20 YEARS AGO: NEW FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 21, 2000

Sugar, butter, vanilla, ginger, peanut butter — the sweet scents of Christmas baking filled the oven-warmed kitchen on the morning of Dec. 9 at the Church of St. Philip. A dozen women gathered in the church basement social hall and made nearly 100 dozen cookies for parish elderly and home bound. The women mixed, rolled, baked and frosted from about 9 in the morning until noon, when platefuls of packaged cookies were delivered to various locations around town. This is the third year the church’s Social Concerns Committee has coordinated the cookie baking effort. “It brings smiles to elderly faces,” said Joanne Shequen, cookie bake organizer. “This year we had CCD religious classes help deliver the cookies. It’s just a great experience for them to see the expression on those people. They are just overwhelmed to be remembered.”

The Meeker County Board of Commissioners, meeting on Tuesday, offered the job of county highway engineer to Ron Mortenson, an engineer currently working out of the Willmar office of the Department of Transportation. Mortenson lives in rural Cosmos area. The job offer includes a salary of $61,300. Mortenson was one of three applicants interviewed for the job. Mortenson, if he accepts the job, would succeed Gordon Regenscheid, who left the job in November to join the DOT as district engineer in the Mankato office. Meanwhile, County Board members commended Marland Meyer of the highway department staff for his good work in filling in during the time the department was without an engineer.

Krista Rambow’s driving basket with three seconds remaining on the clock lifted Litchfield to a 38-37 win over Sauk Centre. The sturdy Dragons defense held the ‘Streeters without a point in the first quarter.

Friday will be a night for celebration at Litchfield High School. A banner will be raised in the gym recognizing the 2000 basketball state champs. A 15-minute program will focus on the 2000 team effort. A banner will be raised above the boys locker room and each member of the team will receive a ring.

50 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 16, 1970

A new firm that will employ 20 to 30 sewing machine operators will be opening in Litchfield soon. The new firm, to be known as the Litchfield Garment Company, will be a division of the Butwin Sportswear Company of St. Paul, manufacturer of men’s jackets and outerwear. The facility here, which will be located in the building now occupied by Bernie’s Fairway, will be an operation engaged mainly in the sewing of garments. The firm’s cutting operations will continue in St. Paul.

Slippery streets caused a rash of accidents in Litchfield last week. Sunday night a car driven by a 16-year-old girl went out of control and struck and snapped off a city light pole. The driver and a passenger were unhurt, but the newer model car was a total loss.

Despite the dearth of snow, members of the Litchfield Snowmobile Club said the second annual snowmobile derby held here Sunday was a success. Although attendance was not what club officials had hoped, members felt the turnout for the day was satisfactory. Races were run in 14 divisions over a course just east of the fairgrounds. There were a total of 107 entries. Since there was no snow, the machines raced around a bumpy grass surface in the area between the fairgrounds and the airport.

The Litchfield FFA chapter parliamentary procedure team placed first in the District 7 contest held here on Dec. 16. Team members were Steve Rumsey, Don Christofferson, John Trombley, Bruce Skappel, Dave Tews, Dennis Johnson, Sheldon Wallmow, Ken Neu, Fred McGuire and Roger Huhn. Advisor is Ken Stark.

68 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 16, 1952

Meeker County farmers and sportsmen are warned this week by state supervisor of game Tyler Huston that winter feeding of game birds is more important this year than ever before. He said a severe situation exists all over the state because an unusual amount of plowing this year has resulted in a tremendous shortage of cover for birds. “The first snowstorm of the year, although not particularly heavy, resulted in heavy bird loss from smothering,” he said. There was just not enough cover for the birds. Corn, he pointed out, in ears or shelled, is the best feed for birds.

Lt. Tom Russell, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Russell, will spend the holiday with his parents here. Lt. Russell is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and is in a paratroop group. He will return to his unit after a 10-day furlough.

Mr. and Mrs. Wes Olander are expected to arrive in Litchfield next Sunday from Barranquilla, Columbia, South America to spend their holiday with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Olander. The last visit of the Olanders to home was two years ago when Wes was manager of the Sterling Drug Company operation in the northern part of Mexico. Recently, Wes was transferred to Bogota, Columbia, where he is manager for the same company’s operations in the entire part of the country. Mr. and Mrs. Olander are now residing in Barranquilla, a city of about 300,000, where the climate is very warm.

Cadet John W. Foss, son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Foss, has recently completed playing his first year of soccer for the U.S. Military Academy freshman team. Cadet Foss was one of several hundred cadets who competed in athletics at the Academy during the current year. Under the school’s regulations, each cadet must take part in some form of athletic activity.

Dragons wrestling coach Kermit Anderson will see a dream of 14 years come true Tuesday. That day, Litchfield will host the first West Central Conference wrestling meet in history, something Kermit wanted to see since wrestling began at the high school year in 1939. Just four conference schools, Litchfield, Willmar, Morris and Benson, will be competing. They are the only conference schools having wrestling. Litchfield was the first school in the area to have wrestling, and was one of the first 25 high schools in the state to have the sport.

115 YEARS AGO: NEWS FROM THE ISSUE OF DEC. 16, 1905

A roast pig supper will be given by Trinity Workers at the Guild Hall of Trinity Church on Monday evening. Roast pig and other estables will be served. The public is invited.

Henry Lewerenz of Ellsworth recently sold one of his horses and bought another in Litchfield.

Mr. and Mrs. O.P. Wilner of Danielson were tendered a house warming on Sunday afternoon when their neighbors to the number of 50 dropped in on them without warning. A fine tea set was left by the visitors as a reminder of the pleasant occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Wilner have recently completed and began to occupy their new residence.

Chas. Sutcliffe and Emil Nelson, residents in the southwest part of the county in the vicinity of King Lake, have been in Litchfield since last week buying on track, paying within seven cents of the Minneapolis market for all the wheat which came their way. The presence of these gentlemen on the market has had a tendency to bolster it up to some extent. As a grain market, Litchfield has not held caste for a number of years.

The county board was in session on Tuesday of last week to consider the petition demanding the construction of a ditch for the drainage of Youngstrom Lake. The board, however, deferred action on the matter ‘til another meeting could be held. But before that time considerable opposition to the ditch may materialize on the ground that it will jeopardize the permanency of Lake Ripley, which for many years has been the pride of every resident of Litchfield. Youngstrom Lake, which is sought to be drained, is a natural feeder of Lake Ripley, holding its surplus water and feeding into Lake Ripley slowly, thus assisting to keep the water level up in the dry season. Another objected to the proposed ditch is that a second petition will follow it, asking for the drainage of East Lake Ripley. This would prove even more disastrous to the main body of Lake Ripley. What has saved Lake Ripley in the past is that the two bodies of water asked to be drained have given p their waters to the lake, slowly keeping up the water level of the lake and enhancing its beauty.