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Day in History: 1964 was year of the Big Drought

1989 – 25 years ago

• The top two local sports stories for the past decade include Rochester John Marshall graduate Darrell Thompson setting 16 Gophers football records in his four-year career and Eric Strobel's participation on the 1980 Olympic gold-medal hockey team. Other top stories included following Lake City graduate Randy Breuer, Co-Big-10 most valuable player as a senior and signing a professional contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and the arrival of the Continental Basketball Association in the form of the Rochester Flyers in 1987 and their subsequent departure.

1964 – 50 years ago

• As Americans prepare to celebrate the New Year, the results of a year-end Harris poll on issues that are important to people was released. The following issues were cited as most important by persons polled, in descending order of the number of votes they received: Get all men to believe in God; control use of atom bomb; do away with Communism; cure cancer; prevent depression; rid the world of poverty; full rights for minorities; and curing heart disease.

• Locally, the year 1964 will be remembered by area residents as the year of the drought. Farmers stood by helplessly as the crops they had planted with great expectations in the spring shriveled and dried up from the drought in all seven counties: Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, Wabasha, Goodhue, Winona and Mower. Loss was in the millions.


1939 – 75 years ago

• The year saw a great period of growth in Rochester, and population climbed close to the 27,000-mark.

• A total of 256 new homes were built in Rochester and 210 new homes were built in Austin in 1939.

• Very cold weather and icy conditions will be seen for the holiday and the Rochester mayor urged caution and safety on the roadways. Police Chief Tompkins reminded citizens that celebrators can leave their cars behind as laws against drunken driving will be enforced.

From news services

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush pledged $350 million to help tsunami victims, and didn't rule out sending even more U.S. aid to help people recover from what he called an "epic disaster." Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych resigned, admitting he had little hope of reversing the presidential election victory of his Western-leaning rival, Viktor Yushchenko. Taiwan celebrated the official opening of what was then the world's tallest skyscraper, known as "Taipei 101."

Five years ago: A lone gunman dressed in black killed five people in Espoo, Finland, four of them at a crowded shopping mall, before returning home and taking his own life.

One year ago: Only hours before the law was to take effect, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, acting on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, blocked implementation of part of President Barack Obama's health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that included birth control. Character actor James Avery, who'd played the Honorable Philip Banks in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," died in Glendale, Calif., at age 68. Radio host Bob Grant, 84, died in Hillsborough, N.J.


Today's birthdays: TV producer George Schlatter is 85. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 77. Actor Tim Considine (TV: "My Three Sons") is 74. Actress Sarah Miles is 73. Rock musician Andy Summers is 72. Actor Sir Ben Kingsley is 71. Producer-director Taylor Hackford is 70. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is 68. Actor Tim Matheson is 67. Pop singer Burton Cummings is 67. Actor Joe Dallesandro is 66. Rock musician Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) is 63. Actor James Remar is 61. Actress Bebe Neuwirth is 56. Actor Val Kilmer is 55. Singer Paul Westerberg is 55. Actor Don Diamont is 52. Rock musician Ric Ivanisevich (Oleander) is 52. Rock musician Scott Ian (Anthrax) is 51. Actress Gong Li is 49. Author Nicholas Sparks is 49. Actor Lance Reddick is 45. Pop singer Joe McIntyre is 42. Rock musician Mikko Siren (Apocalyptica) is 39. Rapper PSY (Park Jae-sang) is 37. Rock musician Bob Bryar is 35. Actor/singer Erich Bergen (Film/stage: "Jersey Boys") is 29. Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas is 19.

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