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STEVE LeMASTER
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20 years ago

(Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, 1992)

Four people were killed, Monday, when an ambulance collided head-on with a coal truck and both vehicles exploded into flames on Route 460 in Johnson County. The fatality, considered the worst in Johnson County in several years, apparently occurred when the ambulance owned by G & B Ambulance Service of Salyersvville, veered into the path of the 18-wheel coal truck. The crash happened at 5:15 p.m. as the ambulance was returning to Magoffin County from Paintsville.


A two-year-old Grethel boy was killed, Tuesday morning, in a freak accident when a wringer washer tumbled off a back porch and fell on top of him. Brandon Handshoe, who would’ve been three years old September 20, was pronounced dead on arrival at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital by Floyd County Coroner Roger Nelson.


A Carl D. Perkins Job Corps counselor was cleared, Tuesday, of charges that he solicited an assault on a 17-year-old student at the center on January 10. Attorneys for both sides reached an agreement just before Clearance Trammell Jr., 52, was to stand trial in Floyd County District Court on misdemeanor charges of criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation.


Two Prestonsburg sisters were indicted, September 3, by a federal grand jury, in Lexington, for allegedly redeeming forged money orders stolen from three Eastern Kentucky post offices since May. Donna DeRossett, also known as Donna Stumbo, 31, and her sister, Ella Compton, 38, both of Prestonsburg, were arraigned in U.S. District Court in Lexington, Friday, and entered not guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to present and presenting forged money orders in several eastern Kentucky counties.


A Prestonsburg woman died and two men were hospitalized, Wednesday evening, following an auto accident in which the woman’s vehicle apparently collided with the other, flipped over a concrete barrier and landed on its roof, halting traffic in the south-bound lane of U.S. 23 for more than two hours. Joyce H. Weddington, 60, of Prestonsburg, was apparently driving her 1987 Chrysler north in the south-bound lane of U.S. 23 near Rudd Equipment, near the Route 114 intersection, when she struck a Dodge Dakota pick-up driven by Timothy W. Robinson, 25, of West Prestonsburg.


Three Coldwater men were arrested, Tuesday night, and approximately five pounds of marijuana were confiscated in a raid by sheriff’s deputies. Floyd County Sheriff Paul Hunt Thompson said, Wednesday, that a preliminary investigation begun two months ago paid off Tuesday, with the arrest of Todd Keathley, Clarence Keathley and Randy Yates, all of Coldwater.


Jack Cashman, director of the Red Mile harness racing facility in Lexington announced this week that on Sunday the track would host The Red Mile Rally to celebrate Kentucky’s harness racing industry. Cashman urged all eastern Kentuckians, particularly those displeased with the decision to deny a Floyd County track, live racing dates, to attend. Cashman publicly announced the rally, Tuesday, at a Red Mile press conference coinciding with the press conference conducted by racing commissioners at the Kentucky Horse Park to deny that they were attempting to ride the harness industry into the ground.


There died: Charles Eugene Hines Sr., 84, of Ivel, Thursday, at his residence; Rasser D. Martin, 34, of Drift, Friday, at Cow Creek; Nancy Hall, 38, of East Point, formerly of Banner, Tuesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Earnest Jones, 57, of Martin, Saturday, at his residence; Rhoda Burke, 87, of Princeton, formerly of Weeksbury, Wednesday, at Jennie Stuart Medical Center, Hopkinsville; Ray E. Childress, 82, of Hillsboro, Sunday, at St. Claire Medical Center, Morehead; James Lincoln Burchett, 74, of Endicott, Thursday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Charlie H. Prater, 68, of Old Middle Creek Road, Prestonsburg, Sunday, at his residence; Mary Boyd Akers, 75, of Dana, Monday, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital; Gary Lee Day Sr., 47, of Bypro, Thursday, at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital; Rexford “Rex” Beach Merritt, 68, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, formerly of Emma, Thursday, at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Hampton, Virginia; Greeley M. Hicks, 72, of Peru, Indiana, Monday, at Dukes Memorial Hospital, Indiana; Elizabeth Mayo, 90, of Harrodsburg, Wednesday, at Haggin Memorial Hospital; Arnie Thornsberry Elliott, 50, of Plymouth, Ohio, formerly of McDowell, Monday, at Arthur James Cancer Center University Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Joyce Hall Weddington, 60, of Prestonsburg, Wednesday, from injuries she received in an automobile accident; Janie Hicks Montgomery Moore, 73, of Prestonsburg, Tuesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Minerva Jane Cooper, 83, of Estill, Wednesday, at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington; Kennith Ray Bates, 38, of Wheelwright, Tuesday, at his residence from a self-inflicted gunshot wound; Mary Ann Minix Hall, 59, of Prescott, Illinois, formerly of Prestonsburg, Wednesday, at Good Samaritan Hospital, Grover, Illinois.


30 years ago

(September 22, 1982)

Lynn Marie Holbrook, 29, of Johnson County, pleaded guilty, last week, to the poison slaying of her husband, Paintsville Policeman Bill Holbrook, and is now a prisoner in the Floyd County Jail, awaiting her transfer to a state prison to begin serving a 20-year sentence.


Arson is suspected when a home near Hueysville, owned by Prestonsburg Attorney David Barber, was destroyed.


The identity of the victim is being sought by authorities as the first step toward determining who killed a youth whose badly decomposed body was found, Saturday morning, in a fishing pond cabin in the upper reaches of Dewey Lake.


There died: Darcus Hall Newsome, 86, of Melvin, last Wednesday, in Lexington; Otis Leedy, 76, of Betsy Layne, Wednesday, at his home; George Cavins, 71, of Raccoon, Wednesday, at UK Medical Center; Ola Jones, 53, of Wayland, died Monday, while at work; Nora Lee Conley Spradlin, Tuesday, September 14, in Louisville; Anna Delores Ray Lemaster, 50, of Allen, Sunday, en route to Highlands Regional Medical Center; Robert Napier, 44, of Hueysville, Monday, from apparent stings from a yellow jacket’s nest.


40 years ago

(September 20, 1972)

The Island Creek Coal Company ended, last Monday, its coal mining operation in this county, closing at Wheelwright. Price Mines are idling 310 employees.


Prestonsburg Community College, with an enrollment of 457, reports a 12 percent student increase over last year.


The memorial to Cochrane Dorsey, who was killed at Danville, last September, was unveiled at the Community Methodist Church here, Sept. 11. Young Dorsey’s father, the Rev. Harold W. Dorsey, served the church as pastor, without pay, in its early years while he was pastor of the First Methodist Church here. A suit for $100,000 has been filed here by Mr. and Mrs. Chester Layne, against the Department of Highways and Greer Bros. and Young, construction contractors on US 23. Plaintiffs claim that right-of-way acquired by the state did not include underlying coal that was removed.


Married: Miss Shirley Faye Cornett, of Cliff, and Mr. Ira Joe Tussey, of David, Aug. 5, at Highland Avenue Freewill Baptist Church, here; Miss Tonda Layne Hall, of Price, and Mr. Gary Houston McCoy, of Burton, September 16, at the Wheelwright Freewill Baptist Church; Miss Freida Joyce Nelson, of Dwale, and Mr. Ellery O. Owens, of Prestonsburg, Sept. 16, at Clintwood, Va.


There died: Richard J. Hatton, 24, of North Hollywood. Calif., formerly of Prestonsburg, in a truck-motorcycle collison in North Hollywood; Rhodina H. Mullins, 76, formerly of this county, at a Trenton, Mich. hospital, Tuesday, last week; Fred Adams, 88, of Martin, Friday, at a nursing home here; Hatch Branham, 65, of Martin, Friday, at U.K. Medical Center, Lexington; Clarence Edward Vaule, 31, of McDowell, Monday at a Martin hospital; Monroe Slone, 67, of Langley, Monday, at McDowell Hospital; Ellis Ratliff, 62, of Langley, last Thursday, at McDowell Hospital; William H. Childers Jr., 48, of St. Petersburg, Fla., formerly of Garrett, Aug. 28, in a St. Petersburg hospital; Lillian H. Banks, 39, former Wayland teacher, Monday, at a hospital here; Cora L. Reinsmith, 72, formerly of Mare Creek, Monday, in a Columbus, Ohio, hospital; Elizabeth Skeens Wright, 76, of Louisa, formerly of Dock, last Monday.


50 years ago

(September 20, 1962)

The liquor situation in Floyd County, and means of combating bootlegging, constituted the major portion of the final report filed by the grand jury with Circuit Judge Edward P. Hill upon its adjournment.


Police Judge Watt Hale said, this week, that not all the intoxicants sold and drunk in Prestonsburg come from bootleggers. “At least half the drunks tried in Prestonsburg police court,” said Judge Hale, “have been drunk on skin bracer.”


Work was being continued into the night hours this week, as the new lodge and other accommodations at Jenny Wiley State Park were being readied for dedication, Saturday afternoon.


Voiding of the welfare cards of the U.M.W.A. members employed by coal operators who are delinquent in paying the contract royalty of 40 cents per ton, touched off mass picketing in this county, Thursday of last week.


Saturday, September 22, will be more than a time for the dedication of the new lodge and other facilities at Jenny Wiley State Park—it has also been designated Bert Combs Day, in honor of the man who made the lodge and the million-dollar improvements at the park possible.


There died; Henry L. Hale, 23, formerly of Blue River, in an auto accident, Saturday morning, in South Whitley, Ind.; Donald Barnette, 39, of Evanston, last Thursday, in a mine accident there; Mrs. Dorsie Howell, 58, at her home at Price, last Tuesday.


60 years ago

(September 18, 1952)

The 19th known Floyd County polio sufferer is 14-year-old Bill Hall Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hall, of Melvin, who was stricken Monday, and is reported in critical condition.


A deal, completed last Thursday after several weeks’ negotiations, transferred ownership of the Utilities Elkhorn Coal Company holding at Martin, and gave promise that the idle workings will be in operation again. The transaction involved purchase by C.D. and B. F. Reed, of Drift, and P.B. Swing, Cleveland, O., of the equipment and supplies of the coal company.


Six hundred persons were guests of Dr. George P. Archer and Dr. John G. Archer, Sunday afternoon, as the two doctors threw open the doors of their new Prestonsburg General Hospital.


There died: Mrs. Lula Webb, 61, of Harold, in a two-car accident, Saturday night, at Hampton, W.Va.; Patricia Von See, eight-year-old daughter of Carl and Judy Von See, and granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hager, of Little Paint, Wednesday, at a Huntington hospital; Rev. William Jackson Setser, 87, at his home on Long Branch of Johns Creek, September 12; Zella Collins Hicks, 59, of Minnie, at a Martin hospital, September 12; Alpha Fields, 72, at the home of her son-in-law, Jerd Harvey, of Honaker, September 12; Joe Tackett, 40, of Martin, Monday, at a Martin hospital; George W. Allen, 66, Minnie merchant, and former teacher, Friday, at a Martin hospital; Alex Martin Osborne, 76, of Honaker, Monday, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital.


70 years ago

(September 17, 1942)

Last month, Kentucky led the nation—and Floyd County led Kentucky—in War Bond purchases.


In one afternoon, last week, Floyd County school children, with their elders in supporting roles, collected 30,737 pounds of scrap metals and rubber for the nation’s war production effort.


David L. Francis, vice-president and general manager of Princess Elkhorn Coal Co. at David, has quit both positions to become a lieutenant (j-g) in the Navy.


Prestonsburg firemen were called, early Saturday morning, to Paintsville when the Sipp theater was ruined by fire and an entire business block was threatened.


There died: Alex Bingham, 30, of Handshoe, Knott County, Wednesday, in a rockfall in the Elkhorn Coal Corp. mine in Wayland; Jack Hale, 86, Tuesday, at his home at Amba; Richard R. Newsome, 10, of Dana, at a Martin hospital, Sunday; William Prater, 63, Sunday, at his home in Risner; Mrs. Mary Frazier, 63, Friday, at the home in Martin of her daughter, Mrs. Walker Porter; Buck Boggs, 37, formerly of Town Branch, near here, Friday, at a Lexington hospital.


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