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Living History: UFOs and leaflet bombs in 1952

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5 years ago

Excerpts from the July 26, 2007 Pioneer Journal

• Potter fans track new book at midnight

Witches and wizards stirred up some fun Friday in anticipation of the midnight release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".

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Kids and adults ventured to the Wadena City Library for a Harry Potter night, which culminated with the release of the final book in the J.K. Rowling series. Several Harry Potter fans dressed up as characters from the books.

• A soldier, a poet

Jason Mittag can assemble and reassemble his rifle faster than most soldiers in his unit, but it's when he's wielding a pen that he's especially dangerous.

That's at least the opinion of the editors of "The International Who's Who in Poetry", who chose the Wadena guardsman's poem, "Going to War", to appear at the very front of their 2007 poetry compilation.

10 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 1, 2002 Pioneer Journal

• DUI charges carry heavier penalties

Starting today (Aug. 1), a first-degree driving while intoxicated charge could mean stricter penalties.

The charge is now a felony in Minnesota. Before, it was a gross misdemeanor with two or more aggravating factors.

• Wadena State Bank purchases Security State Bank

Wadena State Bank purchased Security State Bank of Deer Creek and Bluffton on July 15, expanding the family-owned bank outside Wadena for the first time.

25 years ago

Excerpts from the July 28, 1987 Pioneer Journal

• Great Minnesota Peace Walk

On July 24, a group of Minnesotans who want to end the nuclear arms race and use our resources to meet human needs will begin a Peace Walk from Bemidji to St. Cloud.

The Great Minnesota Peace Walk will arrive in Wadena on July 28 for a potluck and discussion at Sunnybrook Park at 6 p.m.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the July 27, 1972 Pioneer Journal

• Groundbreaking for new hospital Aug. 2

Jack Browne, President of the board of directors of Wesley Hospital, announced that groundbreaking for the new hospital will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 2, 1972.

• Kitchi Gami region bookmobile at county fair

Kitchi Gami regional bookmobile will be at the Wadena County Fair Friday 7:30-10 p.m. and Saturday until 10 p.m.

In November, general election Wadena County residents will be voting on having a bookmobile in the county.

60 years ago

Excerpts from the July 31, 1952 Pioneer Journal

• Flying saucers near Wadena not confirmed

Two shiny objects sighted at high altitude, making a "lot of noise" were seen at Third Crow Wing Lake near Huntersville about noon Friday. What the objects were is still something of speculation.

The Pioneer Journal was first informed of the objects Tuesday morning when Mrs. Harold Mason called to say Gus Young of St. Peter, who was visiting at the Mason cottage on Third Crow Wing Lake with his wife and mother, had sighted the objects.

Fannie Young, Gus' mother, said all she heard was the sound, for when her son called for her to come and look, the objects were out of sight. She described the sound as "unusual" and sounded like a bunch of "buzz saws running."

In a telephone conversation with Gus at St. Peter Tuesday evening, he was reluctant to venture a guess that the objects were anything but conventional aircraft, but he did say it was unusual. In recalling what he saw, he said the objects were making a lot of noise, were shiny, and at the high altitude appeared to be about the size of a half dollar. They first appeared in the north and disappeared in the south and were traveling at a high rate of speed. The unusual part of the incident was the amount of noise that was associated with the objects for the altitude.

According to the Associated and United Press dispatches, the Air Force is very much interested in the reports of the flying saucers, and should anyone in this locality detect any unusual craft, they are asked to observe the shape, size, color, speed, altitude, direction of approach, direction of departure, and time of observation, and to notify the closest "skywatch" post immediately.

• Surprise bombing attack staged at Wadena Saturday

Saturday was a lucky day for Wadena - the city was bombed, yet, there were no casualties! The attack was a surprise one, and was instigated to awaken citizens to the urgent need for volunteers for "Operation Skywatch."

A similar attack took place at Verndale.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, a low-flying aeroplane slipped up over town, dumped about 4,000 leaflets and proceeded on to Verndale, quite unnoticed. Shortly after the plane had passed over Wadena, the air was filled with falling paper. As the pamphlets fell, they were casually picked up, and as the terse message was read, facial expressions revealed how serious the situation could have been.

At the top of the leaflet was pictured a bomb with the following printed over the drawing: "I could have been a death bomb."

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