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A Sign of the Times


Fri, Nov 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

A piece of local history is on display at the Minnesota History Museum in St. Paul. The historical artifact is a hand-lettered sign advertising a teen dance in the Fountain elementary school gym during the1960's.

The sign is part of the museum’s “Sounds Good To Me” exhibit honoring Minnesota’s musical history. The exhibit features Minnesota artists and music venues. The exhibit includes inter-active displays in which visitors can select jukebox hits in a cafe setting that spans multiple decades or sing along with the 1980 Minnesota-produced hit “Funkytown.”

The sign announces the appearance of a rock band called “The Pagans” at the Fountain school gym on November 25. While the sign does not note the year, it most likely was 1963 or 1964. The entry fee was advertised at 75 cents. The sign states that the dance was sponsored by the “Fountain Alco’s.” The sign itself was donated to the museum by ex-Pagan Kip Sullivan of Rochester.

The Minnesota History Center likely displayed this sign to depict the proliferation of garage bands during the 1960's as well as the grass roots nature of entertainment during that era in small- town Minnesota. But, if this sign could talk, it would tell a far richer story.

The Fountain Alco’s, or all-community volunteers, grew out of the desire of a handful of Fountain teens to bring some entertainment to a town of 300 people that rolled up its streets at the end of the work day. The teen group initially rented the town’s elementary school gym for a dance featuring a portable record player. The group gambled that a 25˘ entry charge would cover the $5.00 gym rental fee. When that venture proved profitable, the teens began to book local bands such as Lanesboro’s Trashbeaters at somewhat higher stakes. Continued success led to better known acts including regional headliners such as The Pagans and The Mustangs from Rochester.

Rita Rustad was the idea person behind the dances. I booked the bands and worried about the organizational details. And, a whole host of our friends contributed to make the events happen. Not the least of these contributors were the sign makers, such as Terrie Rustad, Linda Asleson, and Nancy Stevens. Their signs appeared all over Fillmore County during dance season.

The financial success of the dances presented a dilemma of sorts - what to do with the profits? The teen group event .....
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Preston City Council Report: Heartland denied building permit once again

Fri, Nov 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

On a dreary, rainy Monday evening the Preston City Council faced a busy agenda. The council members maintained a business-like attitude with strained civility. The public attending the council meeting because of the proposed Heartland plant feel stro ..... 
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Heartland sues city of Preston

Fri, Nov 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

On Wednesday, two days after the Preston City Council denied a building permit to Bob and Elaine Maust, owners of Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC, to modify their warehouse located in the Preston Industrial Park, lawyers for Heartland filed a writ ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council Report: A law lesson on “Reliance”

Fri, Nov 7th, 2003
Posted in Features

Anyone attending the November 3, 2003 Lanesboro City Council meeting got a law lesson from city attorney Tom Manion with an English lesson on the word “adjacent”, as well as a history lesson on Lanesboro city government thrown in. Hillcrest Gast Hus ..... 
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The singing of the hounds

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

I was invited to spend an evening with two coon hunters who enjoy the Lanesboro area’s woods and fields.   What began as a mutual interest years ago has grown into a seasonal ritual for two good friends enjoying the sport of ..... 
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Commissioners’ Report: Courthouse project ready for winter

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

“Everything is water tight,” assured David Johnson, the courthouse construction manager. “We could have a downpour now and we’re ready.” This was a timely statement as rains and threats of snow have moved into the area this past week.

< ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Rushford Council closer to resolving sewer/lift station problems

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

Monday night, October 27th, the Rushford City Council reconsidered the problem Paul and Luanne Dvorak had when the lift station malfunctioned and sent sewer water flooding their basement. At a previous meeting the council had offered to pay half of t ..... 
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Election 2003

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

The following elections and school referendums will take place on Thursday, November 4:  City Elections  •Rushford: Mayor, two year term; two Council positions, four year term.  [Read the Rest]

Coleman will sponsor Rural Renaissance Act

Fri, Oct 31st, 2003
Posted in Features

On Wednesday, Senator Norm Coleman announced plans to sponsor legislation that would invest $50 billion in rural America designed to improve an aging and somewhat outdated infrastructure.

Called the Rural Renaissance Act, each s ..... 
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