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The Great Flu Epidemic of 1918


Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

I had a little bird,

its name was Enza.

I opened the window,

and in-flu-enza.

(Children skipped rope to this rhyme during the flu epidemic.)

The 1918 influenza virus or Spanish flu was the worst epidemic the United States has ever known, taking the lives of an estimated 675,000 Americans, including 43,000 servicemen. More Americans died in one year from the influenza than in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. Yet, most people know very little about the epidemic or have almost forgotten that period of history.Unlike any strain ever seen, the mysterious killer virus spread across the country overflowing hospitals and filling mass graves. Joe Hermanson, lost his wife Emma, 42, and six of their twelve children in one week due to the deadly flu. He was the nephew of my mother's great-great grandmother, Kari Hermanson Ekse. A newspaper clipping from February 1920 reads: The Joe Hermanson family of Black Hammer near Spring Grove is the most severely stricken family ever known in this section of the state. The family was taken sick the first of the month. Mrs. Hermanson died Wednesday, and Saturday the two oldest boys died, and in the night a nine-year-old boy. Monday afternoon and night two more died, and Tuesday still another making seven dead, while small hopes are entertained for two more. Mr. Hermanson is recovering.Joe and two of the children, Evelyn and Henry, were taken to the Spring Grove Hospital. The children survived by the doctor draining fluid from their lungs, according to a family member. Emma's brother and niece assisted the remaining family members. Others left food on the porch and helped with the livestock chores.Due to severe cold and deep snow, the seven flu fatalities were placed in the summer kitchen for a later burial in the Black Hammer Cemetery, Houston County, Minnesota. All their names including Joe, who died nine years later, are on one tombstone.Only one of the children, Leonard Hermanson, now age 91, still survives. My mother, Char Nelson, and I recently visited Leonard who resides in the Houston Nursing Home. Leonard and his family lived in Looney Valley near Houston, where he had worked as a farmer and carpenter.I could sense that deep down sadness that has never gone away as Leonard described h .....
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Township Election Results

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

Amherst Township

Gene Topness Supervisor12

Richard Kelly Treasurer 12

Arendahl Township

Richard Ostrem 14

Gaylord Brown 14

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Harmony Fire Department does well with grant funds

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

As representatives from the Harmony Fire Department explained to its city council the proposed expenditures for recently received grants, it was evident the department was sitting in pretty good shape. Bill Hanlon and Steve Donney outlined three gra ..... 
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Rushford Library construction deferred

Fri, Mar 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

Burt Svendsen, chairman of the Rushford Public Library Board, visited the Rushford City Council meeting Monday, March 10, to report on library usage and building progress. Svendsen shared that the library is still seeing growing numbers of patrons as ..... 
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State cuts loom heavy on minds of commissioners

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

"Counties will face some very heavy lifting to meet the challenges presented by the Governors budget proposal." That was the message from the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) during a video presentation conducted by Policy Coordinator Karen B ..... 
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Historic Forestville wont close quietly

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

The emergency meeting regarding historic Forestvilles future drew in a full room March 4 at the Forestville State Park Pavilion. Friends of Forestville and the general public met with Tom Ellig, Southern District Manager of Historic Sites for the Mi ..... 
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Lanesboro Council asked to restructure Lanesboro Center for the Arts or give up $1 million bond

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

The status of the proposed Lanesboro Center for the Arts (LCA) took center stage at the packed Lanesboro City Council meeting Monday night, March 3rd.

Council member Joe OConnor presented a detailed summary of the LCA project ..... 
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Preston will need to tighten its belt if local government aide is reduced

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

If Governor Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal is accepted as is, Preston will receive $61,000 (10.7%) less in Local Government Aide (LGA) from the state this year. Next year the reduction would be $117,000 (24%). Mayor David Pechulis suggested that when ..... 
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Postcard from Mexico

Fri, Mar 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

Its 7:30 in the morning in room 18 on the third floor of the Luna Mar Vacacional in a small town along the Pacific coast of Mexico. The ocean looks like a sea of glass outside the veranda, yet, every five seconds the surf cracks like thunder onto th ..... 
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