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Observations from the archives: people making a difference

1913, 100 years ago: Mayor Secord was in the chair and the new council took their places. The bonds of the city officials and the salaries of the different positions were fixed. That of the chief of police and patrolman was reduced from $65 to $60. That of the clerk was raised from $35 to $40 and that of the assessor's reduced from $250 to $175. The reason for the change in the assessor's salary is because the real estate valuations are not taken this year. The city physician had a salary of $100 but under a new arrangement, the city physician assumes the responsibilities for all medical and surgical work and medicines for the city poor. The salary or compensation for all is fixed at $250. Last year, there were surgical operations costing the city about $300 and drugstore bills amounting to more than $50.

1963, 50 years ago: Mrs. Donald Kelly, president, announced that the Alexandria American Legion Auxiliary will take part in the 13th annual Radio Free Europe Fund campaign drive, continuing its support since its inception in 1950, bringing radio broadcasts of news and information to 80 million people held captive behind the Iron Curtain of East Europe, including the society-dominated people of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Said Kelly, "All funds collected during the campaign will be used by Radio Free Europe to maintain its 28 powerful transmitters and relay stations, to increase their effectiveness in bringing captive people the worldwide news they are denied by their puppet governments. Khrushchev is still boasting that the Communist system will 'bury' the nations of the free West in his lifetime. We of the American Legion Auxiliary intend to show him that he will have a very difficult time trying to do this."

1988, 25 years ago: At the touch of a button, some Douglas County farmers can find the latest crop prices, check the weather, get marketing and management advice and send messages to each other, all thanks to computer technology, a local electronic bulletin board service called EXTEND-ATI. The Minnesota Extension Service and the Alexandria Technical Institute's farm management division recently teamed up to bring instant computer communications to 10 area farmers and agribusiness operators. The pilot project, the only one of its kind in the state, is being funded by a grant through the U of M's Telecommunications Development Center. Farmers will use the system free of charge for a one-year trial period said Jackie Larson, systems operator at the ATI.

Just for fun: KCMT TV will carry all of the first-round and championship games of the 1963 Minnesota State high school basketball tournament, opening at Williams Arena on the U of M Campus. In 1988, Coach Wendy DeVorak's Alexandria Cardinal basketball team brought home the consolation championship trophy, defeating Fridley 53-48. Devorak was in her second year as head coach and Senior Trisha Vorachek became a member of the elite 1,000 career point club during the tournament.

2003, 10 years ago: Ralph and Pat Roers of Alexandria have five family members serving in the Middle East, including daughter Major Linda Houser with the 263rd Communication Squadron of the Air Force from North Carolina and her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Houser, who is in the Army Reserves; and three grandchildren serving, including Michelle Casabonne with the 864th Combat Engineering Battalion out of Fort Lewis, Washington. Michelle's brother, Captain Joe Casabonne, is in the Army (both Michelle and Joe graduated from West Point); and Second Lieutenant Nick Sammons is a pilot in training for the Air Force.

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