This week in 1971, 50 years ago: A sight not often seen in Alexandria is a jet taking off from the municipal airport. A DC-9 jet from North Central Airlines was chartered to bring in press and magazine writers for the National Press Preview at Arrowwood’s open house. Governor Wendell Anderson hosted the weekend and also met with George and Paul Anderson, owners of the Arrowwood complex, and Charles Munyon, president of the corporation and general manager of the complex.

1971, 50 years ago: Local members of the Alexandria-St. Cloud Performing Arts Foundation announced that a proposal by Augsburg College to produce plays at Theatre L'Homme Dieu this summer has been accepted. This brings to an end the speculation as to what use the theatre would have after St. Cloud State College decided to cease producing plays at the theater after 10 years. The Augsburg proposal calls for the production of three plays.

1996, 25 years ago: More than 130 bicyclists competed in the District 23 Road Race west of Alexandria. The event, hosted by the Central Lakes Bicycle Club of Alexandria, drew some of the best riders from the Midwest. They competed in a half-dozen different races along a 26-mile looped course near Pioneer Memorial Park.

If it’s too cold and rainy outside, summer swimmers can go inside to swim at the Douglas County Services Center pool (the old Central Junior High School pool). Lakes Community Recreation is offering the new “Rainy Day Open Swim” weekend program when beaches are closed due to inclement weather.

Many former minimum-wage paying employers in the Alexandria area are now paying more than the minimum just to attract workers. The U.S. House has passed a minimum-wage bill that would bring the current minimum ($4.25) up to $5.15 over a 17-month period. The bill awaits final action in the Senate. If enacted into law, the new minimum-wage would have little or no bearing locally, employment officials believe, as most jobs in the area pay more than $5.

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2011, 10 years ago: The Alexandria Area Arts Association welcomes Don Shelby to the area as he performs his one-man Mark Twain show, “Life on the Mississippi.” Shelby, who is a part-time Alexandria resident, will perform his show as a fundraiser to help the AAAA raise money for the new loading dock at the back of the theater, allowing for loading and unloading equipment and stage pieces from the back alley of the theater instead of through the front doors facing Broadway.

The Alexandria Police Department will showcase its new state-of-the-art facility with a grand opening. The new 24,000-square-foot building at 501 Third Ave. W. stands on city land where the former city parks department was situated. The department’s old 9,000-square-foot space was inside the Douglas County Services Center.

Just for fun – 1996 25 years ago: Lines to the Cenex North gas pumps in Alexandria stretched a quarter mile in both directions when gas was selling for 92 cents a gallon. KXRA-Radio in Alexandria (92.3 FM) organized the price cut promotion which lasted 92 minutes. About 2,500 gallons of gas were sold.

Sports trivia 1971 – 50 years ago: From Erc Aga’s column: “You’ve never really been fishing until you get in a boat with Cap Paciotti. This guy is really something...for once he caught one of the largest fish of the trip. I noticed his pole bend and he said he had ‘nothing but the bottom,’ but when the bottom started swimming the third party in the boat suggested he reel it in. Sure as shootin’ he reeled in a whopper, and that’s how it went for three days. Get him to join your fishing party sometime...I promise you will learn more about fishing than you ever dreamed possible.”

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