This Week in History: Children enjoy 60-degree temps on President’s Day

Published 8:00 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Feb. 16, 2011: Nate Johnson and Holly Nelson of Albert Lea were pictured in the Tribune with the Big Freeze medallion. Johnson and Nelson found the medallion at the boathouse at Brookside Park.

Feb. 17, 2011: A woman was injured when the car she was driving hit a cow and went into the ditch on Interstate 90. The cow had escaped from an overturned cattle truck that had been traveling east on the interstate. Fog and low visibility may have been a contributing factor in the accident. Firefighters on the scene reported that eight cows died in the incident.

Email newsletter signup

Feb. 16, 1981: School children enjoyed their President’s Day holiday outside as temperatures soared to a balmy 61 in Albert Lea.


1546: Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.

1564: Artist Michelangelo died in Rome.

1930: Photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

1943: Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.

1960: The eighth Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, California, by Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

1967: American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 62.

1972: The California Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty.

1983: 13 people were shot to death at a gambling club in Seattle’s Chinatown in what became known as the Wah Mee Massacre. (Two men were convicted of the killings and are serving life sentences; a third was found guilty of robbery and assault.)

1988: Anthony M. Kennedy was sworn in as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1997: Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery completed their tune-up of the Hubble Space Telescope after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle’s crane.

2001: Veteran FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested, accused of spying for Russia. (Hanssen later pleaded guilty to espionage and attempted espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) Auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.

2003: An arson attack involving two South Korean subway trains in the city of Daegu claimed 198 lives. (The arsonist was sentenced to life in prison, where he died in 2004.)

2011: The United States vetoed a U.N. resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as illegal and called for a halt in all settlement building; the 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the measure.

2016: In what was seen as a criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Pope Francis said that a person who advocated building walls was “not Christian”; Trump quickly retorted it was “disgraceful” to question a person’s faith. (A Vatican spokesman said the next day that the pope’s comment was not intended as a “personal attack” on Trump.) Dallas-based Heritage Auctions said a rare copy of a comic book featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man had been sold to an anonymous collector for $454,100.

2020: Japanese health authorities confirmed 88 more cases of the coronavirus aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, bringing the number of cases on board to 542; U.S. officials said Americans who chose to remain on board could not return home for at least two weeks after coming ashore. Health officials in the Chinese city of Wuhan announced that a hospital director who’d mobilized the hospital’s resources to deal with the thousands of sick people arriving daily had died from the virus. President Donald Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for political corruption; Blagojevich left prison hours later and returned home to Chicago. (Trump also issued pardons or clemency to former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, financier Michael Milken, and a long list of others.) The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection in the first step toward creating a huge compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders; the organization urged victims to come forward.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.