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25 Years Ago – 1994

The Mandan Water Treatment Plant pumped more water on Monday, Aug. 1, than on any other day this year − 5.5 million gallons. With the recent hot, dry weather, the average water bill is up 9.7% over last year, according to city figures. Last year’s average water usage was 132 gallons per person, per day (including corporate users as well as residential users). With Monday’s record pumping total, that number increased to 340 gallons per person. The highest pumping days in previous years were: 5.7 million gallons in 1992 and 6.4 million gallons in 1991.

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Temperatures recorded Tuesday, Aug. 2: a high of 90 degrees; 64 degrees for the low.

50 Years Ago – 1969

The Mandan Hospital has available for the entire 39-member medical staff, a new centralized, medical records dictating system. The system is activated by dialing a specific number from any available telephone – whether from an office, from home or even from a public telephone. On hand for the first usage of the IBM intercom system by Dr. Harry Wheeler were Marvin Bloom, hospital administrator, and Mrs. Mary Wegsnet, president of the hospital volunteers, along with secretary Eileen Ereth who transcribed his message at a typewriter. This new service was made possible through the generosity of the Mandan Hospital Volunteers as a result of their April dinner–dance fund raising project.

Randy Hart, Mandan, proudly held up two walleye fish, each weighing more than 5 pounds, for a photo taken this week at Jerry’s Educated Minnows Shop. He also reported good fishing for perch and crappies at the Heart Butte Dam.

George Miller, owner of Mabel’s Fireworks Stand on the Mandan-Bismarck Strip, has presented a check for $235.45 to Don Clement, executive director of the Easter Seals Society in North Dakota. Miller has been donating 10% of his fireworks profits to the society for the past 10 years. According to Clements, “George is the largest single donor we have in North Dakota.”

75 Years Ago – 1944

Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., 56, the oldest son of President “Teddy” and First Lady Edith Roosevelt, has been buried in an American Cemetery in France following a fatal heart attack while on an exhausting tour of the front lines, which he made against his doctor’s advice. He was the oldest soldier, and the only general, to land with the troops at Utah beach on D-Day, June 6. To recognize his heroism at Normandy, Roosevelt was awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.

During the late 1930s, General Roosevelt made a stop in Mandan where he visited with Jake Siegel, rural Mandan resident, who saved his life during World War I. Jake’s son, William, is currently serving in Normandy.

News from the Armed Forces:

Second Lt. Russell Kruger, 22, has been reported as killed in action on the Normandy beachhead, June 15, 1944, according to official word from the War Department, to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Kruger, former New Salem residents, now living in Bismarck, and to Lt. Kruger’s wife, the former Clara Kautzman, who is making her home in Mandan with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Anton Kautzman.

Lt. Kruger graduated with honors from New Salem High School in 1939, and from the University of North Dakota, 1943. Lt. Kruger received orders for overseas duty in April, was sent to England in May and took part in the Normandy invasion on June 6. His last letter home was dated June 14. He was killed the following day.

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Mrs. Lawrence Berger Jr., of rural Mandan, has received word that her husband, Pfc. Lawrence Berger, is now stationed in Italy. He had previously been in Africa with the medical corps.

Pfc. Robert O. Feland of Almont, with the medical corps, U.S. Army, has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action on Feb. 22, 1944, near Anzio, Italy. Pfc. Feland rescued 12 wounded assault troops who had entered a mine field in darkness. With complete disregard for his own safety, he escorted several walking casualties to safety and carried the more seriously wounded to safety.

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Funeral services for long-time Mandan resident Andrew Ehlis, 45, who died in Tacoma, Wash., were recently held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Ehlis was born in Russia and came to the United States with his parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. John Ehlis, in 1891, along with six of his 18 siblings. After his marriage to Barbara Haegle in 1918, the family lived on a farm south of Mandan, before moving into the city in 1935. Last year, the family moved to Tacoma, Wash., where Ehlis worked as a welder in the shipyards. He is survived by his widow and 13 children.

100 Years Ago – 1919

“The recent rulings of the State Supreme Court, approving the passage of several constitutional amendments endorsed by the Nonpartisan League during the past Legislative Session, provided the go-ahead in the July 28th official opening of the Bank of North Dakota with a capital of two million dollars. The law requires all state and local government funds to be deposited in the new bank. North Dakota is the only state in the Union to have a state bank.

“Archie Reynolds returned home this morning from Camp Dodge where he was mustered out of service. He was one of the first Mandan boys to land in France and has been there 20 months. He was with the 19th Field Artillery of the Fifth Division.

“Charles A. Moore and his superintendent are in the city to install the Moore system for refrigerating and banana ripening in the home of the Mandan Washington Fruit Co. which is now rapidly nearing completion on Main Street.

“Mary, the young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Schmidt of St. Anthony, had her lip nearly cut off after falling on a sharp stone She was brought to the Mandan Hospital for treatment.

“D. J. Hogan, district manager of the Thompson Yards, returned this morning from an overland trip to Montana. Mr. Hogan says that on his return trip, he passed 30 outfits of farmers who were leaving Montana, being forced out by the drought. A report comes from Cannon Ball that some of the wagons are fording the Missouri near Cannon Ball, indicating the desperate chances they are taking, and the low stage of the river.

“Sgt. Wm. J. Sullivan, who had been in France for about 18 months, dropped off the No. 2 train last evening and is a guest of his brother, Atty. John F. Sullivan. Sgt. Sullivan was sent to Camp Lewis, Wash., to be mustered out, making the trip way across the continent and then half way back to get home. Today, he is just ordinary “Bill” Sullivan and is ready to get into the harness of the law business.”

125 Years Ago– 1894

“On Thursday, August 2, at 2:30 p.m., the thermometer recorded 84 degrees above zero.

“Rain last night.

“Life was worth living again today. The sun took a rest from his hot labors of the past week, which, for several days, were extremely arduous on the city’s residents.

“The Indians say that Sitting Bull, their deceased great Medicine Man, is avenging his death this year by causing excessive heat and drought.

“It is generally reported by the people in the country that there will be a scarcity of wild plums. The excessive heat at a critical time, during their blossoming period, is given as the cause.

“Vital Statistics reports for the month of July show that there were 10 births and four deaths in Morton County.

“With the strike now over, more men have returned to work in the railroad shops this week. Local officials think the requisite force will be taken on by September 1, and the shops will then re-open with their old-time activity.

“According to Mr. Heegard, Molly Gundersen has definitely reached the goal of one million stamps to purchase new artificial limbs. However, more shipments continue to arrive, and he now urges everyone to notify their out of state friends, schools, churches and newspapers that no more stamps need be shipped here. Meanwhile, volunteers are bundling stamps for shipment to Minneapolis. It is hoped that Molly’s new limbs will arrive by late fall.

“Dean Collin’s first services, as pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic church, on Sunday morning and evening, were largely attended. The venerable dean is an extemporaneous speaker, clear in his enunciation and is very plain spoken. At both services he gently touched on matters social and political and informed the audience where he stood on some of the secular questions of the day, such as he likes American institutions, is friendly to the public schools and takes great interest in G. A. R. doings and would urge the more universal use of the English language among settlers. It is fair to comment that many congregants were not receptive to his opinions.”

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Diane Boit was raised and educated in the Red River Valley before coming to Mandan with her family in 1970. She has been involved with the Bismarck-Mandan newspapers for more than 30 years. She can be reached at dboit46@gmail.com.

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