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20 years ago

(May 26 and May 28, 1993)

Incumbent Floyd County Sheriff Paul Hunt Thompson, came cleanly away from what was easily the muddiest campaign of the primary season to lead all vote-getters, Tuesday. Although former deputy sheriff John K. Blackburn had been expected by some to run neck and neck with Thompson, the incumbent pulled away to cross the finish line with more than 4,000 votes more than the second-place Blackburn.

Incumbent Floyd County Judge-Executive John M. Stumbo turned back a spirited challenge, Tuesday, from one well-known radio personality to earn a chance against another this fall. Surprisingly close, as early returns filtered in, Tuesday, Stumbo’s margin over Republican-turned-Democrat Dale McKinney, widened as the night drew on. McKinney, owner-operator of Martin radio station WMDJ, made an issue of the county’s solid waste problems during his campaign, and that issue obviously helped McKinney carry 12 of the county’s 41 precincts. Unofficial totals gave Stumbo the win, however, with a 8,994 vote total to McKinney’s 7,011 votes. Stumbo will now face Republican nominee Gorman Collins Sr., in the November election. Collins is owner of Prestonsburg station WQHY, and is currently a member of the Prestonsburg City Council.

Eula Hall, founder of the Mud Creek Clinic, received yet another honor, Sunday afternoon, when she was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the president of Hartford, Connecticut’s prestigious Trinity College. According to Trinity College President Tom Gerety’s speech, Hall was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Sunday for her “…countless acts of caring kindness…, selfless toil…, and (her) message of hope for the people of Appalachia.”

The Prestonsburg City Council is proceeding with caution on plans to offer a portion of the Bert T. Combs Airport property as a potential site for a new Veteran’s Administration nursing home. The plan was first announced, last week, when Floyd County Development Authority Executive Director Darrell Gilliam told members of that agency that an informal consortium, including members of the governmental bodies of Prestonsburg and Paintsville, and Floyd, Martin and Lawrence counties, had suggested submitting an application to the federal government ,offering property adjacent to the airport for the facility. One problem with the plan, Big Sandy Area Development District Director Roger Recktenwald told members of the board, last week, is that the VA nursing home facility might not be compatible with the airport strip.

Problems at the polls plagued the political process in Floyd County, Tuesday, preventing some early morning pollsters from casting their ballots and giving the state Board of Elections pause for thought. The problems started early, Floyd County Clerk Carla “Robinson” Boyd said, when workers transporting the voting machines to the election precincts, inadvertently switched the machines designated for Auxier and Abbott Creek.

Floyd County voters unseated incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Patton, Tuesday, electing dark horse challenger John Earl Hunt by a slender margin, in what may have been the primary’s greatest upset. In unofficial totals of the 17,030 ballots cast in Tuesday’s election, representing more than 56 percent of registered voters in the county, Hunt defeated Patton by a 539-vote margin, receiving 8,383 votes to Patton’s 7,894.

Bingo is back at Prestonsburg High School, and the first numbers are expected to be called at the weekly game’s revival on Monday, June 7. Floyd County school board members approved a proposal from principal Karen Trivette, Wednesday, to bring back one of the top money-making fund raisers for that school.

Despite mechanical malfunctions and apparent vandalism that compelled out-going Commonwealth’s Attorney, Jerry Patton, to request that seven ballot machines be impounded immediately after the election, Tuesday, Floyd County Clerk Carla Boyd said, Thursday, that none of the losing candidates have as yet asked for a vote recanvass. Boyd said that she, Patton and Attorney General Chris Gorman, had asked the Pikeville Post of the Kentucky State Police to impound the machines after mechanical malfunctions at the Wheelwright, Maytown and Cliff Number Two precincts, forced voters to cast paper ballots, and the locks on machines at the Auxier, Abbott Creek, Porter and Garrett precincts had apparently been tampered with.

President Bill Clinton’s controversial new energy tax plan may spell trouble for Eastern Kentucky, Fifth Congressional District Representaitve Harold Rogers said Wednesday, costing the region nearly 2,000 jobs. Rogers said in a press release issued Wednesday, that Clinton’s energy plan, which went before the House of representatives Thursday, contains the “largest tax increase in America’s history” and will have a dramatic impact on rural America, particularly Eastern Kentucky.

A Floyd County man was allegedly held at gunpoint, Wednesday, by a Prestonsburg woman who demanded the man take her to the First Guaranty National Bank and withdraw funds from an account. The man, Mike Taylor, told police that a woman, identified as Rhonda Harris, also known as Rhonda Vanco, came to his business place, Thursday, claiming that her car had a flat tire, and that she was pregnant and needed assistance. Floyd County deputy Ricky Thornsberry said the victim said the woman pulled out what appeared to be a .45 caliber weapon and said she was wired with explosives. Taylor reported that the woman instructed him to drive to the bank at Martin. When Taylor pulled into the parking lot at the bank, he fled the vehicle and phoned the sheriff’s department. The woman was later taken into custody.

A site preparation contract was awarded, Wednesday, to Ooten Coal Company, for work to begin on the physical education facility at South Floyd High School. Because the site preparation part of the project was declared an emergency, four companies were contacted to submit proposals, and Ooten’s $91,398 cost estimate was the lowest received.

There died: Sonjia Sue Meade, 50, of Harold, Thursday, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington; Melvin Floyd Conn, 82, of Harold, Saturday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Virgil Handshoe, 75, of Gunlock, Saturday, at his residence; Dollie K. Mitchell, 82, of Harold, Saturday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Dennis Gene Johnson, 46, of Wyandotte, Michigan, Monday, at the University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor; Juanita J. Cook, 70, of Urbana, Ohio, Monday; Eulah Stephens May, 85, of Orange City, Florida, formerly of Langley, May 22, at her home; Norcie Gibson Hunt, 89, of Hueysville, Friday, at the Knott County Nursing Home, Hindman; Stella Mae Lafferty, 66, of South Bead, Indiana, formerly of Dwale, Monday, in Plymouth, Indiana; Herman Ward, 52, of Orient, Ohio, a Wheelwright native, March 27, at Mt. Carmel Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio; Luther Tackett, 81, of Drift, Wednesday, at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital; Hugh Vinson Osborne, 42, of McDowell, Tuesday, at McDowell Appalachian Regional Hospital; George Edward Allen, 79, of Lancaster, formerly of Langley, Tuesday, at the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, Danville.

30 years ago

(May 25, 1983)

Charles George, 28, of East Point, was instantly killed, Friday morning, when his car plunged over the hillside from the Abbott Mountain approach to the Cliff Bridge.

Gov. John Y. Brown, named Prestonsburg attorney Barkley J. Sturgill as judge-executive to fill the vacancy, due to the death of Jerry Lafferty.

Construction is already underway on a giant flea market and associated operations on the Floyd-Johnson County line, which may make the development the largest of its type in the country.

If it is to have any hope of ending the fiscal year in the black, the county will have to be virtually shut down, Al Howell, field representative for the state finance office informed members of the fiscal court this week. The county is expected to receive bills totaling $268,821 before the end of the fiscal year and only $210,665 in funds are available.

There died: Josh Wilson Cole, 45, manager of the Prestonsburg-Paintsville airport, Sunday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Opal Slone, 59, of Martin, May 17, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Bertie Slone Maddox, 72, of Martin, Wednesday, at her home; John Hale, 75, May 15, at his home at Harold; Rosie Tackett, 60, of Teaberry, Friday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center.

40 years ago

(May 30, 1973)

Floyd County was spared its daily threat of rain until 3 p.m., election day, but the bright weather failed to bring the voters out to the polling places in great numbers.

In some parts of the country Memorial Day travelers were warned they might have to shop around for enough gasoline for the drive home, but not so in this county.

If the federal government persists in its policy of refusing help to municipal water systems, three proposed rural systems in the Prestonsburg vicinity may have to find a water supplier other than Prestonsburg.

Born: to Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Neal, of Garrett, a son, May 15; to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Newsome Jr., of Hi Hat, a daughter, May 16; to Mr. and Mrs. Danny Bryant, of Estill, a son, May 20.

There died: Jobe Hughes, 53, Thursday, at his home at Hippo; Mrs. Mindy Newsome Hamilton, 84, Thursday, at her home, at Teaberry; Mrs. Shelba Jean Crager, 34, formerly of Garrett, Tuesday, at Garrett, Ind.; Lee T. Lewis, 74, Thursday, at home on Cow Creek; Edward William (Bill) Ackerman, 53, of Prestonsburg, last Friday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center; Gordon W. Branham Sr., 57, of Wheelwright, Thursday, at the Pikeville Methodist Hospital; Estill Jarvis, 47, of Banner, Tuesday, at Highlands Regional Medical Center.

50 years ago

(May 30, 1963)

Kentucky’s spirited Democratic gubernatorial campaign ended Tuesday in dramatic fashion—in the defeat of veteran A. B. “Happy” Chandler by a comparative newcomer, Edward T. (Ned) Breathitt Jr.

In local elections, the race for Circuit Clerk was the most spinetingling, as Frank DeRossett, a newcomer to Floyd politics, edged out David Hereford by only five votes.

Adrian Allen Dingus, 24, of Martin, and Clarence A. (Alf) Click, 53, of Langley, were killed and two others were seriously injured shortly after midnight, Saturday, when one automobile struck a bridge at Martin and careened out of control into another.

A series of natural causes, dry weather, freeze, frost, then rain, has cut delivery of strawberries to the processing plant here to as low as 100 crates per day for several days, according to the management.

Born: to Mr. and Mrs. John G. Heinze, of Prestonsburg, a daughter, Lisa Allen, May 22, at the Paintsville Hospital.

There died: Mrs. Mollie Woods, 70, last Thursday, at her home at Allen; Mrs. Kitty Swiger, 38, of Printer, last Thursday, at Methodist Hospital, Pikeville; Arthur Lee Hall, 40, of Wayland, Sunday, at Our Lady of the Way Hospital, Martin; Ezra Crisp, 57, of Dana, last Thursday; Eddie B. Newsom, 39, of Weeksbury, May 13, at Louisville.

60 years ago

(May 21, 1953)

Every direction he turned on a visit here, Friday, Governor Lawrence Weatherby saw placards reading, “We Want a State Park at Dewey Lake,” but he could not say when such an improvement would be made.

The new $475,000 high school building here has been temporarily delayed by failure of bond firms to offer bids on bonds. The bond market was described as “nervous.”

A State Department of Education survey group privately expressed the opinion that Floyd County needs $3 million worth of school construction.

The Floyd Fiscal Court voted, Wednesday, to issue $230,000 worth of revenue bonds to finance four independent gas distributing systems in the county.

Married: Miss Barbara Allen and Mr. John G. Heinze, both of Prestonsburg, May 16, at the First Presbyterian Church here.

There died: Willie Frazier, 51, of Dock, Sunday, at the Prestonsburg Hospital; Robert Neal Harris, 74, last Thursday, at the home, here, of his daughter, Mrs. W. O. Goebel Sr.; Mrs. Lula Childers, 44, of Emma, Monday, at the Paintsville Hospital; Mrs. Leona B. Oaks, 38, last Thursday, at the home, here, of her mother, Mrs. Lou Baldridge; Mrs. Carolina J. Prater, 65, Friday, at the home, here, of her daughter, Mrs. Dove Vaughan; Miles Gibson, 61, of Langley, Tuesday.

70 years ago

(May 20, 1943)

Floyd County returned a 472-vote wet majority in last Saturday’s local option election.

It was learned this week that two Floyd Countians, previously listed as missing, are prisoners of war. They are Signalman First Class Wyman Walters of Allen, a prisoner of the Japanese, and T/5 Shirley A. Lewis, of Betsy Layne, who was captured in the North African offensive.

Wounded in action: T/5 James O. Cavins of Garrett, in North Africa.

The City of Prestonsburg, last Saturday, consummated the purchase of the gas company serving the community for $50,000.

Two hundred twenty-nine Floyd County high school seniors were graduated in mass exercises, here, last Friday.

Fifty-one Floyd farmers have contracted to grow hemp this year.

Ten-year-old Betty Jean Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Martin, of McDowell, passed the eighth grade test for high school entrance last week.

Riley Conn, of Prestonsburg, was reported missing this week. His wife said he was last heard of early in March, while at Cleveland, Ohio.

Miss Dempil Herald, Prestonsburg high school senior, is the winner of this year’s Good Citizenship Award, given by John Graham Chapter, D.A.R.

Born: to Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Keathley, of Martin, on May 8, their third son—Robert Anthony.

There died: Mrs. Helen Gearheart, 90, Tuesday, at Lackey; Mrs. Alta Sword, 29, of Fed, Friday, at a Martin hospital; Elige Wells, about 65, last Wednesday, at Lancer.

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