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20 years ago

(Feb. 26 & Feb. 28, 1992)

Prestonsburg’s City Council set the wheels in motion, Monday, for the development of an intertrack wagering facility near Water Gap, giving first reading to an ordinance annexing the proposed site. As proposed, the annexation would follow Route 3 from the current city boundary to property now occupied by the Center Stage nightclub.

An early morning break-in at Allen Central High School, Monday, caused thousands of dollars worth of property damage and several pieces of electronic equipment were stolen. Classes were cancelled, Monday, as a result of damages to the school.

Floyd Circuit Judge Harold Stumbo ordered, Monday, that union dues may no longer be deducted from the paychecks of nine employees of the Floyd County Board of Education. Stumbo’s ruling came as a result of a conflict between the Teamsters Local 783 and nine classifed employees of the school system, who asked the court to dissolve their association with the union.

The mother of a 16-year-old child with muscular dystrophy has filed a civil lawsuit against the Floyd County Board of Education, and transportation director Earl Ousley, claiming that a defective wheelchair lift on a school bus injured the girl and aggravated her daughter’s condition. Doris Hunt, on behalf of her daughter Tammy Hunt, filed suit February 19, in circuit court alleging the board failed to repair the lift after it was reported that it had malfunctioned before.

One area vacancy was filled, Tuesday, but there has been no word yet from Governor Brereton Jones on who will be named interim District Judge for Floyd County. The Governor’s office announced, Tuesday, that Paintsville lawyer Susan Mullins Johnson had been appointed interim District Judge for the 24th Judicial District, which includes Johnson, Martin and Lawrence counties. Johnson will fill the seat vacated by the election of John Gardner as judge for Kentucky’s Court of Appeals.

The remains of a Floyd County woman were exhumed, Friday, as part of an investigation of suspected murder in Michigan. The body of Bonnie Jo Kiser, 51, was discovered on her bed in her Michigan home on December 20, 1991, following a blaze which apparently destroyed the residence. Kiser, a native of Floyd County, was buried December 25, in the Hackworth family cemetery near the Floyd-Magoffin County line on Kane Branch. She was exhumed, Friday, apparently to determine whether she “may have died as a result of a criminal act in the state of Michigan.

Three days after Job Corps personnel and community leaders denounced news coverage of alleged gang activity at the Prestonsburg facility, eight students were arrested and two others were hospitalized as the result of a reported gang-style assault at the local center on Monday. Six adults and two juvenile students at Carl D. Perkins Job Corps were arrested, Monday evening, and charged in connection with an attack on two female students, Monday, at the center. One female received a stab wound in the leg.

Dixie Campbell of Maytown, whose son was killed in Vietnam, was presented a specially inscribed Bible by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 128 recently, following a three-year search for the families of eight soldiers who previously could not be located. The D.A.V. erected a plaque three years ago at Allen’s Stumbo Park in memory of 21 Floyd County soldiers killed in combat in Vietnam, which included the name of Campbell’s son, Andrew J. Campbell. All but eight of the soldiers’ families listed were located and given the specially inscribed Bibles in honor of those who gave their lives for their country in Vietnam. Each Bible was personalized, with the name of the soldier inscribed on the cover.

The wife of a Floyd County magistrate was one of three commissioners appointed by the fiscal court, Friday, to draw new magisterial district boundaries in the county. Hattie Owens, wife of magistate Jackie Edford Owens, was named, along with Paul Gearheart and Tom Smith, to redistrict the voting boundaries, a statutory requirement that must begin in February.

For almost fifty years, Eugene Wells of Goble-Roberts Addition has carried a piece of World War II embedded in his hip. Now Wells will so carry a piece of that war near his heart. Last week, Wells was awarded the Navy’s Purple Heart, one of the military’s highest honors, for injuries he received in one of the major air-naval battles of war.

An attorney representing a Carl D. Perkins Job Corps counselor accused of soliciting an assault on a student said, Thursday, that his client’s 1966 murder conviction has nothing to do with the misdemeanor charges pending against him. “They’re just draggin’ his name through the mud for nothing,” Prestonsburg attorney Keith Bartlett said. “He has repaid his debt to society.”

There died: Elmer “Hoover” Vanover, 75, of Dorton, Monday, at Pikeville Methodist Hospital; Irvin Sparkman, 81, of Leburn, Thursday, at the Hazard Appalachian Regional Medical Center; Stevie L. Milam, 28, of Harold, Sunday, at his residence; Green B. Johnson, 82, of Hi Hat, Thursday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Thelma Jones, 85, of Drift, Sunday, at Mountain Manor Nursing Home; Madgie Childers Johnson, 74, of Jenkins, Friday, at Pikeville Methodist Hospital; Jones W. Martin, 91, of Eastern, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital; William Henry McCoy, 64, of McCombs, Friday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Golda Tackett, 91, of Virgie, Monday, at Mountain View Health Care Center; David R. “Buddy” Sanders, 52, of Romulus, Michigan, Wednesday; Charles R. Moore, 18, of Chloe Creek, formerly of Harold, Friday, at his residence; Alec Spencer Bailey, Friday, at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington; Charles Edvon Slone, 57, of Banner, Monday, at his residence; Gladys Kendrick Coleman, 83, of Elkhorn City, Saturday, at Pikeville Methodist Hospital; Josephine “Penie” Davidson Fields, 88, of Prestonsburg, Wednesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Dora Honaker Hawkins, 68, of Harold, Monday, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital.

30 years ago

(March 3, 1982)

Elisha Branham Jr., 23, of Prater Creek, pleaded guilty in circuit court, Monday, to charges of murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery in the abduction of 18-year-old Michael Dwayne Cline of Emma, and was sentenced to two life prison terms, plus 20 years.

Commodore Lewis Truman, 36-year-old Topmost man, was killed instantly by a rockfall near the entrance of a Toler Creek mine.

Arson is cited in a fire at a tipple recently leased by Ray-Mac Mining Company at Simpson’s Branch, near McDowell.

Kentucky Black Lung Program is being investigated, with special attention given to the millions of dollars paid to doctors and lawyers under the program.

There died: Billy Ray Whitt, 47, of Sugar Loaf, last Thursday, at his home; Charles Reinsmith, 84, of Betsy Layne, Tuesday, at Mountain Manor Nursing Home; Flora Jones, 64, of Melvin, last Thursday, at Riverview Nursing Home; Cliva Jeanette Oaks, 64, of Weeksbury, Friday, at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital; Georgia H. Martin, 65, of Dema, last Thursday, at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital; Theda D. Hall Branham, 58, of Auxier, last Thursday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Melvin Hall, 56, of Galveston, Sunday, at Pikeville Methodist Hospital; Cora K. Hale, 82, of Betsy Layne, February 27, at Pikeville Methodist Hospital; William C. Conley, 22, of Allen, February 26, at University of Kentucky Medical Center; Nova Lee Lovely Hicks, 48, of Garrett, Friday, at University of Kentucky Medical Center.

40 years ago

(March 2, 1972)

The University of Kentucky and the advisory board of Prestonsburg Community College are ready for final negotiations with the Porter Estate heirs for an additional 10 acres of land for an expanded college campus here.

Although the danger of flooding was past, at least temporarily, for the Big Sandy river valley, Dewey, Fishtrap and Pound reservoirs continued Monday to hold back a tremendous volume of water.

A blaze which, last Friday, heavily damaged a building maintained by ARDF at Grethel, is said by the state fire marshal’s office to have been caused by arson.

The Buffalo Creek flood disaster came near to Floyd County, last Saturday, when relatives of many who had moved to that region from the Mare Creek section of this county learned of the lives lost there.

The consolidated school under construction at Eastern, will be known as the Allen Central High School, it has been announced.

The last Martin High School reunion will be a feature of the 58th district basketball tournament here this week.

There died: Dawson Bussey, 58, of Prestonsburg, at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Toby Howard, at Tutor Key, Saturday; Mrs. Jennie Kendrick, 82, of the Brandy Keg road, near Lancer, Friday, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital; Willard Patton Niece, 56, of Harold, Tuesday, at the McDowell Hospital; Elder Frank DeRossett Sr., 88, of Water Gap, Friday, at a Martin hospital; Peter Steven McKinney, 89, of Harold, Saturday, at a Pikeville hospital; Mrs. Laura M. Coble, 47, of Warsaw, Ind., formerly of David, February 24, in Warsaw; Mrs. Ida M. Tackett, 52, of Manton, Friday, at a nursing home here; Mrs. Cora M. Woody, 86, of Emma, last Tuesday, at a nursing home here; Johnny Adkins, 59, of Pikeville, Monday, at a nursing home there.

50 years ago

(March 1, 1962)

The closing days of February, historically a tragic month for Floyd County and the Big Sandy valley, saw floodwaters drive an estimated 500 families from their homes in this county.

The fiscal court, at a special meeting, Friday, tied with a 2-2 vote on a motion made by Magistrate Bryant Derossett to discharge all county employees. County Judge Henry Stumbo voted in the negative to untie the deadlock. Derossett charged that the road employees were hauling “red dog” cinders and distributing these on private roads and driveways.

An average of 41.75 of Floyd entrants drop out of school before graduation, according to studies compiled by Earl Martin, director of pupils personnel of the Floyd County School System.

Coal production, in the field represented by the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Operators Association, is now up 21 percent above the corresponding period last year, it was noted by the most recent report of the mining group.

There died: Ed Sutton, 71, Monday, at his home at Langley; John Bascom Bayes, 52, of Auxier, Thursday, en route to Prestonsburg General Hospital; Mrs. Cora Sherman, 69, of Auxier, Saturday, at Springfield, O.; Mrs. Victoria P. Hall, 89, of Bonanza, Sunday, at the home of a son there.

60 years ago

(February 28, 1952)

At least two Floyd County mines did not work Monday, because a large number of their workers being in Leslie County, to ally themselves with the United Mine Workers’ move to unionize that coal field, it was reported here, Wednesday.

There will be two pre-induction calls for the army from Floyd County during the month of March, local board number 25 said here this week.

The United Fuel Gas Company has brought in, on the Meathouse Fork of Johns Creek, a natural gas well that is producing about 17,000,000 cubic feet a day.

The new Seventh Congressional district, as proposed in a bill introduced in the General Assembly by Harry King Lowman, of Ashland, House majority leader, will contain 13 counties instead of eight.

Born: to Mr. and Mrs. Woodie Stumbo, of Minnie, a son, Feb. 24, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital, Martin.

There died: Hi Prater, 93, Wednesday, at his home at Blue River; Mary Ellen Flanary Robinson, 82, Feb. 20, at her home at Martin; Mrs. Anna Hubbard Potter, 50, formerly of Prestonsburg, last Wednesday, at Praise, Kentucky.

70 years ago

(March 5, 1942)

The entire upper Big Sandy river section was in black-out for hours, communication systems were disrupted and passenger traffic except by train was at a virtual standstill, Tuesday, as a result of a snowfall ranging from five inches here to 22 inches in the upper reaches of the valley.

Contract was awarded, Tuesday, by the Floyd County Board of Education to Reynolds & Gunnells on the constructon of a nine-room grade school building and auditorium at Betsy Layne.

Requests that all public school superintendents prepare estimates of the number of persons expected to register March 17-20 for the nation-wide sugar rationing program have been sent out by State Superintendent of Public Instruction John W. Booker.

Paying rent? Well, if you’re in Floyd County, you’re paying only half as much as Mr. Average Kentuckian, according to Census Bureau figures.

There died: Bee Castle, 32, Saturday, at Stumbo Memorial Hospital, five hours after being crushed beneath a two-ton rock in a country coal bank near his home at Salt Lick; Mrs. George Owsley, of Garrett, last Thursday, at the Martin General Hospital; Mrs. Lucy McNeer, 56, of East Point, Wednesday, at the Paintsville Clinic; Joel Martin, 63, of Drift, Tuesday, at the Martin General Hospital; Sam Jarrell, 78, Feb. 26, at his home at Emma; Frank A. Ellis, 62, Friday, at his home here.

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