From Echo Press Archives, 1997: Douglas County Population Surpasses 30,000 – Alexandria Echo Press

This week in 1997 – 25 years ago: The Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) will be the honored recipient of the 13th Annual Business and Industry Appreciation Day Award. RCC, headquartered in Alexandria, provides wireless telecommunications services to customers in select markets located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Maine. In 1998, the RCC will also expand its services to include Personal Communications Services or PCS, the next generation of wireless communications services.

1947, 75 years ago: 1,584 students are enrolled in schools in Alexandria as the back-to-school bell rings. Every room in both buildings is filled to capacity, bringing the highest number of inscriptions in the city’s history.

Impressive ceremonies marked the laying of the foundation stone for St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church in Lake Reno. The first stone of the future church building was laid and blessed by Bishop Bartholomew, co-adjutant of Saint-Cloud. Father Kroll is pastor of the church.

1972, 50 years ago: Robert E. Hayes of Alexandria 3M and vice president of the Alex Tech Booster Club welcomed 911 freshmen and 316 sophomores back to the school’s orientation program. This is an all-time high for enrollment in the institute’s 11-year history, with the school receiving 2,950 applications for this school year. The Alexandria AVTI offers 32 instructional courses and has 220 Douglas County students.

St. Mary’s School in Alexandria opened its school year with 166 students. The school has six teachers, a director and three assistants. The school has classes for children in grades 1 through 6 who can ride District 206 buses.

Local farmers will have the chance to receive free air travel to Farmfest USA thanks to a local tool company and Douglas County Banks. Twenty-five farmers will be able to leave, five a day for five days. To be eligible, farmers must cut entry whites from the Classy Canary and deposit them in area sponsors.

1997, 25 years ago: The Douglas County Courthouse renovation project will take about three years instead of seven, but it will still cost about $2.1 million, according to county coordinator Colleen Schultz. Plans call for the renovation of 12,000 square feet of existing courthouse space.

Douglas County surpassed the 30,000 population mark. In total, over the past four years (1993-1996), Douglas County has experienced growth of nearly 4.7%, or, in real numbers, about 1,383 people.

2012, 10 years ago: Runestone Electric Association (REA) broke ground on its new headquarters at the South Alexandria Operations Center on Highway 29. Plans include adding approximately 14,000 square feet of new office space, renovating a approximately 4,000 square feet of existing space and the addition of a small light vehicle garage now stored downtown. REA serves more than 13,600 rural customers in Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens, Otter Tail, Stearns and Todd counties.

Just for fun, 1972 – 50 years ago: Farmfest is the huge international agricultural exposition near Vernon Center, 20 miles south of Mankato, Minnesota. In addition to the events, there will be over 300 companies from around the world with over 400 screens on 65 acres of land. The countries represented are Sweden, Canada, the United States, Japan and Germany. The total site size for Farmfest is 1,400 acres. Artists include Bob Hope, the Charlie Pride Show, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and Frank Fontaine.

Sport Trivia, 1997 – 25 years ago: Tom Lehman, who will be involved in building the new golf course here in Alexandria, has reportedly signed on to consult on a golf course being built by Dave Heinen Sr. near Sauk Center. It is planned to open the course in the summer of 1999.

Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular columnist on the Echo Press opinion page.