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Bright and Brief

January 5, 1988

SPRINGFIELD, Minn. (AP) _ Linda Fredin says she was an underdog this year in her local newspaper’s contest for the first baby of the new year.

Then again, she had history in her favor.

Come Wednesday the growing Fredin brood will be featured on the Springfield Advance-Press’s first front page of the new year for the third time in four years, thanks to the couple’s well-documented ability to produce the first baby each year in this southwestern Minnesota town of 2,500 people.

″A lot of people joke about it,″ said Mrs. Fredin, 28. ″It’s fun because it’s a small community and a lot of people know about it and when you go out downtown, a lot of people congratulate you.″

The Fredins’ lastest victory came at 12:49 p.m. on New Year’s Day, when Mason Marlin Fredin arrived.

The couple took 1984 honors with Maggie Joyce Fredin on Jan. 2. In 1985 - an off year for Springfield babies - Mitchell Dean Fredin won with a relatively late Jan. 8 birthdate.

The Fredins’ first child was the only one not to win, and he didn’t miss by much. Matthew Curtis was born Jan. 25, 1983, two weeks past his due date.

The couple wasn’t expecting to win this year, Mrs. Fredin said.

″This was definitely a surprise. And there were lots of other girls who were due ahead of me, and they’re still out there,″ she said.

First-baby honors include savings certificates from two banks, some butter from the creamery and a few free dinners, worth about $300 in all, said Advance-Press Editor Doris Weber.

Will the Fredins defend the championship again?

″N-O,″ Mrs. Fredin said. ″Four is enough.″

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Bachelor Farmers apparently have set hearts a-pounding across the country, and even in Norway.

″Single orders from out of state were terrific,″ Dakota Man calendar spokeswoman Ruth Elbert said, reporting 40,000 were sold. ″Most of them were for gifts.″

The calendars, which feature 14 unattached farmers and cost $8.95 each, have been shipped to Norway, England, China, France and Canada, she said. About 10,000 remain to be sold.

Needy farmers won’t see any money until after April 30, which is the end of the year for the calendar’s parent organization, Farmers of Ongoing Determination.

″After that date, we will distribute money from the calendar’s proceeds through the National Mental Health Association and the U.S. Rural Conference of Churches,″ Elbert said. ″We are working with North Dakota State University in setting up scholarships for retraining of farmers.″

Elbert estimated that 75 percent of the calendar sales were from retail stores. National media coverage, including stories in Cosmopolitan and Women’s World, boosted phone sales, she said.

Planning for the 1989 calendar has started as men who are over 21, single and working in farm-related jobs are being sought for the next edition. Though the 1988 calendar had only North Dakota farmers, applications will be accepted from men in both Dakotas, Elbert said.

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