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Observations from the archives, 1963: KCMT Television celebrates anniversary

Rachel Barduson - Echo Press Columnist

1913, 100 years ago: This week, N.J. Trenham and wife together with their son Milton Trenham left for Florida where they expect to spend the remainder of their lives. Mr. Trenham came to Alexandria in 1875 from the East. He has taken a prominent part in much of the city’s affairs, having been recorder for a number of years and otherwise active in the growth of the city. He was a photographer by trade and he possessed a number of valuable views of the town in the year 1876, the centennial views of Alexandria and Glenwood. Mrs. Trenham’s health has been failing for some time and it is hoped that the change of climate will benefit her.

1963, 50 years ago: KCMT, Alexandria’s Channel 7 television station, will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Glenn Flint, station manager, will begin his sixth year, and is the 10 p.m. newscaster and occasionally gives special news reports. In 1955, Kenneth C. Bechtel, operations director, organized a group of incorporators who brought about the inception of KCMT Television. His present position embodies the supervision and operation of KCMT with its 43 employees. John McCarten, Douglas County attorney, is secretary-treasurer of Central Minnesota Television Company and was instrumental in the development of KCMT. Joseph O. Perino, president of KCMT Television, has long been active in civic affairs and is general manager of Runestone Electric Association of Alexandria. Jon Haaven, news director, received the Associated Press award for Best Coverage of a Single Story in both 1960 and 1962. Jim Syrdal is the station’s congenial weatherman, chief announcer and sales promotion director. Bud Gorham is sports director; Ken Schneider, sales manager and popular air personality; Natalie Johnson is hostess on Welcome Inn, an afternoon program, and the secretary to the station’s general manager.

1988, 25 years ago: Will a second exit off Interstate 94 into Alexandria be built? A group of representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Douglas County Board, Alexandria City Council, and the local Chamber of Commerce are expected to discuss the merits of the idea. Among the major questions that need to be answered are: Where would the access be located, and who would pay for it? County Highway Engineer Lynn Olson said that currently the only corridor that looks feasible for an access into Alexandria is located west of the city. The new road would have to run north and south between the west side of Lake Winona and the east side of Lake Latoka. One of the primary goals of building such an exit would be to relieve heavy semi-trailer truck traffic off Alexandria’s main street.

2003, 10 years ago: A 30,000-square-foot indoor water park wonder, The Big Splash, is now open to guests of Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, as well as the public, according to Jeff Wild, general manager of the resort in Alexandria. It features three four-story waterslides, a lazy river inner tube ride, a lily pad water walk, tropical whirlpool spa and waterfall, and children’s play fort in a zero-inch-entry pool area.

Just for fun – From Erc Aga’s column, 50 years ago - October 1963: “The fire department pulled a series of surprise fire drills at the schools last week. Usually this is done during Fire Prevention Week, which is next week. This time they jumped the gun in an effort to catch the kids off guard but it couldn’t be done. It was a most efficient drill, right down to the last students….in fact the only incident occurred at Jefferson where a girl’s gym class was caught in the showers…but out they came…dripping and hurriedly covered with whatever they could grab…which is the way it should be…for the time of a fire is no time to be modest.”

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