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Fifty years ago -- 21-inch snowfall blankets area; John Glenn orbits

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Fifty years ago -- 21-inch snowfall blankets area; John Glenn orbits
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- After having already endured an extremely cold winter with an abundance of snow, Southwestern Minnesota was blasted again on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17-18, 1962 with 21 inches of the white stuff, creating more havoc throughout the area.

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"21-Inch Snowfall May Set New Record for City" ran the banner headline on the front page of the Worthington Daily Globe on Monday afternoon, Feb. 19, 1962.

"Area Isolated by Sunday Storm; Huge Drifts Remain" was the sub-heading to the story written by Raymond A. Crippen, whose lead paragraphs ran as follows:

"Nature unveiled its 1962 Snow Maker in the local area during the week end. The sleek new model was clearly one of the most streamlined and most powerful in the Nature series.

"The gray-colored, air-cooled behemoth, styled and pieced together in Colorado, was sent to the local area by air express. It arrived early Saturday morning.

"Among the the prominent features of the '62 Snow Maker was a wide track which permitted it to span an area 400 miles wide, from central South Dakota, southeastward across much of Iowa.

"Onloookers were awed both by its capacity and its economy. On the shakedown cruise, the Snow Maker's engines churned continuously for 36 hours turning out billions of tons of snow on an average of less than two inches of precipation (1.5 inches over Worthington). The new model broke several records established by the classic 1908 version.

"The giant rotors poured out quantities of snow in a breeze, although they were somewhat imperfectly aligned (the "left rotor" pushed out 33 inches over Sioux Falls while the "right rotor" managed only 21 inches over Worthington). A novel feature of the '62 model, and one which won wide praise, was the fact that it had only one small fan mounted midway along its length. The fan never generated winds in excess of 35 miles per hour, and it idled much of the time."

So it would seem it was a big snowfall without the excessive winds of some of the more notorious blizzards that the area has experienced -- like the unforgettable "Storm of the Century" in January of 1975.

It was, however, quite the snowstorm as Crippen so masterfully compared to a new car.

His article quoted veteran weather observer J.V. Westerlund as follows:

"All in all, it was one the biggest we have ever seen. The snowfall was the most we have had at any one time since 1908, and it may be the most ever, as records prior to 1908 are 'pretty sketchy.'"

Two snow-covered pictures ran across the top of the front page with the headings:

"Area Traffic Is Tied Up -- Obviously" and "A Striking Example of Snow Sculpture -- and a Big Chore"

Both photos showed cars completely covered with snow.

"Giant Blizzard Ties Up Region, Closes Schools, Clogs Highways" was the headline to the Associated Press story on the same front page.

There were five more snow-filled pictures on the back page, under the heading:

"Biggest Snowfall Since 1908 Envelopes Local Area"

And that was on top of an area which was already covered with deep snow.

And more was coming.

Bluejay wrestlers dominate SMJCC wrestling meet, head to Colorado for NJCAA

During the early stages of the weekend snowfall, the Southern Minnesota Junior College Conference wrestling meet was held Saturday at the four-year-old Worthington High School gym.

Winning all eight of the weight classes, the local Worthington Junior College Bluejays dominated the grappling, piling up 103 points to earn advancement to the National Junior College wrestling tournament in Lamar, Colo. (March 2-3).

Rochester was a distant second with 45 points, followed by Austin (41) and Concordia (25).

Seven of the conference champions, coached by Stan Hotzler, were former Worthington High School wrestlers, tutored by long-time Trojans' mentor Roy Minter.

Luverne's Howard Gangestad claimed WJC's first title with a pin in the championship match at 123 pounds.

Wayne Paulsen (130), Ron Lorenz (137), Gerry Wachter (147), Wayne Watts (157), Lyle Voss (167), Ron Tuin (177) and Glen Karstens (heavyweight) were the seven Worthington-based wrestlers who also won individuals titles, locking up the impressive sweep for the Bluejays.

Gangestad, Lorenz, Tuin and Karstens all won national championships in Colorado, leading the Bluejays to a solid second-place finish in the 12-team meet, which was won by the host Lamar squad for a third consecutive time.

Karstens won all three of his matches by pin.

Both Paulsen and Voss claimed consolation titles, while Watts placed fourth.

Worthington's fine showing at the 1962 national meet likely set some of the groundwork for the the city's decade-long hosting of the prestigious event, starting a few years later.

After two months and 10 postponements, Glenn finally makes his historic orbital flight

It was exactly 50 years ago today -- Feb. 20, 1962 -- that John H. Glenn, Jr., a 40-year-old marine lieutenant colonel, became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth.

"He's Up" ran the giant banner headline on the Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1962 afternoon edition of the Globe.

Off to the side of the huge heading was a picture of Glenn and a smaller caption, saying: "And He's Back Down."

After an astonishing total of 10 postponements over a two-month span, Glenn was finally launched in the Friendship VII by an Atlas booster rocket off of Pad 14 at Florida's Cape Canaveral at 9:47 a.m. E.S.T.

Earlier sub-orbital flights had been completed by astronauts Alan B. Shepard and Virgil "Gus"Grissom in 1961, as the first phase of the U.S. Mercury program.

But Glenn's voyage was the first orbital flight for the U.S. and it was a historic day.

After completing three orbits -- traveling from day to night several times and getting a "panoramic view" of much of the earth, including the lights of Perth, Austrailia -- Glenn completed his four- hour, 40-minute trip with a successful splashdown at 2:27 p.m. E.S.T. near Grand Turk Island (Bahamas) in the Caribbean Sea, being picked up by helicopters and transported back to land by the USS Noah.

It was a day to remember -- especially for a fifth-grader, as Mrs. Tatge let us listen to much of Glenn's adventures on radio during school that day.

I just can't believe that it could be 50 years ago already?

Martinson's 46-point game highlights area hoop action from Friday, Feb. 17, 1962

On the Friday evening preceeding the area's big snowfall and John Glenn's orbital flight, Lake Wilson's Marv Martinson ripped the nets for 46 points -- a new school record -- in an 81-47 homecourt victory over Iona.

Darwin Busselman contributed 12 points for the Raiders, who led at the quarter breaks by scores of 18-14, 41-23 and 68-34.

Harold Balster scored 27 points for Iona.

At Hills, Terry Arends netted 23 points to lead the Bluejays to a 61-43 Tri-County Conference win over Adrian. Jim Harberts scored 16 points to lead the Dragons.

At Jasper, the Quartz-siters received a 22-point performance from Galen Hemme and defeated Edgerton, 64-60, giving the Flying Dutchmen just their third loss of the season.

Sophomore Vernon "Tonto" Schoolmeester had 23 points to lead Edgerton.

In a game in which 54 fouls were called, Beaver Creek posted a 10-point win over Chandler on the Eagles' homecourt, 76-66.

Marvin Boom and Warren Boeve led the winning Beavers with 25 and 14 points, respectively, while Roger Smith had a game-high 28 points to lead Chandler and Rod Behrends scored 10.

Ellsworth improved to 10-4 with a 68-55 victory over Magnolia, as four players -- Monte Faragher (19), Jerry Lovrien (16), Ron Hanson (14) and Harold Lenderts (11) -- netted double figures for the Panthers.

Dale Klooster, Bruce Wilson and John Sudenga paced the Bulldogs with 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

In a battle between District 7 powers Westbrook and Mountain Lake, the Wildcats edged the homecourt Lakers, 54-51.

Ron Bakken scored a game-high 20 points to lead Westbrook, while Jon Glasshoff contributed 15.

Verlyn Nickel, Larry Stoez and Jim Brandt led Mountain Lake with 15, 12 and 11 points, respectively.

In a see-saw battle with several lead changes, the Lakefield Panthers -- paced by 23 points from Dave Rue and 14 from Jim Wedeking -- claimed a 48-45 victory over Jackson.

Bill Drahota scored 19 points to lead the Bluejays.

Brewster improved to 14-2 with a 68-46 Southern Star Conference win over Round Lake at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium.

John Silver (15), Terry Everson (11), Warren McNab (11) and Randy Busch (10) all had double figures for the Bulldogs, while Bob and Roger Geertsema scored 11 and 10 points, respectively to lead Round Lake.

Sioux Valley overcame a two-point first quarter deficit to roll to a 20-point homecourt victory over Okabena, 75-55, as the Warriors won for just the fourth time.

Sophomore Duane Roslansky netted a game-high 17 points to lead Sioux Valley, while teammates Bob Untiedt (16), Doug Kuehl (14) and Richard Wulf (14) also scored in double figures.

Four players -- Byron Christoffer (13), Howard Sievert (11), Arlo Baumgarn (10) and Mike DeWall (10) -- notched double figures for the Bluehawks, as well.

In the battle between Murray County rivals Fulda and Slayton, it was the Wildcats avenging an earlier loss to the Raiders and snapping an eight-game Fulda winning streak.

Sinking 35 free throws in the game, Slayton emerged with a 71-52 win, as both Louis McDonald (21) and Dick Powell (20) produced 20-point games for the Wildcats.

The Raiders, who made three more field goals (21-18), were led by Gary DeGrote's 12 points.

Marv Schissel (21), Keith Peiper (16), Gary Loosbrock (15), Bob Wittry (13) and Dan Wieneke (11) all scored in double figures to lead Lismore St. Anthony to a high-scoring, 82-49, victory over Larchwood.

Dan Kirkilut had a game-high 26 points to lead Larchwood, while Bill Lewis scored 14.

For the second time in the campaign, Luverne defeated Pipestone and Windom beat Worthington in Southwestern Conference action.

The hosting Cardinals utilized a strong third quarter to break open a tight game and claim a 72-58 victory over the Arrows, led by the double digit scoring of Bruce Jorgenson (18), Lynn Geving (17) and Steve Rapp (15).

Doug Hart and Dave Hudson each scored 11 points for Pipestone, while Dave Stuevan tallied 10.

Palm, Hase, Elness lead Windom to 68-55 win

The tall and talented Windom Eagles had six players score between eight and 16 points in a well-balanced, 68-55, victory over Worthington at Windom.

Junior Dave Palm (16), senior George Hase (11) and junior Rich Elness (10) each notched double figures for the Eagles, while senior Roger Stempfley (nine), senior Ed Maras (eight) and junior Daryle Hanson (eight) combined for 25 more Windom points.

The Trojans claimed a 17-16 first-quarter lead on a buzzer beater by Vince DeBates, but a hook shot by the 6-5 Palm 10 seconds into the second quarter gave the Eagles a lead they never relinquished.

Windom held 39-30 and 49-41 leads after quarters two and three.

DeBates, John Hughes and Doug Heintz paced the Trojans with 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively.

With the victory, Windom improved to 5-2 in the conference and was poised to battle Jackson for the league title at Jackson Feb. 24.

The Eagles also won the B-game against Worthington, 42-33, with both Steve Baker (18) and Mike Higley (13) notching double figures.

Sophomore Tom Wing scored 10 points to lead Worthington (11-6).

So, once again, there is a capsule-like look back at some of the area high school basketball action from 50 years ago -- that cold, snow-filled winter of 1962 when "Duke of Earl" by Gene Chandler was a big, big hit and John Glenn was making front page news with his historic orbital space flight.

And the weather prediction on the front page 50 years ago today -- below the stories about Glenn -- "Keep Shovels Handy! Snow Forecast for Area Again."

Yes, after getting hit with 21 inches over the previous weekend, the predictions were for another 10-15 inches of new snow for Wednesday (Feb. 21) with blowing winds and drifting conditions.

Wow, have we been lucky this winter!

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