This Week in 1996 – 25 years ago: For the first time in history, the Douglas County Jail received a perfect rating of 100% after inspections by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Part of the reason for the perfect rating is that the jail is new. There are actually two jails, a refurbished maximum security facility in the courthouse annex building and a new minimum-security jail created in space on the upper floor of the Douglas County Services Center (the old Central High School building). The new facility opened in May 1995. Another reason for the perfect score is the staff, said Douglas County Sheriff Bill Ingebrigtsen.

1981 – 40 years ago: District 206 teachers have reached a two-year agreement for an increase in salary and fringe benefits of 25.2%. The contract, which would be in effect from 1981-83, was accepted at 1:46 a.m. after six and three-quarters hours of negotiations. The contract has been tentatively agreed upon, but both the District 206 School Board and the Alexandria Education Association have yet to accept the proposed settlement.

1971, 50 years ago: The largest store of White Drug Enterprise, Inc. will open soon at the Viking Plaza in Alexandria. Employing more than 60 people, the spacious facility provides shoppers with more than 40,000 square feet of shopping area. White Drug Enterprise, with headquarters in Jamestown, North Dakota, had its start in 1894 with a small drug store. It now operates 21 drug stores, two mass merchandising stores, such as the White Mart in Alexandria, card and gift stores, and restaurants in the states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

1996, 25 years ago: Alexandria will definitely have a new mayor as Mayor Marvin Hanson will not seek a sixth term. In his 10 years as mayor, Hanson has missed only one council meeting, and that was when he was in New York with the Runestone during the World’s Fair. Two former city councilmen have filed for the position, LeRoy Meyer, owner of Garden Center, and Vern Bisson, owner of Broadway Mobile Homes and currently the organizational director of the Minnesota Real Estate Taxpayer’s Association.

The deputy state fire marshal determined that a burning cigarette, flicked to a bathroom wastebasket, is the suspected cause of the fire that destroyed the Reno Inn last week. By following the burn pattern, the fire marshal said he tracked the fire’s origin to the men’s bathroom in the basement of the nightclub, and that the fire was accidental.

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2011, 10 years ago: A new pedestrian bridge was lowered into place at the L’Homme Dieu-Geneva channel. It’s part of a new trail link the Douglas County Board agreed to build that extends the trail north from the beach all the way to Crestwood Drive (County Road 85).

The first residents of Grand Arbor by Knute Nelson, a new lifestyle community for seniors, have officially moved in. Located at 4403 Pioneer Road SE, Grand Arbor has been designed to accommodate the specialized needs of aging adults. It encourages active lifestyles, expanded health care choices and lifestyle amenities.

Just For Fun, 1996 25 years ago: The new owners of the Mobil Mart (formerly Snappy’s/Food and Fuel) next to Dairy Queen North are Mike and Linda Munson. The store, revamped to offer a greater selection of products, offers gas, groceries and lottery tickets in a convenience store setting. It is at 903 North Nokomis.

Sports Trivia, 1971 – 50 years ago: Well over 200 people, including Future Farmers of America (FFA) members, who have worked with the sportsmen on various projects, attended the Viking Sportsmen Club's annual meeting in Alexandria. Bob Herbst, Minnesota commissioner of Natural Resources, addressed the meeting, saying that members can best be described as having “the most dedicated, hard working individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with.” An ardent conservationist, Herbst said the effort of conserving our natural resources is a joint effort of all of us.

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