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20 years ago

(Feb. 3, and Feb. 5, 1993)

Five counties in the Big Sandy region will go their separate ways in an effort to come together with a vision for the future. Following a mandate from Governor Brereton Jones, and the state’s General Assembly, the Big Sandy Area Development District on Thursday, January 28, launched the local version of “Kentucky 2001,” a state-wide project aimed at assessing needs, setting goals and implementing strategies for Kentucky’s development into the next century. Each of the state’s 15 area development districts will undertake similar planning processes to contribute to an overall strategic plan for the commonwealth.

Three weeks before her murder, Ella Frances Hunter called Kentucky State Police and said she feared her estranged husband would follow her to Karate class at Betsy Layne High School and “cause trouble.” Last Sunday, at the gate to Betsy Layne High School, police say Hunter’s husband, Phillip Hunter, shot and killed his wife and her boyfriend, just prior to the beginning of her Karate class. KSP Captain Robert Forsythe said, Tuesday, that Ella Hunter called the Pikeville police post on Sunday, January 10, saying she feared her husband would follow her. Forsythe said Ella Hunter, 41, was advised to call the post if her husband showed up. Apparently, her husband did not follow her that day. Phillip Hunter, 46, of Honaker, was charged with two counts of capital murder, Sunday afternoon, after he allegedly killed his wife, and Darrell Blackburn, 45, of Pikeville.

Representatives from Equitable Gas Company met, Wednesday, in a public hearing in Frankfort with the Kentucky Public Service Commission, in an effort to enact a proposed natural gas price hike, which could affect nearly 2,000 Floyd County residents. The proposed hike would affect nearly 5,000 Equitable Gas Company customers in Floyd, Johnson, Pike, Martin, Magoffin, Letcher, Knott, Perry, Leslie and Lawrence counties, a company spokesman said, Thursday. Equitable Gas Company, a division of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Equitable Resources, Incorporated, works in conjunction with the Kentucky-West Virginia Gas Company to provide natural gas to an estimated 1,600 Floyd County customers, Equitable Resources Communications Director Brian Plant said, Thursday. He added that Kentucky-West Virginia Gas customers should not be affected by the price hike, if it is allowed.

The signs may have been taken down repeatedly, but the message remains the same—why? Why have the accidents at the new U.S. 23 and Route 1428 continued, killing two people and critically injuring four others. Even more importantly, one Floyd County man asks, why hasn’t the state taken the necesssary measures to stop what he terms the “senseless slaughter.” The man, who prefers to be known only as “Anonymous,” continues to place the signs proclaiming “Why?” on the rock cliff that provided an untimely end for Jimmy Howard Brewer, 34, of Seagrove, North Carolina, and 15-month-old Katherine Baker, of Clintwood, Virginia.

A Wheelwright man who threatened to kill acting Wheelwright Police Chief Bob Moore during a Wheelwright city commission meeting last month, did so, because he was under the influence of a drug called Prozac, his attorney said Wednesday. Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf appeared in Floyd County District Court, Wednesday, for a preliminary hearing on behalf of his client, Rodney Thornsberry. Pillersdorf waived the hearing and District Judge Danny Caudill sent the matter to circuit court where a grand jury is expected to hear evidence in the case later this month. Pillersdorf said if Thornsberry is indicted for wanton endangerment and first degree assault on a police officer with a weapon, and the case goes to court, he will blame his client’s actions on his taking the drug Prozac, a drug commonly prescribed to treat depression.

There died: Herby Messer, 70, of Leburn, Sunday, at the Hazard Appalachian Regional Medical Center; Dora Martin Blackburn, 74, of Prestonsburg, Sunday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Hazel Crisp, 88, of Wheelwright, Sunday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Janice H. Dingus, 55, of Prestonsburg, Friday, at Paul B. Hall Medical Center; Hattie Mae Burke, 69, of Bevinsville, Monday, at the Hazard Appalachian Regional Hospital; Opal M. Butler, 67, of Sciotoville, Ohio, formerly of Drift, Saturday, at Scioto Memorial Hospital, Portsmouth, Ohio; Norsie Thelma Goble, 73, of Auxier, Sunday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Ella Frances Hunter, 41, of Honaker, Sunday, at Betsy Layne; Charles Elliott Corder, 72, of Ray, Ohio, formerly of Van Lear, Saturday, at Medical Center Hospital, Chillicothe, Ohio; Josie Likens Moore, 94, of Berea, formerly of Harold, Friday, at Berea Hospital; Darrell G. Blackburn, 45, of Spring Branch, Pikeville, Sunday, at Betsy Layne; Lack Hamilton, 92, formerly of Hurricane Creek, Wednesday, at Mountain Manor Nursing Home, Pikeville; Beulah Ratliff, 98, of Lackey, Saturday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Amy Ratliff Campbell, 74, of Corn Fork, Prestonsburg, Monday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Maggie Crider, 97, of Prestonsburg, Sunday, at the Riverview Manor Nursing Home; Ethel Sturgill Gibson, 77, of Wayland, Sunday; Mabel R. Mosley, 62, of Shelby, Ohio, native of Drift, Monday, at her home; Melvin Click Jr., 55, of Prestonsburg, Tuesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Helen M. Holbrook, 69, of Continental, Ohio, formerly of Floyd County, Monday, at St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, Ohio; Aggie Hall Burke, 86, of Weeksbury, Monday, at Weeksbury; Bernice Crawford, 66, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, December 14, at her home; Ona Blackburn Harris, 73, of Prestonsburg, Wednesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Hattie Mae Burke, 69, of Bevinsville, native of Halo, Monday, at Hazard Appalachian Regional Hospital; Gearline Case Stewart, 53, of New London, Ohio, Wednesday, at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, Norwalk, Ohio.

30 years ago

(February 2, 1983)

Price Hall, 39, of McDowell, conviced last month of first-degree manslaughter, in the shooting death of Ed “Panhandle” Moore, and the assault of Moore’s two sons, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter, and one year each for the assault counts.

Ronald Gullett, 46, of Wheelwright, who suffered extensive burns when he touched a power line at a mine last February, has sued the mine owners and the power company for more than $10 million.

The state alcoholic beverage control board is largely to blame for the problems facing Floyd officials in regulating establishments that serve beer, County Attorney Arnold Turner Jr., charged last week.

There died: John L. Poe, 83, of Abbott Creek, January 25, at Paintsville Hospital; Mary Craft George of Lake Road, Sunday, at her home; Minnie Stumbo, 90, of McDowell, Friday, in Michigan; Mamie M. Stanfield, 80, of Betsy Layne, January 21, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Roma E. Tackett, 84, January 24, at her home at Price; John Gomer Harrington, 77, of Hunter, Friday, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital; Elzie Collins, 54, of Prestonsburg, last Friday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; and Preston Henry Singleton, 80, of Melvin, Sunday, at the McDowell Appalachian Regional Medical Center.

40 years ago

(February 7, 1973)

Work already underway, or to be initiated in this county this year, by South Central Bell in a program designed to afford better telephone service will involve expenditure of almost $2 million, telephone company manager, Phill O. Scott, said last week.

The Mud Creek Health Project, a “bootstrap” operation undertaken by residents of that section of the county, without federal funding, will open next Tuesday.

Glenn S. Anderson Sr., ended almost 29 years of work with the Kentucky Employment Service, last Wednesday, when he retired.

Chuck Roast cost just 69¢ per pound and five 32-oz. bottles of Coke cost just $1.

Two former Floyd County residents were among those graduated from the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort, last Friday. They are Larry Prater and James Stephens.

There died: Lee Salisbury, 83, formerly of Hunter, in a car crash last Wednesday at Plant City, Fla.; Mrs. Annie Collins Belcher, 23, formerly of Garrett, in a car accident, Sunday, in Kendallville, Indiana; Preston Fields, 52, brother of Tom Fields, of Prestonsburg, in a car accident in Florida, Feb. 2; Mrs. Betty S. Slone, 85, of Akron, Indiana, formerly of this county, Jan. 26 in a Warsaw, Ind. hospital; Mrs. Vina E. Leslie, 80, of Stanville, Jan. 12, in a Pikeville nursing home; William Bailey, 71, of Melvin, Thursday, at a Martin hospital; Sherman J. Centers, 79, of Auxier, Jan. 30, at a hospital here; Mrs. Fannie H. Guerin, 57, of Pikeville, formerly of Prestonsburg, Jan. 28, in Pikeville; Carl C. Conley, 76, of Loveland, O., native of Bonanza, Jan. 17, in a Cincinnati hospital; Mrs. Judy M. Irick, 65, Jan. 22, at her home at Betsy Layne; Mrs. Mattie E. Hall, 71, of Hall, Jan. 26 in Jenkins; Jim Ousley, 70, of West Prestonsburg, Thursday, at a Paintsville hospital; Mrs. Renda C. Stumbo, 68, of Flat River, Mo., formerly of this county, Jan. 12, at Bonne Terre (Mo.) Hospital; Sammie Bays, Jr., 56, of Warsaw, Ind., formerly of Prestonsburg, Jan. 17, near his home in Warsaw; Mrs. Georgie W. Horn, 72, of Prestonsburg, died Sunday, at a nursing home here; H. B. Spurlock Jr., 51, of Springfield, O., formerly of Prestonsburg, Saturday, in Springfield.

50 years ago

(February 7, 1963)

State Labor Commissioner Carl Cabe said, Tuesday, “very good progress has been made in talks aimed at a settlement of labor troubles in the eastern Kentucky coalfields.

46-year-old Earl Campbell, of Hippo, was found dead, and two others unconscious in a room of the Mountain View Motel at tragedy-ridden Knotley Hollow, near Lancer, Monday afternoon.

The number of persons receiving the Type III oral polio vaccine at clinics held over the county last Sunday afternoon was slightly above 5,000, Dr. Russell L. Hall, county health doctor, said Wednesday.

The Hubbard C. Francis Scholarship Award, established this week by the Francis Stores of Prestonsburg, is the first such grant to be made available annually to deserving students at the Prestonsburg Community College.

There died: Mrs. Virginia Needham Stephens, 65, Prestonsburg teacher, Monday at the Prestonsburg General Hospital; Henry B. Clay, 64, of Emma, Saturday, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital; Miss Virginia Ann Allen, 20, of Prestonsburg, last Wednesday, at Prestonsburg General Hospital; Mrs. Melvina Thornsbury, 77, of Pyramid, Saturday, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital; Wayne Martin, 56, Monday, at his home at McDowell; Mrs. Linda Greer, 47, formerly of Floyd county, January 4, at Kenton, O.; Mrs. Siller Lucas, 23, last Wednesday, at her home at Estill; Mrs. Rebecca Newsom, 77, Saturday, at her home at Beaver.

60 years ago

(February 5, 1953)

Floyd County’s teacher shortage was described by County Superintendent Virgil O. Turner, this week, as “desperate,” with nine, schools either closed or reopening after having been closed for lack of instructors.

The Floyd County Board of Education asked, at its Tuesday meeting, the Floyd Fiscal Court to act as its financial agent, and to advertise for bids on the construction here of the long-delayed high school building; and, at the same meeting, the board approved preliminary plans on school buildings at Bosco and Ligon.

A strike of the Inland Steel Company’s plant at Indiana Harbor, Indiana, resulted in a halt of all coal shipments from the Inland Steel Company at Wheelwright, idling approximately 1,200 miners there.

The Foreman’s Club at Wheelwright is working to give the community top standing in blood-giving for 1953, by meeting the full 125-pint quota, when the Red Cross bloodmobile visits there, next Tuesday.

There died: Samuel L. Isbell, 47, of Prestonsburg, former Floyd County agricultural agent and widely known veterinarian, Wednesday, at Staffordsville, Johnson County; Mrs. Alma Branham Elliott, 29, formerly of Martin, at home in Wilmington, Illinois, January 27; Mrs. Satch King, 66, at home on Mare Creek, Tuesday; Mrs. Ella S. Richardson, 80, Thursday, at home on Middle Creek; Turner R. Prater, 74, of Bonanza, former Floyd County magistrate, at home, Wednesday; Cynthia Rose Riddle, 70, of Lick’s Branch, February 1, at the Beaver Valley Hospital, Martin; Henry Bowe, 84, at home at Auxier, Saturday; Cary N. Martin, 60, at home at Allen, Monday; Mrs. Bessie Arnett, 61, of Howard Branch, near David, Tuesday, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital.

70 years ago

(February 4, 1943)

Tuesday, this week, the last payment on the $46,000 firefighting equipment purchased by the City of Prestonsburg was made, Mayor E. P. Arnold announced.

To qualify Floyd County for its share of approximately $23,000 of the states $2,000,000 rural highway fund, the fiscal court, last week, listed 30 projects covering approximately 125 miles of rural road in this county on which the fund may be expended.

The Navy Department recently awarded a letter of commendation to 18-year-old James Paul Connors, formerly of Auxier, citing the young seaman for “devotion to duty and courage” during the sinking of an enemy submarine by a merchant vessel on which Connors was a member of a gun crew.

Selective service headquarters here, this week, estimated that between 2,700 and 2,900 Floyd County men are now in the armed forces.

Floyd Chapter, American Red Cross, will begin, on March 1, a drive to raise a War Fund quota of $13,500—the greatest Red Cross quota ever assigned the county in a single year.

Mrs. Edith Fitzpatrick James, well-known Prestonsburg singer, will sing, Thursday night, with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the performance of pieces by Debussy.

Born: to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Peters, twin daughters—Patsy Marie and Mary Elizabeth, February 8, at the Prestonsburg General Hospital.

There died: Cephus Bates, 19, of Buckingham, Friday; Mrs. Rebecca McKinney, 85 years old, Friday, at the home of her daughter at Wayland; Mrs. Emily Sizemore Begley, 89, Friday, at the home of a son, near Maytown.

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