Pelican grad Sorum at West Point in 1997

100 years ago, January 4, 1923

• Water and Sewer (E. L. Peterson editorial comment)

These cold mornings, when the pump is liable to be frozen up, or the wind is blowing, and the walks around the premises are all drifted full of snow, would you object to having running water in your home and the modern convenience made possible by a sewer system?

(Authors note: Pelican Rapids did not have a municipal water or sewer system in 1923. Private wells and outhouses were common.)

• Tourism (E. L. Peterson editorial comment)

If a half a million tourists come to Minnesota every summer to spend from a few days to several months at the lakes and leave a few million dollars with us, isn’t it up to the people of Minnesota to give them a glad hand? The tourist trade benefits Pelican Rapids and vicinity to a great extent. Let us make it as attractive and pleasant for them as we know how.­

75 years ago, January 1, 1948

• New Dump Grounds Finally Secured

The village council last week made final arrangements for a new city dump grounds, and the residents will now be able to dispose of their refuse.

John Grunewald, who owns a 40-acre farm northwest of town, has entered into a contract with the village to supply dump ground facilities for a term of five years. The grounds are now open for use, and the council requests those who use the grounds to use good judgment in disposing of their refuse, so the dump can be kept in good shape at all times.

Signs have been placed along the road and at the ground advising where to dump, and further regulations are expected to be made so the grounds can be kept in an orderly condition.

• Merry Christmas to the Mailman

Snow and bad roads never stop the mail many days. Sometimes the weather is too bad to go outside or be away, but still, the mailman has to go. And some folks really don’t consider that he sometimes must go slow because the roads are rough and bad, and sometimes there are drifts of snow. Some folks can’t go out – oh no, it is too cold, but when the mail doesn’t go, they jaw and rave and spout, when it really isn’t fit to even let Old Tabby out, but then perhaps he will be on his way and leave the mail, perhaps a little late.

Sometimes he has to wait to get the mail that comes in on the truck, and when it gets in on time, that is the mailman’s luck. He has to cancel every stamp, sort the letters out, and mark down every number on the specials, all insured mail, and registered ones too. The poor man does a lot of work before the mail starts out to you. Sometimes there is lots of mail, and then again, there won’t be much, but still, it takes time. There is no use to get a headache if he is a little late because, as a regular mail man I think he does first rate.

Let’s wish him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and then I know everyone will be filled with Yuletide cheer. So take off your hat and shake his hand because he, too, is really only a human being – our rural mailman. – A Patron on Route 3.

50 years ago, January 4, 1973

• Council Asks Patrolman to Resign

The Village Council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Patrolman Ernest Johnson on or before March 31, 1973. The action was taken at a special meeting on December 27th.

The decision to seek the resignation came after a hearing at which Johnson and Police Chief Charles Clark met with the council. Prompting the hearing was an incident in which the police car was stolen while Patrolman Johnson was on duty. Originally called for December 20, the date was postponed until last week.

The patrol car disappeared at about 3:15 a.m. on December 9th and was found several hours later near the river at the southwest corner of the village. According to Police Chief Clark, Johnson had apparently left the car unlocked with the motor running near the AMPI creamery.

The car was damaged, and whoever took it had tried to drive it into the river, jamming a nightstick against the accelerator. No arrests have been made.

25 years ago, January 7, 1998

• West Point Cadet Challenged by “Four Year” Vacation at West Point (by Julie Tunheim)

When Andrew Sorum was a little boy, he dreamed about being in the army. But little did he know he’d attend the prestigious West Point Academy in New York.

The son of Charles and Mary Sorum of Pelican Rapids, Sorum is in his second year at the military academy. He and his classmates are considered third-class cadets.

Sorum didn’t take the traditional path directly from high school to West Point. He joined the U.S. Army as a high school senior and began basic training shortly after graduating from Pelican Rapids High School. At that time, the co-salutatorian of the senior class didn’t even consider West Point.

“I always played army as a little kid,” he said last week while home during a holiday break. “I knew in high school I wasn’t ready for college yet.”

He completed basic training and airborne training, joining the 82nd Airborne. At Fort Bragg, he served with a rifle platoon and was soon promoted to a leadership position – radio transmission operator – during a 30-day live fire drill.

His captain, a West Point graduate, realized Sorum’s potential and encouraged him to consider attending the military academy.

“He worked on me for about a year,” said Sorum. “They worked hard to get me there.”

In his freshman class of 1200, Sorum was one of only six who went from the regular army to the academy.

It didn’t take Sorum long to realize the importance of working with his classmates at West Point. Participating in study groups is important, he says, as he follows the “cooperate to graduate” theme.

Many cadets use passes to get away from school on free weekends, but Sorum prefers to study when he has the chance on Saturdays. Acknowledging that many of his classmates are brilliant students, he figures he needs to take advantage of extra time with his books. Besides, he figures it’s a break when his roommates leave, giving him some space over the weekend.

“If you put in the time, you won’t fail,” he says.