EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Ice skating races sponsored by the Decorah Junior Chamber of Commerce will be held next weekend, weather permitting. Fancy skating for boys and girls ages 12 to 17 will be combined with fancy skating for those over the age of 17. Around-the-rink races will be conducted in various categories.  Miss Phyllis Dahle and Mr. W.E. Scott have offered to give a demonstration of their fancy skating prior to the event. A “sound truck” will be parked to broadcast music during the program.

…A father and son who have been living around the Highlandville area since October have been picked up for being grifters in the Fayette and Winneshiek county area.

…A Decorah girl – Miss Ruth Roberts – is the first woman manager of the Luther College Chips. “Chips” is the name of the school’s interesting college newspaper.


EVENTY YEARS AGO: The rural population of Winneshiek County has dropped by nearly 1,000 in recent years, while the urban population increased. The figures were revealed during a survey conducted by Winneshiek County. The total population of Winneshiek County is now estimated at 22,263.

…The Alden Bauders saw a very large pileated woodpecker in a tree in their yard last week in West Decorah. The big, shy bird was evidently driven into town in search of food when a snowstorm made foraging hard in the woods. Mrs. Bert Henning identified the bird when the Bauders told her about it. She said it is rarely seen because it is so shy and it usually stays in deep woods and keeps out of sight. It is larger than a crow, has a call something like a flicker, and has a red head and white breast.

…Addressing a large group at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce the other day, a local photographer spoke out against some “traveling photo men” who are out-of-towners operating in full force in the area. He said these “baby photographers” are hurting the local studio workers who own and operate actual businesses here in town. He reports there are other types of professions with similar schemes being allowed in Decorah, and it is hurting local business places.

…Locals have expressed interest in funding a Children’s Home Society here in town It would be for neglected or abandoned Iowa children from other counties across the state.


IXTY YEARS AGO: Decorah Development Company is currently launching a vigorous campaign for new industries for Decorah. The group’s goal is adding at least one new industry in Decorah by the end of this calendar year.

…Councilman Richard Nielsen has offered up some snow-removal ideas hot enough to virtually melt away the offending white stuff.  But his plan got something less than a warm reception from other members of the Decorah City Council. His 19-point plan called out several problems with the current snow-removal practices and he cited instances of where streets had not been cleared of snow for weeks. After reading his 19-point plan, the governing body opened up with a barrage of questions and suggestions. Debate continues over whether to continue to have city workers clear the streets, or hire a “contractor” to get the work done.

…A chimney fire broke out at the farm home of Syver Ramstad northeast of Decorah. Local firemen succeeded in extinguishing the blaze before any serious damage was done.

…A Swiss steak supper served as the grand opening for the newly renovated First Lutheran Church basement. Bastian Torvik was chairman of the remodeling committee.


IFTY YEARS AGO:  Increasing salary trends occupied much of the discussion at a meeting of local school boards in the area. It was reported that the Des Moines area teachers are seeking upwards of $6,600 a year for beginning teacher salaries. The figure for new teachers in the Decorah system is now $6,100.

…Another Ridgeway beauty has captured the Iowa Junior Miss Crown. She is Vicki Vopava, age 17, a senior at Crestwood High School and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Vopava of Ridgeway.

…Decorah senior basketball co-captain Craig Anderson connected on two free throws with two seconds left on the clock to give the Vikings a come-from-behind 67-65 victory over a strong New Hampton team the other night.

…Thieves struck in the county late Friday and Sheriff Eugene Simenson is on the trail. Entry to the Nienhaus DX Station near Fort and at Stan’s Tavern was gained by forcing the front doors open. A total of $40 in change was taken from the tavern and $25 in change from the Nienhaus firm. On the same night, a break-in was reported at Praska’s Tavern over at Jackson Junction and a small amount of change was taken along with three cartons of cigarettes, a box of candy and 12 six-packs of beer.

…Skelly Oil Company has announced the promotion of Otis Tollefson to the position of Branch Manager in Decorah. He was formerly employed by Skelgas Service. He replaces Jack Nelson, who left the position to work in the insurance business.

…Decorah’s Nor-Ski Runs are proving to be one of the most popular sports in Northeast Iowa this winter. Weekends are filled with crowds of skiers eager to use the facilities. The line-up at the foot of the two bridges numbered 20 skiers in a recent photo. Night skiing has proved to be very popular.

…Larry Lee the son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Lee of near Decorah is now stationed near DaNang, Vietnam. He reports much rainy, wet weather and that he has been sick with the Hong Kong flu.

…The following enjoyed a snowmobile party recently at the Roy Schultz home near Castalia: Mr. and Mrs. Jack Hagensick and family; Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Kvamme and girls; Mr. and Mrs. James Hanson and boys; and Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Westby and family.

…Decorah placed third in the Northeast Iowa Conference Wrestling Meet at New Hampton over the weekend. Neal Kephart at 95 points and Paul Cote at 175 each won titles. Bill Varner, at 165 pounds, finished in second place.

…Specialist Fourth Class Cletus P. Humpal, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Humpal Sr. of rural Calmar, recently spent a 30-day leave at the home of his parents after a 12-month tour of duty in Vietnam. He has now left for Fort Hood, Texas.

.…Following the trail of the stork in 1969: A boy was born Jan. 31 to Mr. and Mrs. David Solheim, Decorah; and a boy was born Jan. 31 to Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Garness, Canton, Minn.

…Roger Bentley and Diane Vang are on the A honor roll this last semester at North Winnehshiek High School. They are in the senior class. Susan Falck and Lynee Kruse made the 11th grade honor roll.

…Conrad Olson was admitted to the local hospital after he fell off a stack of hay bales, backwards, and was injured. He is scheduled to be released soon.

…There was no mail delivery for two days recently as freezing rain, sleet, snow and high winds caused schools to be closed once again. Several highways in the area were impassible due to the drifts.

…Sheer and solid drapes are now on sale at Goetsch Home Interiors at 216 West Water Street. $1.


ORTY YEARS AGO: Locals are showing interest in an architectural drawing of Decorah’s new $5 million regional shopping complex to be developed on the south side of Decorah. Developer is Anchor Development. Officials say the mall may be open as early as 1980, and will have a large department store and a supermarket. There will be parking for 844 cars.

…Junior High Principal Arthur Branae is being replaced by Elliott Christen. He will take over early next fall.

…The engagement of Wanda Krumm and Lyle Askelson has been announced. The marriage is June 23 at Big Canoe Lutheran Church, rural Decorah.

…National Lampoon’s “Animal House” is the current movie at the Viking Theatre.

…Decorah School Board of Directors has a new member in Spencer Hotvedt of Hesper.


HIRTY YEARS AGO: Winneshiek County is providing a new garbage collection service that should be popular with rural residents. The Supervisors have decided to locate dumpsters at the Locust and Fort Atkinson shops and arrange for weekly pickup service from haulers Larry Sharp Trucking of Decorah at Locust in the northern part of the county and with Hawkeye Sanitation of Cresco at the Fort shop.

…Jack and Jill grocery store in Decorah has undergone an extensive remodeling.

…Residential and commercial construction in Decorah last year totaled nearly $5 million.


WENTY YEARS AGO: Bobby Vee and Friends will headline the entertainment at the 1999 Winneshiek County Fair.

…Positive Images is moving to a building across the street from Radio Shack.

…Now showing at the Viking 3 Theatre – “Stepmom” starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon and “You’ve Got Mail” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Coming soon – Robin Williams in “Patch Adams.” Tickets for evening films are $3.


EN YEARS AGO: Providing unified support for Decorah High School music students, staff, directors and the Decorah community is the goal for a new Decorah Music Boosters organization here. The group held a kick-off meeting last week, forming a board of directors and electing officers. The officers are Sue Bjelland, Steve Smith, Sandra Peter and Phil Iversen.

…Displaying a collective effort, all 13 members of the Decorah girls’ basketball team got on the scoreboard in a 76-29 victory over South Winn at Calmar last Saturday.

…Decorah senior soccer star Alyssa Petersburg has signed her national letter of intent to play for Upper Iowa University in Fayette.

…The original theatre production “Driftless Dreams: A Play for Voices” by Robert Wolf, opens here this weekend. Upstart Crow Theatreworks is presenting the play.