Looking Back: 1999 - Wal-Mart announces supercenter plansA weekly look back at regional history
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
One year ago
Nobles County was faced with a shortage of people willing to become foster parents. Within the previous two weeks, seven new children had been placed into foster care, joining 11 others already placed. The county had seven licensed foster homes at the time.
Michael’s Restaurant, an eating landmark in Worthington for nearly 60 years, was closed this week by owner George Coutsougeras.
Sheila Aanenson and her three children moved into their new house — the second Habitat for Humanity house built to date in Luverne.
Jennifer Weg was appointed the new director of patient care services at Worthington Regional Hospital. An R.N., Weg was previously employed by Nobles-Rock Public Health.
Five years ago
Café Creole recently reopened in the former Thompson Hotel building on Worthington’s Tenth Street. Chef Obadiah “Buddy” Stafford was in charge.
Former Minnesota Bluejay wrestling coach Jerry Jansen was inducted into the Junior College Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Sioux Valley Clinic Worthington observed its fifth anniversary, with a party at the facility.
The Worthington Trojans speech team placed first among 34 teams competing at the recent Mankato State University invitational tournament.
10 years ago
For four consecutive weekends, Worthington was the site of the Elks’ State Bowling Tournament. Worthington had hosted the tournament at least once before, in 1983.
Tim Wildfeuer, Fulda, was recently recognized as “Agent of the Year” by Bankers Life & Casualty Company.
Josie Balster, daughter of Jim and Marcie Balster, Wilmont, was selected to be the 1999-00 local student ambassador to Crailsheim, Germany.
The Nobles County Board gave the go-ahead for Worthington city officials to annex a piece of property needed to extend First Avenue S.W. to Nobles 59.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, Ark., announced it would build a supercenter in Worthington this summer, with the promise of more than 250 new jobs. The Worthington Planning Commission approved a development contract with Wal-Mart this week for the proposed 152,000 square-foot facility.
25 years ago
The water in Avoca was often orange-colored and in short supply, a roomful of residents acknowledged, but most wrote “no” when asked about building a new, $700,000 treatment system. Many said they just thought the improvement costs were too high, even with a Farmers Home Administration grant paying $425,000 of the needed amount, the remainder of which would be raised from property taxes, assessments and water rates. “If people can’t afford it, they’re just as willing to drink rusty water,” said Mita Ewey, who told the group she was 83 years old and not receiving Social Security.
The value of southwestern Minnesota farmland dropped in 1983 for the second year in a row, according to figures compiled by Dr. Phillip Raup, University of Minnesota economist. The average selling price of area farmland in 1983 was $1,669, down 11 percent or $206 per acre from the previous year. In 1982, prices had dropped an average of 10 percent. The two-year, 21 percent decline came on the heels of a one-year jump of 19 percent from 1980 to 1981.
Plans for the renovation of Worthington’s former post office building into an office building were continuing, following a meeting of the Post Office Committee of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce.
50 years ago
At the annual Worthington Junior College Sweetheart Formal (hosted in a “hearts and flowers” setting at West Elementary School), Queen Eunice Madison and her attendants Sally Hawkins and Donita Bones reigned over the festivities.
The Worthington chapter of Future Farmers of America added another honorary member and two new Chapter Star Farmers to its rolls at the annual FFA banquet. Honorary member was Eugene Ormberg, assistant Nobles County agent. The Chapter Star Farmer award was split for the first time this year and went to two boys — Jim Perkins and Steven Hansberger.
Former Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Great Britain had lunch in Worthington this noon (March 3). The head of England’s postwar Labor government was en route from St. Peter, where he delivered an address at Gustavus College, to Sioux City, where he was to speak at Morningside College. When his train stopped in Worthington for about 15 minutes, passengers (including Attlee) disembarked and had lunch in the Tex-Ann Café. Council member Charles Banister, operator of the café, extended the city’s greetings.
75 years ago
Surveying for the diagonal highway — Trunk Highway 60 — which would run from the Iowa line at Bigelow to Minneapolis was begun Tuesday with a crew of eight men, under the direction of Carl Odquist, project engineer with the state highway department. The survey started at the Iowa line on the east side of the Omaha tracks. It was to continue north and east to Windom following the tracks through Worthington, Brewster and Heron Lake. As of yet, there was no indication as to when construction of the route would start. Highway funds were not believed to be adequate to permit the work to be done in 1934, unless a substantial sum of federal aid was received.
Rushmore was chosen as the site for the 1934 Nobles County farmers’ picnic, where the event had taken place four years earlier.
Officers were elected for the 1934 season of the Worthington Golf Club. They were Robert Wolff, president; Mrs. C. J. Kall, vice president; and Martin Voss, secretary and treasurer. Dues for the season were $25 per family (“excepting children who are earning their own living”), $15 for single men, $10 for women, $7.50 for working girls and $5 for students. Dwindling from a membership of 125 in 1931 to 65 in 1932 and 45 in 1933, the club needed to have at least 100 members for the season in order to make continuance of the organization possible.