The Elementary School, newest addition, built in 1963, is on right.
The Elementary School, newest addition, built in 1963, is on right.
Published in 1981 by the Tribune, Spring Valley's "Information Handbook" found its way into my file box. Cost was $1, and it indeed shared all kinds of useful information for newcomers, and perhaps "I didn't know that..." for longtime residents. Compiled by Tribune employee Bill Jacobs, it made no claim to be exhaustive, merely a publication designed to be useful for citizens.

In 1980 the town, population 2,619, was operating as a statutory city under Plan A, adopted by referendum in 1973 with a mayor and city council. City clerk was appointed; the hired city administrator was Dan Elwood. There were a number of advisory boards, city engineer Tom Halloran, city attorney Steve Corson, and health officer, Dr. R.W. Matson. Boards included Planning & Zoning Commission with Harold Smith, Conrad Johnson, Don Krom, Jeff Kolling, Robert Schuler and Jan Bly. Interpreting the zoning ordinances was the Zoning Adjustment Board: Conrad Johnson, Don Frank, Dick Daggett, Jeff Fowler and Florence Barcel. The Library Board supervised the 1904 Carnegie Library, with a budget of $18,000; board members included June Stender, David Herder, Judy Rose, Bernice Kolling, Margaret Johnson, Caryl Sharp, Jack McGary; the librarian was Joanne Berg.

The Public Utilities Commission was responsible for operating the city's water and electrical utilities; appointed for three year terms: Lee Himle, Dick Daggett and Bruce Hartert. Their annual budget was about $800,000, and total costs were equal to 5.81 cents per kilowatt. A board of inspectors was composed of council members, the health officer, fire chief and building inspector, and their main job was to inspect the operation of the junkyard. Since 1973, the city had contracted with Fillmore County's Sheriff's Department for three deputies, with an annual budget of $68,000. The volunteer fire department was jointly funded by the city, the area rural fire association, and the department's own fundraising. There was a rescue truck, tanker, and three pumpers, with 21 active members, eight of whom were certified EMTs. Officers in 1981: fire chief Ivan TerMaat, assistant chief Nevin Stender, second assistant Ralph Kofoot. The only privately owned ambulance service in Fillmore County (others were city-owned) was Osland Ambulance Service, using a 1974 Oldsmobile "high rise" ambulance, which made 180 runs in 1980. There were nine EMTs and two advanced first aid technicians. Cost was $45 per call plus $1.25 per mile plus materials.

Valley Medical Clinic opened in 1962 with doctors O'Keefe, Matson and Gustafson. Spring Valley could boast its 35-bed Community Memorial Hospital, dedicated in 1962, and the Spring Valley Nursing Home, established 1976, with 50 beds for skilled care nursing. This was operated by an 11-member board from Spring Valley, Preston, Grand Meadow, Racine and Ostrander. Budget was just under $2 million; they employed 132 persons under administrator David Herder. In 1980, there were 972 admissions and 160 babies were born here. Occupancy was 47 percent at the hospital, and 99.7 percent at the nursing home.

Spring Valley was obviously a "faith community" with nine churches. All officers were listed, and pastors included St. Ignatius Catholic, Father John Vincent; Our Saviors Lutheran, Mark Hendrickson; Assemblies of God, Tim Wilson; First English Lutheran, G. Gerike, interim; Church of Christ, Troy Campbell; First Baptist, Phillip Markel; Mennonite Fellowship, Simon Schlabach, chairman; Jehovah Witnesses, Wilbur Adams; and Faith United Methodist, Norman Witt.

A wide variety of civic groups vied for one's membership: American Legion Post #68, Legion Auxiliary, Boy Scouts, Brave Community Theatre, Chamber of Commerce, Root River Country Club, Cub Scouts, Garden Club, Girl Scouts, Historical Society, Hobby Club, Hospital Auxiliary, Kiwanis Club, L.N. Club, Masonic Lodge #58 A.F. & A.M., Order of the Eastern Star, Royal Neighbors of America, S.V. Senior Citizens, Area Sportsmen Club, Up-to-Date Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Auxiliary.

Spring Valley's Independent School District #237 registered 900 students, with 62 teachers on staff, annual salary averaging $14,000. They boasted a high school, elementary school and bus garage valued at $6,195,000; contents at $872,000. On the school board: Milo Mathison, Larry Terbeest, Jean Kenning, Robert Blahnik, Stafford Hansen and Deloris Oeltjen. Superintendent was Dr. Dornack, principal was C.A. Landgrebe, and elementary principal was John Zierdt. Annual budget was about $1,687,000.

Bill Jacobs mentioned "useful ordinances," which covered parking, animal control, abandoned automobiles, and prohibited nuisances. Being found guilty of a nuisance, and failing to abate said nuisance within 30 days, meant the possibility of a $500 fine or jail up to 90 days. City council persons were Mayor Harold Smith, Larry Grems, Ralph Sveska, Gary Peterson and Wes Peterson. There were several pages regarding Fillmore County government and services, the justice system, Extension services, as well as information on the region and state. Folks no doubt welcomed names and addresses for a multitude of state consumer services. A "Business Directory" is available today at city hall for newcomers, but this publication was quite extensive. A new public information handbook might be in order. What do you think?