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News from the week of December 19, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Survey shows rise in teen smoking

25% of 2001 seniors report smoking daily

Despite widespread publicity that smoking and tobacco use is hazardous to one's health, significant numbers of Tracy area teenagers continue to start smoking.

A confidential written survey taken by last year's Tracy Public School sixth graders, freshman and seniors suggests that teen tobacco use in Tracy has increased since 1998.

A total of 194 Tracy students voluntarily took part in the Minnesota Student Survey, which is done every three years at schools statewide. The 2001 results were released recently.

Daily cigarette use among seniors in the survey more than doubled since 1998. In 1998, 12 percent of seniors surveyed said they used cigarettes daily. In 2001, 25 percent admitted to using cigarettes daily.

A similar increase occurred among ninth graders. Sixteen percent of 2001 freshman said they smoked cigarettes daily, up from 11% of freshmen in the 1998 survey.

Services set Thursday for Chuck Friberg, 72

Long-time Tracy businessman Chuck Friberg is being remembered this week.

Friberg, 72, who operated Brix Drug in Tracy for 29 years, succumbed to lung cancer Saturday. Funeral services will be conducted at Tracy Lutheran Church Thursday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m.

“I just can't say enough positive things about him,” said Val Hayes, who worked for Friberg more than 20 years. “He was really a fantastic person. He truly care about people.”

Cathy Rue, who worked at Brix Drug nine years, said few people realize what long hours Friberg put in at the drug store. Because he was almost always the only pharmacist at the store, he almost never left the store when it was open. Invariably Friberg had lunch at the store. During non-business hours he remained on call for emergency prescriptions.

“He was on call seven days a week. Their life was really not their own,” Rue said. “I remember many times Chuck getting a call during our employee Christmas party. He would always go.”

Despite his busy schedule, Rue said one of Friberg's strengths was his willingness to talk with and explain prescriptions to customers.

State troopers focus on drunk-driving prevention

The Marshall office of the Minnesota State Highway Patrol is in the midst of an intensified anti-drunk driving campaign.

"Our goal is to make sure the hoiday season isn't ruined by drunk drivers," says Lt. Brian West. "This is our time to teach those who drink and drive a lesson-before they take someone's life away or their own."

State troopers from the Marshall office are carrying out extra enforcement and education activities that target drunk driving. the campaign began December 13.

Lancaster accepts new job, resigns from school board

Randy Lancaster has resigned from the Tracy Board of Education effective at the end of this year.

At Monday night's school board meeting, Lancaster announced that he has accepted a new job and will be moving out of the school district.

Lancaster, now employed at Salmon Automotive of Tracy, will become the service manager of a car dealership in Rockford, a town on the west edge of the Twin Cities. Although he will begin the job in January, the rest of the Lancaster family will stay in Tracy through the remainder of the school year. Randy and Michelle Lancaster have two sons and a daughter.

Lancaster's school board term has two years remaining, expiring in January of 2004. The Board of Education could appoint someone to the position, or call for a special election.

If an appointment is made, Supt. of Schools Rick Clark suggested that names of write-ins from the November school board election could be a starting point for compiling a field of candidates.

An ice-free Christmas?

It's beginning to look a lot like. . . well . . . late March.

Unseasonably warm temperatures continued this past week extending a trend that began in late October. Above-freezing daily highs on four of the past seven days- including a 44 degree reading on Tuesday-continued to diminish the area snow cover. Most open areas are now bare of snow, a stark contrast to the 17-inch snowfall the Tracy area received in late November. The ground has still not frozen.

Area lakes were still free of a solid ice cover as of Wednesday morning, much to the frustration of avid ice fishermen. Ernie Surprenant, who has been keeping "ice in" dates on Lake Shetek since 1970, says this year's open water has lasted longer than any winter since 1979-80. That winter, Shetek didn't freeze up until Jan. 10, 1980. The next latest Shetek "ice-in" date since 1970 is Dec. 11, 1998.

State budget woes could put Senior Dining on back burner

A pending cut in state funding could result in the loss of senior dining programs throughout the state.

Tracy senior dining coordinator Lola Cooreman said she is unsure at this time whether senior dining will be able to continue in 2002. “They told us if we don't get funding by Dec. 31, not to come to work on Jan. 1,” Cooreman said.

The Senior Dining funding worries are related to the estimated $1.95 billion deficit in the State of Minnesota's current two-year budget.

The senior dining program has been in existence for nearly 24 years in Tracy. The home-delivered meals program dates from 1970, when meals were prepared at Tracy Hospital. A total of 11,880 congregate and home-delivered meals were served in Tracy from January through October of 2001.

“That's a lot of meals,” Cooreman said If funding for senior dining is cut, it could have a tremendous impact on Tracy's senior citizen community, Cooreman believes, especially those who receive home-delivered meals. “The nutrition keeps them in their homes,” she said.

Seniors who benefit from the program have been encouraged to write letters to local legislators, said Cooreman. A form is available at the Tracy Senior Center to assist people interested in writing letters.

The senior dining program is sponsored statewide by the Minnesota Board on Aging. Western Community Action, based in Marshall, administers the grant for the nutrition program for a nine-county area, which includes Lyon County.