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News from the week of April 4, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Tracy, county show growth

Census sets city population at 2,268

Lyon County was an island of modest population growth in Southwest Minnesota, according to 2000 Census figures released last week.

The City of Tracy contributed to the Lyon County increase with a population increase from 2,059 in 1990 to 2,268 in 2000.

Lyon County's population grew from 24,789 people in 1990 to 25,425 in 2000, an increase of 2.6 percent. That reversed a trend from 1980 to 1990, when Lyon County's population decreased from 25,207 to 24,789.

Murray, Lincoln and Redwood counties all saw decreases in populatin over the past 10 years.

Come on in, the Tracy pool will have

Warm water

Heater for new aquatic center to be used in pool this summer

The targeted opening of the new Tracy Aquatic Center is still more than a year away. But the new pool's first piece of equipment has arrived.

A $27,000 water heater is designed to keep pool water constant 80 to 84 degrees.

The water heater's cost is included in the new aquatic center $1.5 million budget. The pool facility is scheduled to open in Sebastian Park in the summer of 2002.

However, swimmers won't have to wait until 2002 to enjoy heated water. The new water heater will be used at the old pool this summer.

Shorty Engel, pool manager, explains that the heater will be installed temporarily for the 2001 swim season. After the pool closes for the last time this fall, the heater will be removed and used the following season in the new aquatic center. Demolition of the old pool, and construction on the new aquatic center, is scheduled to begin in late August of this year.

TAMS disputes state overpayment claim

Medicaid payments were $188,000 too much from `94-97, state says

The State of Minnesota is seeking $188,254 from Tracy Area Medical Services (TAMS) for what is claimed to be overpayments for Medicaid and General Medical Care reimbursements.

The Minnesota Dept. of Human Services says the overpayments occurred during the hospital's 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 fiscal years. Tracy is one of 60 health-care facilities across the state that received letters asking that alleged overpayments be repaid.

TAMS and the Sioux Valley Health Network plan to contest the billing.

“We are working on this from Sioux Valley and the state hospital organizations,” said Lynn Clayton, regional liaison for the Sioux Valley, told the TAMS community advisory board at their March meeting. “We don't feel that it is fair to go back this far.”

City consultant: 'You have so many good things'

Optimism was contagious at Tracy Area High School Tuesday night.

"I think this is an excellent time for Tracy," Mayor Claire Hannasch told a crowd of 60 people. "We have a lot of people that want to see things happen in Tracy."

The mayor's comments kicked-off a community planning meeting with consultant Fred Sabongi of Eagan. The gathering is one step in a process designed to develop an all-encompassing city development plan. Civic leaders hope that the plan will help spark economic development and improve the city's chances of qualifying for a Minnesota Small Cities grant. Sabongi was hired by the city to help the community develop the plan and apply for the grant.

For Tracy to be successful Sabongi said, the community must build on its strengths and think positively.

"Tracy has so many good things," he said. "Don't concentrate on the bad."

International Day speakers offer kids new perspective

Tracy students learned last week that cultural diversity is closer than they think.

Chuck Derby, a Native American from Pipestone, was one of about a half dozen guest speakers who spoke to Tracy students on International Day Friday.

Derby, or Running Elk, worked for the National Park Service at the Pipestone National Monument for 31 years. He retired in 1994, and opened the Little Feather Interpretive Center.

Derby is a fourth-generation pipemaker and quarrier. He has been quarrying since he was a child and learned to carve by watching his father, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Now he is a master pipemaker and teaches others to carve the soft, red stone known as pipestone.

Derby told the students that his people believe pipestone is sacred and are even willing to work at a loss in order to get it.

Six speakers were from the Minnesota International Center in the Twin Cities. They are from Taiwan, Malaysia, Spain, China, and Sweden.

Shetek State Park trail improvements underway

Work is underway to improve a 1.5 mile handicapped accessible trail at the Shetek State Park.

Park Manager Bruce Eliason explains that the $60,000 project was approved by the 2000 legislature, with funding coming through the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

The new six-foot wide, crushed-quartzite path will be suitable for wheel chairs and strollers. The improved trail begins at Wolf Point campground and proceeds along the lake to the beach house. The path continues north along the lake through the picnic area to the boat landing, across the dike and around Loon Island.

Most segments follow an existing, unimproved walking path.

Several other park improvements are also in the works.