Column - 2003: Jerry Van Kempen honored as 'Dean of Air-Show Announcers'
By: Marge VanGorp, Alexandria Echo Press
The following is a collection of stories and other items that were included in Alexandria newspapers over the years.
100 YEARS AGO
J.A. Wedum of Alexandria has purchased the A.O. Stoa lumberyard in Ashby. J.O. Western has been named the manager… There were 221 tickets sold for the second annual ski tournament in Glenwood. Skiers and participants weathered strong cold winds. The longest jump was 151 feet, just one foot short of the state record. Glenwood plans to build a steel tower for next winter’s event… The Commercial Club gained 21 new members at its first meeting of the new year… The C.E. Colby in Forada has been remodeled and has opened for business as the Farmer’s State Bank… Ladies: 100 wrappers from the famous Galvanic Soap will get you six free Rogers 1881 silver teaspoons in the new and greatly demanded LaVigne (grape) pattern.
50 YEARS AGO
Leon Hovland, the 17-year-old vice president of the Alexandria Future Farmers of America, was announced as District Star Farmer, the highest designation of an FFA member in 25 district schools… KCMT-TV increased its power from the present 26,000 watts to 316,000. The actual increase took place during the 10 p.m. news, so that viewers in fringe areas could visually see the picture improve as the power was applied… Al Esterberg, Alexandria’s junior 145-pound wrestler, will be the one most keenly watched in Saturday’s Region Six tournament. He is one of few mat-men with an unblemished record.
25 YEARS AGO
A number of hurdles were cleared before Jenny and Jack Trumm, Mark and Betty Trumm, and Milo and Junell Widmark could get to the Olympics in Calgary, Canada. They purchased tickets through a magazine ad, and after sending in payment, the Calgary police learned the ad was a scam and they took action. In the end, the Olympic Committee honored the tickets and all is “Go”… In the other end of town, Leighton and Elaine Brown got their tickets the easy way, by courtesy of one of Western Lumber’s suppliers… Susan Vass, Alexandria native and headliner at Dudley Riggs in Minneapolis, will speak at the National Women’s History Month conference in Fergus Falls… Dick and Leo Howe were presented plaques from the Minnesota Conservatory because of their resolve to maintain and protect one of the last remaining stands of maple and basswood in the state.
10 YEARS AGO
Jerry Van Kempen was asked to announce an air show in 1979. That started a career that led him to be recipient of the prestigious Sword of Excellence award of the International Council of Air Shows. He was honored for his leadership role as “Dean of Air-Show Announcers and his ongoing efforts to improve the entertainment value of air shows”… The Alexandria City Council voted to apply for a grant through the Department of Natural Resources Federal Recreation Trail Program to build a Big Ole Park along the Central Lakes Trail that includes 3.5 miles of paved surface in the city limits… Robin and Paul Gagnon, Carol and Elroy Anderson were honored by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the DNR for their help in rescuing members of a family whose boat had sunk on Lake Miltona.
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Marge Van Gorp of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.