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Image 1 of Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.), October 7, 1971

Part of Mountain eagle (Whitesburg, Ky.)

m.-- University of Kentucky Serials Depi rtment Elizabeth Hanson UK Library 15 e MOUNTAIN EAGLE : Th v IT SCREAMS! Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky, Thursday, October 7, 1971 Vol. Bypass status still not clear m The status of the proposed bystill unclear, with the state highway department waiting for clearpass around Whitesburg is ance from the federal government to begin work. However, a highway department spokesman said, there's chance the entire effort might be scrapped "if there are more obstacles" Neon asks to own waterworks COURT DAYA view of a commissioner's sale in front of the Letcher County Courthouse, Whitesburg. Lee Adams, lower center, talks with a group of persons interested in purchasing some land he is about to sell for Letcher Circuit Court Photographer Lauran Emerson was perched with the birds on the top of the courthouse. (Eagle photo). bird's-ey- e Inspection plans uncertain The U. S. Bureau of Mines in Washington has said that it plans "to inspect the hell out of eastern Kentucky 's small mines in an effort to cut down the mining death rate here which is by far the highest in the country. However, a spokesman for the Bureau's district office in Pikevllle, which covers Letcher County, says that he knows of no such massive safety inspect ion drive underway here now. The spokesman, H. R. Baker, also said that there are no plans to bring mine inspectors from outside this area to check on eastern Kentucky mines. A Bureau spokesman in Washington had said that men "from as far away as 200 miles" would be brought in if the coal strike lasted long enough. Baker acknowledged that inspectors here might spend more time on smaller, nonunion operations during the time that the large, union operations that usually require much Inspection time are closed down. "But there's nothing outrageous about what we re doing, " he said. Washington Bureau officials are alarmed over the high death rate in mines here employing 14 men or less. Small Kentucky mines have had 3.47 fatalities per million man-houcompared to 1.47 in Pennsylvania and 1.44 in West Virginia. At the same time, Kentucky's large mines had a 1.13 rate through August of this year. Pennsylvania's big mine rate was leas, 1.03, and West Virginia's was .54. Of a total of 158 men killed in American coal mines this year, through September, 35 were in Kentucky. State mining officials are also alarmed over the serious rs, fatality rate. Seven of the state's 35 deaths have been in the Hazard district, including one in Letcher County. Statewide, there have also been four deaths at strip-an- d auger-mine- s. time, apparently large numbers of small mining operations are closing down or cu ting back under the pressure of the current coal slump, which some coalfield observers say is one of the worst ever. So far this year, the state Department of Mines and Minerals office in Hazard has received 52 abandoned mine notifications, compared to 31 at this point last At the same year. Of the 52, 27 have been Letcher County mines. However, Everett Bartlett, district supervisor, noted that there are more mines operating this there were last year 486. Bartlett also noted that it is possible for many mines to be closed down without the state knowing about it. "We an require them" (the operators) to notify us within te n days, but a lot don't. " If a mine is not working for more than 60 days, the state must be told before it can be reactivated, he said. Although he wasn't sure he could find the facts and figures to back it up, Bartlett said he had his own opinion as to why eastern Kentucky is suffering such a fatal rate. "We have had accidents, generally, when the mines are running full blast and the price of coal is good. When that happens, men are wil-li- n g to take short-cuts- ." He (Continued on Page 10) The town of Neon has written the Kentucky Public Service Commission and the Kentucky Water Company asking permission for Neon to purchase the water system for Fleming -- Neon and McRoberts. Mayor Durward Banks explained that the town's twenty-yebond indebtedness, to the water company expires this month. "We'll be out of debt then, and we have written to ask permission to take the system over. We have also requested a purchase price, " Banks said. He estimated that between 1, 500 and 2, 000 people are served by the water system. A prime purpose of the new group will be to prepare a computerized list of skills of eastern Kentucklans who would return to work here if they had the employment opportunities. That list will be given to indistry in the hope that it would encourage business to settle here. According to executive director Lowell Reese, 637, 000 persons have moved away from the put in its way. At the moment, the state has submitted the Environmental Impact statement required by law. That document, outlining possible ecological effects of the road, has not yet been approved by the federal government. Also, the project has not yet received formal design approval. A hearing held in Whitesburg last spring discussed the corridor. A department spokesman said that there would be another public hearing held, based on the need to air several chances that have been made in the proposal since it was initially drafted. If either the environmental statement or the design plans are disapproved, "the project will be in jeopardy. We're running out of alternatives to use, " said the highway ar Mail holiday The Post Office will observe holiday hours next Monday, October 11, due to the observation of Columbus Day. The lobby will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. The window will be closed all day. Coal strike idles 1,000 miners here The strike by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) against the nation's soft-co- al industry continues, idling an estimated 80, 000 coal miners in 20 states. The only Letcher Department of Labor officials County operation reported afhave questioned the adminifected is Beth -- Elkhorn, which strative costs of the Kentucky employs about 1, 000 men. Training Program Negotiations are continuing (OJT), claiming that they are in New York, with the union's too high. Among those programs Policy Commitchallenged is the Leslie, Knott, tee reported standing by in Letcher, Perry Community case they are needed to ratify on Page 18) an agreement. UMWA chief W. A. (Tony) Boyle and industry negotiator R. Heath Larry held separate meetings with U. S. Secretary of Labor James Hodgson. Apparently, a main obstacle to reaching an mountains over the years. He agreement is confusion on both said that 55 per cent of the residents of eastern Kentucky today sides on what the second phase of President Nixon's economic have relatives in Ohio, Illinois, program, beginning November Michigan or Indiana, 13, will do. One effort of the group will Miners left their jobs at midbe to locate former eastern Kennight last Thursday, the time tucklans now holding important when their old pact with the industrial or government posts industry expired. Although no and invite them to be on a strike was formally called, board of trustees. coal miners traditionally Another plan is to set up "Herfollow the adage, "No conitage Clubs" in each of the 32 eastern Kentucky counties which tract, no work. " The strike came as little have experienced out -- migration. surprise to either management Similar groups will also be staror labor here. Men leaving ted in Lexington, Louisville, their night shift at Beth Covington, Detroit and 22 mine in Dean ex Questioned ob 125-mem- Seek migrants9 return A group calling itself " Our Common Heritage" has been incorporated to work for the return home of eastern Kentucklans who have migrated to urban areas in search of employment. 64, No. 22 200-mem- lk-horn's pressed little feeling either way about the strike. "That's what I figured, " said one miner when told that no settlement had been reached on the deadline night. "Looks like I'll get some fishing done, " said another. Boyle has said that he will demand a wage increase from the current $37 daily union pay to $50, and that he will ask that the union's Welfare and Retirement Fund royalty payments from the companies be at least doubled from its present 40 cents a ton. There have been no reports of union picket lines at nonunion mines in the area thus far. Jurors named The Grand Jury for the October term of court was selected this week. Named to serve on the jury were: Hugh Strunk (foreman). Sherman Meade, Mrs. Mollie Caudill, Cossie Quillen, Ruby Combs, Mrs. Bill Kincer, Charlie Gibson. Landon Bent-le- y, Russell Collins. Less Boggs, Ray Bates and J. D. Banks.

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