This week in 2011, 10 years ago: Jefferson, Brandon, Evansville and Osakis high schools will share in a $333,008 federal grant to upgrade interactive video technology equipment used in Distance Learning. Distance Learning connects 10 area school districts – they’re all part of a group called Central Minnesota Educational Telecommunications Systems (CMETS) – with video conferencing technology in the traditional classroom setting. During the school day, students go to a classroom in their school building, but they interact with teachers and students from other schools via monitors, cameras and audio equipment.

1971, 50 years ago: The general advisory committee for the Alexandria Area Vocational-Technical School passed a motion that will provide the formulation of plans for a new student union for Area Tech School students. The proposed facility will be designed in such a way that students will be able to have light food offerings and refreshments, music, light recreational activities, special television viewing, and an opportunity to meet fellow students. The present plans would provide for an initial building of approximately 3600 square feet with an upper and lower level at an estimated cost of $80,000. Funds for this would come entirely from students who attend the school and who use it, as well as persons who wish to donate to the nonprofit corporation which is in the process of being established.

In his column “Harvey Sez”, Chamber of Commerce Manager Harvey Hammergren wrote: “I was out at the annual John Deere party and had a nice visit with Mr. and Mrs. Vern Lindquist of Lindquist Equipment Co., on Hwy 27 East. They sure had a big crowd. It shows the Alexandria area is in the farming business.”

1996, 25 years ago: Local snowmobiling experts are calling this the best season in the past eight to 10 years. Much of the snow is packed, and at least 62 miles of the Central Lakes Trail are open from Osakis to Fergus Falls. Located on the old Burlington Northern Railroad bed, the newest section of the trail was dedicated last month in Grant and Otter Tail counties. According to Bill Anderson, manager of the Douglas County Trails Association (D.A.T.A.), another section of the trail, from Osakis to Sauk Centre, will be open to snowmobilers soon.

Alexandria attorney John C. Lervick has been appointed to the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The board of 23 members, most of whom are lawyers, investigates complaints of unethical conduct against Minnesota lawyers.

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2011, 10 years ago: At the Village Cooperative of Alexandria meeting, Andrew Schaeler, vice-president of Real Estate Equities, announced that the project financing has closed, meaning that the final construction phase at the Washington School property could begin. The Village Cooperative of Alexandria will consist of 28 new homes within the Washington School structure. A substantial renovation of the existing structure will create a renovated historic building within an existing Alexandria neighborhood.

Just for fun 1996 – 25 years ago: A People magazine photographer took shots of Herman residents Dan and Gwen at Jackie J’s store in Alexandria for an upcoming story. The engaged couple, who met at a “Bachelor Mania,” were in town to see Gwen’s bridal gown. Bachelor Mania was indirectly the brain child of Dan, one of many Herman bachelor farmers and also president of the Herman Economic Development Commission who gave a speech bemoaning the lack of economic opportunities for women in rural Minnesota.

Sports trivia 1971 – 50 years ago: Snowmobilers may not use bridges which are part of state or county highways, the Department of Natural Resources pointed out. Sidewalks or shoulders adjacent to the road on the bridge may not be used either because the law permits snowmobile operation only in the bottom and outside slope of ditches.

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