banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of February 9, 2000Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880


Drought worries?

Timing is everything for precipitation, experts say

Is Southwest Minnesota in the beginning stages of a drought?

That's the question uppermost in the minds of many as the weeks continue to roll by without significant precipitation. Dr. Jeff Strock and Dr. Neal Eash, soil scientists at the Southwest Research & Outreach Center in Lamberton, spoke to a group of over 200 farmers and consultants last week about drought prospects and management strategies during times of soil water deficit.

When it comes to precipitation, said Dr. Strock, more matters than simply the amount registered in the rain gauge.

Timing is important.

Viewing a graph showing annual precipitation from 1960 to 1998, Dr. Strock pointed out that '87, '88 and '89 were all significantly drier than the historic average. In 1988, only 52 bushels of corn/acre were recorded at the station compared to near average yields in '87 and '89. What made the difference?

"Timing is everything," said Dr. Strock. "In '87 and '89, the rains came at the right time."

Monday is targeted opening for P+ Super Oriental Market

If all goes as John Her expects, Downtown Tracy will again have a grocery store beginning next week.

The 32-year-old St. Paul man hopes to open the P+ Super Oriental Market by Valentine's Day, Monday Feb. 14.

"My goal is to have a good business in Tracy," he said.

The specialty grocery store will be located in the former NAPA Auto Parts/Rignell Hardware building. The Third Street building has been vacant since 1995. Her, and his wife, Pa Nhla, bought the building from former NAPA owner Dave Berg.

Tracy has not had a downtown grocery store since August of 1998.

The new grocery store will specialize in oriental foods not found in traditional supermarkets, Her said. For example, he said, his store will carry many different kinds of noodles and rice, as well as specialty fresh fruit and vegetable items. The grocery store will carry some traditional "American" grocery items as well, he said.

The business will have a dairy case, with milk and cheese, and a small selection of meats, Her said.

Balaton to tuition secondary pupils to Tracy, Marshall

The Balaton school board made a difficult decision Tuesday night. A motion was passed, on a 5-2 vote, to tuition out students in grades 9-12 to the Tracy and Marshall school districts.

The first item on Tuesday night's agenda was the presentation of student surveys by Principal Aaron Brevik. The student survey showed nearly a 50/50 split in student interest, with 25 responding that they would choose to go to Marshall and 22 would choose to go to Tracy if a tuitioning agreement were agreed upon with both of those districts. Out of 62 students, 50 surveys were turned in. Three students were undecided.

Brevik also gave the board copies of the agreements from the Tracy and Marshall high schools. He explained that the Tracy agreement would keep 10% of state aid in Balaton and pay out 90% as tuition. Fifty percent of the capital aid would go to Tracy and 50% would be kept in Balaton. The split in capital aid would also be different, with $50 of that money going to Marshall.

Twisters host Section 2A dance tourney Saturday

As Chubby Checker might say:

"Come on Baby, Let's Do the Twist."

Or the Macarena. Or the Funk. Or whatever dance it is that kids today do.

The quick feet all meet Saturday at the Section 2, Class A dance line tournament. The action begins at noon in the Tracy Area High School gym.

The Tracy Twisters and teams from ten other schools will vie for the chance to advance to state competition the following weekend. The top four teams in both jazz funk and high kick competition qualify for the state dance team meet at Williams Arena, Downtown Minneapolis, Feb. 18-19.

"I feel this is the toughest section in the state," said Twister Coach Jen Kainz. "There are so many good teams." For any team to qualify for state, "they are going to dance the best that they've ever done."

Regional approach floated for new swimming pool effort

Does an area-wide approach hold the key to a new swimming pool in Tracy?

About 20 people gathered at Tracy City Hall Monday night to discuss whether a collective approach has merit in meeting future area swimming pool needs. Called by Mayor Claire Hannasch, the gathering included representatives of the Tracy City Council, planning commission, Tracy Public Schools, the city's pool planning committee and representatives from Walnut Grove, Currie and Garvin. Milroy and Balaton representatives were also invited.

"Is there interest in a cooperative effort?" asked Hannasch, involving area communities and the school district, to build a new swimming pool to replace the 49-year-old facility at Sebastian Park.

Hannasch said that a regional pool project would stand a better chance of qualifying for government grant funding, and would spread out costs. Hannasch said it would be difficult for Tracy, or any community, to build a swimming pool by itself.

Chamber banquet speaker: If you knock your town, you knock yourself

Attitude is everything, keynote speaker Jack Laimer told a Tracy Chamber of Commerce banquet crowd Saturday night.

"If you knock your hometown, it's a knock against you," Laimer said. "It's not the town that makes the difference. It's the people!"

• • •

The annual Chamber banquet, held at the Mediterranean Club, was the first for new Chamber President Sara Kemp.

Tim Byrne, 1999 Chamber board chair, passed the gavel to Nicole Larson, new Chamber board chair.

"It's been an interesting year," Byrne said. "I'm excited about the future. With your participation, there's nothing this Chamber cannot accomplish."

Larson said, "We're looking forward to continue making Tracy a fun and lively place to be.