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Observations from the archives, 2004: Minnesota’s conceal and carry law ruled unconstitutional

1914, 100 years ago: The board of the Red River Valley Conference met in Warren, MN and a matter of importance under consideration is the erection of a home for the aged. The Rev. S.W. Swenson of Evansville is the president of the board. He and other members are favorable toward Alexandria if the necessary arrangements can be made respecting location and the expense of acquiring the home can be made. Douglas County is one of the banner Swedish counties in the state and is entitled to one of the many large institutions gradually being erected by the Swedish Lutherans. It is expected that a building with a cost of $40,000-$50,000 be planned.

1964, 50 years ago: A resolution asking the state and federal highway departments to construct a 460-foot shore-to-shore bridge over Lake Latoka to accommodate Interstate Highway 94 was unanimously adopted by about 60 businessmen, property owners and resort proprietors. … About 300 to 500 National Farmers Organization members from a nine-county area demonstrated at the Alexandria Land O’ Lakes plant in what spokesmen call “a peaceful show of strength.” Entire families of NFO members carried placards and signs, calling attention to depressed farm prices and what they allege is the need for farmers to organize to “obtain a reasonable profit beyond the costs of production.”

1989, 25 years ago: A potentially explosive situation was diffused when a fuel tanker headed northbound and filled with 7,800 gallons of gasoline and fuel oil overturned on Third and Nokomis. It was fortunate that the truck’s tank was not punctured or slashed open. The fuel could have burst into a huge orange fireball or flowed down the street and dropped into the city’s storm sewer system. The scenario would also include fuel running through underground pipes until it encountered a mechanical lift station. Alexandria Fire Chief Dan Ness said total devastation of life and property would have caused chain-reaction explosions because the rollover happened by a gas station, and one block south was an LP storage plant, and three blocks east another large storage facility. He said the exploding tanker would have been “holocaust.” The tanker had left the Williams Pipeline just west of downtown Alexandria. … The Douglas County Board has changed its mind about developing overnight camping facilities at Chippewa Park near Brandon. The plan calls to set up 7-10 campsites. Camping will be restricted to tents and pop-up style campers that do not have self-contained liquid waste systems.

2004, 10 years ago: District 206’s Community Education office moved one floor from its present location site in the Douglas County Services Center. The staff will be sharing space with the University of Minnesota Extension Office. … The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking all would-be handgun permit seekers to wait until after August 1 to apply for permits because of a July 13 ruling that declared Minnesota’s conceal and carry law unconstitutional.

Just for fun – 2004, 10 years ago: At the new Community Center in Kensington, visitors can view a new exhibit, “Runestone Room: Timeline History of the Kensington Runestone.” An email from family members of Olaf Ohman, who live in Halsingland, Sweden, Ohman’s hometown, prompted the new exhibit and will offer a glimpse of Swedish immigrant Olaf Ohman, the man who is known as the founder of the controversial Kensington Runestone.

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