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1917: Christmas program hits the spot

1917, 100 years ago: A Christmas program was held in District 83, a treat to the neighborhood. It just hit the spot both morally and patriotically. There were about 200 in attendance. Miss Sorley of East Osakis teaches in 83.

While going to the bank in front of the Gamble Robinson warehouse, on his way to the Soo depot, H.N. Doyle accidentally slipped and tore the ligaments of the calf of his leg. He has had a bad bruised leg but is improving at present.

1967, 50 years ago: Vietnam Medics, Gerry Ensign and Dan Erickson, spoke to the Rotary club and high school students at Jefferson of their experiences. Both are in the Navy but served with the Marines in Vietnam for a year. Medic 3rd Class Gerry Ensign graduated from Jefferson in 1964 and spoke mostly of the combat situations and his work along this line. Medic 3rd Class Dan Erickson graduated here in 1963 and spoke of the pacification program to which he was assigned. Under the pacification program the troops in Vietnam would move into the villages and hamlets to teach the Vietnamese people, helping them organize their villages in government, in health and all the other habits we take for granted.

The Douglas County Welfare Board decided to continue distribution of USDA Donated Foods. An alternative of using Food Stamps had been considered but it was determined that the Surplus Commodities program was more attractive to more people at this time.

1992, 25 years ago: In the summer months of 1992, salvage workers yanked up track from the old Burlington Northern railroad. The east-west railroad through Douglas County was torn up after its abandonment became official.

In mid-summer 1992, a dreaded weed was discovered on the bottom of Lake Oscar about 10 miles west of Alexandria. Several patches of the potentially lake-choking Eurasian milfoil were poisoned under supervision.

"Salvation Army" bell ringers rang in a record amount of donations during the Christmas season in Alexandria. Close to $7,600 was deposited in the red buckets at Viking Plaza and Kmart. Alexandria Police Chief Chuck Nettestad is chairman of the Salvation Army's local unit.

2007, 10 years ago: Marci Arras won the contest to name the new dog park in Alexandria. "Pooch Playland" was the top pick of 150 submitted ideas to the city park department.

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich shop opened its newest location, 4617 State Hwy 20 South in Alexandria, directly in front of Walmart.

Coni McKay, director of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the Alexandria Hotel and Hospitality (AHH) is projecting to receive $200,000 in 2007, which includes a 3 percent lodging tax in Alexandria and a small grant partnership with Explore Minnesota Tourism. A big chunk of the lodging tax proceeds, $58,000 goes toward seasonal promotions.

Unicel employees presented Jingle Bells with a record-breaking donation of $20,000, an increase in giving of more than $7,000 from last year.

JUST FOR FUN 2007, 10 years ago: Former Alexandria resident Wendell Nelson has written a new novel, "Clothes Make the Man; Clerking in a Small-town Men's Store." A work of fiction, the novel recreates the daily life, spirit and fun of a men's clothing store in Mid-America in the mid-century. Nelson was a member of the Alexandria High School Class of 1959.

SPORTS TRIVIA 2007, 10 years ago: Alexandria was once again the site of the North American Ice Fishing Championships, this time on lakes Henry and Agnes. Richard Stachurski and Kevin Riley of New York captured the top spot. With their biggest of 16 fish weighing in at 0.46 after day one, the New York duo pulled in a total of 10.63 pounds of fish for the two-day tournament, the biggest weighing in at 1.09 pounds.

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

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