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News from the week of January 10, 2001Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Mankato assault victim recalled with fondness

Don Dardis known as 'peacemaker'

Don Dardis is being remembered this week as someone who everyone liked.

Dardis, formerly of Tracy, died Thursday, January 4 as the result of injuries he sustained Christmas night. According to a Mankato Free Press article, police believe Dardis was assaulted while out for his nightly walk.

The article says a resident of Walnut Towers, where Dardis lived, saw him walking through Mankato Place Mall about 10 minutes before the attack.

Dardis was spotted in the alley by fellow Walnut Towers resident Mark Kalis. According to the Free Press article, Kalis went to Dardis and saw a pool of blood in the alley that runs between the apartment building and US Bank. He ran inside and told someone to call 911, then went back to Dardis. Right: The late Don Dardis, on duty as a volunteer street crossing guard in Mankato.

New swimming pool plans outlined

Engineer: Tracy will be lucky to get one more summer from old pool

A tale of two swimming pools was presented to Tracy citizens Thursday.

One story told of a deteriorating, 49-year-old pool of uncertain reliability.

The second heralded visions of a family aquatic center with heated water and waterfalls of fun activities.

Consulting engineers from USAquatics presented the program for Tracy cable television viewers.

“You will be fortunate to get in the 2001 swimming season (at the existing pool),” Thomas R. Schaffer said. High operating costs, on-going safety concerns, and the age of the pool, Schaffer said, make repairs economically unfeasible.

“When repairs exceed 50% of repair costs, it's best to build new,” said Bill Deneen. Tracy's Sebastian Park pool, which opened in 1951, is at this point, he said. “The pool is at the end of its life span.”

Sandy Alu, Chris Willard are among SSU band members headed to inauguration

Tracy graduates, Sandy Alu (junior, theatre) and Christopher Willard (fresh., mechanical engineer) are part of the Southwest State Star of Minnesota Marching Band that performs at the upcoming inauguration of George W. Bush as the 43rd president of the United States.

Alu plays the flute. Willard plays the trombone.

The Star of Minnesota Marching Band is the lone representative from Minnesota participating in the inaugural festivities. The parade will take place along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20.

The 75-members of the band will travel via bus to Washington, D.C. and will be a stationary performing group in the two-mile parade. Right: Chris Willard, a 1999 Tracy Area High School graduate, is a member of the Southwest State University marching band. This picture was taken during the 2000 Tracy Box Car Days parade.

Possible school spending reductions to be considered

Tracy Board of Education members approved a motion Monday night instructing school administrators to draft recommendations for possible budget reductions for the 2001-02 school year.

The motion comes in response to anticipated enrollment drops and losses of state revenues for the coming school year. Supt. Rick Clark reported that the graduating class of 2001 now has 97 students, while the incoming Kindergarten class has a projected enrollment of only 39 students.

Dr. Clark noted that many factors could affect next year's enrollment. One unknown is how many Balaton and Milroy students in grades 9-12 will attend school in Tracy next year. (Balaton and Milroy both have tuitioning agreements with District 417, which allows high school students the option of attending school in Tracy.)

Twisters set goals (& kicks) high

Sun streams through the windows of the Tracy Area High School lunch room on a Friday afternoon. Sitting on the cafeteria floor in a circle is an exuberant group of girls who call themselves the Twisters.

As they stretch before the day's practice, they are in deep conversation. The topic? Converting the school courtyard into a dance studio.

"They're dreamers," says Coach Shannon Wendorff, with a smile.

With or without a new dance studio, the girls are preparing for their next competition this weekend.

Although it's Wendorff's first year coaching the Twisters, she's no stranger to the program. The 1997 TAHS grad participated in danceline for four years under coach Liz Johnson, who was instrumental in starting the program nearly 11 years ago.

ECCO considers expanding site

The ECCO Developmental Achievement Center in Tracy is considering an expansion project in Tracy.

ECCO Director Kathy Nelson said last week ECCO is studying the possibility of expanding its present building at 144 Fourth Street.

"We're crowded, we need to expand," she said. Nelson said expanding the building could allow ECCO to expand its services.

In order to build onto its building, ECCO needs to purchase a vacant lot from the City of Tracy. The vacant lot is located south of the ECCO building on the corner of South and Fourth streets.