This Week in 1996, 25 years ago: Temperatures at the Alexandria Airport dropped to a bone-chilling 38 degrees below zero – the lowest temperature recorded in nine years. Even colder temperatures – 44 below and 47 below – were recorded by residents living in rural areas of the county, according to weather officials.

1971, 50 years ago: Herberger’s Department Store is expanding into the bank building at 6th and Broadway, resulting in an extensive remodeling of the main store and former Farmers or First National Bank, here in Alexandria.

The number of farms in Minnesota declined by nearly 3,000 units in 1970, according to the State-Federal Crop and Livestock reporting service. Indications received from the office are that Douglas County is no exception to the decline. Statistics at the local level differ considerably according to the source. While the number of farms declined, the average size of the individual farm increased in size. This is largely due to the fact that as farms cease to exist they become parts of other existing farms. In Douglas County the average farm size, according to the figures, is 226 acres. This compares with 262 acres on the state level and 389 acres nationally.

Douglas County Sheriff Howard Urness released his annual crime report showing, in part, that the total number of civil papers served by the sheriff’s office in 1970 was 876.

1996, 25 years ago: About 50,000 full-color Alexandria Lakes Area Visitors Guides are back from the printer and ready to be distributed through various Minnesota information centers, sports shows, local chambers of commerce and directly to inquiries coming to the Chamber office. Alexandria is also about to have a home page for the use of those who search the Internet, compliments of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and Gardonville Coop, our local internet provider.

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The Tri-State Manufacturers Association, a non-profit organization made up of 120 area manufacturing firms, will hold its first table-top trade show and meeting at Moose Lodge in Waite Park. Associate and manufacturing members are invited to exhibit and there is no charge for visitors to attend.

According to Dave Schill, transportation director for Alexandria School District 206, the two main reasons for buses to run two hours late during extreme cold days are “sufficient daylight” and “mechanical problems.” By scheduling late, mechanics can anticipate and deal with any mechanical problems related to the cold, and gives buses time to warm up. The late start is a kind of insurance policy against virtually anything that might go wrong.

2011, 10 years ago: For the third straight year, the Echo Press website received a first place award in its category – weekly newspapers with more than 5,000 subscribers. It was one of nine honors the Echo Press earned in the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s 2009-2010 Better Newspaper Contest. The website award marked the seventh time in the last eight years that the site has garnered a first or second place honor.

Just for fun 1996 – 25 years ago: As temperatures plummeted to close to 40 below, Alexandria-area residents used an astonishing 753,779,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. The peak demand on February 1 was 35,394 mega-watts, one mega-watt equaling one million watts, setting an all-time winter record for energy use.

Sports trivia 1971 – 50 years ago: Evansville Tigers coasted to victory over the Underwood Rockets 63-56 in a crucial Little Eight Conference game. Larry Englund paced the well-balanced scoring attack with 23 points, followed by Harold Meissner with 15, Doug Bah with 13 and Brad Larson with 10. Larson and Bah added 18 rebounds each with Englund pulling down 14. Evansville is leading the Little Eight with an 8-1 record (10-1 overall).

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