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Country Schools an important part of local history


Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

Editors note: Shortly after Edna Thompson was interviewed for this article she passed away following a long illness.

Up until the middle part of the 1900s rural schools were an integral part of the public education system. Having no reliable way of getting to a big brick building in town, most farm children ended up walking miles in harsh weather to a small wooden or stone structure situated somewhere in their designated district. Thankfully the teacher, who was usually a young woman in her late teens or early twenties, would already have the wood stove going so the young ones would be warm after their long cold journey in the southeastern Minnesota winter.Edna Thompson, of rural Preston, was one of those dedicated young women. After going to teachers training in Preston, she got her first job as a teacher in 1936 at the age of eighteen. She was lucky enough to teach at a modern school north of Mabel that had indoor chemical toilets, a library, and a large basement for recess on stormy days. But, despite its luxuries, it was still a country school. Besides teaching, Mrs. Thompson also served as the nurse, psychologist, disciplinarian, and janitor. A wood stove challenged my janitor duties as well as extreme temps of zero on some winter mornings, reminisces Thompson. Sometimes the children even had to help the teacher carry water from nearby farms. After three years, I applied for another school west of Mabel, says Thompson. This school was older and not quite as fancy as the first one, but the pupils were eager to learn and helped with the chores of carrying in wood for the pot belly stove. Like most rural schools, the only grades taught were first through eighth grade. Those who passed the state exams and could make it to a designated bus stop in the area would continue on with high school in town. Many country children didnt have the money or resources to continue on with school and had to settle for an eighth grade education. Class sizes ranged anywhere from ten to thirty students with one to four or more children per grade with the higher grades helping the lower ones. Children learned, adamantly states Mrs. Thompson, and they learned to sacrifice and to share, but in spite of hardships everyone was happy. Fun was a very important part of educating and even though rural students had limited resources according to todays standards, they were .....
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County says NO to Heartland subsidy

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

The Fillmore County Board on Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend that the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) deny a request for a JOBZ land swap for the proposed Heartland tire-burning plant.

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93% voter turnout in Fillmore County

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

Nearly 12,000 voters turned out in Fillmore County on Tuesday to cast ballots in the general election. The Fillmore County Auditors office tallied 11,798 ballots from 12,679 registered voters, 93% of eligible voters.

On the nat ..... 
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Some election food for thought

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

A year of relentless attack ads and $4 billion later, we finally have a president.

Regardless of whether your man won - whether you voted the way you did because of Iraq, the war on terror, the economy or some moral questions a ..... 
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Chatfield Police Officer charged in burglary ring

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

A Chatfield police officer and two Chatfield residents were charged with multiple felony counts of theft and burglary in Fillmore County District Court on Wednesday, November 3.

Ryan Michael Lettner, 26, a police officer with th ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court:Rochester man sent to prison for meth activities

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

Douglas Ray Howard, 31, of Rochester, was sentenced to 45 months in prison by Fillmore County District Court Judge Robert Benson on Monday, November 1, after pleading guilty to two felony charges related to the manufacture of methamphetamine.< ..... 
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Preston City Council Report: City renews contract for EDA services with SEMDC

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

The Preston City Council agreed at their Monday, November 1 meeting to renew the citys contract for economic development services with the Southeast Minnesota Development Corporation in Rushford for 2005. The previous Economic Development Authority ..... 
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We owe a debt of thanks to all veterans

Fri, Nov 5th, 2004
Posted in Features

  Editors note: The following is part of a speech that Mr. Halloran gave on Memorial Day in Chatfield. Mr. Halloran grew up in Chatfield and now lives in Colorado.

I can tell you personally, that just s ..... 
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Letter from China

Fri, Oct 29th, 2004
Posted in Features

TANGSHAN, CHINA - Most visitors to China stay in the cities. There are hundreds of modern cities with populations of more than a million, where economic development has raised the standard of living, new construction is a 24 hour a day pursuit, and c ..... 
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