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After the 1930's business leaders quickly realized Altona's poten tial and began to take steps to insure its development In 1940 D. K. Friesen bought a press and established a newspaper that not only provided area residents with national and local news, but actively promoted the development of the area. From the first issue coming out on January 15,1941, the Altona Echo unabashedly promoted communi ty improvement and industrial development.
Over the years Friesen's editorials actively promoted the Rhine land Agricultural Society, the building of the eva plant in Altona, sewer and water development in Altona, the formation of a Board of Trade and a town planning scheme. He also called for town improve ments such as a new hospital, the construction of a community center and the creation of a park. In many of these ventures his editorials were crucial in bringing them to fruition.
While the paper was intended to serve the larger community interests outside of Altona, a number of incidents clearly demonstrated its outright promotion and advocacy of Altona's interests. In both the anniversary editions of 1949 and 1956 the Echo gave general coverage to the history of Altona, the municipality, the Mennonite villages and other centers such as Winkler, but said nothing about Gretna. In 1956 Gretna residents angrily wrote letters to the paper complaining that Gretna had been deliberately left out of the paper. 38 While these omis sions were part of the legacy of the school controversy of 1905, they were also a result of business competition.
In addition to the Altona Echo, the Altona Board of Trade also took steps to insure Altona's growth. Established in 1944 the Board set up committees to deal with publicity, town planning, business relations, recreation, education, roads and publicized and campaigned for many of the projects that D. K. Friesen had advocated in the Echo. They were so active that eventually the village committee" advised the Board not to try to duplicate the work of the council and thus contribute to misunderstanding."."
The conservatism of the Altona village council, however, did not hold the town back. Rapid growth in the early 40's and the demand for more services quickly made residents aware of the need for systematic town planning and incorporation. In actuality, Altona could have incor porated as early as the 1920's since it had reached the required popula tion minimum of 500. However, the depression quickly quashed any hopes of incorporation as existing taxes were already difficult enough to pay.
Other reasons for the delay in incorporation might have had something to do with earlier strategies of town building. When Gretna