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1918: 'Woman Farmer' in Carlos uses minimal male help

1918, 100 years ago: Mrs. B.J. Birchard, known as "the Woman Farmer" in Carlos, and Miss May Bowman, her cousin, have farmed an 80-acre farm without any male help at all excepting the seeding of some oats. They mowed 25 acres of hay, raked it and hauled the 15 tons of hay and put it in the barn. They had 3½ acres of potatoes, 12 acres of corn, a quarter of an acre of popcorn and a quarter of an acre of beans, which Mrs. Birchard cultivated herself.

Miss Mary Schneiderhan has received her call to be ready to report for training as a Red Cross nurse.

1968, 50 years ago: Bellanca Aircraft Corp. of Alexandria unveiled its 1969 models for dealers and guests at a special showing. Dealers came from all over the United States, Canada and France. The airport area across from the Viking Motel, headquarters for the group, was lined with about 30 dealer-owned Bellanca planes. A new automatic landing gear actuation system, dubbed "Auto-Axtion," was the hit of the showing.

Alexandria's KCMT-TV is observing its 10th anniversary with an open house. KCMT is now a full-color television station and each guest will have an opportunity to see themselves on closed-circuit color TV. The station went on the air Oct. 8, 1958, and it has grown to include a twin station, KNMT-TV in Walker, with a viewing total of about 547,000 residents in 33 counties.

1993, 25 years ago: Voters in the multi-district school system that includes four west-central Minnesota school districts — Hoffman, Kensington, Barrett, and Elbow Lake-Wendell — approved a general revenue bond of $3,885,000 to build the middle school for grades 7-12. The state of Minnesota will give a $6 million grant for the school, a grant that was dependent on voter approval of the $3.8 million bond. The new $9 million school in Barrett will open in the fall of 1995. Voters also approved a $1.1 million bond for a 500-seat auditorium but rejected a $1.2 million bond for a school swimming pool. Last year, the districts entered into a cooperation-and-combination agreement.

Farmers and landowners are being sought to participate in a tree planting program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute. The project goal is to provide a clean energy source and an alternative income to landowners, control erosion, extend Conservation Reserve Program benefits, and to prove that large-scale plantings of hybrid poplars are possible and can be managed to produce biomass for future energy needs.

2008, 10 years ago: Representatives from Theatre L'Homme Dieu and St. Cloud State University jointly announced that the St. Cloud State Theater Department is refocusing its energy to the immediate St. Cloud area and that this past summer was its last year working with the local theater.

Just for fun 1918 — 100 years ago: Mrs. B.J. Birchard, the Woman Farmer, and Miss May Bowman have dug up all their potatoes with pitchforks and picked them by hand, the potatoes going more than 100 bushels to the acre. They left a sample of their potatoes and corn at the Echo office to prove that they have the finest potatoes in the neighborhood, and the editor thinks they have the finest in the county.

Sports Trivia 2008 — 10 years ago: More than 1,200 runners and 27 schools competed at the annual Alexandria Lions "Meet of Champions," including 171 varsity girls. Cardinal freshman Jamie Piepenburg proved to be the best of that bunch as she finished in 14:30 for first place. The Cardinals also had sophomore Tess Boucher finish 10th to help lead the Redbird girls to a 15th-place finish. Alexandria's Drew Paradis, 10th in the state polls, finished sixth in the boys' meet as his team claimed a fifth-place finish.

Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.