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Living History

5 years ago

Excerpts from the Dec. 8, 2005 Pioneer Journal

• Welcome home, soldiers

Hundreds of friends, family and community greeted the 48 members of Wadena's National Guard soldiers as they returned Tuesday from service in Iraq.

Hundreds of people filled bleachers at Wadena-Deer Creek High School Tuesday night as members of the 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Company A, Wadena National Guard came back to town. They left Wadena on Oct. 16, 2004.

• 79 years of people helping people

This is the 79th year of the Empty Stocking Fund, which provides clothes and toys for needy children and a Christmas dinner for their families. This year, the fund will help more than 400 children in Wadena-area communities.

10 years ago

Excerpts from the Dec. 14, 2000 Pioneer Journal

• Sarff gets 15 years in prison, judge exceeds guidelines

James Warren Sarff, 51, Eagle Bend, was sentenced in the Minnesota Federal Court in Minneapolis Dec. 8 to 15 years in prison for the kidnapping of his estranged wife Connie earlier this year.

On Feb. 19, Sarff kidnapped Connie, 50, from her Long Prairie apartment. He then took the dazed and disoriented Connie to Mexico in his Jeep. The two were missing for about two weeks. During that time, Connie's boyfriend, David John, Long Prairie, committed suicide, indicating in a note that he felt responsible because he was at Connie's apartment but didn't stop James Sarff. Connie was thought dead as James called a relative and told them he had killed her.

• Canadian geese dumped in ditch

Henning game warden Tom Campbell called it "wanton waste" when someone threw more than 12 Canada geese into a southwest Wadena ditch.

25 years ago

Excerpts from the Dec. 10, 1985 Pioneer Journal

• ES talent show biggest in 59 years of annual program

Immanuel Lutheran church associate pastor Loren Davis's appropriate invocation set the stage for last Tuesday night's annual Empty Stocking talent show which resulted in donations totaling nearly $4,000 cash plus an equal amount of clothing, groceries and toys.

Talent show chairman Diane Peters, representing the Minnesota Women of Today, said, "It was amazing how the community responded to the call for talent and the many who ultimately appeared during the show broadcast live by Dan Skogen and Rick Youngbauer over KWAD radio that night."

• Sebeka art instructor dies of natural causes

The Wadena county sheriff's department last Tuesday (Dec. 3) reported that the body of 27-year-old Sebeka art instructor Matthew Frank Kujawa's was found at 12:10 p.m. at his home in Sebeka.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the Dec. 10, 1970 Pioneer Journal

• Rain, lightning, thunder, snow strikes area Thursday morning

Much like a scene from the witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth": fire, lightning and rain, was Thursday's predicted light snow fall.

• Let's Light Up Wadena theme of JC Yule Lighting Contest

"Light Up Wadena" is the theme chosen by the Wadena Jaycees to promote the decoration of Wadena residential area homes and business district commercial building.

"The community as a whole will benefit from an all our effort to decorate homes at Christmas. Enthusiastic participation by all village residents will offer beauty and a friendly community spirit," said Jaycee president Duane Lysne in announcing the contest.

60 years ago

Excerpts from the Dec. 14, 1950 Pioneer Journal

• $64 question asked by 4-year-old

It is apparent that the reindeer galloping over the Claydon-Bjerke residences, is not quite up to date, and the discrepancy was noted by a 4-year-old youngster.

The father of this little tyke took him to the Claydon-Bjerke residences to see the display, and as the car slowly moved along, the little guy called, "Stop Dad!"

His eyes were wide open and glistening as he looked over Santa's herd: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Comet, Vixen, Cupid, Donder and Blixen. After carefully studying the galloping animals, he turned to his Dad to inquire: "Dad, where is Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer?"

The father is leaving it to Florence Claydon and Red Bjerke to answer the question.

• Local man returns to Seoul, Korea

Mr. and Mrs. William Hochstaetter received word this week from their son, George, that he had arrived safely in Seoul, Korea after a rather rough trip from Minneapolis via Alaska. George visited his parents here for a week early in November.

He reports that the bombings did a good deal of damage in Seoul during his absence, but that things are gradually getting back to normal.

Mr. Hochstaetter is supervisor of six hotels for the United States government in Seoul.