10 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 18, 2007

Darwin residents will have a new power supplier in 2008 after voting to sell the municipal electrical system there to Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Tuesday. Voters approved the sale by a margin of 75 to 3.

“We’re very happy with it and feel the sale is really good for our residents,” Mayor Orlan Cervin said. “It’s going to improve electrical service for all our residents,” he added.

With the $469,000 sale, Meeker Cooperative will take ownership of the city’s system Jan. 1. In purchasing the system, the co-op will add the city’s 213 accounts to its current membership of 8,500.

Meeker Co-op General Manager Tim Mergen said he was pleased that so many Darwin residents supported the sale.

The Litchfield City Council approved a conditional use permit request from Jennifer Smith, who lives off Highway 22, that will allow her to keep four horses on her property.

An earlier request for rezoning was rejected by the Litchfield Planning Commission after members of the Litchfield Airport Commission expressed concern about having horses so close to airport runways.

“Miss Smith has really done her homework on this,” council member Barb Altringer said.

Smith agreed to enclose her 4.5-acre property with a permanent fence, consisting of 52-inch high panes with a string of electric wire across.

Litchfield Middle School sixth-grader Curt Wedin took first place in the VFW’s annual Patriotic Pen Essay Contest. Wedin won $50 for his essay, which now will be entered in district competition.

Sydnee Kauppi, whose father is currently serving in Iraq, took second, and Sam Renner placed third.

20 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 20, 1997

The Litchfield Public Utilities Commission, at its Monday meeting, approved the purchase of a 92-acre tract on the north outskirts of Litchfield. The tract is owned by Muriel Putzier.

Plans call for part of the property to be used as the new location for a city water filtering plant and well system. The purchase price was $206,000. An alternate site under consideration for the filtering plant was on school-owned property on the old airport site.

A request to change zoning on a house on East Butler in the south part of town, owned by former Litchfield physician Dr. Partha Saradhi-Jakkula was denied by the Litchfield Planning Commission earlier this week.

Residents who live near the house, located in the southeast area of Litchfield, packed the meeting to object to the move to change the zoning on the house from a single family dwelling to a multi family residence.

Henry and Rosalind Ewald petitioned the Planning Commission for the change so they could establish housing at the site for 29 elderly residents who are no longer able to live in their own homes but do not need intensive nursing home care, Mrs. Ewald said. Part of the Ewald plan calls for a 26-by-88 addition to the north end of the house.

Virtually all objecting to the plan at the meeting said they supported the type of housing proposed but not in that particular location.

Mrs. Ewald noted early in the discussion that she was not interested in establishing the facility without the support of neighbors. The Ewalds operate a similar facility in Hutchinson.

Clarence Groskruetz from the Forest City way had his team of Belgians, Dan and Teddy, in good form as he gave sleigh rides to young people at the annual Christmas celebration at the Forest City Stockade.

50 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 21, 1967

“Gee, what’s there to be nervous about? He can’t see you.”

“I just know I’m going to be so scared I won’t be able to talk.”

“How should I start out ... ‘My name is Barb Schnell,’ or ‘Barb Schnell speaking?’”

These were some of the comments as sophomore students in Jerry Askeroth’s class waited for a phone interview with Gov. Harold LeVander.

Students Noel Sederstrom, Barb Schnell, Kevin Berquist, Janice Meyers and Ron Nelson participated in the interview, each asking questions that had been submitted in advance to the governor’s office.

By a special telephone hookup, the governor’s answers to questions were transmitted.

LeVander told instructor Jerry Askeroth that he especially remembered Litchfield High School because as an Atwater High School student he had his first varsity basketball game here and wound up on the bench with five fouls before the first half was over.

“At least I was aggressive,” he recalled.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Baden were honored on their 60th wedding anniversary Sunday. Their children, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Baden, Mr. and Mrs. Don Sibell, and Mr. and Mrs. Loren Simer, brought and served a 2 p.m dinner.

Guests were Father McGowan, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Werner, Mr.and Mrs. John Baden, Mrs. Mary Printy, Mrs. Josephine Howe, and Mrs. Mary Mayotte. Afternoon guests were Mr. and Mrs. Tom Katlack, Mr. and Mrs. Victor Ulwelling, and Mrs. Lucy Smith.

Youngsters wearing skates were gliding along Litchfield streets and power lines, down all over the area as the most severe ice storm in years struck the pre-Christmas season over the weekend.

Gil Slinden, REA manager, said 1,000 to 1,200 rural residents were without power due to the ice surge. The REA has six crews working from 4 a.m Sunday to 5 p.m. Monday to restore power.

In one rural stretch, 20 poles in a row had collapsed. Traffic was reduced to 20 miles per hour or slower, and walking in many parts of town was extremely hazardous.

Mrs. Haldo Slinden of rural Atwater suffered a fractured skull in a fall at their farm home and has been hospitalized. Mrs. Kate Pierce, operator of Kate’s Food Box in Litchfield, fell on the ice Saturday morning, breaking an arm.

Phone service was out through the area, and Jim Ditty of Northwestern Bell said three outside crews have been called in to work toward restoring service.

In Litchfield, Utilities Superintendent Louis Nelson said damage was kept at a minimum because of extensive tree trimming undertaken around town in recent summers.

Pre-Styled Wig Sale at Doffing’s Smart Wear. Famous wigs and wiglets, as shown in Vogue Magazine, with Sophia Loren cut. Also featuring the latest wigs from the New York style scene. Reg. $125, hand-tied wigs now just $99.

Tom and Don Haugo arrived Dec. 15 to spend Christmas with their parents, Dr. and Mrs. Walt Haugo, and their brothers, Jim and John. Tom is a junior at the University of Iowa, while Don is a freshman at the University of Minnesota.

The Misses Jackie and Kay Carlson will arrive Dec. 22 to spend the holiday with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. Arthur Carlson. Jackie is an elementary school librarian at Circle Pines, and Kay is a partner in the art shop, “The Hut,” on Lake Street.

Sherry Kronbeck, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russel Kronbeck of Grove City, had a children’s party at her home to mark her fifth birthday. Guests were Loree and Larry Knutson, Valeris and Carla Berglund, Joan and Jane Bakeberg, Susie Holmquist, and Lee Ann Heveron.

69 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 16, 1948

Thomas McConnell is recovering at the Litchfield Hospital from a severe injury incurred a week ago Saturday at the Darwin Elevator. The box car he was preparing for loading was hit by another switching, and he was thrown violently against the side of the car.

The Card Club of Forest City met Wednesday evening at the Henry Pennertz place. Those winning awards were Mrs. Milton Berg, Peter Jensen and Mrs. Tom Booth.

The new 1,000-gallon Mack fire truck, ordered by the city last summer, will arrive in Litchfield Dec. 28 for a test before acceptance is completed by the fire department.

With the arrival of the new truck, the community will have very good fire protection with it. The Dodge and the old La France, the Packard unit, a relic of the olden days, will be sold to the highest bidder.

The old Packard has quite a history. It was built in 1917 and was the personal car of E.W. Campbell. It was later sold to Tony Borden, who drove it for several years before it was converted to a fire truck.

Axel Johnson tells of the time he and Borden drove the car to Winnipeg. It attracted quite a crowd because a Packard was little seen up there. When the city purchased the unit to replace the hand-pulled fire fighting conveyance, the Packard was completely rebuilt for fire service by the late Joe Happ.

For many years, it was our major piece of fire fighting equipment. Now it will be sold to the highest bidder Jan. 3.

115 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 27, 1902

The Great Northern flyer, west bound Wednesday morning in 30-degrees-below-zero weather, crashed into the rear end of extra freight No. 729, also east bound just west of town. The caboose on the freight was smashed to kindling, and the debris set on fire from the caboose stove and totally destroyed. Two other freight cars were also demolished.

The passengers on the flyer were shaken up but almost miraculously no injuries. The freight had been left on the line while the tender was filled with water.

On the flyer, which was two hours late, were fireman, busy keeping up a head of steam in the severe cold, and the vision of Engineer Kennon was obscured by steam and smoke. When he caught sight of the freight in front of him, he reversed, but the train with its load did not respond. The brakeman on the freight had done his job to flag the approaching flyer, setting torpedoes along the track, but they were not heard over the roar of the flyer’s engine, which was a sight after the accident, with debris piled high on its front.

Wednesday was one of the meanest days ever experienced by our people and was the source of great disappointment to many. Our merchants suffered much loss in trade, with many shoppers unwilling to go out and face the mean northwest wind.

All of the trains were delayed from one to seven hours and some passengers who planned to spend Christmas at home were unable to make connections to take them there.