From the Echo Press archives, 1998: Flu decimates Alexandria area schools

This week in history in Douglas County.

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Rachel Barduson
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This Week in 1973 – 50 years ago: The “January Thaw” experienced this year has alleviated, at least temporarily, a potentially dangerous situation regarding availability of fuel oil. The Alexandria School system reports that it is back on natural gas — with a good reserve of standby fuel oil on hand — thanks to the warm weather.

1973, 50 years ago: Bethany Home of Alexandria has received a letter of feasibility from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a 63-apartment addition to the current Bethany facility. According to Rev. Ervin Malm, facility administrator, the letter represents the clearance to go ahead with design of the addition which will contain one-room apartments for the elderly. Estimated project cost is $1,045,800.

1998, 25 years ago: The flu is sweeping through Douglas County. The mailing of grade transcripts at Alexandria’s Discovery Middle School might have to be delayed until many students with the flu can make up their incompletes. Every day last week there were over 100 students from Discovery who stayed home because of illness, most of them suffering from flu symptoms. There are 1,077 students at Discovery. Of Alexandria Jefferson High School’s 1,120 students, 120 were absent in one day, largely because of the flu. A “normal” absence total each day is anywhere from 20 to 25 students, said Principal Pernell Knutson. The highest number of absences in Parkers Prairie in one day last week was 60; there are 325 students in Parkers Prairie High School. In Osakis, 45 students were absent in one day.

2013, 10 years ago: Owners and managers of local bars with electronic pulltabs say the games are slowly catching on, but they are more excited about electronic bingo. Right now only 120 bars out of thousands in Minnesota offer E-pulltabs, including three in the Douglas County area – Herbie’s Bar and Grill in Carlos, Garden Center in Alexandria, and Bull Frog’s Bar and Grill in Hoffman.

Hilltop Lumber Company, which has four locations in the area, was named the Minnesota Lumber and Building Material Dealer of the Year at the 2013 Northwestern Building Products Expo held in St. Cloud. Owners Paul and Brian Klimek, father and son, accepted the award and thanked their family and vendors for the support they have had over the years.


Just for fun, 1973 – 50 years ago: Les Gaugert, president of the First National Bank of Alexandria, announced that over one million calls have come in on their “Time and Temperature Hot Line.” This service was inaugurated two years ago Dec. 19, on the first day they moved into their new bank. During that time an almost unbelievable number of calls – averaging nearly 1,500 per day – have been placed. So 762-1133 is easily the busiest number in Alexandria. This public service makes available the correct time and temperature on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis.

Sports Trivia, 1983 – 40 years ago: A fish that could be worth $5,000 was released into Devils Lake near Brandon. The rainbow trout was released as part of a promotion for the Brandon Ice Fishing Contest. If anyone catches the fish during the contest, the fisherman will be awarded a check for $5,000. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize, about $600 in cash prizes will be awarded throughout the day. The event is being sponsored by the Brandon Lion’s Club and the Brandon Sportsman Club.

1963 – 60 years ago: The Minnesota Twins Baseball Banquet scheduled as a stag event has been opened to the ladies because of the demands of indignant women who claim they are just as interested in baseball as the men folk.

1988 – 35 years ago: Minnesota Twins fans crowded Arrowwood Resort to see Kirby Puckett and Dan Gladden at a promotional appearance.

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

What To Read Next
This week in history in Douglas County.
The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.
In total in Douglas County, we have fewer than 10 prosecuting attorneys to review and prosecute the roughly 12,500 cases that come before them.