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Living History

5 years ago

Excerpts from the July 1, 2004 Pioneer Journal

• June Jubilee blasts into town

Some June Jubilee events drew larger crowds than others at the annual event, said Shirley Uselman, executive director of the Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce. She would have liked to have seen more community participation, she said. The kids tractor pull was a very successful event and drew so many people the track was nearly hidden by the crowds.

• Verndale closes lunch hour

The Verndale School Board voted to close the school's 26-minute lunch break after Principal Dean Krogstad said students abused the school's policy allowing them to go home for lunch if they brought a note from their parents once a year saying this was OK.

10 years ago

Excerpts from the July 1, 1999 Pioneer Journal

• Lions ask for rest rooms now

The Wadena Lions asked the city council to put in plumbing at the new shelter at Sunnybrook Park that year instead of 2000. The council approved helping to pay for rest rooms, but that phase of the project wasn't supposed to take place until the next year. The Lions said the project was at a standstill until the plumbing could be completed. The council agreed to pay.

• Fire at Outpost Grill

A fire caused minimal damage at the Outpost Grill in Aldrich early Tuesday morning. Firefighters contained the blaze within the walls. The fire appeared to be electrical in origin.

25 years ago

Excerpts from the July 3, 1984 Pioneer Journal

• Nelsen teaches in Kuwait

Amy Nelsen, 23, wasn't sure if she would return for another year of teaching first-graders at the largest private school in the Arab state of Kuwait. Nelsen applied for the teaching position "on a whim," she said, after finding out about it in a St. Cloud State University placement book. After meeting the principal of the school she decided to accept the position. Nelsen's students were mostly Palestinian, Egyptian, Indian and Iranian. She said there were a few native Kuwaitis.

The government stresses education for boys and girls, she said.

"We have American teachers and American books," Nelsen said. "They want to teach them the American way."

There were 40 American teachers at the school that year, she said. They formed softball teams and celebrated Thanksgiving together.

The Muslim religion dominates the country. Alcohol was not allowed and women wear traditional veils and do not speak in public.

American teachers were not allowed to mention their own religion. They could not speak of Christmas or Easter or make a reference to Jesus Christ, Nelsen said.

"We were taught never to challenge their beliefs," she said. "Any map with Israel on it, we had to cross out Israel and write 'Occupied Palestine.' The Persian Gulf was changed to 'Arabian Gulf.'"

One problem she had with Kuwait was how women were treated, she said. Western women could only wear swimsuits on designated beaches. Talking to single men outside of Americans and Europeans was discouraged. Hardly a day went by that she didn't experience some sort of harassment in the streets, she said.

She said her landlord used to come and visit her and her roommates' apartment and she thought he was real interesting and nice. But her principal told them not to let the landlord into their apartment anymore.

"He said that if he [the landlord] would attack us, he would probably not be prosecuted because we let him into our house," she said.

Nelsen said she always felt fairly safe in Kuwait even when bombs destroyed the American Embassy in December.

The school was evacuated Dec. 14 after the bomb scare.

When the principal came to the door "he looked real different," Nelsen said. "I thought, 'what did I do?' He said, 'Kuwait's been bombed; we're evacuating the school.'"

She later found out the bombs were car bombs and had been set off by terrorists. School was cancelled for five days.

Embassy officials told them to keep a low profile and softball games were cancelled for a month. There were road checks and soldiers searched cars and asked for passports.

Kuwait blamed pro-Iranian terrorists for the bombing last year. Kuwait had remained neutral in the four-year war between neighboring Iraq and nearby Iran. Now, the Kuwait government is more openly supporting the Iraqi cause.

The principal had decided not to return to the school, Nelsen said. She wondered if it was because the country was slowly being drawn into a war that was not theirs.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the July 3, 1969 Pioneer Journal

• Clarissa woman wins Miss Vacationland title

Miss Barbara Lehman became the second Clarissa contestant to win the Wadena Jaycee-sponsored Miss Vacationland title in ceremonies Saturday night.

• 34 guns stolen from Merickel's

Burglars stole 10 new handguns, 9 shot guns 15 rifles plus ammunition and several wristwatches from the hardware department of Merickel Lumber Mills on U.S. Highway 10 June 25, according to police and the sheriff's department.

• Sunnybrook gets totem poles

The Chamber of Commerce presented the city of Wadena with totem poles designed and carved by Loren Mosman, the high school's industrial arts instructor, and painted by Bill Burns. The poles were dedicated at the Jaycees' sing-along at Sunnybrook Park.

• Wigs available at Penneys

A Penneys advertisement encouraged PJ readers to shop the store's new wig department. "Even if you weren't a curly-haired baby, look at you now ... in a pre-styled stretch wig," the ad read. The purchase of a wig included a carrying case and Styrofoam head for $19.

60 years ago

Excerpts from the June 30, 1949 Pioneer Journal

• Active worker in church and lodges dies

Nellie Maude Bartlett died the previous Thursday from a cerebral hemorrhage after falling a few days before. Bartlett was born May 6, 1869, in Glenville Minn. Her mother, Ira Bartlett, was the first white child born in that town. Bartlett was 10 years old when her parents left Norwood Township to seek a homestead in northern Minnesota. The family settled four miles east of Verndale in what is now Bartlett Township, named after her father, in Todd County. Nellie married Mr. Bartlett in 1891. The couple moved to Wadena in 1921. She was an active member of the Methodist church and was very involved in local lodge work.

• Merickel wins Cozy tickets

Frank Merickel won two tickets to see "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College" at the Cozy Theatre after he correctly guessed that a photo featured in the previous week's issue of the PJ was that of E.A. Peterson, a former butter maker at the Wadena co-operative creamery.

• Editorial explains man's friends

A "With Other Editors" editorial from Billy Noonan in the Baudette Region said: "A husband complained to us the other day because his wife is never cordial to his friends. Perhaps she thinks that they should have warned her ... 'The wall-eyed pike is a queer fish,' writes an expert. So is many a lad who fishes for him." He also wrote, "We are beginning to doubt that Noah put only a pair of mosquitoes on the ark."

• Finnish bath opens

An ad told people they could inquire at the Verndale Cafe about the opening of a Finnish Bath. "We will be ready to serve you every night, except Sunday," the ad read.

• Drunk drivers arrested

A highway patrol officer fired a couple of .38 slugs into a tire of a car driven by a drunk driver to get the vehicle to stop. The patrolman and a Wadena police officer had "tooted the horn full blast" and "shouted at the top of their voices" all with no effect.