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Living History - April 12 edition

Wadena lost one of its landmarks April 9, 1938 when flames set by a nearby rubbish fire destroyed the old Wadena brewery near the great Northern tracks in the southeast part of Wadena. File photo.

20 years ago

Excerpts from the April 2, 1998 Pioneer Journal

• Rhoades selected as new WDC High School principal

Moving seven miles down the road will be a big move up for Verndale Principal Richard "Dick" Rhoades. Rhoades has been selected as the new high school principal for grades seven through 12 at Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

"Beating out five other final candidates for the job, Rhoades signed a one-year contract worth $63,000 plus benefits to take over the position held for the past 13 years by Lowell Roisum. Effective July 1, the move will place Rhoades in charge of 750-800 high school students, which is nearly 400 more students than he oversaw as the K-12 principal in Verndale. The contract, which is in an increase from Rhoades' Verndale salary, will be ratified at the April 20 school board meeting, where unanimous school board approval is expected, according to Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Earl Mathison.

Rhoades has been the K-12 principal at Verndale for the past five years and has 20 years of experience in education as a teacher and counselor as well as an administrator. He also has the specific licensures required for the principal position, which many of the other candidates did not possess or were unlikely to possess in time to take over the position, according to Mathison.

Rhoades brings a variety of other experiences from construction work, work as a contractor and retail business management to the table.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the April 12, 1978 Pioneer Journal

• Acquittal or new trial sought in swindle case

Allen Hanson, 47, Ottertail, convicted of theft by swindle in a Jeep sales case, is seeking to be acquitted or to be granted a new trial.

Hanson's attorney filed a motion last week in Becker County district court claiming the evidence presented in the trial was insufficient to sustain the theft by swindle conviction. He is awaiting sentencing pending the completion of a presentence investigation. He was found guilty March 16 of obtaining $2,660 in down payments for Jeeps following an investigation by the attorney general's office. Witnesses testified they never received the army surplus Jeeps they had ordered.

Duane Lillehaug, Moorhead, Hanson's attorney, based the appeal on the misconduct of the prosecutor during closing arguments to the jury. He also said the evidence showed the complaint filed against Hanson failed to state an offense and the court erred in instructing the jury on the definition of swindle, Lillehaug said.

Lillehaug said references made by the prosecutor to movies like "The Sting" and "Paper Moon" and references to "con men" during examination of witnesses were "intended to inflame the passions of the jury."

70 years ago

Excerpts from the April 15, 1948 Pioneer Journal

• Bluffton youth accidentally shot

Nestor Vorderbruggen, 14, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Vorderbruggen of Bluffton, is in a Minneapolis hospital with a .22-caliber rifle bullet lodged in his spine as a result of a hunting accident Sunday afternoon.

The lad was hunting crows with companions north of Bluffton when he was struck in the face by the accidental discharge of a rifle. The bullet went through his little finger, entered his mouth, shattered three teeth, went through his tongue and lodged in his spine. He was rushed to a Wadena doctor for treatment and was then taken to Minneapolis.

His condition, although significantly improved yesterday, was still critical and up to that time, doctors had not operated to remove the bullet.

80 years ago

Excerpts from the April 14, 1938 Pioneer Journal

• Flames destroy brewery building, city landmark

Wadena lost one of its landmarks Saturday morning when flames set by a nearby rubbish fire destroyed the old Wadena brewery near the great Northern tracks in the southeast part of Wadena.

The fire was the first of a series of blazes that kept the department on the run, a chimney blaze near the Miller oil station and a grass fire on the Alden farm north of town Wednesday.

The old brewery building had been used little since its operators, John Ehlen, Sr. and Matt Schmitz closed it down about 1917. For several years after it was used by Frank Imgrund, Sr., as an ice cream factory.

Owned by the Ehlen estate, the building was being wrecked when the fire broke out and wreckers were forced to drop their tools to help the firemen in a futile effort to halt the blaze.

The amount of the loss was not determined.

• Farmer victim of fake buyer

County Agent John Dysart warns farmers to be on the lookout for a livestock buyer who pays for his purchases with worthless checks. One of the victims of this operator was Henry Lueck, Cannon Falls, who on March 31 sold eight purebred hogs to the buyer who paid with a $345 check drawn on the medford State Bank. The buyer was unknown at the bank and had no account there.

The buyer was described by Lueck as having dark complexion, full face, age about 40, weight about 170 to 180 lbs., slow talker, roughly dressed, driving a 1934 V8 truck, dual red grain box about 30 inches high, on top of that a one-foot unpainted board.