This Week in 1911, 110 years ago: Four carloads of emigrants from Russia, Germany and Prussia arrived at the Forada depot. They came from Kansas, along with their household goods, cattle and 50 horses. They will live on the Fredenberg, Strang, LeRoy and Taylor farms in Douglas County.

1971, 50 years ago: In less than three weeks after running ads in two national aviation magazines, the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation people have more than 3,000 requests for information about their new “Champ.” The Champ is not a new design, but in aviation circles its purpose is new, that is, it’s a plane for those who like to fly for fun, and don’t want to mortgage their homes to do so. According to Bellanca President, Robert E. DePalma, the Champ is a re-designed model of the 7AC Champ first produced in 1946 by the Aeronca Manufacturing Corporation. Over 7,200 were built before production halted in 1948 and production rights were acquired by Champion Aircraft Corporation in 1961.

Tom Thumb Superette, 1522 South Broadway adjacent to McCarthy’s Drive-In in Alexandria, has opened for business, employing 10 people. Tom Thumb is a “convenience food store” carrying a complete line of health and beauty aids, cold beverages, frozen foods, produce, ice and novelties. Tom Deitz, an Alexandria native, and formerly an account representative for Coca Cola out of Bloomington, is operator of the new store. He graduated from Alexandria in 1959 and he and his wife, Bette, have two children, Nancy 10, and Steve, 8.

1996, 25 years ago: Rural Cellular Corporation, also known as Cellular 2000, plans to build a $2.2 million facility near Alexandria’s Industrial Park. The Alexandria City Council granted the company preliminary approval for tax increment financing to help finance the project. The 46,244 square-foot, two-level building will serve as an office, warehouse and distribution facility and will be located on a 10-acre parcel of land along Dakota Street, south of Hwy. 27 and west of Hwy. 29. Cellular 2000 is currently leasing about 10,000 square feet of space at Midway Mall in Alexandria but the rapidly growing company is running out of room.

2011, 10 years ago: The City of Alexandria has a new ally in the fight against ice: a new “cutting edge” motor grader. The cutting edge has “teeth” in it to help scrape off stubborn ice. The goal, said Public Works Coordinator Bryan Bjorgaard, is to make grooves in the ice without damaging the road so when street crews put down salt and sand on the slippery spots, the mixture will adhere to the grooves instead of being blown away or carried off by vehicle tires. On another note, a ballpark figure of how much it costs the City of Alexandria to clear the streets every time it snows is $5,200.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Just for fun 1971 – 50 years ago: Bellanca’s “Champ” costs about the same as a well-equipped full-size station wagon. The basic plane costs $4,995. Enthusiasm for the plane has resulted in 32 orders in less than three weeks, coming in at a rate of 4 or 5 a day, according to Douglas McConnell, director of marketing and sales.

Sports trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: Alexandria junior Ryan Nodland etched his name into the Alexandria boys basketball record book this season when he put together at string of 36 consecutive made free throws. Nodland closed out last season by making his last four gift throws and opened the 1995-96 season by making his first 32 free throws, running his string to 36 before missing his first one in the Cards recent game in Willmar. He came back and made his next three after his string ended. The previous record was 26 in a row and had been owned by Todd Hendricks.

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