This week in 1971, 50 years ago: John J. McCarten, president of the Board of Trustees of the Douglas County Hospital, and Kent Sherwood, administrator, announced that the federal Hill-Burton grant and loan will finance the Douglas County Hospital building project. The grant of over $1 million and the low interest loan of over $3 million was officially confirmed, allowing the $4.25 million project to proceed without the need of spending local tax dollars.

1971, 50 years ago: When Dr. Einar Johnson returned this summer as administrative director at Theatre L'Homme Dieu, it was a homecoming of sorts for the former county resident. Johnson was born near Melby, one of five children. One of his brothers is Harold, known for his work on the Douglas County Fair Board.

According to H. James Boyd of the Alexandria Telephone Company, local service will not be affected by the strike of 500,000 Bell Telephone employees. The Alexandria phone company is affiliated with the United Telephone System and the employees of the company are not on strike.

1996, 25 years ago: Alexandria Police Chief Charles Nettestad spoke to the city council about the problem of motorists speeding on Nokomis and his department’s enforcement efforts to address it. Speed limit is posted at 30 mph but speeders are often caught going 10 to 15 mph over the limit. According to Nettestad, in May and June, Alexandria police officers wrote 183 speeding tickets or warnings and 26 of them occurred on Nokomis.

Digging work for Alexandria’s new water treatment plant is in full swing. The site of the new $3 million plant is located east of Highway 29 North behind the Eagles Club. When completed in spring 1997, the new plant will increase the city’s water treatment capacity from 1,500 gallons per minute to 2,250 gallons per minute. In addition, the plant is being designed so that it can be expanded to produce 4,500 gallons per minute.

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2011, 10 years ago: The old Central School pool was demolished to make room for an expanded parking lot next to the Douglas County Services Center. The pool, which was built by Alexandria School District 206 42 years ago as part of the junior high school, was eventually taken over by the Lakes Area Recreation (LAR). It was closed after LAR leaders discovered that it was leaking hundreds of gallons of water every month.

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists and Douglas County Hospital announced their integrated relationship which will help enhance the strengths of both, along with their goals to continue to provide a high level of orthopedic care in both the clinic and the hospital setting in the years to come.

Just for fun – 1971 - 50 years ago: From the column of “Harv Sez,” by Harvey Hammergren – manager of the chamber of commerce: “Something to think about. The American Automobile Association estimates that any town or area which attracts 100 tourists per day will gain 100 new jobs, bring approximately $675,000 in personal income, some $130,000 in bank deposits and generate enough tax money to educate 42 children.”

Sports trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: More than 100 area seniors enjoyed a day of fishing on Lake Darling, and the sunnies, black bass, and even a few rock bass were biting. Sponsored by the Viking Sportsmen Club of Alexandria, the senior fishing day is an annual event where area anglers volunteer their time and equipment to bring smiles to older fishing enthusiasts. Arlene Bosek, who helped coordinate the event with Rick Pierce (both are members of the Sportsmen) said they had done the event for the past seven years. Anglers use donated boats and fishing equipment and donated funds for lures and bait, and the seniors get a fish dinner at the Radisson Arrowwood Resort.

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