This Week in 1981 – 40 years ago: Weather permitting, and with five runs and three ski tows, The Andes-Tower Hills, located about 15 miles southwest of Alexandria, will open as the newest of Minnesota’s ski resorts. Paul and Vern Anderson of rural Alexandria began to clear ground for the ski area in October 1980, being very selective about which trees they moved in attempt to leave the area as natural as possible. They visited a number of ski areas in Minnesota to see how runs could be built through wooded areas. The Andersons built their ski area in the center of a 160-acre farm with a ridge running through it. Locals call it Tower Hills, because a large tower once sat at the top of the ridge.

1971, 50 years ago: Effective Dec. 5, 1971, an increase of $4 per day will be initiated for the patient rooms at Douglas County Hospitals. The increase will provide a basic room rate for a semi-private room of $42.50 per day and a private room rate of $46.00 per day. The increased revenue will be used to offset projected increases in personnel costs and various increases in costs of general and medical supplies and hospital equipment.

The Alexandria Scrollers, the official Chamber of Commerce welcoming committee to the City of Alexandria, congratulated Bud Peterson on his new Super Valu Store at Viking Plaza.

”Yes, we have sold the bakery,” said Tubby Schurman when asked to verify rumors floating through town, “but the whole family is staying right here and we will be working for the new owner.” Tubby’s Bakery will not change as a result. Even the name will stay when the new owner takes over in April of next year.

1996, 25 years ago: The Alexandria City Council is looking into the possibility of purchasing 100 more acres of land to expand Alexandria Industrial Park near the airport. The total cost of the project, which is still in the very early preliminary stages, is estimated at $3.7 million. The city plans to apply for federal funds to offset the cost. The Alexandria Industrial Park was developed in 1970. It is now the home of 22 businesses, which employ a total of 940 workers. The largest employer is Douglas Machine with 506.

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2011, 10 years ago: Nelson’s Store in Evansville sold 900 pounds of lutefisk during the 2010 Christmas season, and is well on track to do about the same this season. Wilbur and Florence Nelson have been selling lutefisk from the family store for 65 years. Scott Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Store, sees his business pick up considerably each November and December as the lutefisk orders pour in.

Just For Fun, 1946 – 75 years ago: Over 1,500 people jammed the Red Owl store in Alexandria to watch an Aunt Jemima pancake demonstration, according to store manager Sid Olson. The Quaker Co. fieldsmen who supervised the event reported that the crowd was the largest ever seen at a demonstration.

Sports Trivia, 1981 – 40 years ago: Paul and Vern Anderson, owners of the Andes-Tower Hill ski area, have installed snow-making equipment with the capability of covering all five runs with several feet of snow. Workers have only turned on the equipment two evenings this winter, and already there are spots on one run where snow is three to four feet deep. This week’s snowfall helped with the base. The five runs vary in length and vertical drop. The longest run is 2,200 feet long, which circles through the woods around the outside of the ski area, entitled “Hawaiian Cruise.” Skiers are moved from the base to the top of the hill by three tow ropes with handles. Four of the runs are lighted for night skiing.

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