2010-06-09 / Columns

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

June 3 1960

State Aeronautics Commissioner Phil Swift announced this week that the state has set aside funds for construction of a chain of airports for eastern Kentucky, including one at Whitesburg.

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The general budget for Letcher County schools for the 1960-61 years us $1,133,000, Superintendent William B. Hall announced today.

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The Marshall’s Branch and Beefhide schools, with the close of this school year, become a part of the Jenkins school system. Plans have been worked out to transport all pupils from Marshall’s Branch to the Jenkins schools.

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Bananas are 10 cents a pound this week at the A&P food store. Tomatoes are 37 cents a pound.

June 11, 1970

A fourth of the people who lived in Letcher County in 1960 are no longer here, a preliminary report from the Bureau of the Census showed this week. The census bureau said its 1970 population count shows Letcher County with 22,590 residents. This is a decline of 7,512 from the 1960 figure of 30,102.

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The City of Whitesburg has taken another step toward solving its water and sewage crisis. The city council voted this week to approve a resolution to proceed with all possible speed to sign documents and do whatever is necessary to obtain a loan from the Farmers Home Administration to pay the city’s share of the $547,000 needed to build a new sewage treatment plant and make other necessary changes.

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Knott County became the first Kentucky mountain county this week to attempt to outlaw strip mining. The county fiscal court voted 3 to 2 Saturday to adopt an ordinance declaring strip mining to be a nuisance, and therefore illegal.

June 12, 1980

The Whitesburg City Council has gone on record as wanting to save the city’s industrial site in West Whitesburg for use by industry only and not to let it be used as a school site. “Our only salvation is to develop the industrial site,” said Paul Vermillion, president of the Whitesburg Industrial Foundation. The site was given to the city through a “Special Impact” program of the federal Department of Agriculture at the request of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy about 10 years ago.

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Residents of Goodwater Street in Jenkins who have spotted water leaking from a 68-year-old water tank above their neighborhood fear the tank will collapse and send water down the mountainside onto their homes. They recall an incident last summer when a much newer water tank ruptured and sent 300,000 gallons of water down a hill, drowning an elderly Jenkins physician in his home. Mayor Harold Davis said repairs will be made to make the tank safe.

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Despite numerous layoffs and a statewide industry slump, Kentucky coal mines produced a record 150 million tons of coal in 1979. The latest production figures top the previous high of 144 million tons set in 1976.

June 14, 1990

Teachers and other school system workers throughout Letcher County will get pay raises ranging from 16 to 18 percent for the coming school year. The raises are one result of the Kentucky Education Reform Act passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

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Jenkins voters won’t have to worry about political party if an ordinance under consideration is approved by the city council. Council members Monday night heard the first reading of an ordinance that would make city elections non-partisan.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court has voted to begin hauling garbage in one area of the county where County Attorney Harold Bolling says contract haulers have left residents without garbage service. The court approved an emergency declaration and an ordinance last week that will allow county workers to pick up garbage in garbage franchise area four near Fleming-Neon.

June 13, 2000

The Letcher Fiscal Court will take legal action against the state Transportation Cabinet in an attempt to force the agency to follow the state budget. Letcher Judge/Executive Carroll Smith asked the court for the action Monday night after nearly two years of waiting for the cabinet’s Department of Highways to repair the roads in the Elk Creek-Bull Creek and Daniels Branch areas.

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Columbia Natural Resources has sued to condemn the land of 46 families and businesses in Letcher and Knott counties to install a natural gas line.

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Water lines are coming to Jeremiah and Isom. The Letcher Fiscal Court on Monday voted to use the first $1 million available in its coal severance tax fund to pay for the first phase of lines leading from Letcher School to Isom.

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Unemployment in Letcher County rose half a percent from March to April, bringing the most recent jobless rate to 11.5 percent of the Letcher County labor force.

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