From the Echo Press archives, 1998: Flipped switch blunder kills power to 6,000 in Alexandria

This week in history in Douglas County.

Picture of Rachel Barduson
Rachel Barduson

This Week in 1933 – 90 years ago: Although egg and chicken prices have been low, John Urness of this city is still going strong in that line at his place west of Alexandria. He is even branching out this spring into the custom hatching business with a 16,000-egg Petersime electric hatcher which is being installed this week. Although the price of eggs is far too low, feed is also cheap, and with low overhead it is still possible to get by.

1963, 60 years ago: The Rotary Club presented an orchid to Margaret Luethner for her contribution to the Runestone Year observance. Another was given to her husband Walter who was honored for his trip to Antarctica in 1928 as baker for the first Byrd expedition, and later back in Alexandria as a fishing guide and operator of the first significant bait shop, fish cleaning, freezing and shipping station in this area.

1973, 50 years ago: Steve Waller, a 34-year old CPA and partner in the firm of Phelps, Ness and Waller, was named by the Alexandria Jaycees as their Outstanding Young Man for 1972-73. Named as Bosses of the Year were Erc Aga, Ken Tessmer and Ev Walters, owners of KXRA radio. Also honored was Leon Schultz who was named Outstanding Young Farmer.

Voters in District 206 will be going to the polls to vote on a $298,000 bond issue for an addition to the Alexandria Area Technical Institute. Approval of the bond would allow the construction of an $896,000 addition to the current institute. Of the total amount $448,000 would be paid for out of state matching funds and another $150,000 by the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission, making the amount of the bond election $298,000. School officials indicate that only a fraction, about 3% of the $298,000 would appear on local property taxes.

1983, 40 years ago: The Douglas County Board approved the formation of a Douglas County Hospice Program. It will be planned and implemented by the Douglas-Grant County Public Health Nursing Service. Hospice is a concept to give personal and quality care to the terminally ill during their final days. The program makes care available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.


1998, 25 years ago: A power outage that affected 7,000 ALP customers was caused by “simple human error,” according to Operations Manager Scott Dietz. The 15-minute outage affected every customer of Alexandria Light & Power. “An employee accidentally hit a switch, and it opened a breaker that feeds the whole system. In a split second the lights were out all over the town. Restoring power was just a matter of flipping a switch,” Dietz said.

2013, 10 years ago: The J. A. Wedum Foundation of Minneapolis recently awarded a $500,000 matching grant to the Alexandria YMCA to help build a 8,000-square-foot addition, which will bring the total square footage of the facility to 64,000 square feet. On Jan. 1, the YMCA re-engaged its "Continue the Dream” capital campaign to raise the remaining dollars to meet the Phase II expansion goal of $2.5 million.

Just for fun, 1973 – 50 years ago: Ridgeway Wig Salon has moved and is now at 111 Lincoln Ave. E. Owner Anne Johnson has operated Ridgeway for six years and is scheduling a grand opening for her new location.

Sports Trivia, 1973 – 50 years ago: Members of the Minnesota Vikings will be playing an exhibition basketball game in Melrose. Members of the Vikings team are: Bobby Bryant, Clint Jones, Karl Kassulke, Paul Krause, Mick Tenglehoff, Milt Sunde and Charlie West. They will be playing against a Melrose team made up of past Melrose High School state tournament basketball players.

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

What To Read Next
Get Local