2018-04-11 / Columns

The Way We Were


Near disaster averted On Saturday, April 11, 1970 the crew of the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission are shown in their space suits on their way to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Kennedy, Fla. Flight Commander James A. Lovell Jr., is waving, followed by Lunar Module pilot John L. Swigert Jr., and Command Module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. Two days later, an explosion on board forced Apollo 13 to circle the moon without landing. Below, London evening newspapers on April 14, 1970 carried the news of the blast that would bring an early ending to what was supposed to be the third lunar landing mission, outlining the battle to bring the astronauts and their crippled spaceship back to Earth from a quarter million miles away. The three astronauts were able to return home safely on April 17, 1970. (NASA and AP photos) Near disaster averted On Saturday, April 11, 1970 the crew of the Apollo 13 lunar landing mission are shown in their space suits on their way to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Kennedy, Fla. Flight Commander James A. Lovell Jr., is waving, followed by Lunar Module pilot John L. Swigert Jr., and Command Module pilot Fred W. Haise Jr. Two days later, an explosion on board forced Apollo 13 to circle the moon without landing. Below, London evening newspapers on April 14, 1970 carried the news of the blast that would bring an early ending to what was supposed to be the third lunar landing mission, outlining the battle to bring the astronauts and their crippled spaceship back to Earth from a quarter million miles away. The three astronauts were able to return home safely on April 17, 1970. (NASA and AP photos) Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, April 19, 1928 Coal operators in Kentucky and elsewhere in Appalachia won an important victory this week in their fight for reduced railroad rates to Great Lakes ports. Three federal judges have granted an injunction restraining the Interstate Commerce Commission from suspending the freight rate reduction of 20 cents per ton offered on shipments to Great Lakes ports by four railroads in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia. The ICC had ruled the rate reductions illegal in February. More than 500 coal companies requested the injunction.

. District State Highway Engineer T.B. Smith told Letcher County officials this week that contracts would be let soon to “hard surface” the roads from Seco to Whitesburg and from Whitesburg to the Knott County line at Garner Gap.

. Banks Motor Company of Fleming is adding a showroom to its place of business. Banks Motor is the dealer for Willys-Knight and Whippet automobiles.

. Two men from Cowan, Edison Caudill and Ed Gibson, left Letcher County last Wednesday by automobile for California. The two men are off on a trip in which they plan to visit every state in the union. Caudill is a painter by trade, while Gibson is a carpenter. They are driving a Nash coupe and expect their journey to last two years.

. Letcher County’s oldest school teacher, 77-year-old Wesley Banks, has taught classes in 54 county schools, 53 of them in succession.

. Twenty years after they were introduced, more than eight million Model T Fords remain in service in the United States.

. The Shade Bentley Farm at Whitaker is being subdivided into 150 lots and 12 small tracts to be sold at auction April 20.

. The A&P Food Store is opening a “fresh meat market” in its Whitesburg store April 20. Sirloin steaks will be on sale that day for 35 cents per pound. Pork chops will be on sale at 20 cents per pound.

. Two hundred building lots on the top of Pine Mountain near Whitesburg will be offered for sale at auction on Friday, April 27. The lots are owned by Millstone Land Company and will be auctioned by Horney Brothers Auctioneers of Knoxville, Tennessee.

. Miners Motor Company of Whitesburg and Neon is offering the Dictator automobile by Studebaker for $458.

Thursday, April 14, 1938 Stevie Stamper, 21-year-old son of Hattie Collins of Blackey, died last Friday of injuries he received while practicing football at Union College last Wednesday afternoon. Stamper suffered abdominal injuries when he fell on the knees of another player. Stamper was admitted to the Logan hospital in Barbourville, where he died of a ruptured intestine. Known as “Big Steve” by Union’s students, Stamper was both a football and basketball star at the school. Funeral services were held Sunday at Blackey. He was also buried in Blackey.

. In its report to Circuit Judge R. Monroe Fields, the Letcher County Grand Jury urges the next grand jury “investigate the Sabbath breaking conditions existing in this county, which is flagrantly and willfully violated in every side.” The departing jury said the incoming jury should indict those who violate the law by keeping their businesses open on Sundays.

. The WPA roadwork is moving up Elk Creek in a hurry. More than 100 men are assigned to the project.

. Edgar Hatton was sentenced in Letcher Circuit Court Friday to 10 years in prison for the murder of Edgar Hall. Thomas Williams was sentenced to two years in prison for the malicious cutting of Jesse Colter at Neon.

Thursday, April 15, 1948 Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Hillard Bates was killed during a fight with Earl Bentley around 9 p.m. Sunday, just hours after Bates was asked by Sheriff Herman Combs to resign his position. According to Sheriff Combs, Bentley shot Bates sometime after the sheriff was called to the upper end of the county to quiet a disturbance between the Bates and Bentley families. After Bates turned in his badge in, Sheriff Combs left the area thinking the dispute was settled. However, Combs said that by the time he got back home and sat down for dinner he received a phone call from Bates, who said, “Well, they shot me, but I am not killed. I am too tough for that.” Sheriff Combs said that when he arrived back at the scene, Bates was sick and vomiting, but was able to drive his car around and drink a soda. Bates died at midnight on Monday of complications caused by the bullet wound to his abdomen. Funeral services will be held today at Whitaker. Bentley is charged with murder pending his examining trial set for Friday.

. Hundreds of miners went back to work in Letcher County this week after the nationwide coal strike ended. Miners began returning to work Monday after United Mine Workers of America President John L. Lewis won for his miners a $100 per month pension for men 62 years and over with 20 years experience in and around the mines.

. The L&N Railroad passenger train service is back on full schedule between

Neon and Lexington after the settling of the nationwide coal strike. Service had been reduced to one outbound train and on inbound train per day during the strike.

. General Dwight D. Eisenhower said this week he “meant every word” in his statement earlier this year taking himself out of the presidential nomination picture. The retired Army chief of staff talked with reporters as he left a conference on defense with President Truman.

. Two Letcher County student-veterans were honored by the University of Kentucky with medals for war service during a pre- Army Day celebration on the Lexington campus. Honored were Cadet Major W.N. Cornett of Whitesburg, who received the American Theater, European, African, Middle Eastern and Victory medals, and Cadet Sgt. Delmer Ison of Oscaloosa, who received the American Theater and Victory medals.

. Army Air Force Private First Class Jerry V. Collier is a member of the basketball team that placed second in the Far Eastern Air Force Basketball Network. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Collier of Fleming.

Thursday, April 17, 1958 Police say a 21-year-old Dorton man will be charged with drunk driving and driving on the wrong side of the road after a fatal wreck at Thornton. Nancy Baldwin, 20, of Burdine, died early today in a Lexington hospital of injuries received last night in a head-on car-truck collision. Miss Baldwin died at 5:30 a.m., some 10 minutes after arrival at a Lexington hospital. Kentucky State Trooper Ottis Anderson said Elmer Newsome was driving a car in which Miss Baldwin and Gracie Finley, 20, of Burdine, were passengers. Anderson said Newsome was driving the car toward Neon when he rounded the curve at the foot of Thornton hill on the wrong side of the road and hit the truck head-on. The driver of the truck, Ray Mullins of Puncheon, did require hospitalization. Miss Finley suffered a possible concussion, while Newsome received a broken arm and other injuries.

. A special citizens’ committee is being organized to work toward a solution of the Jenkins Independent School District’s problems. Bill Fleming will chair the sixmember steering committee responsible for setting up the citizens’ group, which is being formed at the request of School Board Chairman Dr. T.M. Perry.

. Head coach Nick Diachenko and line coach John Morgan will coach the Jenkins Cavaliers in an intra-squad game set for Saturday night at the Jenkins Athletic Field. The Cavaliers are the defending champions of the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference.

. Letcher County will have no primary election this May, as no candidate running for office has any primary opposition.

. Dan Combs of Marlowe and Whitesburg City Policeman Eddie Howard caught three nice bass during a fishing trip on the Cumberland River between Cumberland and Harlan.

. Rock Hudson, Lauran Bacall, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone star in the movie “Written on the Wind,” showing April 20 and 21 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Oldsmobile’s “Dynamic 88” automobile is now available for purchase at Cook Motor Company in Neon.

Thursday, April 11, 1968 A photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King taken by Mountain Eagle contributor Mike Clark was accompanied by this cutline: The hand of friendship Dr. Martin Luther King extended to white Americans was stilled this week by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tenn. Murder of the leading advocate of non-violence in the Civil Rights movement plunged the nation into riots and brought about the most serious domestic crisis since the Civil War.

. A intensive care unit for treatment of critically ill patients has opened at Appalachian Regional Hospital in Whitesburg. The first such facility in eastern Kentucky, it contains special equipment to treat patients suffering from serious ailments such as heart attacks, shock, acute kidney failure, serious respiratory troubles and patients who have undergone major surgery and need constant surveillance.

. About 100 teachers and guests ate the first meal prepared in the new Whitesburg school cafeteria. The occasion was a visit to the school of a team of evaluators from the Southern Association of College and Secondary Schools, which was here to decide whether the association should admit Whitesburg High School to membership. The cafeteria was opened to students the next day. Results of the evaluation will not be known for several weeks. The school formerly held membership in the organization but lost it on the basis of such things as poor facilities.

Thursday, April 6, 1978 Two Letcher County men were among five killed Tuesday at Clinchfield Coal Co.’s McClure #2 Mine. Willis Danis Ison, 45, and Richard Lawrence Shelby, 56, died while trying to rescue Clinchfield employees suffocating in black damp — a lethal mixture of oxygen-poor air created in the aftermath of a mine fire. The disaster is the nation’s worst since nine anthracite miners were killed last March 1 at Tower City, Penn.

. The Jenkins City Council passed an ordinance annexing 993 acres of land, most of it owned by Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. Mayor Jesse Bates said the annexation, including Ben’s Branch and land surrounding the Elkhorn Country Club, will enable the city

to strengthen its property tax base.

. Parking violations, other than overtime citations, now cost $25 in Whitesburg, $10 in Jenkins. New district court costs, $27.50, are added to each ticket. Overtime violations in metered parking spaces still cost $2.

. The Poverty House restaurant in Pound, Va., burned down this week. The restaurant, a popular watering spot for Letcher Countians, was destroyed. The cause of the fire is believed to be either faulty wiring or hot grease touching stove coils.

Wednesday, April 13, 1988 Letcher County Judge Byrd F. Hogg was expected to decide this week whether to delay the trial of Anthony Smith, 21, and Carolyn Smith, 22, who are accused of murdering three people at Isom last summer. Defense attorneys have asked Hogg to give them more time to prepare for the case. The Smiths and Steve Adams, 20, are charged with robbing and murdering Carolyn Smith’s parents and her mentally retarded brother, and with kidnapping Mrs. Smith’s three-year-old daughter. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

. Author and attorney Harry M. Caudill writes about coal camps, saying they were built as model towns which would make workmen sober, industrious and diligent. “In Kentucky, the most advanced expressions of the new industrial enlightenment occurred at Lynch and Benham in Harlan County, and at the Kentucky River and Big Sandy towns of Jenkins, McRoberts, Haymond, Fleming, Hemphill, Van Lear, Garrett, Wheelwright and Weeksbury. Visiting these communities today it is difficult for us to realize that in their heyday they were the best built and most progressive coal mine communities in the United States.”

. The City of Jenkins will no longer pump water to Marshalls Branch. The council approved the Jenkins Utilities Commission’s recommendation that the city stop serving the Pike County hollow because of massive leaks in the water lines leading out of the city.

. The Jenkins Cavaliers ran their record to 7-1 after sweeping a triple-header from visiting Millard. Jenkins opened the season with a doubleheader sweep of Fleming-Neon, then defeated host Letcher 9-7 and 9-8.

Wednesday, April 8, 1998 The amount Letcher County will get from the state budget is $9,279,000. This will permit the county to use severance tax funds for an industrial/athletics complex in Whitesburg, to renovate the old Jenkins High School building, and to build a “welcome center” on US 23 at Pound Gap. The budget also authorizes the county to spend severance tax funds for the Redfox project which will begin with a golf course and include an industrial development site.

. Low-income residents of Kentucky will benefit from measures passed at the Kentucky General Assembly including a children’s health insurance program which will include free preventive and emergency dental service. Other care will be available at small additional premiums.

. “Ritter Fugate celebrated her 99th birthday at her home on Saturday and with a luncheon at the home of Kay and Greg Amburgey,” writes Cowan correspondent Elsie Banks. “Paul Adams stopped by to bring of video of the 1997 Pine Creek reunion when Ritter was honored for her 50 years of teaching in Letcher County.”

. Senior citizens at the Ermine Center celebrated the NCAA championship with the University of Kentucky Wildcats. They all wore UK colors and painted “UK” on their foreheads.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital spends about $14.9 million each year on staff salaries and on the purchase of local supplies and services, according to a study prepared by the Kentucky Hospital Association. “It is very eye-opening when you get to see the economic impact that the hospital has to the community,” said Ellen

Wright, chief executive offi cer of WARH. “It’s not that the community only needs the hospital for their services they provide and the health care they provide, but it is a major economic driver as well.”

. Arnold Coleman, of Virgie, the owner of two hunting dogs shot by Kentucky State Trooper Adam Hall, is asking to pursue criminal charges against Hall. A source familiar with the incident said Hall shot the dogs at 4 a.m. after they “tried to eat him up” when Hall walked from his home to find out what they had been barking at “for more

than two hours.”

. Coal being mined in Appalachia next year is expected to sell at an average price of $61 to $63 a ton, up from an earlier estimate of $54 to $61. Massey Energy estimates costs for this year will range from $45 and $47.50 a ton, up from a previous estimate of $43 to $45.

. The Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities recently honored Whitesburg physician Dr. Abubakar Tidal in its spring issue which featured medical services staff who have made a significant contribution to long-term care facilities.

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