From the Echo Press archives, 1971: Bellanca to build planes for lease

This week in history in Douglas County.

This week in 1961, 60 years ago: Construction will begin in May on the 300-seat Theatre L’Homme Dieu pavilion. Auditions to select actors for the resident company will be conducted in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. The resident company will be supplemented by outstanding drama students from the Upper Midwest.

1971, 50 years ago: The Bellanca Super Viking has been chosen by Lease-a-Plane International Corporation to fill an important role in its aircraft rental operation. Delivery of the first Super Viking was made to Lease-a-Plane’s Chicago hub, or rental center. Lease-a-Plane is a privately-held national license network of aircraft rental facilities that provides new, fully insured, well-equipped and maintained light aircraft for rental by the hour, day, week or month at set rates from $13 a day and 13 cents a mile.

The number of candidates for the May 18 District 206 school board election has grown to 11 candidates for 2 positions. According to officials at the filing places, having 11 candidates is one of the largest slates for school board openings in recent memory.

1996, 25 years ago: Erc Aga, longtime radio man and newspaper columnist, died on April 24 at the age of 81. He was a 1933 graduate of Alexandria High School and has long been considered a media pioneer in the Alexandria area: as announcer, interviewer and part owner of KXRA-Radio; and as part-owner of the Park Region Echo newspaper and weekly columnist for over 30 years. The day before his death, Aga was praised at a ground-breaking ceremony for a new Alzheimer’s unit at Bethany Home. He was an honorary chairman of Bethany’s Alzheimer’s campaign, “Special People...Special Place.” In the last years of his life he was a resident of Knute Nelson Memorial Home in Alexandria.

Organizers of this year’s Vikingland Drum Corps Classic say it will boast its most powerful lineup to date in 1996, including four nationally ranked drum and bugle corps. Securing four elite groups was a big step for the Classic, according to coordinator Steve Guttormson, saying, “It’s clear we have the best show in the state." It will be held at the Jefferson High School football field.


2011, 10 years ago: KIKV-FM of Alexandria was awarded the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Crystal Radio Award. Since 1987, the NAB Crystal Radio Awards have recognized radio stations for their outstanding year-round commitment to community service. Ten winners were selected from the 50 finalists and Dave Vagle, general manager of KIKV-FM accepted the award on behalf of the radio station.

New signs along 34th Avenue West in Alexandria salute the Alexandria National Guard’s 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division. The city made the first-of-a-kind tribute to local soldiers as a way of thanking them for their service to the country. The signs include the Red Bull insignia.

Just for fun 1971 – 50 years ago: At present, there are almost 800,000 licensed pilots in the U.S. alone, and only 125,000 general aviation aircraft for their use. Many of these pilots are inactive because of the high cost and/or the impracticality of owning their own planes, plus the widespread unavailability of easily rentable, reliable aircraft. Lease-a-Plane’s rental fleets, with the help of Bellanca’s Super Viking, will fill the gap that has plagued executive business travel for years.

Sports trivia 1996 – 25 years ago: Joel Compton, a 1995 Jefferson High School graduate, no more than arrived from Nebraska and performed at the Alexandria rodeo before he had to get back on the road returning to Nebraska for another rodeo. Compton, a bareback and bronco rider, admits the miles get weary, but a small price to pay for the excitement. Compton first tried rodeo riding in high school and in his senior year won first place in the Minnesota High School Rodeo for saddle bronco riding. He lives in Torrington, Wyoming where he attends a community college.

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

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