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News from the week of January 2, 2002 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Wet & wild

2001 weather pendulum featured 9” of April rain

2001 was a relatively wet year compared to historical averages. recorded both in Tracy and at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center (SWROC) in Lamberton.

A total of 29.99 inches of precipitation in 2001 was recorded at the weather station located at the Tracy water treatment plant, nearly three inches more than in 2000.

Final precipitation totals at Lamberton were not available as of Monday. But through Dec. 24, 33.3 inches of moisture had been recorded at the Lamberton research site.

Since the 1960s, the historic annual precipitation at the Lamberton station has been just over 26 inches.

The year 2000 was also a wet year, with Tracy precipitation ending at 27.13 inches. 1999 was a significantly drier year, with only 20.67 inches of precipitation recorded in Tracy. In 1998, Tracy received 25.81 inches of precipitation with 25.53 inches were recorded in 1997.

Dramatic swings in 2001

The precipitation pendulum swing wildly several times during 2001 Heavy snowfall in January and February were followed by a quiet March.

The month of April put an exclamation point on an unusually wet spring. Over nine inches of rain fell during April.

A wet July was sandwiched by dry conditions in June and August. Dry conditions prevailed through the autumn until heavy rains and a 17-inch snowfall occurred in late November.

Opinions sought on downtown grant plan

Downtown Tracy business owners are invited to a special meeting next week to discuss a grant application for renovating buildings in the downtown business district.

The gathering is set Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at Tracy City Hall.

“It is imperative that you attend,” states a letter sent to business owners, by the city's Downtown Revitalization Committee. “Your input is necessary to determine if there is enough interest to pursue this grant.”

The City of Tracy has hired Rick Goodeman of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to help draft a Minnesota Small Cities grant application. October, 2002, is the deadline for submitting the grant application. If the application is successful, money would be available in 2003.

The Small Cities program provides matching funds to assist owners of downtown business property with renovations. Typically, the business owner would need to invest one-third of the rehabilitation costs. Another one-third of the renovation costs would be financed through a low-interest loan assumed by the owner. Grant funds would be available to finance the remaining one-third.

Illicit drug use remains low among local teens

The following is the third in a series of stories about the Minnesota Student Survey, which was taken by Tracy Public School sixth, ninth, and twelfth graders last year.

While marijuana use among TAHS freshmen and seniors is up from three years ago, use of other drugs remains low among Tracy teens.

Seventy-one percent of TAHS seniors said they had not used marijuana or hashish during the past year, compared to 83 percent in 1998. Five percent said they used marijuana or hashish once or twice in the past year.

Ten percent said they had used marijuana or hashish 40 or more times in the past year, compared to one percent in 1998.

Seventy-five percent said they had not used marijuana in the last month, compared to 93 percent in 1998. Six percent said they had once or twice, and three percent said 40 or more times.

Small minority of users

Use of other illicit drugs is also low among local students, according to the survey.

Ninety-seven percent said they had not sniffed glue or inhaled any other gases or sprays in order to get high in the past year, compared to 95 percent in 1998. One percent said they had sniffed glue or inhaled other gases to get high once or twice, and one percent said they had three to five times.

Ninety-four percent said they had not taken other people's prescription drugs in the past year, compared to 99 percent in 1998. Three percent said they had once or twice, three percent said three to five times, and one percent said six to nine times.

Cooperation sought for EDA labor survey

A telephone survey designed to identify labor force skills for a proposed Tracy “telework” center begins next week.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program members will conduct the survey on behalf of the Tracy Economic Development Authority (EDA). Calls will begin Monday, Jan. 7, and continue through Friday, Jan. 11. Contacts will be made from 6 to 9 p.m. in the evening.

About 600 households will be called. Each telephone survey will take about ten minutes.

Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development director, urges people to cooperate if they are called.

“Please be generous with your time and cooperation. We need people's help. The information we gather will help create jobs for our community.”

The EDA has hired a consultant to draw up a comprehensive business plan for a telework center in Tracy. The former Korner Krafts building, which is owned by the EDA, is one possible location for the call center.

At age 80, retired businessman becomes high school grad

Howard Enderson got education by working as retailer

By Val Scherbart Quist

When Howard Enderson left high school halfway through his junior year, he didn't think it was too important.

“Back then, 65 years ago, there were many guys who didn't think it was important to have a high school diploma,” Enderson said.

But with his 80th birthday approaching this November, Enderson's kids had an idea—they would get their father what he'd never had.

“My kids thought I should have a high school diploma,” said Enderson.

The Endersons' six children began the process last summer, which included contacting Veteran's Affairs, said Mary Enderson. They told Enderson about what they'd done at his 80th birthday celebration in late November.

“I didn't know anything about it until the kids were home for my birthday,” said Enderson.

While Enderson never completed high school, he went on to a successful career in sales and owned his own business.

Enderson attended school in Belview, and left halfway through his junior year. After leaving high school, he farmed near Belview. The family then moved to a farm north of Dawson.

Afghanistan, in retrospect

David Kunst recalls historic walk around world, attack of bandits

Editor's note-David and John Kunst grew up in Tracy in the late 1950s. They gained widespread national and international attention in the early 1970s on an attempted a walk around the world. As the men traveled across Afganistan in 1972, the brothers were attacked by bandits between Kabul and Jalalabad. John was killed and David wounded. David, who now lives in Orange County, California, shares this recollection of the trip against the backdrop of the current conflict in Afganistan.

By David Kunst

When John and I crossed the border from Iran into Afghanistan we were in darkness, but the cooler air was a welcome relief from the blistering son of the day. It had been a long, long day of walking because we had pushed ourselves to make it to the safety of the border station.

We were in a part of the world that was very exciting but we always had in the back of our minds an uneasy feeling of danger. The Iranians told us the Afghans would kill us as the Turks had told us that the Iranians would kill us. Such statements were very unsettling.

We were following the old Silk Route that had been used by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and the Mongol conqueror Tamerlane. John and I had a real sense of experiencing ancient history and we tried to remember what we had learned during our school days.

Danger warnings

Earlier that afternoon we passed some very small Iranian villages that were off the road at least half a mile. The American Embassy in Tehran had warned us that it might be dangerous to camp in tiny villages that were off the main road. For that reason we decided to make it to the border where we had been told there was a military contingent.

To our surprise the Governor of Herat had sent one of his trusted friends who spoke English to meet us and he was there when we walked into Afghanistan. The American Embassy in Kabul had asked the governor to make sure our walk through his province was as safe as possible. The man had studied in the US and he liked America and Americans. He told us that his country could be extremely dangerous to Western foreigners. He described in detail what had happened to four Frenchmen in Kandahar six months earlier. The Frenchmen had been invited into an Afghan home and unexpectedly a Mullah with very strong anti western views showed up with some friends. He got extremely upset because he felt that the French infidels were a bad influence on the family, especially the young son who was a student of his. The Mullah and the Frenchmen got into a heated argument that ended with the Frenchmen getting their throats slit.