Neon.


One miner was killed and four injured in slate falls at the Jewel Ridge Coal Corp.’s mine in Delphia yesterday. Dead is Ralph Selvey, coal loader, who was killed in the first of two falls. Injured in the same fall was Duane Parsons, foreman. Three other men suffered breaks and bruises during a second slate fall, which occurred when they were attempting to rescue Selvey.

Three parents received suspended fines of $10 and court costs for keeping their children from attending school. The fines were filed away with the understanding that their children would be allowed to attend school for the remainder of the year.

A Letcher County boy is expected to play a starting role with the 40th Military Police Battalion football team, defending island grid champions. Cpl. Donald Blair, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Blair, is rated a first-line candidate for starting honors. He is expected to handle all punting and place-kicking chores for the pennant defenders.

Joan Crawford and David Brian star in “The Damned Don’t Cry” playing at the Elinda Ann Drive-In on Sunday and Monday.


Willie Dawahare III, three-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Dawahare of Whitesburg, was killed Sunday in an automobile accident. The child was climbing from the back seat to the front seat of the car, which his father was driving. The father glanced over and saw that the car door was open and the little boy was hanging onto it, his feet dragging the ground. The father reached over to rescue the child and the car went out of control and struck a tree. The child died of head injuries.

The Whitesburg Chamber of Commerce this week asked Gov. Bert Combs to do something about the strip mining situation in Letcher County. In a letter to the governor, the chamber went on record as supporting the purposes and sentiments of a petition circulated here this month which asked the governor to call the legislature into special session to enact legislation prohibiting strip mining on mountain slopes in Eastern Kentucky. The legislature has since been called into special session, but strip mining legislation was not included in the call.

Randall C. Day Jr., a native of Dongola, is Whitesburg’s new postmaster. Day is a graduate of Whitesburg High School and Berea College and has done postgraduate work at Eastern State College. He taught at Whitesburg High School for four years and is a U.S. Army veteran.

“Ten SecondS to Hell” with Jeff Chandler, Jack Palance, and Martine Carol will play this week at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.


The federal government is being urged to use the Appalachian Regional Commission and its program of “regional development” as a model for the entire nation. Kentucky Gov. Louie Nunn and other governors from Appalachian states met with top White House staffers in Washington this week in an attempt to convince the Nixon administration that the regional concept as used by the ARC is the way to channel federal funds into localities throughout the country. s It appears unlikely that the manmade mountains of coal materializing alongside railroad tracks throughout eastern Kentucky are about to disappear. For the past eight months or so, there has been a shortage of railroad cars to transport coal from mining areas to markets. Coal operators have been forced to stockpile their coal along the rail sidings. According to R.E. Lynch at the Louisville office of L&N Railroad, the demand for cars to transport coal out of eastern Kentucky is “greater than anyone ever thought was possible,” up as much as 30 or 40 percent over this time last year. He says October will see the greatest demand for L&N railroad cars in the company’s history.

Technical Sergeant Ronald D. Scott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Scott, McRoberts, received the U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal at Phan Rang AB, Vietnam. Scott is a 1953 graduate of Jenkins High School.

The Appalachian Regional Commission will provide 68 percent of the cost of establishing a landfill dump in Letcher County. A site in the Rockhouse area is being considered for establishing a sanitary landfill dump to serve Letcher County and a portion of Knott County.


Eastern Kentucky’s already depressed coal industry suffered another setback this week when Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. officials announced the closing of the company’s Mine 29 at Caney Creek, near Virgie in Pike County. Company spokesman Earnest Bentley said the mine is to close at midnight Friday and “be maintained on a standby basis.” About 150 miners will be out of work after the closing, Bentley said. “This action is necessary because of the high operating cost of this mine and the lack of demand for metallurgical coal.”

Larry “Jughead” Taylor Jr. has confessed to that he and Frank Wayne Jenkins of Coshocton, Ohio, are responsible for the 1975 shooting death of William Harvey Johnson outside his home on U.S. 119 at Payne Gap. Taylor was arrested by Deputy Sheriff Remus Gibson after he told Gibson he “had to get something off his chest,” police said. Jenkins, who denied the charge, was arrested in Coshocton, Ohio.

A fire which damaged the old Mayking Elementary School two Sundays ago was the work of an arsonist, Letcher Schools Asst. Supt. Goebel Ritter said. Ritter told school board members that a three-day investigation by a state police arson unit temporarily ended when investigators found that the early morning fire was started in two places with a “liquid substance.”

The Whitesburg Yellowjackets defeated Johns Creek 33-0 on Friday, and then overcame the Jenkins Cavaliers 41-0 on Saturday.


A Mountain Eagle editorial says, “Persistent reports out of Washington say that the Bush people and members of Congress are about to agree on new budget proposals which would give substantial tax cuts to America’s rich, while making sharp cuts in the medical care of the nation’s elderly who rely on Medicare to help meet the high costs of getting older and getting sick. The working man’s taxes will be increased.” The editorial continues, “We believe that every Kentucky voter should take time out within the next few days to send a clear, unmistakable message to the state’s senators and congressmen: If you vote for this kind of help-therich, soak-the-poor legislation you are serving your last term in office. If you are short on stamps and can only write one letter, it probably should go to Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican and staunch Bush supporter who is the most likely to go along with Bush and to vote against the best interests of Kentucky.”

The United Mine Workers are meeting this week in part to mark 100 years of labor organization in America’s coalfields. But instead of celebrating, UMW President Richard Trumka is talking about labor’s darkest days. “We’re facing a threat that’s every bit as dangerous as the one which confronted our ancestors in 1890 — a threat from a corporate class intent on robbing us of our rights,” Trumka said. The convention comes seven months after the union and the Pittston Co. settled a bitter labor dispute, the focus of which were health issues and pensions.

Letcher County’s teachers and other school system employees will get an additional two percent raise this year, for a total of 18 percent. The board of education voted four to one at its September meeting to give the raise, which was recommended by Supt. Jack M. Burkich.

Pvt. Phillip Bentley Jr., son of Phillip and Wanda Bentley of Jenkins, has completed basic U.S. Army infantry training at Ft. Benning, Ga., and is taking advanced infantry training there now. After completing the advanced training he will be stationed in Hawaii. He is a graduate of Jenkins High School.


Letcher County will lease the former

Swannee tipple at Isom to Process Systems, a start-up industry that plans to manufacture metal products for other industries and promises wages of $12 an hour plus benefits. The cost of the lease will be $1,000 a month. But the lease comes with discounts, based on how well the company lives up to its promises.

Phillip Lee Sexton, 47, a United Parcel Service deliveryman and a well-known musician, was killed when the car he was driving was hit head-on by a pickup truck driven by a drunk driver.

First-place winners of the Isom Day Festival horseshoe tournament were Ralph Adams and Dave Caudill. Eddie Thomas and Russell Reynolds finished second, and Randy Back and Gary Eldridge were third.

A double feature of “Space Cowboys” and “Replacements” will be shown this week at the Jeremiah Drive-In Theatre.


Victor Gainer, of Mayking, is being credited with helping save the life of Leigh Anne Stephens, a Perry County district judge who was stabbed five times while she ate lunch at a Hazard restaurant. Gainer said he first thought the attacker was just patting Judge Stephens on the back in a friendly way before he realized Ronnie D. Brock was stabbing her with a pocketknife. Gainer grabbed a chair and used it to push Brock before throwing him out a window. Gainer followed him through the window and held onto him until police arrived.

Paying for construction of the Letcher County Recreation Center, which is now being built in Whitesburg, will dominate use of the county’s coal severance tax refund priorities for the next two years. The Letcher Fiscal Court voted at a special meeting to allocate $1.2 million of expected severance tax refunds to service the debt for building the center. The money will be paid from allotments of $600,000 for each fiscal year.

Five Letcher County residents have been honored by the Letcher County Chamber of Commerce for their work as community volunteers. Those honored were Jeanette Ladd, Doris Banks, Tex Isaac, Reva Sergent and Paul Thomas Greer.

Bradley Bentley, owner of the Royal Crown Cola Bottling Company, celebrated his 95th birthday with a party on September 11 at the Whitesburg plant.

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