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News from the week of January 24, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Airborne whitetails near Walnut Grove were no illusion


Wide-eyed whitetail deer were spotted flying across the prairie near Walnut Grove Tuesday.


No, the airborne deer weren't a special effect created for the latest Stephen Spielberg movie. And no, St. Nick wasn't training the sky-borne whitetails as replacements for Dasher, Donner & Blitzen.

Actually, the deer traveling in Redwood County air space were unwilling participants in an aerial round up sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The drive worked this way:

A fixed wing aircraft and a helicopter were used to round up a large herd of deer at Plum Creek County Park southwest of Walnut Grove. Nets were dropped from the helicopter over a single deer. After the deer's legs were strapped and the deer secure in a sling underneath the helicopter, the deer was hoisted into the air and flown to a banding area less than a mile away near Lake Laura.

Natural gas prices nearly triple from December '99

Some relief seen as possibility for February

High natural gas prices have many area people feeling out in the cold this winter.

Natural gas prices paid by Tracy residential customers in January are now nearly three times higher than they were in December of 1999.

Gas prices in December of 1999 were 45 cents per hundred cubic feet. Last month, prices rose to 82.6 cents per hundred cubic feet. This January, the cost spiked to $1.25, almost 80 cents more than one year ago.

What will February bring?

"It's going to come down in February," predicts Rory Lenton, Community Relations Director for the State of Minnesota for Utility Corp., which owns Peoples Natural Gas.

Gale Otto football tenure is 2nd longest in school history

Gale Otto, who has coached the football team at Tracy Area High School for the last 28 years has decided to retire from the post.

“I just think it is time for me to leave and for someone else to take over the head coaching position,” said Otto. “I want to be able to follow my daughter Jenny's athletic career more closely and I would enjoy hunting with my dog in the fall a little more frequently than I have been able to in the past.”

Otto's 28 years as head football coach is more than any other person has served in that position at Tracy. It eclipses, by about four years, the tenure of former Tracy football coach Leo “Gabby” Sebastian.

Snow sculpture, dance & coronation are among Snow Week activities

A blizzard of Snow Week activities has Tracy Area High School in a deep freeze of excitement this week.

Frosty fun at the school includes a snow-sculpture contest, two dress-up days, a Snow Dance, and a king and queen coronation.

The king and queen candidates are all seniors who have belonged to school FFA and FLA chapters for at least two years.

King candidates are: Justin Duscher, Matt Freeburg, Sam Jens, Bill Knott, Tony Lanoue, Luke Noerenberg, Justin Swenhaugen, Paul Swenson and Dan Vogel.

Lisa Truwe, Alison Tanghe, Kayla Hosier, Katie Hayes, and Lori Cyr are the Snow Week queen candidates. Each candidate will select his or her own escort. The Snow Week dance, dee-jayed by Richard and Kim Louwagie of Marshall, will be semi-formal.

New physician gets high marks

Tri-County Home Health Care moves forward

Tracy Area Medical Services (TAMS) Administrator Dan Reiner is impressed by Dr. Musa Varwani, who began seeing patients in Tracy earlier this month.

“I've seen him in action, and he's good,” Reiner said at the monthly meeting of the TAMS advisory board last week. Not only is Dr. Varwani highly qualified, the administrator said, but he's very personable. “People like him, he's a wonderful man.”

Dr. Varwani received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of Nairobi in 1990. After graduation, he completed rotations in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and general surgery at Coast Provincial General Hospital in Kenya.

In 1997, he relocated to the United States and completed his residency in internal medicine at Northshore University Hospital in Forest Hills, N.Y.

Hmong Community Church pastor comes to Tracy from Michigan

Pastor Xiong Herr feels a special calling to serve the Hmong Community Alliance Church in Tracy.

It was nearly a year ago, in March of 2000, when church elders first called Herr about serving the Tracy congregation. Herr initially turned the elders down.

“I wasn't ready to go,” he recalled. At the time, he was working in an uncle's restaurant in St. Claire, Michigan. He wanted to keep working to pay off a college loan.

Early this winter, after Herr had paid off his school loan, the Tracy church still had a vacancy. The elders again extended a call to Herr. This time he accepted.