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Living History

5 years ago

Excerpts from the July 28, 2005 Pioneer Journal

• 16-bed behavioral hospital breaks ground

Work on a $3 million community behavioral health hospital officially began Tuesday with a groundbreaking at Fair Oaks Lodge in Wadena.

"We are very excited about the opportunities this will give the area and also our own community," said Dennis Miley, Fair Oaks Lodge Inc. president and Tri-County Hospital administrator, at the groundbreaking.

Wadena is one of seven communities building one of these community-based hospitals. The new facilities will replace state regional treatment centers and allow patients to stay closer to home, according to a press release.

• City discusses old airport use

The future use of Wadena's old airport property near Sunnybrook Park is being discussed with a consulting firm.

The city of Wadena hired SEH Inc., a consulting firm from Minneapolis, to look at the old airport property and help with the rezoning and development of the property.

A public meeting July 21 was the first of several meetings with SEH.

10 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 3, 2000 Pioneer Journal

• Grad standards testing mistake affecting local students

Dozens of Wadena-Deer Creek and Verndale students were affected by a statewide error in the scoring of the graduation standards math test.

The math basic standards test was taken by Minnesota high school students in February and April 2000. Across the state, more than 47,000 of these tests were incorrectly graded. As a result, nearly 8,000 students were told they had failed when really they had passed; an estimated 336 seniors were wrongly kept from graduating due to the error.

"I can't imagine what it did to those kids' self-esteem, to be told they could not graduate, then have this happen," Verndale Principal Dean Krogstad said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, out of 222 WDC students taking the test, 100 tests were scored incorrectly. Of those, 20 were told they had in failed when in fact they had passed. None were seniors.

Most of those kids spent six weeks of their summer (three days a week) at summer school to pass a test they had already passed, WDC Principal Richard Rhoades said.

• Highway 10 construction update

Highway 10 road improvements from Perham to New York Mills are well underway according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. With the completion of the edge drain work, crews will begin milling and paving operations in both the eastbound and westbound lands and raising the grade of the road surface in three areas of the westbound lane. The entire $3.1 million dollar project should be completed by mid October.

25 years ago

Excerpts from the July 30, 1985 Pioneer Journal

• Alice Oehlenschlager crowned outstanding senior citizen

A lady of varied interests who has worked inconspicuously for betterment of youths and adults was crowned Wadena county's Outstanding Senior Citizen in special ceremonies conducted at the county fairgrounds July 19 as part of the 5th annual senior citizens awards program.

Alice Ohlenschlager, longtime Wadena Pioneer Journal correspondent, writing from East Orton, and a 1932 Staples high school graduate, was selected from a field of five well-qualified candidates for the honor.

• For Bud Reinke, the only life he's ever known

With the county fair wrapped up for the year, people are speculating if, like many other years, a Wadena teenager or young adult joined with the carnival, seeking a life that is very different from the typical life one might lead here in Wadena.

Many recruits for carnivals are teenagers. They join the carnival, some "on the run" looking for that missing purpose in their life, or freedom from authority. Some are young adults, wanting the free-style living that a carnival offers, and some are those that join a carnival in desperation for a job and a place to sleep -- a last resort for employment.

But one "carney" here this past weekend with the Starbrite carnival does not fit into any of these classifications. Being a part of a carnival is really the only lifestyle he knows.

"I've been with the carnival almost all of my life," he said during an interview while the county fair was going.

He is in charge of the tilt-a-whirl, and is the only crew member still with the carnival from last November. "You see, a lot of people come and go," he said. "Some of them join up, and then after a couple of weeks, they are gone. They just can't hack it."

He talked about the reputation of carnies; and how thy are often not trusted, and treated less than fairly. But that is something that is changing, he said.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the July 30, 1970 Pioneer Journal

• New airport manager giving flying instruction to students

Jack Thrasher, a 21-year veteran of the United States Air Force and the new Wadena airport manager, reported that his single engine Cherokee 140 B plane is here and that two men -- Jerry Barry and Jerry Smith -- are full time students taking flying instructions.

Thrasher also said that four other persons have been notified that they may begin instruction soon.

Thrasher said that already businessmen are planning to use or are using the airport facility including Rex McDonald Studio, for aerial photography.

• High school grads may apply for J-C fellowships

Many Wadena businessmen and women plus civic groups have already sponsored Junior College Extension Fellowships to aid potential college students in attending the Wadena Extension Center when classes open in September.

The purpose of these opportunity fellowships is to aid high school graduates to attend the junior college extension center. Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of the students' personality, initiative, scholarship and financial need.

60 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 3, 1950 Pioneer Journal

• Three action stories at Cozy this week

Gregory Peck in "The Gunfighter," western drama about a desperado who wishes to give up his past, but finds it constantly catching up with him, has been announced by Manager Clarence Quincer as the attraction at the Cozy Theatre for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. Laid in a western setting "The Gunfighter" is anything but the conventional screen western. Even its hero, Jimmie Ringo, presents a completely fresh approach to the subject.

Showing tonight (Thursday) for the last time is the immmortal Will Rogers in "David Harum."

Friday and Saturday night is the story of the golden horses of the west, "The Palomino." This feature is in all the splendor of technicolor.

"Rock Island Trail," the astounding story of the United States moving on iron wheels to claim its greatest Western empire is the feature for next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Aug. 9, 10 and 11. This story has been filmed in trucolor.

On the coming list is "Yellow Cab Man" and "Cheaper by the Dozen."

• Badger attacks farm boy ... 'Nearly' makes fair exhibit

The Game and Fish Department at the county fair nearly had a live badger for their displays. "Nearly" is perhaps the correct word. The animal was captured in an exciting manner, but it escaped from its cage.

Last Wednesday afternoon Jimmie Kurz, 16-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Kurz, living south of the radio towers, had gone to the pasture to bring in the horses. In the course of the travels he saw a long-clawed snarling animal obstructing his path, and more than that, the animal took exception to the intrusion on its domain and went on the offensive.

Jim, not in a fighting mood, took to his heels, but it was a losing race. Turning, he kicked at the animal, but the hurried kick was not well aimed, and did nothing more than throw the animal off balance. The next charge came and by this time Jim's aim was better and the kick landed on the under jaw of the animal, stunning it. Thinking that he had killed it, Jim picked it up by the tail and then like the first break of the sun in the morning, it dawned on him that he was holding a none-too-friendly badger.

He brought the animal home, and by the time he had reached the house the badger had regained consciousness and was ready to take up the battle where it had left off in the pasture. Jim had other ideas and tossed it into the corn crib, and made arrangements to turn it over to Game Warden Harry Ames, to have it displayed with the Game and Fish collection at the fair.

The next afternoon, however, when Jim went to toss some food to his quarry, he discovered it was gone. The only explanation given is that the badger must have scaled the other side of the crib, crawled over the top and escaped.

"As long as it's gone," Jim said. "I hope it went back to Wisconsin, and isn't waiting for me in the pasture."