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2009: Goodbye to Washington Elementary

1919, 100 years ago: "Eyes of the World," the most widely read of Harold Bell Wright's books, will be shown at the Howard Theatre in Alexandria. Wright is America's best known present-day author. His heroes and heroines are real and are patterned after real people. That is why his stories grip the readers. Admission prices will be 25 cents and 50 cents plus war tax.

The Equity picnic at Holmes City was a great success with between 1,200 and 1,500 people attending from all parts of Douglas County and from the counties of Grant and Pope.

1969, 50 years ago: The need for additional housing for students at the Alexandria Area Technical School has been expressed by Ray Ahlfors, housing director. "We will have about 200 more students coming for the 1969-70 school year than we had this past year," he said. People who are interested in being placed on the housing list should phone the school.

More than 200 planes flew into the Alexandria Airport for the Fly-in Breakfast sponsored by the local Civil Air Patrol and the open house at the new facilities of the Alexandria Flight Service Station. About 800 persons were served breakfast and hundreds viewed the new modern equipment at the station.

Ultra-modern facilities in the new Fairway Ford building at 1300 South Broadway is bringing much increased business to the firm, according to Gene Bentz and Lloyd Wienk, owners.

1994, 25 years ago: By midsummer, the most massive remodeling project in the history of Douglas County will begin as the old Central Junior High School is gradually transformed into the Douglas County Services Center. The estimated $3.8 million project will involve a total re-working of the old building, including major alterations in walls, wiring, and heating systems. The object is to transform classroom space into government offices, a minimum-security detention center, a library and recreational facilities.

$133,340.40 in cold cash — that's how much confiscated money Douglas County Sheriff Bill Ingebrigtsen, and a courthouse assistant, counted out in the treasurer's office at the courthouse. The cash, most of which had been buried on rural property near Henning, was seized by drug agents. The confiscated cash will be divided up among three entities: 10 percent to the state, 20 percent to the county attorney's office, and 70 percent to local law enforcement, and used for further drug-related investigations, drug enforcement and prevention.

2009, 10 years ago: Teachers and staff at Washington Elementary School in Alexandria waved goodbye to students after the last day of school. The school is closing and will be extensively remodeled into a senior housing cooperative. A new school with the same WES initials, Woodland Elementary School, will open this fall.

The Alexandria City Council called for bids to construct a new park department building, estimated to cost $1.5 million. The council also agreed to issue up to $1.7 million in capital improvement bonds to pay for the project. The city's existing park department building along Third Avenue West is being demolished so the site can house a new law enforcement center and/or county jail.

Just for fun 1969 — 50 years ago: The Alexandria Recreation Department announced that the City Park beach is open to swimmers. Lifeguards will be on duty from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through the summer. The swimming area is roped in and the diving equipment is in place.

Sports Trivia 2009 — 10 years ago: Jamie Piepenburg clocked in at 10:54.01 to capture the Minnesota State Class AA championship in the 3,200-meter run at Hamline University. The Cardinal freshman, who was also third in state in the Class AA cross country meet last fall, finished eighth in the 1,600-meter run at Hamline, slogging through rain, wind gusts and temperatures around 47 degrees to clock in at 5:08.04.

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