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20 years ago

Excerpts from the Sept. 4, 1997 Pioneer Journal

  • Hand recovered in river

Local criminal investigators confirmed that a human hand was found on Aug. 25 during a search along the Potato River. The remains are believed to be related to the november disappearance and death of Gregory Johnson, 39, of Park Rapids. The victim’s partially dismembered body was found April 8 in Crow Wing River. The two rivers are not connected. The remains have been sent to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab for identification. Three persons suspected in Johnson’s death are incarcerated in Deming, N.M. on charges in connection with an armed robbery in Deming on July 6.

  • Fire truck stolen at Ponsford fire

The Becker County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of a fire truck from the scene of a fire and the possibility that the fire itself was arson, set early in the morning on Aug. 19. Volunteers with Carsonville fire Department were called to the scene of a house fire at about 2:15 a.m. The Sheriff’s Office said the structure didn’t have doors, windows or utility service, leading them to believe that arson was the probable cause of the blaze. At about 3:15 a.m., firefighters noticed one of their trucks being driven away by an unauthorized person. Deputies found the truck a short time later, east of Ponsford, and it had been set on fire.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the Sept. 7, 1977 Pioneer Journal

  • Planning commission decision overruled

At a special meeting Friday, the Wadena City Council overruled the city planning commission’s denial of a variance to reduce parking at the new Snyder drugstore from 80 to 11 parking slots.

Councilman Maroney moved that the council approve the variance for off-street parking spaces and that permission be granted for additional parking west of the new drugstore for employee parking.

The motion was passed unanimously.

At a planning commission meeting Thursday night, the commission had denied Jon Schwartzwald’s request for a variance to reduce off-street parking spaces from 84 to 20 and to blacktop the city boulevard in a C-1 zoning district at 321 North Jefferson Street.

Robert Weiher was present as contractor for the applicant but no one appeared in opposition to the variance request.

During the discussion at the commission meeting it was discovered there were 11 parking spaces available instead of 20 as stated in the application. Eight parking spaces counted in said application did not meet the requirements of zoning ordinance 130 because loading and unloading zones are required.

70 years ago

Excerpts from the Sept. 4, 1947 Pioneer Journal

  • Leaf River barn burns when hit by lightning

Fire that was started by a bolt of lightning Sunday afternoon destroyed a large barn on the Harlan Drake farm in Leaf River township, causing a heavy loss. The farm is well known as the old Fred Tabery farm, five miles north of Wadena.

Three of the Drake children were playing in the barn when it was hit by lightning at 2 p.m. Sunday during an electrical storm. Fortunately, none of the children were hurt. So rapidly did the flames spread through the hay mow that the whole barn was destroyed in about 20 minutes.

The Wadena fire Department was called and was of assistance in preventing the spread of fire to adjacent buildings.

A large quantity of hay and 300 bushels of oats were destroyed. A team of horses and some young stock were saved.

The fire department was able to make use of a full tank of water on the farm in addition to the supply in the truck.

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