EIGHTY YEARS AGO: Although it passed the House by a considerable majority and has much merit, the bill proposing to review the present laws regulating the sale of beer may find opposition in the Senate. The bill proposes to eliminate the Class C permit, abolishing the sale of beer by grocery stores and others for consumption off the premises. It also sets up more stringent regulations for beer taverns operating under Class B permits and limits the number of said establishments in a given community. Locals are following this bill very, very closely.

…Telephone Company figures indicate a population of 5,180 for Decorah.

…The airplane recently purchased by Les Cox nosedived at the Decorah airport last Wednesday and was considerably damaged. Melvin Trehus of Spring Grove was reportedly piloting the plane with Les as a passenger. Investigation of the wrecked plane indicates that the knees of both passengers were forced through the outside of the plane, though neither occupant was severely injured.

…Nine boys were caught the other day stealing money out of the milk bottles along Washington Street. One boy has confessed to the theft. He also said he took a flashlight from a home, which he promptly returned. The boys were given a stiff talking-to by the Decorah Mayor and by local police, and if any other thefts are reported more severe action will be taken. Their names are being withheld for the present time.

…Fire of unknown origin broke out the other afternoon in the unoccupied, uninsured Bernatz Ice Cave Flour Mill. The fire burned out the core of the historic building, leaving nothing but a charred shell of the structure which was once a Decorah landmark. It had been built back in 1874 at a cost of $40,000 by John Greer and James Hunter. In those days about 40,000 barrels of flour were manufactured there annually.

SEVENTY YEARS AGO: A total of 42 men were classified 1As by the Winneshiek County Draft Board in the last two weekly meetings here.

…J.J. Novak is the winner of the G.E. washing machine in the Best Hardware Corn Guessing Contest at the Best Hardware Store. Bob Nelson, manager of the store, presented the prize to Mr. and Mrs. Novak. He guessed that there were 143,050 grains of corn in the machine, which was two-thirds full. The actual number of grains was 143,448. He arrived at his close guess by filling a quart jar of shelled corn and counting the grain there – then estimating the number of grains of corn contained in the machine.

…Mr. and Mrs. Willis Wangsness have purchased the Theater Fountainette from Sam Miller. Mrs. Wangsness will manage the fountainette, which he will continue in his post with Groustra Motor Company.

…The Festina Stars 4-H Club held a meeting recently at the Jerry Wenthold home. Alphonse Gossman gave a presentation on “Feeding and Care of Dairy Calves.” Ted Schrandt and Carl Bushman will be the next hosts.

…From the trail of the stork in 1949: A son was born April 8 to Mr. and Mrs. Victor Bina, Spillville; a son was born April 8 to Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Poshusta, Calmar; a son was born April 9 to Mr. and Mrs. Alphonse Tieskotter, Ossian; and a son was born April 10 to Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Brandt, Waukon.

…The students at East and Wide Side Schools gave an operetta at the high school auditorium last week. Students in grades four, five and six were represented. Stars were Wayne Vine, Ron Westby, Warren Knapp, Carl Ingvoldstad, Dorcas Egge, Stephanie Ofstedal, Edith Rae Groustra and a chorus of other actors.

…George Baker and Roger “Snooks” Grant were involved in a minor accident last week on the streets of downtown Decorah.

…The little twin boys of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Moudry of Protivin were baptized earlier this month. Their names are Bruce Joseph and Brian Henry.

…Regular gasoline is now 22.1 cents per gallon if purchased by area farmers for barrels and cans.

…The 1949 Decorah Marbles Tournament, sponsored by the local VFW, will be held April 30 at the Decorah Public School grounds. Every school in Winneshiek County may enter their students.

…The women’s “dress-up” committee of the local centennial celebration has plans to give prizes for the oldest couple in the costume contest, the most attractive mother-and-daughter duo; and for the father and mother with the largest family of children in the centennial costume contest. There is plenty of time for folks to get their “duds” ready for the event.

SIXTY YEARS AGO: Water and sewage services will now cost patrons in Decorah a little bit more starting next month. The bill is now $3 instead of $2.

…Yet another of man’s domains is crumbling! (That was the headline back in 1959). An empire, formerly reserved exclusively for the male of the species has been invaded by one of the feminine gender. Mrs. Alma Hovden of Ridgway is the member of the weaker sex who has cracked the tradition barrier as a rural mail carrier! She takes the place of retiring mail carrier Orville Allen. Mrs. Hovden has served as Ridgeway post office as a clerk since 1948. She knows every patron of Ridgeway post office by name and face through her 11-year association with them in that capacity.  She will now emerge from behind the counter and step into her new post.

…Decorah High School earned four superior ratings at the state speech contest last week in Grinnell. Honored students are Ray Mikesh, Mary Ingvoldstad and Sonja Ramsey.

…Clarence Sivesind of near Glenwood Township suffered burns on his hands and was overcome with smoke and fumes from a fire extinguisher while putting out a fire in their car.

…Shop Fareway for these bargains from 1959: Ground beef – 33 cents per pound; bacon – 39 cents per pound; four cans of Hunt’s peaches $1; and a 10-pound bag of sugar – 89 cents. A 100-pound bag of sugar is $8.89. Heads of lettuce are now a nickel.



FIFTY YEARS AGO: After operating the Burr Oak Barber Shop in the same location for 33 years, Ted Emmons has retired. At one time he cut hair for 25 cents and was open five nights a week.

…The delightful comedy “Harvey” is being presented by the Thomas Roberts High School Drama Department here next week. Cast members are Judy Sollien, Debra Rosheim, David Wright, Connie Smith, Anne Gilbertson, Evangeline Braaten, Gary Sailor, Bill Heinz, Dale Johnson, Jane Walker, Mark Bolson and Dennis Ellingson. Director is Mrs. Robert Getchell.

…A birthday dinner in honor of Jerry Monroe’s 21st a birthday was held recently at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Reckward.

…Mary Jane Mashek received her First Holy Communion a few weeks ago at Calmar Catholic Church. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Mashek.



FORTY YEARS AGO: Pamida’s popular snack bar has some spring specials – hotdogs for 15 cents and ice cream cones for a dime.

…A basement restaurant called “The Armory” is to open within the next few months at 421 West Water Street. The building, called the old Montgomery Building, is being renovated into a mini-shopping center, with offices, apartments and public places throughout

…City Council heard plans from a representative from Rockwell Collins regarding an expansion plan here in Decorah.

…Laurie Uhlenhake, age 20, has been crowned “Miss Ossian”. She will compete in the Miss Iowa Pageant in June. First runner up was Laurie Dotzenrod, age 18. Second runner-up was 18-year-old Janice Mikota.

…June Melby, Doris Pfister, Lori Holthaus and LuAnn Hemesath are a few of the stars in the dinner/theatre production of “The Son of the Sound of the Sixties.” The high school students will present the show in the coming weeks. Theme for their routine is “Women’s Liberation in the 1960s.” Menu for the evening (thanks to the capable foods course students at the high school) is “Yellow Submarine” sandwiches, “Strawberry Fields Forever” Jello, “Nat King Cole” slaw, and “Peppermint Twist” punch.

…Decorah High School Office Education students earned first place in several categories at the state conference. Top honors went to Sandy Ihde and Laurie Courtney.

…Now showing at the Viking Theater: “Superman – The Movie” starring Christopher Reeves.

…Decorah Viking senior Randy Samuelson will attend the University of Iowa on a wrestling scholarship. Iowa Hawkeye Coach Dan Gable came to Decorah for the signing ceremony. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Samuelson of Decorah.

…Shop Jack &. Jill for these bargains from 1979: Cream soups – Campbell’s brand – five cents each; eight-pack of 16-oz bottles of. Coke - $1.05; and Spam – 99 cents per can.



THIRTY YEARS AGO: A paid fire chief may be in the future for Decorah’s Fire Department. The City Council is considering offering the chief a stipend beyond the $6 per hour currently paid Decorah Fire Chief Ron Belz and his assistant chiefs Jerry Thompson and Dennis Ruffridge.

…Renae Bergan of Ridgeway was crowned Winneshiek County Beef Queen last week at the banquet in Spillville. She is the daughter of Eldon and Mae Bergan.

… A new preschool in Decorah has opened doors recently. The preschool, which is housed in facilities provided by Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, is for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It is administered by the area Head Start program. Virginia Pilgrim and Barbara Root helped launch the preschool.

…A second handicapped parking space will be designated at the local courthouse starting next week.

…A public hearing is planned later this month on the proposed sale of land on the west side of Washington Street as a proposed location for a new recycling center for Spectrum Industries. Sale price is listed at $62,000.

…The public is invited to a “get-acquainted” open house for David Gruhn, the vice president and office manager as MidAmerica Savings Bank on Winnebago Street next week.

…Valdres Lodge 503 – Sons of Norway – initiated 15 new members at a meeting last Tuesday. A program of songs and music was held following the initiation.



TWENTY YEARS AGO: A new proposal for meeting the educational needs of Decorah School District for the 21st century was outlined by Superintendent Steve Chambliss the other night. It will cost approximately $10 million and would be completed in two phases. East Side and West Side Schools would continue to be used in the proposal.

…Work on a 16-unit apartment complex at Eastern Star will begin soon. The assisted-living apartments are for people who may need some help with housekeeping services, males and laundry, but otherwise can live independently.

…The annual Pheasants Forever Banquet was April 9 at the entertainment center of Northeast Iowa – Matter’s Ballroom in Decorah!


TEN YEARS AGO: Some county residents think the way the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors is elected needs to change. Currently the five supervisors live in the districts they represent and are elected only by the residents of their districts. That was the method voters approved during a special election in1 996. Before the election, supervisors were elected “at large” but were required to live within their district. A third option available to voters is for supervisors to be elected at large with no requirement where they live in the county. Some would like to see the method changed back to the way it was prior to the 1996 election.

…Led by a trio of returning letter winners, the Decorah girls’ golf team has a solid corps to build from for the 2009 campaign. Returning are Hailey Spilde, Sara Brownrig and Annelise Keune.

…Wendy Mihm-Herold is the new executive director of Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission.

…The “River Horizon Archway” a stainless-steel sculpture, is being erected on the Trout Run Trail in the coming months. It is considered the gateway to the new 11-mile recreational trail being paved around the city. The arch is intended to serve as a link between the city of Decorah to the north and the wooded countryside to the south.

…Decorah Community School’s West Side building, constructed in 1939, is celebrating 70 years. Built as a modern elementary school in 1939, it replaced a two-story frame structure on that site. Now the school building is home to the Decorah District’s early childhood programs.