This Week in 2011, 10 years ago: Fire raged through a Sun-Opta warehouse on Third Avenue/County Road 82 in Alexandria. These statistics briefly sum up some facts in fighting the fire for 29 hours: 11 fire departments with 75-100 firemen; 100-plus gallons of foam; 1.1 million gallons of water; more than $1 million in damage. The initial fire call was reported at 1 a.m. on Jan. 21, according to Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Karrow.
1971, 50 years ago: Census figures released by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in St. Paul show a growth of 7.5% for Douglas County over the last census figures from 1960. The county population rose from 21,313 in 1960 to 22,892 in 1970.
Airman Jan J. Darveaux, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Darveaux of Alexandria, was cited by the United States Air Force for his outstanding achievement in the Electronics Fundamentals Branch as a student. Darveaux ranked in the upper 6% of his class.
Mr. and Mrs. Tomford Sletto of Evansville were finally presented with their new car by Everette Walters of KXRA-Radio, Alexandria. The Slettos won the car in last summer’s “Winna Car” contest. But then along came the General Motors strike which delayed the car’s arrival until January.
1996, 25 years ago: A monster storm whipped snow into huge drifts as windchills plummeted to -70 degrees. Snow started on Wednesday. Schools were closed Thursday. Interstate 94 and Hwy 10 were closed. Some township roads were impassable, with drifts as high as 6 feet. By Thursday, the weather service at the Alexandria Airport reported snow accumulation of 12 inches with three and four-foot-high drifts on the runways. To no one’s surprise, the airport was also closed with strong winds and gusts of 40 mph.
A new 63-unit Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, the 61st location of this rapidly expanding international lodging chain, will hold its ribbon-cutting ceremony. Owners Wayne Lee, Matt Brietbach and Jim Hafdal, and general manager Neil Fortier, have extended an invitation to the public to visit the new facility, located on the SW corner of the I-94 interchange.
The average stay at the Douglas County Hospital for a mother and newborn baby is 2.2 days, which is above the 1.68-day average of Twin Cities hospitals. The Minnesota State Legislature is now considering a bill that would require at least 48 hours of post-birth hospital care for normal vaginal deliveries and at least 96 hours following Caesarean section deliveries.
2011, 10 years ago: Pat Perkins of Alexandria received word that her son, actor John Hawkes, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Winter’s Bone. It’s quite a coup for the hometown Alexandria boy who got his start on the small stage in the JHS gymnasium as a sophomore when he tried out for the school play. Hawkes, a 1977 Jefferson High School graduate, attended college in St. Cloud before moving to Austin, Texas and eventually the bright lights of Hollywood.
Just for fun 1996 – 25 years ago: A former Alexandrian, John Perkins, has a featured role in a movie that opens at Midway Mall Cinema in Alexandria. Written by writer-director Quinton Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction"), "From Dusk to Dawn" stars Tarantino, George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Perkins, whose professional acting name is John Hawkes.
Sports trivia 1971 – 50 years ago: Jerry Freitag, Louie Buerman and Bob Fairbanks will leave for Winnipeg, Canada where they will start out with 297 other racers in the I-500 snowmobile race to St. Paul, as part of the Winter Carnival there. All machines in the race have to stay under 400 C.C. After completing the run for each leg of the four-day race, a driver can do anything to his sled except work on the engine.
Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.