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MARILYN HAGERTY: From Norway to the North Dakota statehouse

Longtime Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty and her review of Olive Garden going viral is the Herald's 2012 story of the year. Grand Forks Herald photo by John Stennes.

John Moses -- who was described as a 6-foot-4 giant -- began his term as governor of North Dakota in 1939, 75 years ago this month.

He came to the United States from Norway in 1905 at the age of 20.

He graduated from UND in 1914 and from the UND law school in 1915.

His first term in office was described by the late historian Elwyn Robinson as largely an attack upon William Langer.

One investigation after another into the former governor's measures led to Langer's declining mastery of the political scene.

There was more than politics around Grand Forks 75 years ago. The city was holding its annual turkey show Jan. 16-21. And it was featuring a new division for canned turkey.

Approximately 400 of the highest-priced turkeys in the United States and Canada were entered in the annual classic of the turkey world. Hundreds of choice-dressed birds were hurried into cold storage here.

The Turkey Show went national with 15 minutes of exposure on the NBC radio hookup. Mr. and Mrs. Al Johnson of Wayzata, Minn., strutted off with the All American Grand Championship. And it was the first year in the 16-year history of the event for participants to win the top prize twice.

A new turkey breed called Royal Palms was shown for the first time at the 1939 show. The breed was developed by Enoch Carson of Lake Worth, Fla. Five different states were represented in the top turkey awards.

The Turkey Hen Club elected Mrs. Ole Nelson of Kensington, Minn., president.

The drought years of the 1930s had been hard on trees and shelterbelts around North Dakota. The Game and Fish commission in 1939 inaugurated the free distribution of more than a million trees. They included Russian olive, wild plum, honey suckle, green ash, Siberian elm, Chinese elm and cottonwood seedlings.

The Herald reported that the year 1939 arrived "amid gayety" here. The newspaper said, "Only one drunk was arrested in Grand Forks. None in East Grand Forks."

Judy Jane Wedin was the first baby born in Greater Grand Forks in 1939. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Wedin and had a 5-year-old brother, Bobby. She received a host of gifts from merchants.

In other news reports from the Herald 75 years ago:

• A story about the ski slide at Devils Lake carried with it a photo of Al Lawon, Olympic ski rider. He was shown leaping from the famous ski slide.

• With the holidays over, city schools reopened for 3,800 boys and girls in Grand Forks. Elroy Schroeder was superintendent. Others schools here were the Academy of St. James, Sacred Heart, St. Michael's and St. Mary's.

• Hundreds of friends attended the funeral for Max Rabonovich, veteran Grand Forks jeweler and a member of the pardon board.

• The Grand Forks City Commission was discussing methods of gaining funds for a new bridge to replace the old Minnesota Point span across the Red River. The bridge was closed down when it was found unsafe.

• First Federal Savings and Loan opened with Dr. M.B. Ruud as president and director. Grand Forks Building and Loan with W.P. Davies as president celebrated 50 years of business.

• Fred Orth was named president of First National Bank. Dr. R.D. Campbell was chosen president of the board.

• The camp at Larimore, N.D., was a busy place as the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) resumed its activities.

Two hundred boys moved in to the camp that had been deserted for several months. The state park at Arvilla, N.D., which had been established earlier by the CCC, was the main focus of work projects.

• Mrs. Frank Cheatham was elected president of the Santa Claus Girls at the Herald.

• The UND Sioux basketball team lost by a score of 35-23 at Cedar Falls, Iowa. Then the team, coached by Clem Letich, crushed Omaha 58-36 in the second game.