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Observations from the archives, 2004: Deputies now equipped with Tasers

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1914, 100 years ago: Dr. Boyd will re-open his office in May. The doctor has been in New York City engaged in special work. Upon his return he will limit his practice to treatment of the eye, ear, nose and throat and give special attention to examinations for glasses. … Since road building is a big subject this year, the Minnesota State Automobile Association will ask the University of Minnesota to establish a road-building course, and begin discussions toward legislation that will permit state prisoners to work on state highways.

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1964, 50 years ago: Governor Karl Rolvaag will open the Minnesota fishing season with the WCCO Radio broadcasts that originate from Alexandria. … Two hundred Douglas County Democratic-Farmer-Laborites gathered at St. Mary’s Hall in Alexandria and unanimously endorsed Hudson Township farmer Arthur Engelbrecht for state representative. … The Douglas County Board of Commissioners purchased a new $37,890 X-ray unit for the Douglas County Hospital and awarded almost $250,000 in road contracts for the coming season. … Formation of a new youth organization known as the INTERACT Club of Alexandria was announced by Harold E. Anderson, president of the Rotary Club.

1989, 25 years ago: The Alexandria Friends of the Library celebrated National Library Week by starting the Catch ’em at the Cradle program, to promote reading and libraries from the cradle on up. All babies born at the Douglas County Hospital are presented with book packets. … A wind-swept barn fire south of Brandon caused a massive grass fire that burned more than 200 acres of open brush, most of it owned by the Department of Natural Resources. The orange glow in the sky from the fire could be seen from Alexandria and began on the property of Vernon and Oscar Sanders. … Arthur Ohman, son of the late Olaf Ohman, discoverer of the Kensington Runestone, has given his permission for the Minnesota Historical Society to conduct a dig at the site next fall. The Runestone was unearthed more than 60 years ago.

2004, 10 years ago: The Echo Press has updated and expanded offerings on its website, becoming a one-stop shop for everything Echo Press, as well as serving as a vital link to other key parts of the region. … Smokey Timbers Youth Camp is now the property of WesMin Resource Conservation and Development (WesMin RC & D). … A compromise has been reached that works favorably for the Vikingland Band Festival in Alexandria. Sara Carlson, a member of the budget committee of the city council, outlined the details, cutting the fee from $2,500 to $1,500. … Deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office are now equipped with Tasers, a device that fires two probes into a suspect, which transmit electrical current through the body. … Members of the Alexandria Farmers’ Market have requested the use of the new park area around Big Ole, near North Broadway, to sell their fruits and vegetables.

Just for fun – 1989, 25 years ago: Woodsmen Power Products of Alexandria has added a personal watercraft called the Wetjet to its product line. The portable and comparatively light (275 lbs.) craft is capable of pulling skiers and seats two people. The Wetjet is currently on display, according to Woodsmen owner Randy Lewis.

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Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.

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