From the Echo Press archives, 1996: Tom Lehman named Player of the Year

This week in history in Douglas County.

This Week in 1996 – 25 years ago: Well-known Twin Cities news anchor Don Shelby will co-host the “Jaycees Jingle Bells” program. This week’s program, which will feature a brand new set, will be the 47th annual Jingle Bells. This year, there will be 37 talent acts throughout the evening, some live, some taped. Long an Alexandria tradition, the televised event raises money to purchase food baskets and toys for needy families within an 80-mile radius of the city. Shelby is a long-time news anchor for WCCO-TV, KCCO’s current station and CBS affiliate.

1981 – 40 years ago: The sale of Christmas stamps at the Alexandria Post Office has been so heavy that it sold out of them. Postmaster Glen Van Amber said the Post Office received 105,000 Christmas stamps, and all were sold by the end of last week. Wally Anderson, a spokesman for United Parcel Service (UPS), which has a branch office in Alexandria, said their office is working at full capacity and has added Saturday hours to handle the outgoing volume of packages.

1971, 50 years ago: Dennis H. Johnson, a dairy farmer south of Brandon, was chosen as the area’s Outstanding Young Farmer. He has farmed for 12 years since joining his father in the partnership in 1959. He has since taken over completely and presently has a prize herd of 40 registered Holsteins.

Alexandria will have a new recreational complex as a result of about 70 acres of land in Crestwood Hills. A clubhouse, chalet and a trophy business will be in the building owned by Don Lundgren, and which will probably front on Highway 29. The area will likely be called “Crestwood’s Eko Backen Golf.” Lundgren currently operates a similar complex called Eko Backen at Scandia.

1996, 25 years ago: Christmas shopping is in full swing. Some of the hottest items include Dalmatian toys and games, casual sweaters, Skidoos, huge television sets, leather purses, and a craft item called “Squand.” Squand is a big seller in Target’s toy department. It’s a craft-art item in which sand placed in water forms intriguing shapes. Also hot is an item called “Tickle Me Elmo.” Cabbage Patch dolls are once again going like hotcakes.


Beginning Jan. 2, Douglas County will operate only one drop-off site for recyclable paper, glass, aluminum and plastic. It will be located at the Pope-Douglas Solid Waste Management facility, 2110 Jefferson St. in Alexandria.

2011, 10 years ago: By the time the final tally was made, the Alexandria Jaycees were able to raise more than $92,000 during the 63rd annual Jingle Bells Telethon with more than 30 acts during the four-and-a-half-hour live broadcast from Lake Geneva Christian Center. More than 200 volunteers showed up the next morning at H. Boyd Nelson to package and deliver the food and toy baskets to more than 1,000 families in the area.

Just For Fun, 1971 – 50 years ago: Once again, the Christmas stockings await the birth of December babies who are born at Douglas County Hospital North. The custom, started many years ago by the Franciscan Sisters, continues as women of the Hospital Auxiliary design the red flannel with notations such as “A Star is Born” and “Christmas Angel.” This past year, 360 babies have been born at Douglas County Hospital North.

Sports Trivia, 1996 – 25 years ago: What will likely be the first of many honors for Alexandria native Tom Lehman is coming from the Golf Writers Association of America who have selected him as their Player of the Year. Lehman won his first major earlier this year, the British Open, and won the Tour Championship to end the season. He also was the leading money earner on the tour. Lehman received 187 votes in the balloting with Tiger Woods a distant second with 20.

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

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