From the Echo Press archives, 1997: Big Ole is an 'accident waiting to happen,' commissioners say

This week in history in Douglas County.

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Rachel Barduson
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This Week in 1972 – 50 years ago: James Koos, representing Mississippi Valley Airways (MVA), indicated that prospects are very good for scheduled airline service for the Alexandria area. MVA operates between Minneapolis and Chicago with stops at Winona, Minnesota; La Crosse and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin; and Dubuque, Iowa. The public will have a short but good look at the Canadian manufactured twin engine airliner next week when it arrives at 1 p.m. and departs 25 minutes later. Koos indicated that if the company could be assured that seven seats per flight would be utilized, service could start immediately on a one flight per day basis. He also stated that possibly Alexandria would be served by five flights per day – three direct flights to Minneapolis and two en route stops.

1972, 50 years ago: John Krantz, area forester with Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources, reports that a summer of average rainfall will assure a high rate of survival of the 1,000 black walnut and 5,000 green ash trees just planted by youth and adults of Calvary Lutheran Church of Alexandria. He pointed out that a high percentage of the 10,000 trees the churchmen planted in 1971 are doing very well, but the severely dry summer of 1970 killed many trees that were planted at that time. Since Calvary Church began their plantings, 26,000 trees have been put in the ground as a community service.

The Book Nook, a store featuring paperback books, magazines and a pipe bar complete with tobacco and pipe accessories, is having a grand opening. The store is located at the Viking Plaza and has a wide variety of books in stock and will order any book not in stock.

1997, 25 years ago: Well, it looks like Big Ole is going to be moving after all. The county has given its notice, and Alexandria’s famous Viking statue will have to be moved from its spot on North Broadway by May 1, 1998. Broadway, or Highway 29, is actually a county-state-aid funded highway. That is why the county holds jurisdiction about the location of the Big Ole statue and has the ultimate authority about whether he can stand anywhere on the roadway. The commissioners cited safety concerns, saying the statue in its spot north of 3rd Avenue is “an accident waiting to happen.”

A new kidney dialysis unit at the Douglas County Hospital will be owned and operated by St. Cloud Hospital. The unit, which is the result of a partnership between the two hospitals, will open June 1. About 20 people in Douglas County need daily dialysis.


2012, 10 years ago: Robert G. Johnson and Janey Westin, a father-daughter team and co-authors of "The Last Kings of Norse America – Runestone Keys to a Lost Empire," led a discussion and book signing at the Runestone Museum. The book offers new evidence that Norse explorers walked – and sailed – this land between the time of Leif Eriksson and Thorfinn Karlsefni in 1000 and that of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Just for fun,1972 – 50 years ago: Woolworth - the fun place to shop for the entire family – LP stereo records on sale. Your choice. $1.39 while they last. The latest hits by all the top stars. Also 8-track stereo tapes while they last for $2.99. Come in early for first choice and scoop up all the latest hits by your favorite recording artists.

1912 – 110 years ago: The Douglas County Automobile Association’s “Good Roads Club” has proposed that each auto owner in the county pay $5 into the treasury for the repair and maintenance of the county highways.

Sports Trivia, 1997 – 25 years ago: Chris Bartosiewski of Sauk Centre and Corey Eckoff of Deer Creek were named to the All-North Central Conference baseball team. Bartosiewski is a senior pitcher and Eckoff a freshman infielder. Both area athletes helped the Bison to a 24-17 season record.

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

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This commentary was submitted to the newspaper's Opinion page. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.
This is a commentary from a reader that was submitted to the Opinion page. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.
This week in history in Douglas County.