Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. There are many Owatonnans who are alone on Thanksgiving Day who have relied on the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, so generously provided by the Owatonna VFW which brings a full Thanksgiving meal for hundreds who attend the event. Unfortunately, due to the COVID Pandemic, the meal will not be held this year and the Christmas Community Meal likely will also not be held. Two Owatonna churches have stepped up to the plate to help fill the need on Thanksgiving Day. They will be offering curbside pickup and delivery of Thanksgiving meals, (ready to be warmed) to those who need it. The congregations at Bethel Church and Trinity Lutheran Church are offering fully prepared turkey dinners to either be delivered to homes of shut-ins or provided for pickup.

Bethel Church’s meal is intended for homebound folks who cannot leave their homes. You can call 507-451-8548 on Thanksgiving Day ONLY from 7 a.m. to noon to request meals. Your meal will then be delivered to your door between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Many drivers will be needed to make those deliveries so if you can help, simply pull into the parking lot off Hemlock Ave., stay in line to pick up meals to be delivered. Please put your mask on before you roll down your window. There is no need to call ahead to be a driver, just show up on Thanksgiving morning.

If you would like to help with Bethel’s food preparation, please contact Coleen at 507-676-3546.

Trinity Lutheran meals are for those not able to make their own, but you are able to drive to pick up meal(s). Simply pull into the east end of Trinity’s parking lot, accessible from University or Phelps. Let the volunteer know how many meals you are requesting. They may need to limit the number of meals based on availability. Please put on your mask before rolling down your window.

A holiday alone

I’m sure many of you are in the same situation as I and Mary are. For the first time since I can remember, we will be alone on Thanksgiving. When I was just a kid at home, my grandparents always joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. After Mary and I were married, Thanksgiving always involved family and has been that way every year of our marriage. This year, thanks to COVID, we and our kids will not be gathering. It’s a hard thing to accept and yes, it will be lonely. Hopefully this will be the only year we will be forced to celebrate individually.

The Moonlight Ramblers

Anyone recognize the photo of the ‘Moonlight Ramblers’ plaque included with this column? The ‘Moonlight Ramblers’ was a car club that was founded by Ted Ringhofer and his twin brother, Tom back in the mid-fifties. The plaque that was displayed on one’s car signified that you were a member of this club. Ted’s son, Ken, gave the plaque to Don Matejcek after Ted’s funeral.

Don, who was a member of the Moonlight Ramblers, asked Ken at Ted’s wake if he had any memorabilia from those high school years of Ted and Tom. Ken then discovered the plaque and gave it to Don. Ted would often organize car cruises around southern Minnesota. Don gave the plaque to the Chamber of Commerce who will hopefully display it in their office.

Airport history

The date was June 4, 1950. The event was the dedication of the Owatonna airport at its present location. It’s interesting to re-live what happened on that Sunday. According to an article in the People’s Press, thousands showed up to witness the official dedication of the airport. It was one of the largest and finest airports to be found of comparable size. Lloyd Guthier, a member of the Airport Commission opened the program which featured six speakers. The dedication was followed by a two-hour air show viewed by spectators.

The dedication program was co-sponsored by the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce. Four weeks prior to the dedication program, a city-wide sale of buttons was sold.

Mayor Luther F. Long served as Master of Ceremonies. Speakers included Representative John Hartle, who gave the Owatonna Airport Commission extensive credit for the job of selling the airport to Owatonna citizens. Tributes were also given to Glenn Degner of Southern Minnesota Aviation along with Joe Dulak and Tom Walsh who, together, developed Owatonna’s first airport which was located on the Cashman Farm south of the highway 14.

Another of the speakers was F.C. Anderson, President of Midwest Airlines, which at the time, made four daily stops in Owatonna. He stated, “Passenger and airmail service is successful locally in proportion to Owatonna interest and participation manifest.” Les Schroeder, Chairman of Aeronautics in Minnesota pointed out that Owatonna, with its excellent facilities, was among the first nine cities in Minnesota to be provided with both passenger and mail service on a regular schedule.

It was a great day for aviation in Owatonna and the Owatonna airport remains one of the finest in the state with its modern terminal building and its 5,000-foot runway that can accommodate business jets.

Watch what you laugh about!

Never laugh at your wife’s choices. Remember, you were one of them!

Remember Angus?

The filming of scenes from the motion picture “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” took the city of Owatonna by storm! It brought members of the public to the site of the high school to watch the daily filming of scenes for the movie. The film stared Charlie Talbert and James Van Der Beek in their first film roles as well as Chris Owen, Ariana Richards, George C. Scott, Kathy Bates and Rita Moreno. The scenes featuring the big names such as Scott, Bates and Moreno were all filmed in California, so these stars did not come to Owatonna. There were some changes made to the school grounds and areas surrounding. I remember watching a scene filmed at the little store across Grove street. The store was re-named “The Lunch Box” and newly painted blue picnic tables were brought in. Those tables and the name of the store remained until the store closed. I can also remember the day that Sue Olson, wife of then basketball coach Len Olson, taking what appeared to be a routine exit from the school down the steps and sidewalk. She did re-takes of that “simple” walk for half a day! Students were used as extras on the lawn of the school and everyone was rehearsed on where they were to be. Several school buses from the Owatonna Bus Co. were rented for the week and parked along Grove for outdoor scenes. The film company brought in their own mobile dressing rooms and canteen for the cast members. In the midst of all the excitement. school had to be conducted as usual which resulted in an organization nightmare for Principal Herzog who didn’t even make the cast!

There was a filming of a football game which was done after a regular Friday night game at the school. Extras making up the fans in the stands came and waited in the school auditorium for their scene to be called until the wee hours of the morning.

I can remember Herzog telling me that he mentioned to the film company that the canteen where food was served resulted in a major lessoning of students eating in the school cafeteria. After the filming was done, the company sent Herzog a generous check to make up for any losses the high school food service experienced. The director left Owatonna’s name in the film credits.

Happy 60th anniversary to the Starman’s

Wayne and Janet Starman celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 12. The couple both are natives of Blooming Prairie. They were married in Blooming. The grocery business was Wayne’s love for all those 60 years. He started working for Duffy in Owatonna in 1958. For four years, from 1960-1964, Wayne managed a Fairway store in Albert Lea. He moved back to Owatonna to work for Duffy in 1964. He bought the store from Duffy in 1980. He ran that store for ten years. In 1990 he closed his store and became associated with Coburns, which opened Cashwise Foods in Owatonna. Wayne managed that store for 15 years and retired in 2005. In his retirement, he still works ten hours a week at Cashwise.

Janet worked for Susie’s Beauty Shop in Owatonna The couple had five children including daughters Lisa, Jane, Lynn and Mag and one son, Ron. There are 12 grandchildren and one great grandchild in the Starman family. Notes can be sent to 122 E. University in Owatonna.


Guys…I need your help! My wife just told me I was right. What do I do next?

Porch Pirates!

A note to you all from the Owatonna Police Department that the upcoming holiday season, the pandemic and on-line shopping and home delivery will likely increase the opportunities for “Porch Pirates” to help themselves to your purchases. The first reported theft took place a week ago. This serves as a good reminder to protect your home-delivery purchases from thieves patrolling the neighborhoods. For the record, this theft took place in the 200 block of 16th St. N.E. and according to delivery records, packages were stolen within an hour of delivery. To protect yourself, the police department asks you to consider the following: If possible, have your packages delivered to your workplace. Require a signature for delivery. If you’re not going to be home, reroute or reschedule delivery. Have the package delivered to a neighbor or friend you know will be home. Sign up for delivery tracking/notifications so you’ll be notified as soon as the package arrives. If you’ll be away, have delivery held by the carrier. Consider installing an obvious security camera to deter a thief.

Another chapter in OCC history

The history of the Owatonna Country Club, as written by Ken Kamholz is fascinating and I hope you enjoy reading about the early days of the club. Not too much is known about the early clubhouse other than it faced east toward the river and had a porch on three sides. There was a bar, kitchen, a dining room with fireplace and a men’s locker room. In 1927-’28 the ladies redecorated the clubhouse and improved the kitchen. No record of further improvements could be found until 1960. That year major alterations took place. A bar and lounge was added as well as the men’s locker room and shower. The old screened-in porch was glassed in. The golf shop was moved to its present location. Major improvement cost was approximately $100,000. In 1967 the swimming pool and golf storage facility was added. Eighteen holes were completed in 1973 along with four tennis courts, which have since been removed.

The inefficient and undependable well water system was a constant source of expense and frustration. In July, 1989, the OCC petitioned the city for sanitary sewer and water service. This project was completed at a cost of $332,000 to the club in the fall of 1990.

Until 1994, the OCC parking lot was unpaved and in wet weather it could quickly become a real mess! Thanks to member support and Owatonna business firms, a completed parking lot with curb and gutter and proper drainage was installed.

LTO tickets for holiday production go on sale today

Tickets for the Little Theatre of Owatonna’s holiday production of “A Tuna Christmas” go on sale beginning today. Online tickets are available at Adult ticket price is $17.00; student ticket price is $14.00.

Another favorite

Pictured today is another of my favorite airliners. I remember the day in the early 50’s when it was a thrill to watch the DC-3 passenger planes land at the Minneapolis airport. My dad flew in a lot of them on business trips. The DC-3 was introduced with new luxury and speed yo the United Airlines system in 1937. It was powered with two 1,200 horsepower twin-row-Wasp engines. This plane cruised at 180 mph and reduced coast-to-coast schedules to fifteen-and three-quarter hours. The plane carried 21 passengers, mail, express and baggage.

This plane provided Owatonna with airline service by Braniff Airways with four planes arriving daily. I can remember flying in a DC-3 to a Canadian fishing trip that I hosted. We flew all night before landing at Reindeer Lake.

Joke of the week

FORTY-FIVE YEARS OF MISERY IS ENOUGH! A man in Jacksonville calls his son in San Diego two days before Thanksgiving and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are splitting up. Forty-five years of misery is enough!” The son screams, “POP, WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME?” “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer. We’re sick of each other. Call your sister in Denver and tell her.” Frantic, the son calls his sister who explodes on the phone. “Like heck they’re getting divorced.” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.” She calls Jacksonville immediately and screams at her father. “You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I am calling my brother back and we will both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing! DO YOU HEAR ME?” AND HANGS UP. The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “OK”, he says. “It’s all set. They’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way!”


Todd Hale can be reached at or write him at 632 14th St. S.E. Phone contact is 507-456-7304.

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