This week in 1971, 50 years ago: Officials of the Alexandria Telephone Company have announced that more than $1.5 million will be invested in extensive additions to the cable and conduit system in Alexandria to increase the cable facilities so that all parties in the city or in close areas may have private lines as desired. H. James Boyd, district manager, pointed out that the present trend is for a majority of the people to prefer private line service even though the rates for such services are higher.

1971, 50 years ago: Hustad’s, International Harvester dealers in Alexandria for 25 years, has completed its expansion. The new building has 27,000 square feet of floor space and is on 26.5 acres of land between 50th Avenue East and Interstate 94 (next to Jim’s Discount Market). Owner Don Hustad purchased the business from his father in 1959.

The 1970-71 United Fund Appeal is now within $1,000 of its goal of $22,500 according to Jack Seltz, house-to-house drive chairman, and Martin Haar, overall fund chairman.

1996, 25 years ago: Televised sessions of the Minnesota House are now being provided through an Alexandria cable service, TCI of Central Minnesota. Broadcasts of the sessions have been available to the Twin Cities metro area viewers on public TV for some time; legislators approved a $300,000 appropriation to extend the broadcast to rural districts via cable television.

Construction is still booming in Douglas County. More building permits were issued, and valuation climbed to $21.7 million in 1995.

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Alexandria could see a much needed electronic community events sign if initial research and planning bears fruit. The sign would allow local non-profit groups to advertise their upcoming events to keep us all informed about the myriad of happenings here in the Alexandria Lakes Area.

2011, 10 years ago: The Alexandria City Council unanimously voted to place signs along a section of 34th Avenue West from Highway 29 to Pioneer Road that will carry the Red Bull name and insignia of the Alexandria National Guard’s 35th Infantry “Red Bull” Division. The signs will also incorporate Yellow Ribbons in the design, which is a program that provides outreach and support to veterans and their families through all phases of a soldier's deployment.

A total of 48 two-person teams competed in the Alexandria Rotary Club’s bean bag tournament at Broadway Ballroom. The amount raised to help the fight against polio, $2,500, will be sent to Rotary International’s Polio Plus Program toward its goal of $200 million to match $355 million in challenge grants received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Just for fun 1971 – 50 years ago: McGuire Ford and Mercury, Inc. in Alexandria has unveiled Ford’s newest entry in the small car market, the 1971 Pinto Runabout. More than 140,000 Pintos have been sold nationally since the car’s introduction last September. The “Runabout” nameplate isn’t totally new at Ford Motor Company. Classic car buffs will recall the 1911 Model T Runabout.

1986 – 35 years ago: When the big wooden nightclub known as the Gangplank crashed down without warning, its boom was heard throughout the Alexandria area and beyond. The historic building had also been known by other names, including Triple R Ranch, The Silver Slipper, The Crest and Into the Woods. All that remains is its front, “like a cardboard stage-set in a Western movie set with lumber piled up like splintered props destroyed in a Saturday night brawl.”

Sports trivia 1971 – 50 years ago: John Gustafson’s Cardinal basketball team upset the unbeaten and number one ranked Willmar 54-52 in the semi-finals of the Region C basketball tournament at St. Cloud State. Alexandria now faces Brainerd in the finals.

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