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News from the week of December 13, 2000 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Leigh Schimming remembered for love of music, rapport with kids

Friends, family members, and students are remembering Leigh Schimming this week.

The longtime Tracy music instructor, died Tuesday of lung cancer. The cancer, a particularly aggressive form, was diagnosed in late October. Funeral services are set Friday afternoon at Tracy Lutheran Church.

Schimming, who began his 37th year of teaching in Tracy this fall, was 59.

The Augustana College graduate began his career at Tracy in 1964. During his tenure, at one time or another, he taught all age levels, kindergarten through high school.

“There are many good things I could say about Leigh,” says Art Marben, retired Tracy Area High School principal. “He was a first-class person and had a first-class music department. Concerts were well attended because people knew they could expect a good performance.

School property tax levy increases 2.1%

State & federal aid account for 75% of local school revenues

A blunt question was asked at Tracy Public School's “truth-in-taxation” hearing last week. Can Tracy Public Schools reduce spending in order to lower District 417 property taxes?

“In my opinion, no,” Supt. of Schools Rick Clark. responded, “I can put 60 kids in a classroom, but we would not be able to teach them anything.”

School board members appeared to agree with the superintendent's assessment. The board of education unanimously approved a levy for taxes payable in 2001 at the maximum level allowed by law: $1,601,262. The overall 2001 levy represents a 2.21% increase from this year.

Short needle evergreens enjoy renewed popularity

Traditional Christmas tree look is "in"

What's hot in the Christmas tree market this year?

According to Jeff Farber of Greenwood Nursery in Tracy, short-needle trees are making a comeback.

Farber explained that when he started in the business of Christmas trees, long-needle varieties such as the white pine, Norway pine and Scotch pine were the most popular.Almost 90 percent of the trees Farber sold had long needles. Now preferences are split almost evenly between long and short-needle tree sales.

One advantage people find with short-needle trees is that is is easier to use old-fashioned ornaments on them.

Steve Ferrazzano to succeed Brad Nelson on city council

Brad Nelson is on his way off the Tracy City Council and Steve Ferrazzano is on his way on.

Nelson announced Monday night that he was resigning from the city council effective Dec. 31. Nelson recently sold his Hollet Street home and is moving out-of-town, which will make him ineligible to serve on the council. He and his wife, Julie, plan to move to the Lake Shetek area. Nelson announced his resignation at this week's Tracy City Council meeting.

Council members accepted Nelson's resignation and declared the position vacant. Council consensus was to appoint Ferrazzano to the position.

Combined Preludes concert is Monday

Benefit supper to help establish scholarship fund in memory of Leigh Schimming

A special Christmas Preludes concert is planned Monday night in the Tracy Area High School gym. Concert time is 7:30pm in the high school bym.

The concert features choral and instrumental groups in grades 7-12. Originally, the musicians in grades 7-9 were to present a separate concert Dec. 11, but severe winter weather forced its postponement. The Monday, Dec. 18 concert, orginally scheduled to feature only groups in grades 10-12, is now a combined concert for grades 7-12.

The evening promises to have an extra special atmosphere because of a benefit spaghetti supper planned for the family of long-time Tracy music teacher Leigh Schimming, who died Tuesday. School staff members are sponsoring the benefit supper, which begins at 5pm in the school cafeteria. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted.

Sign-language concert adds special touch to holiday music

Signs of Christmas were everywhere on the Tracy Area High School stage Saturday night.


Sixty students from 14 Southwest Minnesota school districts signed a Christmas concert to an audience of 100 parents and friends.

The students, wearing white gloves to make their actions more noticeable, signed the lyrics of Christmas carols and hymns. Recorded music provided the backdrop for the students' gestures. The audience sang along on familiar tunes.

The high-school performers are enrolled in sign language classes offered through the Southwest Telecommunications Cooperative. The program has 250 students spread among 25 Southwest Minnesota school districts. In Tracy, 30 students are enrolled in a tele-media sign language classes during four different time slots.