By Paul Gubrud, Columnist

Pelican teacher Marie Johnson profiled in Press in 1971

100 years ago, February 24, 1921

• City Improvements (E.L. Peterson, editorial)

Pelican Rapids is in need of a good many improvements. The streets ought to be cleaned, and kept clean. There ought to be some beautifying element in the city such as a park or a strip along the river where there could be a chance for tourists to stop during the day. The railroad lots and especially around the station ought to be cleaned up and fixed so that the first impression of a person coming here is not to think “Oh! What a hole,” but “I must have landed someplace now.” There ought to be public water system, and this would especially provide an adequate protection against any fire, or at least a more adequate one than at present. We have lately had an improvement in our creamery and a new bank has been built and there are prospects of better electric light power, which last is greatly needed.

75 years ago, February 28, 1946

• Fine Concert By School Groups

Those who braved the icy streets and walks last week Wednesday night to attend the school concert were well paid for their efforts. The program was especially good. The band has made great progress during the year and the chorus also showed much improvement.

The concert was well worth a good admission fee but it was free to all. A free will offering was taken and this is to be used for the band uniforms which have been ordered.

There is a lot of fine music talent in our school and this is being developed nicely through the able instructors, the Misses Jean Erickson and Jean Stevens.

• Snow Removal from Streets

Good work was done last Thursday and Friday when the drifts of snow on Broadway, Main and Mill streets were removed. A highway rotary snow plow and other plows were used and the snow loaded on trucks and hauled away. Our streets are now in fine shape and traffic can resume in the usual manner.

• Welcome Back… Men Receiving Discharge from Army and Navy

Capt. Herbert R. Borg has been discharged from the armed forces at Camp McCoy’s separation center after 42 months of service in the Army, part of which was spent in the Caribbean area. Dr. Borg will soon re-open his dental office here in Pelican Rapids.

50 years ago, February 25, 1971

• Retired Teacher Keeps Busy with Hobbies

“I have never known a minute of boredom,” Mrs. Marie Johnson says with a sincerity that cannot question.

A teacher at PRHS until asked to retire at the age of 65. She has since kept busy with her plants, fish, and birds in her large home across the street from the Pelican Valley Health Center.

She admits now that it was hard to retire at 65; that a person’s brain does not suddenly stop functioning when it reaches the age of 65 years. For her, the activities have been directed from her schoolwork to gardening, houseplants, aquarium, parakeet, and other projects.

Practically “born” a teacher, Marie Dapprich grew up in Milwaukee where her father was headmaster of a German-English Academy, a school built by Milwaukee “Beer Barons” to educate children by traditional German methods of education. Her mother was also a teacher, as was her grandfather.

25 years ago, February 21, 1996

• Grocery Theft Intercepted at Local Supermarket

A scam involving two juveniles and a store employee attempting to take nearly $500 worth of groceries was stopped by a store supervisor last week.

According to the police, the two juveniles accumulated a large order of groceries at Larry’s Supermarket, but the employee allegedly did not pass all the items across the scanner.

Charges are pending against one adult and two juveniles, police said, but declined to release the names of those involved.

• Home, Home on the Ice 

Clyde Hoadley and Kenny Lyden didn’t intend to build a posh ice fishing house; it just sort of happened.

When their fish house was demolished by one of the storms last summer, they intended to repair it. “It started out we were going to fix the old one,” said Hoadley. “Then one thing led to another…”

Their “new” shack is 8 feet wide and 16 feet long, a mansion in terms of fish houses. Knotty cedar paneling and several large windows make the place well-lit during the day and at night there is electricity supplied by a generator.

• Families Celebrate Vietnamese New Year 25 years ago, February 21, 1996

While most of the community’s East Asian population celebrate traditional American holidays, many celebrate their cultural traditions as well, including the annual celebration of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year.

This year’s celebration was February 19, but the areas Asian population will gather at the armory in North Moorhead on February 24 for a traditional Tet New Year’s party. 

Author’s note: My wife and I were honored to be guests at this celebration of Tet. We experienced a Buddhist religious ceremony, the Dragon Dance, and enjoyed the abundance of a traditional 

Vietnamese potluck dinner.