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Observations from the archives, 1988: Jim Gripne is new bicycle safety officer

1913, 100 years ago: It was a great day for Forada. More than 300 people gathered on the east shores of Maple Lake for their annual picnic and annual meeting of the Forada Cooperative Company. The forenoon was devoted to transacting the business customary at annual meetings. Since commencing business, the cooperative has paid out more than $95,000. The business is composed of about 150 farmers who have joined together for cooperation. They have their creamery, potato warehouse, and an elevator for handling grain, feed and flour. In conjunction with their warehouse and elevator, they handle farm machinery, salt, cement and lime. The business has been carried on smoothly and agreeable to all. The best of satisfaction has prevailed and everything points to a successful continuation of the cooperative.

1963, 50 years ago: This year's Lake Region Dairy Day parade in Alexandria may be the biggest parade ever held here. The Ellsworth Air Force Band, which will be a feature of the parade, will arrive by plane at the Alexandria Airport and will be transported to the American Legion Club by school buses escorted by a motorized Shrine unit, which will also take part in the parade. Parade marshal will be Kenneth Walsh, U.S. Army recruiter for this area. High school bands marching will be Alexandria's junior and senior bands, Litchfield, Glenwood, Hancock, Sebeka, Barrett, Albany, Barnesville, Browerville, Long Prairie, Morris, Cyrus, Bertha, Lake Park, Osakis, Brandon, Sauk Centre, Elbow Lake, Ashby, Brooten, Wadena, Melrose, Staples, Parkers Prairie, Erskine, and possibly one from Millner, ND. Olson's Supermarket, Anderson Furniture, Westerfeld Service Station, Hewett Tire and Vernon Studio will co-sponsor the appearance of the St. Cloud Cathedral band. The Ames Elks drum and bugle corps will be sponsored by the Douglas County Farm Bureau.

1988, 25 years ago: Jim Gripne, a 19-year-old Long Prairie man and second-year student at Alexandria Technical Institute, is the new bicycle safety officer. It's just a summer job but Gripne can be seen on his Motobecane 12-speed bicycle, keeping an eye peeled for bicycle safety violators. In his first four hours of work he had stopped 20 riders, mainly young teens, but one or two adults as well. Most had either violated a traffic law or were riding in an unsafe manner. "Quite a few didn't stop for stop signs. Another common violation is riding on the wrong side of the street," Gripne explained. He does not want to become a "blue meanie" out to wreak havoc on fun, however, he does want to make sure that bicyclists are aware of safety rules for their own sake. The key to that is education. Educational efforts will continue with bike rodeos during the summer.

Just for fun - 2003, 10 years ago: Jeff Dertinger's design for a new dumpster garbage can, which uses a wood frame and foot pedal, was one of 36 winners out of more than 8,000 entries at an inventors awards program held in Illinois. When asked how the 7th grader came up with the idea, he said, "I always hated taking the garbage out." He carried a trash bag in each hand while attempting to open the dumpster lid with a bent arm and elbow. "I never thought of putting it down and opening up the lid." Dertinger summoned his Discovery School teacher, Dave Harstad, for help, mapped out his dumpster idea on paper, gathered tools, and started construction. He won a $250 savings bond for his invention.

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