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Living History

5 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 25, 2005 Pioneer Journal

• Honor ride raises $3,000

More than 100 motorcycles roared into Wadena on Saturday in support of local soldiers and raised $3,000 for the unit and families.

"That will make for a lot of care packages, calling cards and one hell of a welcome home party," said Karla Richardson, Family Readiness Group leader for the 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Company A, Wadena National Guard, now serving in Iraq.

Riders drove a 118-mile road trip through the region on Saturday to honor the local soldiers. In all, 134 motorcycles were registered, coming from as far away as Fargo, N.D., and St. Cloud, she said.

Ken Schmitz, a member of the unit home on leave, and his wife, Val, headed the motorcyclists. They carried a flag honoring the troops. Other bikes carried names of the unit's soldiers on ribbons so that they could travel in spirit.

• Second puzzle piece

A mural by Michael Beachy, a Staples artist, was dedicated Tuesday. The mural on the back wall of Lyle's Shoes is the second in the Alley Arts Institute, which will eventually include about 70 murals in Wadena. This mural depicts a Hewitt blacksmith and harness shop owned by Bob Zosel's grandfather. All murals will incorporate puzzle pieces because tourists will be able to put together a puzzle from pieces at the murals.

10 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 31, 2000 Pioneer Journal

• Vandalized

Vandals struck again, this time in Deer Creek where they broke the antlers off the city's new deer statue located just off Highway 29 past Truax Auto Sales. The deer was given to the city as a gift last summer from the Deer Creek School alumni. Interim Mayor Bob Wierima announced Aug. 29 that the city will offer a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

• Wellstone and Ventura feud

The not-so-private feud between Gov. Jesse Ventura and Sen. Paul Wellstone flared Thursday, Aug. 24, with Wellstone characterizing the governor as someone who understands neither farming nor rural Minnesota.

The latest spat was spawned by the governor's second book, "Do I Stand Alone?" a 262-page critique of politicians, the news media and the electorate. In the book, he accuses Minnesota's Democratic senator of being too wedded to federal farm subsidies.

Wellstone was stung by the characterization.

"I simply don't let anyone get away with these kinds of comments," he said, producing an interview Ventura did with The Forum last year to argue that the governor does not understand greater Minnesota.

In the article, Ventura accused outstate residents of being hypocritical in their complains about the population losses their regions have endured since the 1930s.

"Don't rural people live out there because they want to be around less people?" he asked.

25 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 27, 1985 Pioneer Journal

• Removal of GN depot ends nearly 100 years of rail history

Loyal Anderson of 315 SE Dayton, Wadena, called the Pioneer Journal Office recently to relay information that the longtime Great Northern railroad depot was being moved and it marked the end of a colorful era of the railroad and the building.

The depot, built more than 50 years ago, is presently resting near Wadena County Road 23 north of Verndale, whether or not that is its permanent home, this writer hasn't been able to determine.

Loyal in reminiscing about the history of the GN route, said the final run made by a freight on the line from Long Prairie to Park Rapids was Feb. 9, 1984. The final passenger train run was nearly 40 years ago.

• Child protection team celebrates 10th anniversary

Aug. 8 marked the 10th anniversary of the Wadena County Child Protection Team. To celebrate this occasion, a dinner was held at Pine Cove Inn, attended by past and present child protection volunteers and county employees.

Joyce Kopp, Wadena chief of police, said in his address to the audience: "I am probably the grandfather of the protection team, and also a grandfather in life. I was at the first meeting of the protection team on July 11, 1975. There were 18 people at that meeting."

40 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 27, 1970 Pioneer Journal

• Melvin Kerns chosen 1970 State Fair Family Of Year

Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Kern of Wadena with their six children, two daughters-in-law, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren have been chosen the 1970 "Minnesota State Fair Family of the Year."

They were selected by fair officials from 20 applications as the family which has demonstrated the most comprehensive interest in the State Fair over the years. They will be special gusts of the fair on Friday, Sept. 4.

• Vets' support asked in flag project

Plans have been initiated by County Veteran Service Officer A.P. Andy Anderson for the erecting of a U.S. flag pole on the new County Courthouse lawn through the efforts of veterans and their respective service clubs.

Andy said that he is working with veteran, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion Clubs within the county in an effort to gain this flag pole. Anderson urged all county veterans to help support this project by submitting one dollar each for the flag pole.

60 years ago

Excerpts from the Aug. 31, 1950 Pioneer Journal

• Schools to reopen Tuesday; Record enrollment expected

Tuesday will mark the first of 172 "good ol' Golden Rule Days" for an estimated 1,050 Wadena students.

"Readin,' 'ritin' and 'rithmetic" will be applied, as usual, in liberal doses, but in new surroundings and with a larger teaching staff at the helm.

At the public school, Supt. Theodore H. Tofte announced the appointments of six new instructors, three in the elementary and three in the high school. His faculty personnel now numbers 33.

Tofte foresaw a record enrollment, particularly in the elementary grades. But since the annual school census is computed as of Sept. 15, no definite figures are available, he said. He bases his prediction on Wadena's population boom and the current trend in school attendance here.

• 40 apply for part-time training program here

Forty high school students have applied for the school's year-old cooperative part-time training program, according to coordicator [sic] Lawrence P. Neuerberg.

Neuerberg emphasized that application does not guarantee employment, since students' interests, abilities and references are limiting factors. Last year 22 of the 40 applicants were placed. Twenty of the 22 are still employed at the same or related jobs, he noted.

Only 13 of the aspirants are boys, and the limited number may mean that employers requesting boys will be disappointed.