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Will Robertson, who was newsroom editor at The Daily Journal for half a century, never deviated from his support of Republican presidential candidates from 1912 to 1962.

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Lloyd Omdahl, a retired University of North Dakota political science instructor, proposes a suspension of political intolerance during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season.

In each of the past three years I’ve partaken of lutefisk on four occasions, usually from late fall through the Christmas season. This year will be no exception.

Right in the thick of things with presidential politics in Iowa is former Daily Journal reporter Amie Rivers. She now works as a journalist with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Closing out the year 2019 is, in a sense, also closing out the year 1919 which was relived in light of the Fergus Falls cyclone a century ago. Most important is to never forget those who lost their lives.

Fergus Falls had close to 25 neighborhood grocery stores during the 1950s and 1960s. West End Grocery at the corner of West Cavour Avenue and Buse Street, also known as Gerhardson’s Grocery, was a three-generation enterprise. Otto Gerhardson started West End Grocery with his wife, Hilma, after their marriage in 1907. They lived down the hill, […]

This fall the World Series returns to Washington, D.C., for the first time since 1933. That’s 86 years ago. Franklin D. Roosevelt was in his first year as president of the United States. The 1933 World Series took place 28 years before the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities, in 1961, to become the […]

George Aas, a 1966 graduate of Fergus Falls High School, fondly recalls his father, Ernie Aas, as a custodian at the Washington Junior High in the 1960s. Ernie’s father and George’s grandfather, Anton Aas, had worked as a custodian at McKinley School, starting in 1936 Ernie’s brother, Art, who was the uncle of George Aas, […]

Taxpayers want to see that their dollars are put to good use. Here’s an example of just that, with a partnership between Otter Tail County and the state of Minnesota. County Human Services Director Deb Sjostrom, at the Oct. 1 county board of commissioners meeting, outlined Otter Tail County’s coordination with a state program to […]

Rural Clitherall resident and successful businessman Milt Paulson, who died Sept. 16, not only gave back to society. He also had a reassuring presence when the going got tough. He did a lot in his 79 years, examples include volunteer service with the Otter Tail County Historical Society, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, school board, […]



With the postseason major league baseball playoffs right upon us, many older fans recall Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. During a recent vacation, I read the book, “Perfect,” authored by Lew Paper. On Oct. 8, 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen took the mound at Yankee Stadium for Game 5 […]

Labor Day evening in 1964 proved to be another rugged football game between the home team Pelican Rapids Vikings and Fergus Falls Otters. Those two teams played each other on Labor Day from the late 1940s, into the 1960s. “We played Pelican in 1964 more or less without a quarterback, because starter Dave Olson and […]

This year three county commissioners from Otter Tail County accepted an invitation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital. They met on Aug. 20 with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House with fellow commissioners and mayors from Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Topics with federal officials in Washington, D.C., included economic development […]

Close to 20 years ago the late Gary Cranston of Fergus Falls and his family introduced Scotch eggs to the state fair in St. Paul. This year I again stopped at the Scotch eggs food stand, operated by Joe Cranston, Gary’s son, near the coliseum and horse barn southeast of the midway. “It’s always fun […]

While on vacation in late August I took along my copy of the book, “Lake Wobegon Days,” written by Garrison Keillor, first published in 1985. It was a joy as I reread the entire book. Older people remember that Keillor’s book is an account, often with humor, of fictitious Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, a small and […]

Six miles west of Ottertail city is a peninsula between Otter Tail Lake and Walker Lake. That’s where outdoor worship during the summer months at Camp Nidaros near Walker Lake has been a tradition for 110 years. This tradition has its roots in the purchase of property back in 1909 by the original founders of […]

The year 1971 was the last year of passenger train service through Fergus Falls. This coincided with the opening of the interstate highway system that made it easier for people driving vehicles between Fargo and the Twin Cities. Previously, the Red River train traveled from Grand Forks to the Twin Cities and the Western Star […]

Many longtime residents of Fergus Falls and other areas of Otter Tail County remember the old fairgrounds which stood until 1967 at the site now occupied by Kennedy Secondary School. Back then the West Otter Tail County Fair was held in August. A main attraction was the wildlife building. The Fergus Falls Fish and Game […]

Close to a half century has passed since 1957 Fergus Falls High School graduate Joe Edlund finished his last of nine summers working as a lifeguard at Pebble Lake, 2 miles south of Fergus Falls. The year was 1972. “I had two tours of duty at Pebble Lake,” Edlund said. “The first one was from […]

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt arrived by train in the Badlands of Dakota Territory on Sept. 8, 1883, six years before the official establishment of the state of North Dakota, in 1889. He arrived from the East Coast one month prior to his 25th birthday. Roosevelt fell in love with the badlands west of Bismarck, near Medora […]

Cindy Harthun was a Fergus Falls High School senior in 1974 when the Otter girls basketball team played so well that attendance at the gymnasium next to Roosevelt Park increased by leaps and bounds. Coincidentally is the fact that 1974 was the first year of a girls state basketball tournament in Minnesota. Twelve years later, […]

Mention the word marathon in Fergus Falls and the name Eric Loeffler quickly comes to mind. The 1995 Fergus Falls High School graduate, who starred in cross country and track for the Otters and was an all-conference performer in those same sports at NDSU in Fargo, will be inducted into the Fergus Falls Area Chamber […]

A pleasant surprise when visiting Itasca State Park on Sunday, June 30, was seeing lady slippers in full bloom. The opportunity to see our official state flower in its majestic growing stage was due to the late spring in 2019. After an afternoon of hiking, boating, swimming, and visiting the headwaters the grand finale was […]

Fergus Falls residents came together in the days and weeks following the devastating cyclone that struck on June 22, 1919. The work in restoring this community required firmness of mind, physical strength and endurance. In the end, withstanding hardship and adversity resulted in a rebuilt and better Fergus Falls. Those first few days following the […]

Fifty years ago I was one of five summer interns working at the Fargo Forum newsroom. Nationally, that summer was best known for the United States landing its first man on the moon on July 20, 1969. After my junior year at Moorhead State College, I needed a car. In Fergus Falls I purchased a […]

Four decades have gone by since the year 1979 when four young men left East Leaf Lake, north of Henning, entered Otter Tail Lake by canoe and paddled all the way to Hudson Bay. Dennis Weidemann authored a book, “This Water Goes North,” which chronicles their adventure from May 8 in Otter Tail County and […]

Fergus Falls pastor, Mark Tungseth was a high school junior member of the 1974 Hillcrest Comet team that won the National Christian High School Invitational Basketball Tournament played at John Brown University in Arkansas. Tungseth was one of five inductees May 23 into the Hillcrest Academy Sports Hall of Fame. The entire team from 1974, […]

Research has long shown the special bond that exists between a dog and his or her owner. The same holds true for cat owners. A new University of Chicago survey of 2,000 adults, who recently became dog owners, revealed better physical fitness, improved mental health and reduced stress levels compared to the days when they […]

The late Odis “Oats” LeGrand, his wife Eunice and son Steve moved to Fergus Falls from Felton, northeast of Moorhead, in 1952. Over the years LeGrand had four roles in Fergus Falls as a physical education teacher, coach, summer recreation director and radio sports announcer. His thinking cap was always on. Don Walseth of the […]

This year’s Henning High School boys basketball state championship team is not the only one in the history of the school. It is, however, the only state title with Henning as a member of the Minnesota State High School League, earlier referred to as the State High School Athletic Association. Back in the 1920s, Henning […]

It was a proud day 60 years ago, on May 5, 1959, when renowned WDAY-TV sports anchor Bill Weaver came to town to MC the spring sports banquet at the Fergus Falls High School cafeteria on Friberg Avenue. High school athletes, Otter coaches and cheerleaders were guests of the Fergus Falls Chamber of Commerce. The […]

Otter Tail County residents are proud of their sons and daughters who graduate in various communities and do well in their adult lives. Such is the case for Vining native and Henning High School graduate Karen Nyberg. She is the daughter of Ken and Phyllis Nyberg. In 2008, Karen was a space shuttle astronaut on […]

For most of the current or former residents of Fergus Falls, the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, is becoming more and more a distant memory. Not so for former Fergus Falls teacher and coach Glen Mesker. His grandson, Zachary Mesker, now 22, was one of the 422 people wounded during a harvest […]

Fergus Falls, 60 years ago this spring, ended 46 years of being a dry city. On March 18, 1959, approval of a municipal liquor store passed by just 74 votes. Fergus Falls was a dry town between 1913 and 1959. If you wanted to purchase a bottle of whiskey, or another bottle of hard liquor, […]

Long-time fans of Henning High School basketball find similarities as well as differences between the 2019 state Class A boys champions and the glory years of Henning from the mid-1960s. The similarities can be seen in how the teams from the 1960s and today reached state. In 1966, the year that Henning lost to Edina […]

Not often discussed as a part of World War II history is the repatriation of Japan, following the end of the war. Fergus Falls World War II veteran Wayne Schmidt, 92, was in the Navy and assisted in the repatriation process with fellow servicemen. In simple terms, repatriation refers to bringing back people to one’s […]

This is the time of year when interest in basketball peaks with high school and college tournaments. Memorable years from prior decades are linked to today. Such is the case with a former Pelican Rapids player from 1960 who has a grandson and star basketball player in Jamestown, North Dakota. Wes Skunberg’s grandson, Boden Skunberg, […]

Fergus Falls Junior College came into being in 1960. That first year, 1960-61, included classes at Washington School north of downtown Fergus Falls. “I walked to the Washington Junior High campus of FFJC every day,” said Janice Stroschein Stenger, a 1957 Fergus Falls High School graduate and a member of the first junior college graduating […]

World War I veteran William L. Schmidt returned to his hometown of Fergus Falls on June 19, 1919. Tragedy struck just three days later, on June 22, when a cyclone and four of its tornado funnel clouds descended on the Fergus Falls area. Schmidt’s daughter, Maxine, spoke fondly about her late father on March 1 […]

Just a five-minute walk from the new Tria hockey facility in downtown St. Paul is Mickey’s Diner, a classic establishment that has served meals at West Seventh Street since 1937. Heading to this diner following the Otter girls’ state hockey consolation title win at the Tria rink the morning of Feb. 23 was an easy […]

A century ago, in late February 1919, the Grand Hotel on the northeast corner of Lincoln Avenue and Vine Street in Fergus Falls was a high-class establishment. The hotel was known not only for its outstanding lodging but also for its exquisite lower level restaurant. The elegant three-story hotel, constructed with local brick in 1883, […]

Our neighbors to the west, in the state of North Dakota, are providing financial support for construction of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and associated museum near Medora in the western section of the state. Roosevelt, known fondly as Teddy, lived two years in the Badlands of Dakota Territory as a rancher from 1884 to […]

“Focus on the Future” was the theme in late January during the annual convention of the Minnesota Newspaper Association held in Bloomington on the southwest side of the Twin Cities. “We’re not dead yet,” said Mike Dalton, MNA president from Cannon Falls, west of Red Wing in southeastern Minnesota. “On the contrary, we need to […]

Many baseball fans who attended the Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan Tuesday evening, Jan. 22 at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls not only talked about big league baseball. They also spoke about town team baseball in Otter Tail County, prompted in part by the recent passing of Roland Harlow. In 1963, the third year […]

A 10-person St. Cloud Diocese review board, headed by retired district court judge Elizabeth Hayden, is in place in the wake of the clergy abuse scandal. The review board includes lay people and is similar to other boards in dioceses all across the nation. This panel has a consultative role in advising the bishop in […]

If you get carried away with drinking a lot of coffee in one day, don’t feel guilty. Think about Fergus Falls resident Gus Comstock. He set the world’s record by drinking 85 cups of coffee 92 years ago this month. On Jan. 11, 1927, Comstock gained national attention by drinking the 85 cups of coffee […]

Covering the Minnesota Vikings on radio during the early 1970s were two of my all-time favorite sportscasters, Joe McConnell and Paul Hornung. McConnell, an Indiana native, and Hornung, former Green Bay Packer star running back, called Vikings football games on radio in 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974. In those years the Vikings played outdoors at […]

With the start of 2019 close at hand, the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners continues its pledge to use county taxpayer dollars wisely. Members of the county board are elected with no party affiliation listed on the ballot. They do what they feel is right and in the best interests of people throughout […]

Many of us remember the dawn of the 1960s and Christmas holiday shopping in downtown Fergus Falls. At the northwest section of the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Mill Street was Skogmo Café, a favorite dining establishment for people of all ages. Right across the street, at the southwest corner, was Arneson-Larson-Milton clothiers. At the […]

Many of us were saddened to hear about the passing of former Seventh District Congressman Bob Bergland, 90, on Dec. 9. He served as our U.S. House member from 1971 to 1976 and then served as U.S. secretary of agriculture for President Jimmy Carter. Bergland, with a wife and seven children, farmed near Roseau before […]

With the passing of my mother-in-law, Delores Voigt, I think about her love of music and the swing era of the 1940s. In 2005 and 2006 we took Delores to the Walker casino to see performances by the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller bands. These bands, although not the original members from the swing era, […]

I’m like many people in the Fergus Falls area and throughout Otter Tail County who have relatives and friends close to the devastating fires in California. My sister and nephew live in Ventura, northwest of Los Angeles, which became a smoke-filled community within 20 miles of a fire. Up in Yuba City, north of Sacramento, […]

Volunteers at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Barnesville, on Nov. 15, again served lutefisk piled atop large platters. This is an annual tradition, held every year and one week before Thanksgiving. Family-style serving meant that true lutefisk lovers such as me could take seconds and even thirds. We did just that. Meatballs were the alternate […]

The year was 1958 when 6-foot-3-inch Odin Langen, a farmer from Kittson County in the extreme northwestern section of Minnesota, was elected to Congress. When passing through Fergus Falls and other communities, Odin made his presence known. He campaigned with the theme, “a big man for a man-sized job.” This theme worked for Odin, a […]

It was a happy day for Guss Kantrud and George Wagner when World War I ended a century ago, on Nov. 11, 1918. These two soldiers from the First World War later became respected businessmen and renowned VFW and American Legion members in Fergus Falls. They will be in my thoughts during Veterans Day 2018. […]

In the fall of 1958, Fergus Falls High School football coach Rocky Elton and his star running back Tim Cashman trusted and supported each other in order to help the Otters become the best team they could be. Elton reflected on that special relationship after hearing of Cashman’s passing on Oct. 25. They became more […]

Close to 81 percent of registered voters, including Republicans and Democrats in poll after poll, support health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions. “Candidates of both parties are on record as embracing a key tenant of Obamacare,” note editors of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune who quote portions of a previous editorial in the Washington […]

Humphrey battled Nixon in 1968 The presidential race a half century ago, in 1968, featured Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon of California. Humphrey was the sitting vice president and Nixon was a former vice president. Previously, Humphrey won the Democratic nomination in Chicago over fellow Minnesotan, U.S. senator and anti-Vietnam War candidate Eugene McCarthy. […]

The recent passing of renowned St. John’s football coach John Gagliardi reminded many people that the star player on his first national title team in 1963 came from Wendell. Bernie Beckman ran the football and threw an option pass for a touchdown, helping Minnesota’s St. John’s University win the Div. III national title over Prairie […]

Close to 79 years have gone by since workers for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed six one-room log cabins near the campgrounds at Itasca State Park. For many sports fans like me, our first choice would be a Minnesota Vikings victory on Sunday over the Philadelphia Eagles. If by […]