By Roz Weis
By Roz Weis

     EIGHTY YEARS AGO: On Christmas Eve, less than a day after he was married in Decorah, a visiting man was stabbed following an alleged drinking brawl. He is now recovering from the wound in a La Crosse hospital. According to local authorities, two Indians were married by Justice of the Peace Barthell here in town. Enroute home to Wisconsin after their marriage, the newlyweds engaged in some fire-water. They even drank the rubbing alcohol they got at a local store near Caledonia. A brawl broke out and the stabbing occurred after the man was reported to have abused his new bride. Investigation continues.

…Mike Barth will have an auction of his farm nine miles north of Decorah on Jan. 15. He plans to move to a fine new home in West Decorah.

…Frank X. Schmitt of Fort Atkinson was seriously injured recently while hauling wood. He was thrown from his wagon to the ground. He is now recovering at the Decorah Hospital.

…A man posing as a promoter of a big gas line in these parts wrote out a number of worthless checks and passed them out prior to Christmas here. He was telling a tall story of bringing a natural gas line into Decorah from a line which is now servicing Rochester, Minn. He reportedly passed a check for $1 at the Ben Bear store here in town, and he also gave Clint Monson a worthless check for his transportation from Decorah to Rochester via the local cab. A convincing talker and a man who appeared to be responsible, he was able to quickly gain the confidence of many reputable Decorah residents. He spoke with a Southern accent, had reddish hair and appeared to be about 32 years of age. Authorities are on the look-out for the bum.


EVENTY YEARS AGO: Waldo Atherton, the owner of the new Atherton Hatchery here, showed off the new chick incubator units he had installed last week. The units have automatic turners and automatic coolers. They are connected to the city water supply, and the heaters or coolers go into operation when the temperature varies as much as one-half degree. Cost of the units is estimated at $3,500. They will hatch about 16,000 chicks a week.

…After 12 years away from their hometown, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Hanson returned to Decorah to take over the operation of the Bus Depot Café located at the Gross Oil Company.  They purchased the establishment from Edwin E. Lightfood.

…Mr. and Mrs. Roy Fitch of Burr Oak arrived here last week from Melbourne, Australia to be at the bedside of Mrs. Fitch’s father, William Erickson.

…The City Council approved two beer permits last week, one for Miller High Life Inn and the other for Clarence A. Haugen’s tavern.

…Brake failure was the cause of an accident the other morning when George Rovang Jr.’s auto failed to make the stop at Mechanic and Water Streets. He ran into the rear of a car owned by Donald Soland. Some $100 in total damages was reported.

…Little Miss Alma Mae Hageman is the first baby of the new year 1950. Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Ignatius Hageman. She was born at 5:02 Sunday, Jan. 1. She weighed 8 pounds and 8 ½ ounces. She is the winner of some very generous prizes from local merchants, including some tall cans of Carnation baby formula, a porcelain diaper pail, a sterling silver baby spoon engraved with the time and date of birth, and a full case of Gerber’s baby food.


IXTY YEARS AGO: Delbert Burton Ihns II, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Ihns of Lime Springs, is the first baby born here in the new year 1960. He was born Jan. 2 at 11:35 p.m. Little Mr. 1960 stands to collect a galaxy of contest prizes in the contest sponsored by the Decorah Newspapers.

…The Decorah Toastmasters Club met at Ostranders Café last Monday night. Guest for the evening was Skip Schneider, a new member. Jerry Lass won the award of the week as outstanding speaker.

…The Spillville Zipettes 4-H Club met recently at the home of Delores Wagner. She gave a talk on how to hem a towel. Joan and Betty Balik gave a demonstration on care for hair. For entertainment, the girls listened to records.

…The State Department of Health has released population figures for Iowa communities. Decorah’s population has increased slightly. The new figure is 6,707, and that includes the college.

…New city councilmen took office at the first meeting of the new year on Saturday. Mayor Rosenthal welcomed Chester Hill, first ward; Lyle Sacquitne, fifth ward; and Semor Tofte, fourth ward. They join the other members: Clay Varner, second ward; Durwood Baker, third ward; and Leonard Karnik and Robert Bernatz, councilmen-at-large.

…News from Highlandville: Christmas Day dinner guests at the Lewis Grindeland home were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bentley, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Engan, Sonja and David, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brunsvold and Sharon, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Ness and Francis Aschem.

…Lori Ann was the name given the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Al Kuennen when she was baptized New Year’s Day by Rev. John Smith at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church at Festina.


IFTY YEARS AGO: Wes Forde of Decorah recently caught a nice 22 ½-inch, 7-pound brown trout at North Bear Creek. This is proof that fishing is still good around here, even in the winter.

…New city council members took the oath of office Jan. 2 in Decorah. The new members are Russell Lowery, Vern Iverson and Ken Galloway. They join current councilmen Grant Woldum, Jim Blodgett, Joe Ulring and E.J. Weigle.

…Mr. and Mrs. Dean Winkie of Waukon are parents of the 1st baby of the year born at the Decorah hospital. The baby girl was born Jan. 2 at 11:23 a.m. Dr. James Bullard was attending physician. She is the couple’s fifth child. Tammie is the name given to the new arrival. She receives many gifts from Decorah merchants, including 1,000 Gold Bond stamps from K&S, a free dinner for parents at the Winneshiek Hotel, a free TV hookup from J&E Cable, a $5 savings bond from local banks; some sturdy orthopedic shoes at Langs; 12 cans of Similac formula from Fareway; and a free subscription to Decorah Newspapers.

…PFC Gerald Novotny of Camp Pendleton, Calif., arrived by plane at the Waterloo Airport in December for a 20-day furlough with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Novotny of Jackson Junction.

…From the society pages of 1970: Mr. and Mrs. Roy Green of Decorah announce the engagement of their daughter, Nancy Ann, to John Juve, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Juve, Decorah. A June wedding is being planned.

…Boilerman Second Class Gene M. Vine, age 22, of Decorah, is keeping an eye on the gauges in the boiler room of the Seventh Fleet oiler USS Manatee off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam these days.

…Decorah City Council will soon look at a new series of rules regarding air pollution. So far, the rules (especially those regarding burning in the city) are “hazy.” According to councilman Roger Olson, “This pollution business is a deep problem and one this city will face as the population grows.”


ORTY YEARS AGO: FOR RENT: Exercise bicycles. Five models to choose from. Rent for $25 per month can apply towards purchase. Shop Usgaard-Smith on College Drive.

…Roselyn’s Rendezvous over in Burr Oak has a January special - $2 off any permanent (haircut included).

…Matter’s will be rocking Saturday night. Little Tom and the Part Timers will be performing upstairs and the rock ‘n roll sound of Conquered Jam will be downstairs.

…David Allen Seegmiller is the first baby of the new year. He was born Jan. 2 at 1:40 a.m. to Cheryl and Rodney Seegmiller of Decorah.

…Debate continues over the Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission’s proposal for a new sign ordinance in downtown Decorah. Sign permits must now be secured at a cost of $7.50, and once a “legal” sign is in place, it requires that a permit for its continuation be reissued every five years for $3.50 each. One local resident asked, “What is happening to all this sign money?”

…It’s that time of year. Time to register for Decorah Community education courses. Some of the offerings this winter include Slimnastics with Paula Olejniczak, snorkeling with Jay McGrew, social dancing with Dorisgene Winger, photography with Jack Anundsen, adventures in attitudes with Coleen Orwoll, basic life support (CPR) with Jean Jenkins, Lynn Lutz and Dean Orwoll, couples communication with Julie and Jim Malia, golf with Rich Gaard, silk flower arranging with Nancy Dehning and Mary Meyer, tennis for beginners with Rhonda Smith, weaving for beginners with Wendy Stevens, winemaking with Gilmer and Eleanor Seegmiller, tatting with Hazel Dahlquist,  and yoga with Pat Fitzgerald. Class fees are between $1.50 and $22.


HIRTY YEARS AGO: Alert thinking by a 15-year-old Fort Atkinson boy helped a stranded woman who had fallen in her home. Shawn Krivachek, an 8th grader at Turkey Valley School, delivers newspapers to the residence of Helen Jirak in Fort Atkinson. The 80-year-old Jirak had fallen and was unable to help herself from about 7 a.m. last Friday until about 12:30 a.m. Saturday. After delivering a newspaper to the Jirak residence Friday, Krivachek came back with the second days’ paper and noticed the first paper hadn’t been picked up and that there was no answer at the door. He alerted a neighbor, and they found Jirak in her home. She is now recovering.

…Gas prices may be on the rise in the area. Local gas stations have priced regular unleaded gasoline (full service) for $1.02 per gallon, but it is suggested that the price could rise to as much as $1.07 per gallon. Gasoline prices are usually higher in the winter, especially for full-service stations.

…South Winneshiek High School students participating in the January State Debate Tournament in Ames are Stephanie French, Max Murphy, Travis Franzen, Jeannie Kipp, Michelle Kipp, Jodi Balik, Gretchen Goltz and Renee Hageman.


WENTY YEARS AGO: Jarret Einck of Fort Atkinson has created a design with two other Iowa State University students that has been purchased by the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center for use at NASA headquarters and in their program. His logo will be used by NASA in future missions. It all started as a simple project for a graphic design class. Jarret is the son of Steve and Marilyn Einck.

…The skies above Decorah were glowing with fireworks at midnight Friday, Dec. 31, as the town welcomed in the year 2000. A first-time ever, winter display was shot from the bluffs of Palisades Park. The Decorah City Council set aside $2,000 in funds for the display early last year. It appears the new millennium is here and that the whole “Y2K” hullabaloo was “much ado about nothing.” After considerable concern about the possibility of some “glitches,” no computer problems have been reported in the city.

…New to the city council this year are Ellen Cutting and Steve Matter. They took the oath of office early this week.

…Local leaders are discussing the possibility of creating a Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) for the new Decorah Business Park located east of Decorah. The TIF could include the commercial area east of town within the two-mile limit of Decorah.

…Now showing at the Viking 3 Theatre: “Bicentennial Man” starring Robin Williams; and “The Green Mile” starring Tom Hanks. Matinees are $3 for all seats. Free popcorn on Wednesdays.

…Suiting up for the South Winneshiek ninth grade basketball team this winter are Josh Uhlenhake, Dan Barness, Tyler Rothmeyer, Dan Hageman, Brian Sender, Reed Backes, Bryan Barness, Lee Bakewell, Collin Looby, Darren Einck, Ben Staley, Nile Lienau, David Moellers and Jason Klimesh. Coach is Jerry Bentley. Jacob Bentley is the team manager.


EN YEARS AGO: Decorah High School varsity wrestling cheerleaders this season are Katie Courtney, Morgan Weis, Lauren Hable, Kaitlyn McCabe, Meredith Gregg and Taylor Stille. Juli Knutson is their coach.  Cheering for the JV team are Mara Knutson, Jenna Ayers, Miranda Schnitzler, Jenna McIntyre, Kelsey Hovden and Michelle Jauert.

…Caden Tieskoetter, son of Levi and Sally Tieskoetter of Calmar, is the first baby of the year 2010. He was born at Winneshiek Medical Center Sunday, Jan. 3 at 2:28 a.m. He joins his siblings Logan and Josie.

…From the society pages of 2010: Nell Donlon of Decorah will celebrate her 90th birthday Jan. 11.

…Winneshiek County Public Health reports more than 6,000 area individuals took advantage of the H1N1 vaccination clinics offered in the area recently. Children age nine and younger need a second dose of the vaccine, about a month after the initial one.