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News from the week of November 14, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Studies to continue for new End-O-Line visitor's center

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Plans for a new visitor center at End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum have been detoured, but they haven't been derailed.

The new building would include a tourist information center, gift shop, meeting and break area, and storage area, said to park curator Louise Gervais.

The funding request on a $69,000 bid from Joe Schreier was brought to the Murray County Commissioners. Commissioner Steve Johnson made a motion to accept the bid and move ahead with the building project. However, Johnson's bid was not seconded, and the issue never came to a vote.

Board Chairman Alfred Gertsema said that, as chairman, he was unable to second Johnson's motion, but is in favor of the building project.

“I am not personally against it,” he said. “I was never against it and never will be against it.”

Gertsema said he feels the new building is needed because the current gift shop is at the back of the park, it would provide a place for visitors to go when they arrive, and would include a meeting and break area for employees.

“We should have a different building there,” he said.

Gertsema said he wasn't sure why his fellow commissioners did not approve of the project, but cited high costs and that some wanted an interpretive center, as possible reasons. For Gertsema, the pros of the project outweigh the cons.

“It's good for economic development,” he said. “It's good for our whole area.”

Ribbon-cutting set for ambulance garage

The new Tracy Ambulance Service garage is nearly ready for occupancy.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new ambulance headquarters is set Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. The new ambulance building is located at the corner of South and Center streets.

A date has not been set when the ambulance service will move its operations to the new location.

“We don't know yet when we'll be ready to move in,” said Ambulance Service President Charlie DeSchepper.

Construction for the 90x54-foot building began in early June. It includes a main garage area, training room for EMTs, kitchen, sleeping areas for personnel on overnight call, an office, storage and utility areas, and shower-equipped men's and women's bathrooms.

The new garage has access onto both Center and South streets.

Academic all-stars step into spotlight Thursday

Everyone's welcome at reception, program.

Academic achievement and excellence in education are in the spotlight for special American Education Week activities Thursday night.

The public is invited to a 6:30 p.m. reception in the Tracy Area High School cafeteria. The event honors local student achievers and the most recent inductees into the Tracy Area High School “Wall of Fame.” Light refreshments will be served at the reception.

A 7 p.m. program in the high school cafeteria follows the reception. The festivities conclude with cake and punch served in the cafeteria.

John Vahle, Ronald Anderson selected for THS `Wall of Fame'

The 2001 “Wall of Fame” inductees at Tracy Area High School took decidedly different paths to the honor.

John Vahle, a 1937 THS grad, spent most of his life in Tracy, except for four years spent at the University of Minnesota and four years with the military service in World War II. He returned to Tracy after the war to run a family clothing business, The Model, for 19 years. He later served as Tracy Postmaster for 23 years.

Dr. Ronald K. Anderson, a 1959 Tracy alumnus, left Tracy for a distinguished academic career. He mentored students at Bemidji State University for 35 years until his retirement last year. He was chairman of the school's physic's department for 22 years.

`War is horrible...but sometimes it is necessary,' speaker says

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

John Stenen of Avoca, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, minced few words during a Veterans Day address at Tracy Area High School Monday.

“War is a horrible, horrible thing, but at times it's necessary,” he said.

The speaker, a pastor in Avoca, began his talk with a history lesson.

Stenen recalled 1979, when Saddam Hussein began his rule in Iraq. His first order of business, said Stenen, was to murder 21 members of his cabinet. In subsequent years, his ruthless bloodletting has even extended to members of his own family.

In 1990, continued Stenen, Iraq invaded Kuwait and gained control of nearly 25 percent of the world's oil. At this point, Kuwait asked for help from the United States.

“Once again, America's sons and daughters were sent to a foreign country to engage the enemy,” Stenen said.

Unlike the Vietnam War, said Stenen, the nation rallied behind the President and supported the American troops in defending Kuwait.

Regional Health service answers concerns about 'bioterrorism'

Staff members from Lincoln, Lyon, Murray and Pipestone Public (LLMP) Health Services participated in a satellite videoconference hosted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on how to respond to bioterrorism threats.

LLMP Health Services would like to highlight some of the facts related to understanding bioterrorism, the state's response and provide contact information for individuals who may have further questions.

The MDH is checking daily wit hospitals around the state, and currently there is no evidence of illness that might be associated with bioterrorism. To date, there has been no evidence of human exposure to anthrax - or any other bioterrorism agent - in Minnesota.

Dr. Harry Hull, Minnesota's state epidemiologist, made a distinction between "biological warfare" and bioterrorism" during the satellite videoconference.

"Biological warfare is the use of infectious agents, that is germs, to kill or disable large numbers of troops of the civilian population for the purpose of gaining military advantage. bioterrorism, on the other hand, is the use of these same agents to instill a sense of fear or panic in civilian populations to immobilize that population," Dr. Hull said.