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Living History

20 years ago

Excerpts from the Oct. 23, 1997 Pioneer Journal

• Airport: the dirt work begins

The outline of a dream in the minds of many Wadena residents is now visible to the eye.

The town's long-debated airport officially broke ground earlier this month. Equipment arrived Oct. 2. Work began in earnest on Oct. 6.

According to jeff Skoog, project representative, the weather has been cooperating nicely.

The giant bulldozers and scrapers parked at the site, about three miles west of Wadena, and the eight to nine men that operate them have not wasted any daylight hours.

They first grubbed the trees, then used the scrapers to strip sod. It and topsoil were stockpiled for future use on the edge of the runway. While the finished runway will be 75 feet wide and 4,000 feet long, a 100-foot working strip is being leveled with extra room also allowed at the ends.

After the first step, dozers and scrapers went back along the strip, cutting down high spots, digging down in some areas with questionable compaction and building them back up.

By the end of this week the contractors would like to have all the subgrade elevation done on the main runway. The rest of the time will be used to work on the crosswind runway and if there's time, start the access road on Highway 77.

So far, there have been no surprises or problems, Skoog said.

40 years ago

Excerpts from the Oct. 26, 1977 Pioneer Journal

• Suffers multiple injuries when struck by truck

Mrs. Simon Kern, 71, Sebeka, suffered multiple injuries Friday night when struck by a pickup truck as she was crossing Highway 34 just east of Main Street in Park Rapids, police said.

She was listed Tuesday in fair condition at a Park Rapids hospital in the intensive care unit, authorities said.

The driver of the pickup truck was Larry Dean Tretbar, 19, of Ponsford.

Kern was crossing the highway when she apparently walked in the path of the truck, Park Rapids police said.

• UW campaign lags far behind $16,000 goal

"Wadena's 1978 United Way lags behind schedule with gifts totaling $780 received to date," Jim Williams, UW campaign chairman said.

"The United Way of Wadena is slated to end its campaign Sunday, Oct. 29 with less than $1,000 of the anticipated $16,000 goal realized," Williams added.

The United Way is using a new format for the campaign, not conducting a residential drive, but a more thorough business drive involving company, employers and employees.

UW workers have delivered pledge cards and information material to each place of business in Wadena.

• Early morning blaze damages Rousslang home

Fire of undetermined origin at the Dave Rousslang family home caused heavy damage to the chimney and kitchen ceiling area early Sunday morning, according to a member of the Wadena Fire Department.

The Rousslangs, who live 2.5 miles southeast of Wadena, after retiring Saturday night smelled smoke and rose to find a fire in the chimney area.

The fire call was made at 12:45 a.m. from the Danny Lorentz farm nearby.

No personal injuries were reported but fire and smoke damage was extensive, a fire spokesman said.