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Looking Back: Record cold froze region 75 years ago this week

One year ago

With the closure of the Wilmont Liquor store and bar on New Year’s Eve, board members of the Wilmont Family Recreation Center were more determined than ever to keep open the doors of the community-owned café, four-lane bowling alley and “essentials” grocery store.

Worthington’s Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign set a new local record, with $17,907.36 being received in the familiar kettles during the holiday season.

The Reading Community Center hosted two sessions of Bingo on New Year’s Eve.

Five years ago

Bob Petrich, Worthington, retired after eight years of service on the Worthington City Council.

Nobles Cooperative Electric delivered 420 pounds of food to the Manna Food Pantry, along with a financial donation.

After 30 years of saving, the Worthington Fire Department purchased a 14-year-old ladder truck for their fleet. All of the $316,000 price tag was covered by the department’s equipment revolving fund.

Worthington’s city budget was slapped with $229,000 in cuts after Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced $110 million in cuts through the Local Government Aid program, for payments due to be made Dec. 28.

Dr. Randy Simonson, Worthington, was one of four finalists for a seat representing the First Congressional District on the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents.

Leon Betz retired after a 37-year career in Worthington’s retail community, including 25 years at Lee’s Frame Shoppe in downtown Worthington.

10 years ago

For a second year, the Safe Cab program was offered in Worthington on New Year’s Eve. Local law enforcement officers urged people to use the free cab ride tickets if they chose to celebrate New Year’s Eve with alcohol.

The Worthington branch of Fulda Area Credit Union would be located in a new building on Ryan’s Road by late 2004. Branch manager Diane Gerdes said the credit union had six full-time employees and one part-time employee, and the new building would be roughly 6,000 square feet.

A two-vehicle crash south of Storden Sunday morning left one Windom teenager dead and three others seriously injured.

A new program hosted by the Nobles County Integration Collaborative was the Spanish-English Interchange. The program offered Spanish speakers a chance to learn English and English speakers a chance to learn Spanish.

Ruth Hein retired after having written a weekly historical column for the Daily Globe for the past 14 years.

25 years ago

Chad Gage of Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield was the Daily Globe’s Athlete of the Week for his success in wrestling. Gage competed in the Class A state wrestling tournament in 1987 and, at the 130-pound weight, had compiled an 11-0 record so far this season.

Commercial air service to Worthington was to be eliminated by March 1 if proposed cutbacks of the federal essential air service program being considered by the U.S. Transportation Department was enacted.

The home of Khanh and Coleen Bui, 913 McMillan, Worthington, won first place in the Christmas lighting contest sponsored by the Worthington Women of Today. Second place went to Matt and Cheri Oleske, 1118 Grand Ave., Worthington.

Bad weather kept potential shoppers at home on Dec. 26. Monday, a federal holiday, was disappointing to area merchants as a full-fledged winter storm made travel difficult and dangerous.

50 years ago

Five Chandler children were orphaned Tuesday when their parents were killed in a head-on auto crash on Highway 16 near Magnolia and the Rock-Nobles county line. The youngsters, ages 3, 8, 10, 12 and 14, were staying with an aunt and uncle in rural Edgerton.

Donald Timm of Mankato was hired to join the staff of the Worthington YMCA on Feb. 1. Secretary George Zeise said Timm would serve as physical education director, with particular emphasis on swimming instruction.

The Westminster and Chancel choirs at Worthington’s Westminster Presbyterian Church presented “An Hour of Christmas Music,” a program of sacred music, in the church sanctuary. Mrs. James Vance directed the choirs, and Mrs. John Steen was the organist. Mrs. Richard Bisbee also directed a few selections by the Carol Choir. Larry Pohlman was a featured soloist on “The Shepherds’ Chorus” from Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”

Cindy Thoma, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Thoma, Worthington, was installed as Honored Queen of local (Bethel No. 34) chapter of the International Order of Job’s Daughters in the Masonic Lodge Hall.

75 years ago

Temperatures in the Worthington community plummeted to a record low for the winter with the overnight minimum being 13 degrees below zero, as 45 below zero was experienced in extreme northern Minnesota in the midst of another bitter cold wave that swept the entire northwest. The mercury at Worthington maintained a sub-zero reading throughout the morning and at 1 p.m. (Dec. 29), it was 2 below.

A check of the holiday mailing period at its height in Worthington revealed that during the 10 days from Dec. 15-24, a daily average of 10,781 pieces of mail matter was put through the cancelling machine at the local post office, with 21,000+ being the high (reached on Wednesday of the final week). Total cancellations for the period were 107,817, as compared with a few hundred over 84,000 in the same period of 1937, a gain of over 23,000. Sales of cent and half-cent stamps totaled 74,000, a gain of 5,000 over a year earlier.

Playing this week at Worthington’s State Theatre was “Ride a Crooked Mile,” starring Akim Tamiroff. At the Grand Theater was a “giant double feature:” “Rio Grande” and “Smashing the Spy Ring” with Ralph Bellamy.