banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of April 3, 2002

'Toyland' opens Saturday

Mother Goose is no fairytale in Tracy this week.

Forty-eight members of the Tracy Community Choir will make Mother Goose Land come alive with the classic children's tale, Babes in Toyland. The first of four performances is Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. on the Tracy Area High School gym stage. Other performances are Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m.; Friday, April 12, 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m.

Babes in Toyland continues a musical tradition for the choir that began with Annie in 1999. Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan in Neverland followed.

Like its predecessors, Babes in Toyland promises colorful sets, eye-popping costumes, memorable characters and toe-tapping tunes. But there are differences too.

“With the other three, the stories were so well-known. People went to them with a certain image in their minds of what it was going to be like,” observes Jesse James, who is co-directing the production with Ade Miller. “But with Toyland, most people have heard of it, but they don't know exactly what the story is about.”

Toyland's relative unfamiliarity, James said, is an extra challenge for the choir. “We really have to concentrate on telling the story.” On the other hand, the uncharted territory puts no limits on the production's creativity.

“We can create any kind of image that we want,” James adds.

The choir, comprised of children in grades 3-6, has been practicing the musical for barely a month. Four practice sessions with costumes were planned this week prior to the Saturday opening.

`I am comfortable with where we are. Each piece is in motion, and now we put it together and refine it,” says James. “The kids are doing wonderfully,”

He credited all the community people who've helped with the production.

Congregation counts its blessings as new church nears completion

By Val Scherbart-Quist

Tracy Christian & Missionary Alliance congregation members have no trouble counting their blessings these days. Take a drive past their new church, and it's easy to see why.

The new church doesn't compare to big, fancy cathedrals, says congregation member Barb Purves as she gives a tour of the church's “Education Wing.” But to the people of the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, “this is a palace,” said Purves.

Compared with the church's former location at 225 7th St., where parishioners were packed into the tiny sanctuary, it's true. The new, 6,000 square-foot building, located on Front Street in Tracy's Broadacres Addition, is a dream come true for the church that's been over 20 years in the making.

While some finishing touches on the church, such as carpet, will have to wait, congregation members are already looking forward to the many firsts that will come with the new church.

There will be the first service, the first wedding, the first Christmas, the first Easter, and many, many more.

One thing's for sure—the members of Tracy Christian & Missionary Alliance aren't through counting their blessings just yet.

“We're so much further than we ever dreamed,” said congregation member Leo Bass. “At first we thought we wouldn't be able to do it.”

Enderson Clothing plans going-out-of-business sale

Enderson Clothing, an anchor of the Downtown Tracy business district for five decades, is closing.

John Swanson and Dianne Kamrud, owners of the store since November of 1999, plan a going out of business sale beginning April 10.

The owners indicate that competitive retail environment and a slow economy are factors in their decision.

“We don't want to close, but we really don't have any choice,” said Kamrud.

Swanson said that the apparel industry has been especially hard hit by the recession.

“We knew going in that it would be hard running a men's clothing store in a small town, but the economy didn't help us any.” He said many major retailers suffered lackluster Christmas sales.

Howard Enderson established Enderson Clothing in 1955. The store developed a reputation for carrying a wide assortment of quality men's and boys' clothing, attracting a loyal clientele from a wide area. Enderson operated the store for four decades before selling the business to Steve Jones in the mid-1990s. Swanson and Kamrud, long-time Enderson Clothing employees, bought the store from Jones.

Enderson Clothing will be closed Monday and Tuesday to prepare for the sale. Swanson and Kamrud said that the store's tuxedo rentals and letterjacket business will be taken over by neighboring Summit Place.

Hwy. 14 work will begin in mid-May

After winter comes spring. . . and road construction.

Highway 14 from the junction of Highway 59 to the western city limits of Tracy will undergo work this summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has announced.

The $1.8 million project will include a bituminous mill and overlay, edge drains, culvert work, construction of three new turn lanes, and railroad crossing repair at Garvin.

The project is expected to get underway in mid-May and be completed by mid-July. Highway 14 will be detoured while construction takes place. Only minor delays are expected during the railroad repair, which is expected to only take about a day.

Under a new state law enacted last summer, a work zone is defined as a roadway construction site when workers are present. Previously, the speed limit in all work zones was a maximum of 40 mph.

Under the new law, the speed limit on a divided highway is up to 15 mph lower than the posted speed. Drivers will see new “Fines Double” signs to indicate they are approaching a work zone.

“There are an average of 2,400 crashes in work zones every year in Minnesota,” said Tinklenberg. “Most are caused by two factors: speed and driver inattention.”

He urges drivers to slow down and stay alert when approaching a work zone.

Road information available

Mn/DOT urges drivers to check for possible detours and projects that might delay their trips. Drivers can get the latest information about state highway construction projects from Mn/DOT's web site at under “Road Conditions.” By phone, call (800) 542-0220. Travelers with wireless phone service can access information by calling Mn/DOT's new traveler information line 511. The service is currently available through wireless services except Verizon.

Dollars-for-Scholars sets spaghetti supper

A newly-organized Dollars-for-Scholars Chapter is cooking up a special fund-raiser for next week.

A spaghetti supper is set Friday, April 12, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Tracy Area High School cafeteria. No admission is being charged. However, donations for a new Dollars-for-Scholars student scholarship fund will be accepted.

A Dollars-for-Scholars organization is being organized in Tracy, thanks to a $2,000 donation from Schwan's Sales enterprises of Marshall. Additionally, Schwan's has offered to match, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to $5,000 raised in a local Dollars-for-Scholars fund-raising campaign.

The goal is to establish an on-going scholarship fund for Tracy Area High School graduates.

Chris Kamrud, Tracy Area High School guidance counselor, is part of a local committee spearheading the Dollars-for-Scholars effort. He said the goal of the spaghetti supper is to not only raise scholarship money, but also boost public awareness of the new Dollars-for-Scholars organization.

Dual usage suggested for Monroe Town Hall

The Monroe Town Hall might be headed to the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum.

Monroe Township residents voted last week to donate the building to the museum, if the township is allowed to use the building as a meeting place. The action took place March 26, at a continuation of the township's March 12 public meeting.

Township officers, and Wheels Across the Prairie board members, are scheduled to meet Wednesday, April 3, to discuss the proposed arrangement. The museum board voted earlier to accept the town hall if it became available, and use the space to exhibit the museum's musical instruments. The museum board has not discussed the proposed dual use of the town hall.

The township hall, located two miles west of Tracy, must be moved by July 6 to make way for a Hwy. 14 improvement project. The township board has accepted $13,100 in compensation from the state to move the building back from highway right-of-way. As part of the deal from the state, the township retained ownership rights to the building, as long as it is moved back from right-of-way.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants the town hall moved back, to improve visibility from a nearby township road intersection, and reduce a snow-blockage problem.