47 YEARS AGO

JUNE 21, 1972

Former Mayor Dies

William C. "Bill" Norfleet, who served for almost a quarter of a century as mayor of Somerset, died Tuesday morning in Somerset City Hospital following an illness of three months.

A towering figure physically, he likewise was a dominant influence in local politics, always seeking to make Somerset the hub of South Central Kentucky.

He was instrumental in the planning and building of Somerset City Hospital and in the 1940's, recognized the need for the city to have its own municipal building.

Until his health prevented in recent years, he would walk the streets of Somerset's downtown and residential districts, inspecting streets, sidewalks and buildings, stretching his long legs to the extent that his associates accompanying him on the tours would be kept galloping.

His friends nicknamed him "Legs" because of his tall stature.

Often while on these tours or at home at night, he would be "hit" for "bread money" by indigent persons or entire families. He always responded to calls for help, often from his own resources, and on many occasions helped persons find employment.

He was a railroadman and oilman by vocation, ultimately being named President and co-owner of the Cumberland River Oil Co., the Shell Oil distributor in South Central Kentucky.

He was a native of Pulaski County, son of the late Wyatt and Odie Brittain Norfleet. On April 21, 1913, he and Bertha Pierce were married. She died on July 21, 1968. On April 24, 1969, he and Mary Elizabeth Cummins were married and she survives.

Hotel Beecher Renovations Planned

The Hotel Beecher will live again.

The magnificent building on South Main Street has been purchased by a native of Athens, Ohio, who now lives on West Ky. 80 near Nancy. He plans to refurbish the five-story structure into a first-class hotel and restaurant facility.

Jack B. Mitchell said he bought the hotel because "Somerset needs it." He didn't reveal the price paid for the hotel, but called it "…a good buy."

The renovation will transform the hotel's 75 rooms into 36 suites and four "overnighters." The crystal ballroom, with its still beautiful chandeliers hanging as reminders of a glorious past, will be transformed into a 250-seat dining room.

The kitchen will be put back in its original place and the space it currently occupies will be used for a 40-seat coffee shop.

"I plan to hire the very best chef obtainable…I guarantee we'll have good food," said the new owner.

Summer is Season of Natural Beauty - By Bill Mardis

This is the longest day of the year. The night is lighted by fireflies.

The coolness of the ol' swimming hole, a clear deep pool in the bend of a creek. Ah. The joys of a refreshing dip, breaking the dullness of a long, hot day.

A walk along a dusty road, barefooted. Hot pebbled are etched in the sweet memories of childhood life.

The sweetness of a watermelon, chilled in the spring branch, still clings in my mind. Salt from the kitchen table adds tang to its flavor.

Mom's rocking chair softly creaks, dad, in his cane bottom chair, leans against the wall. They're both gone now, sleeping forever beneath grass-covered mounds in the church cemetery just over the hill. The ram shackled old farmhouse still sits by the road.

Summer is a season of nostalgia. The 1972 edition of the memory season officially arrived at 3:06 a.m. today.

Prices at Winn-Dixie

Cans of baby food - 9 cents

16-oz. fruit cocktail - 25 cents

Kraft Mayonnaise - 67 cents

Peter Pan Peanut Butter - 45 cents

Four-pack Charmin Tissue - 35 cents

Crackin' Good Potato Chips - 2/$1.00

1-lb. Can Maxwell House Coffee - 48 cents

'Gas War' in

Monticello

"Get it While You Can," the title of one of Janis Joplin's hit songs, describes exactly what the Monticello motorists are doing while the "Gas War" continues.

Today marks two weeks since the original three stations began to battle for low gas prices.

With the opening of a new self-service station in Monticello on Wednesday, the "gas war" broke out.

The new station, selling Sonic gasoline, is currently the cheapest at 23.9 cents per gallon for regular gas.

Wreck Victim in Serious Condition

Ola Reed Gibson, 64, Bronston, remains in serious condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Lexington after suffering head injuries in an auto-truck accident yesterday.

The mishap occurred when the 1967 Chevrolet pickup truck she was riding in was struck by a southbound late model auto at the intersection of Slate Branch Road and U.S. 27.

The Gibson woman was taken to Somerset City Hospital where she was given emergency aid, then she was rushed to St. Joseph's in Lexington by A-1-A Ambulance Service.

Burnside Girl

Injured on Island

Wilma Susanna Brooks, 17, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Brooks of Burnside, was admitted to City Hospital Sunday evening and treated for a brain concussion.

Miss Brooks was playing softball with friends in Burnside Island State Park about 6 p.m. when she reportedly fell and struck her head while running.

Mrs. Dikeman Retires

Mrs. Blanche Kennedy Dikeman has retired as clerk-stenographer teacher of the Somerset Vocational School after seven years in that position.

Students and former students gave a picnic at Burnside Island in her honor. She was presented with a handsome silver tray on which was engraved "Thank you for expecting the best of us."

Mrs. Dikeman is known as one of the most outstanding and dedicated business and office teachers in the state.

Mrs. Dikeman began her career by teaching four years in the Louisville public schools. She then married and moved back to Somerset and became a legal secretary for her father, Judge H. C. Kennedy, and brother Sam C. Kennedy.

In 1965, between vocational school classes, she worked for Somerset Community College enrolling the first 300 students for that college.

News from June 19, 1940 - 79 Years Ago

Sunday School

Association Elects Officers

At the closing session of the Pulaski County Sunday School Association convention at Sardis Methodist Church at Shepola Sunday afternoon, officers were elected to serve for the coming year.

Colonel William B. Gragg was named president, Homer Neikirk and Fleet Shoun vice presidents, and George A. Joplin Jr., secretary-treasurer.

Red Cross Success

Much of the success of the Red Cross emergency war relief drive for funds in this county is due to the untiring efforts of attorney Nicholas W. Klein, chairman of the Pulaski County chapter of the Red Cross and Mr. Charles Mayhugh, manager of the campaign.

Each has devoted much of their time and energy to the worthy movement and has been able to obtain the fullest cooperation from large group of volunteer workers.

Soap Box Derby

Somerset and Pulaski County boys interested in entering the annual Soap Box Derby are securing entry blanks at M L Gover's Store and making plans to construct cars for entering this event.

Last year about 30 cars were entered, and interest is increasing. The race will be held on Harvey's Hill with the Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce serving as joint sponsors.

An effort will be made to send the winners of the Somerset race to Louisville on July 20 for the annual race sponsored there by the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Patrolman Herb Norfleet will probably serve as general chairman of the committee on arrangements. A bicycle will probably be given as first prize.

UnAmerican literature?

Patrolman Herb Norfleet arrested a couple, giving their names as Mr. and Mrs. Frank Speerless, on South Main Street Saturday on a nuisance charge.

The officer said the two were members of Jehovah's Witnesses and were selling and distributing some of their literature here. The literature was described as un-American.

Speerless is 30 years old and his wife 23. They came here from Florida, but said their home is in Ohio.

The couple told Patrolman Norfleet that they were only "spreading the gospel."

"Cousin Emmy" Here

"Cousin Emmy", popular radio star and her company of entertainers will give a personal appearance program Friday night at the Somerset High School auditorium at 7:30 o'clock.

Sheriff Makes Statement

It has been reported that I had some trouble with an Army recruiting officer. I desire to state that such rumors are absolutely false and without foundation. It has also been stated that I am pro-German. For your information, I wish to add that is also false.

I am for our county only, and have no feeling for any European countries.

James M. Beaty

Cornett Held on $2,000 Bond

Gus Cornett, Eubank Route 2, charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Woods Nelson at the Southern Railway station here on June 16 was held to the grand jury under $2,000 bond Monday at his examining trial before Judge Lawrence S. Hail in county court.

The defense sought dismissal of the charges on the grounds that Cornett acted out of self-defense.

Principal witnesses for the Commonwealth were Mildred Nelson, estranged wife of Woods Nelson, and Walter S. Crump, railroad detective who witnessed the shooting. Mrs. Nelson told the court that she and Nelson has been separated about 11 months and that she had known Cornett for about one month.

On Saturday, June 15, she and Cornett were at the Southern Depot at midnight where they both planned to board the Sunday morning excursion train to Cincinnati. The fight between Cornett and Nelson occurred while the train was in the station.

Crump added that the fight took place at the southern end of the platform and he saw Nelson strike Cornett with something wrapped in newspaper, which turned out to be a wooden club. Crump started towards the men to separate them, but before he reached them he saw Cornett fire at Nelson three times.

Cornett said Nelson came up behind him without warning and began beating him over the head with a club. He said he attempted to escape and told the court he fired in self-defense.

Faces From the Past

Beth Moody in 1993

Jesse Flynn

Denton Oakes, owner/agent United National Real Estate

Rev. G. W. O'Neal in 1975

Kenneth Guessetto in 1984

Scotty Offutt in 1993June 1972