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News from the week of November 7, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

City okays $355,000 pool loan

Despite higher than expected construction costs, Tracy's new Family Aquatic Center will be completed as planned and on schedule.

City council members unanimously approved a $355,000 loan from a hospital improvement fund, so pool amenities can be purchased and installed in time for the aquatic's center's June 1 opening. The loan is to be repaid from fund-raising efforts already underway.

Shorty Engel, pool administrator, said it is “imperative” that amenties be ordered now to avoid a possible price increase and allow time for water slides and other pool features to be installed by June 1.

Engel said he was “very confident” that efforts to raise money and repay most of the $355,000 over a four-year period will be successful. In a memo to council members, Engel said that $105,000 in pledges have already been committed to the aquatic center, leaving about $250,000 left to be raised.

Engel indicated that a pool fund-raising committee is working for several major contributions from area businesses and pool concessionaires.

City Administrator Audrey Koopman recommended the inter-fund loan. The hospital improvement fund, which she said had been generated primarily by hospital lease payments, now stands at $569,000. She suggested that the improvement fund could be tapped for the pool since “we don't have any major expenditures planned” at the hospital.

Council members unanimously supported the loan.

School levy passes

Voters support operating levy by nearly 2-1 margin

District 417 voters overwhelmingly supported a school operating levy Tuesday. A total of 561 "yes" votes were cast, with 287 people voting "no."

the operating levy received majority support in all four District 417 precincts. Support was heaviest in Precinct 4, which includes the City of Tracy and five surrounding townships, where the levy was favored by a 401 to 164 margin.

The vote give the Tracy Board of Education the authority to annually levy up to $425 per pupil unity in each of the next five years.

Based on current school enrollment, the operating levy will raise about $357,000 for the 2002-03 school year. Of this amount, about $154,000 would be generated by local property taxes and the remaining $203,000 coming from State of Minnesota equalizing revenues. The new levy replaces an operating levy that expires at the end of this year. The new levy goes into effect for taxes payable in 2002.

Two businesses renovate vacant downtown building

Shetek Station, Auntie Kay's Closet shoot for Nov. 18 opening date

Bit by bit, a Downtown Tracy storefront is coming back to life after standing vacant for five years.

Betsy Schmidt and Kim Thormodson are renovating the former Grandma's Antique's building at 192 Third Street for two businesses. Thormodson is opening “Auntie Kay's Closet.” Schmidt is relocating her custom-framing business, Shetek Station, from the back of the Tracy Publishing building.

They hope to open Sunday, Nov. 18, the day of Tracy's Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration.

Auntie Kay's Closet will feature quality women's and children's clothing consignments. Auntie Kay's will also offer some gift items, Christian books, and the Avon cosmetics line.

Shetek Station will continue to specialize in custom framing, glass-cutting, matting, and mounting services. The move downtown will also enable Shetek Station to stock art prints, ready-made frames, antiques, needlework kits and a few specialized gift lines.

“We think the two businesses will go well together,” Schmidt said.

Thormodson adds, “It's exciting. We have a lot to do yet, but we're looking forward to opening.”

Open house planned for new Sunrise Drive house

A Nov. 17-18 open house is scheduled for a new “spec” home built in Tracy's Eastview Addition.

Hours are 1 to 3 p.m. on both days.

The 1,112 square-foot house, built by the Tracy Economic Development Authority and the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, is located on Sunrise Drive just south of the Tracy Hospital and Prairie View Healthcare Center.

“This will be a nice home for someone,” said Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development Director.

The split-level has a large kitchen-dining room area, living room, full bath, and two bedrooms with walk-in closets on the top level. Patio doors open to the north, although the deck needs to be added by the buyer. A double tuck-under garage has a full-width concrete driveway.

The house also has central air conditioning and is served by a high-efficiency furnace and air exchanger. All cabinetry and trim is oak.

The lower level of the split-level is unfinished, but has room for two additional bedrooms. Plumbing is stubbed-in for a second bath.

FFA group returns from Louisville

Weedman, Bitker, Knott earn top degree

Nineteen Tracy FFA members traveled by charter bus to Louisville Kentucky last week for the National FFA Convention. Over 46,000 members from all 50 states attended the 74th annual gathering, which is the largest youth convention in the nation.

Three local members—Mike Weedman, Travis Bitker, and Matt Knott—were awarded the highest degree possible in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree. Only 1 in 199 of the current 460,000 FFA members have advanced through the Chapter and State FFA degrees to earn this national honor.

While on the trip, members attended sessions and workshops, toured the FFA Career show with over 500 booths, listened to outstanding motivational speakers such as Dick Vitale, Bob Love (former NBA All-star) and US Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman.

FFA members also rode a riverboat on the Ohio River, attended a hypnotist show, a concert by Country Stars Jessica Andrews and Montgomery Gentry, toured Churchhill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A stop was also made at the new National FFA Center in Indianapolis.

The Tracy Area FFA Chapter also received special recognition for the achievements of its members in the National Chapter Award Program. The National Chapter Award Program recognizes FFA Chapters on the local, state, and national levels for a wide variety of chapter activities focusing on student, chapter, and community development.

The local chapter has been named the top chapter in Minnesota Region 6 (22 chapters) for four years in a row. This is the third consecutive year the Tracy FFA was recognized at the national level.

Keith Lubben awarded 3-year EDA townhouse snow & mow contract

A three-year snow removal and lawn-mowing contract was approved last week for 16 Tracy Economic Development Authority townhouses.

EDA members accepted a proposal from Keith Lubben. For a flat monthly fee of $465, Lubben will be responsible for all snow removal and grass mowing.

The arrangement, board members felt, would be mutually beneficial. EDA members wanted to have a known, non-fluctuating cost component, with one person responsible for the mowing and snow removal. Lubben said the set revenue and three-year contract would enable him to plan ahead in buying equipment.

Lubben and EDA members also felt that the peaks and valleys of snow removal needs would even out over a three-year period. Last winter, it was noted, high snowfall amounts and brutal weather made snow removal difficult. The winter before was mild and snow removal needs were minimal.