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Living History: Farmer barely misses death on railroad crossing

10 years ago

Excerpts from the April 15, 2004 Pioneer Journal

• Advisor in hall of fame

It has been almost 40 years since Sebeka FFA Advisor Charles Funk slid his arms into the sleeves of his first FFA jacket. In that time he has been busy showing students the difference that the organization can make in their lives. But FFA stepped into Funk's life earlier than that. He was the Sebeka chapter vice president in 1965-66.

"I would have never completed high school if I had not been in FFA," Funk said.

In fact so profound has this teacher's impact been on students he will be one of the inaugural inductees into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame. Funk is one of 75 people chosen for the honor from more than 170 who were nominated.Funk was nominated by several state FFA officials, retired teachers and Amanda Fickes, a Sebeka FFA member, who put together the nomination.

Funk feels fortunate to be among the first honored in the state, but if he hadn't won it wouldn't be a big deal because his students are more important.

20 years ago

Excerpts from the April 14, 1994 Pioneer Journal

• DAC gains bus, loses job

News for staff and clients at the Wadena County DAC has been mixed the past couple of weeks.

The good news is that they will receive a grant for a new bus. The bad news is that they must give up a contract with an employer and lay off one employee.

Ending a contract with Wadena's Brookside Motel was one of the toughest decisions. DAC clients have been cleaning rooms there since 1990. Three work regularly, with two backups when the motel is especially full. Despite the work site's success, it had to be cut due to lack of staff. One DAC employee received a layoff notice last week. Her responsibilities included driving and caring for clients with demanding physical needs. In eliminating her position, a brookside job site supervisor will be reassigned to take over those duties.

Money for a new bus is one good piece of news for the DAC. Under a Minnesota Department of Transportation program, approval has been made for a $34,440 grant to the DAC for a bus with a wheelchair lift that holds 12 ambulatory passengers and contains three wheelchair slots. Locally, the DAC is required to match with $8,610. Bus delivery is expected in November or December. The new 1995 bus will replace a 1975 vehicle with over 250,000 miles. The lift capabilities provide more options for clients on the Verndale and western Staples route.

DAC will have three lift-equipped vehicles in good shape with the addition of this bus.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the April 18, 1974 Pioneer Journal

• Woman, 87, killed crossing Jefferson

An 87-year-old Wadena woman was struck and killed by a Lampert Lumber company truck of Parkers Prairie Tuesday morning as she crossed from east to west on the crosswalk at Jefferson and Bryant, according to police chief Richard Hayward.

Lena Maude Rode, 87, was dead on arrival at Wesley Hospital following the accident which occurred after 10 a.m.

The Lampert Lumber Company truck was making a lefthand turn on a green light from Bryant onto Jefferson heading north when Mrs. Rode, who was crossing Jefferson from east to west on the green light, was struck, the police department said.

The driver of the truck was Larry Hudalla, 27, of Parkers Prairie who apparently did not see Mrs. Rode in the crosswalk, the police department reported. The victims sisters Mrs. Gladys Homberg of Park Rapids and Mrs. Kathryn Rebehn of Hewitt, were notified following the accident.

Police chief Hayward and his department investigated the accident.

70 years ago

Excerpts from the April 20, 1944 Pioneer Journal

• Farmer barely misses death on railroad crossing

First Street railroad crossing in Wadena claimed a crash victim Tuesday morning and Henry Kautz is in Wesley Hospital suffering from severe head lacerations, a broken leg and ankle bone.

The accident occurred at about 9:40 a.m. when Kautz, approaching the crossing from the north, drove onto the track in front of a westbound freight train. The large engine crashed into his car hurling it around along the south side of the track and tearing a two-wheel trailer apart and scattering it along the north side right-of-way. When the train came to a stop, bystanders saw Kautz lying nearby under the train in a pool of his own blood, his head having struck the end of a tie.

A doctor and ambulance were called and the victim was rushed to the hospital, where he has a good chance for recovery.

Cream which was being hauled in the trailer was spilled and one of the cans was hurled several yards west of the accident scene. The car was badly damaged.

The First Street crossing, according to some Wadena residents, has been the scene of several accidents in the past, even though, as all railroad crossings, is marked with stop signs. At this particular time a switching freight had parked six cars and a caboose just east of the crossing and that further obscured the sight of oncoming train, according to bystanders.