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News from the week of July 31, 2002

West Nile Virus suspected in Balaton horse

Horse vaccines recommended

Cases of the West Nile Virus have popped up in Southwest Minnesota.

Dr. Kathy Brown, veterinarian at the Brockway-Brown Vet Clinic in Tracy, said Tuesday that one confirmed case of the West Nile Virus has been confirmed in a horse in the Minneota-Boyd area. A second case of the virus is suspected, but as yet unconfirmed, in a horse in the Balaton area. Other cases of the West Nile Virus in horses were confirmed elsewhere in Minnesota recently.

Since the virus is fatal in 40% of horse infections, Dr. Brown recommends that all area horses be vaccinated. Dr. Brown expects to receive about 100 doses of the West Nile Virus vaccine on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The vaccine is given in two doses, with three to six weeks in-between.

The West Nile Virus can also cause health problems for people, she said, although humans are not as susceptible as horses.

Birds are a major carrier of the West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes can pass along the disease by drawing blood from an infected bird and then biting a horse. Crows are one of the most common carriers of the virus, Dr. Brown said.

“They say that when you see your first dead crow, two weeks later you will see your first case in horses.”

Dr. Brown explains that the disease is not transferred from horse to horse, but from mosquito to horse. “The virus was not transferred from horse to horse, but from mosquito to horse.” Horses do not have a natural immunity to the virus since it is new to the United States.

Some of the warning signs of the West Nile Virus in horses are similar of those of Encephalitis (sleeping sickness). Humans may also contract the disease from mosquitoes bites. The disease is not passed from human to human, and there is no evidence that a person can get infected by handling live or dead infected birds.

Milroy centennial revelry set

Three days of activities begin Friday

Milroy is certain to be a busy place this weekend as the town welcomes hundreds of visitors for its centennial celebration.

The Friday, Saturday, Sunday festival includes a parade, street dance, style show, quilt show, truck and tractor pull, children's games and kiddie parade, live musical entertainment, a community church service, old-timers baseball game and an antique plowing demonstration.

Milroy, which has 271 people in the 2000 census, was incorporated on Oct. 6, 1902.

Mayor Robert Zwach Sr. invites people to come to Milroy and have a good time. The Sunday parade, he notes, will have over 160 units in it.

Dale Trulock, who is heading the Milroy Centennial Committee with Jeff VanDeWiele and Scot Bowman, said that celebration plans are ready. “We hope to have good crowds and a good weather.” Other members are Edith Ousky, Doris and Robert Zwach Sr., Dan Leach, David Leach, Tim Zwach, Alvin Wohnautka, Rhonda Kirsh.

A Milroy Centennial book, “100 Years of Milroy Memories and 75 Years of Baseball,” has been published in time for the celebration. Ousky, Bowman, and Robert and Doris Zwach coordinated the book. A special Milroy Centennial quilt, featuring historic Milroy pictures as some of the squares, is being raffled off.

Charles Tomasek, 82, is the parade's grand marshal. The Milroy native, who served as the Milroy Postmaster from 1949 to 1979, and then drove a school bus for 15 years, is being honored for living in Milroy longer than any living person. Except for 3 1/2 years when he served in the U.S. military, Tomasek has served his entire life in Milroy.

Box Car Days counting down

Best Dennis Morgan concert tickets are selling briskly

The planning has been on-going for months, but now the countdown is underway. The 75th annual Tracy Box Car Days celebration is just 30 days away.

“It is coming up fast,” observes Robert Gervais, Tracy community development director.

A host of new events and activities are planned.

Headlining this year's celebration is a Sunday night concert by Tracy native son Dennis Morgan, a prominent country and pop songwriter in Nashville.

Other new Box Car Day events include a Friday night Talent Show, a Sunday afternoon outdoor concert by the Baumann Brothers, a “Singin' Safari Road Show,” a 5 and 10K running race, a paintball tournament, a Miss Tracy Alumni Tea, and fireworks exhibition.

Many other Box Car Days favorites return, including the Chamber of Commerce beer garden, downtown carnival midway, Miss Tracy pageant, Monday afternoon parade, truck and tractor pull, softball and mud volleyball tournaments, Tae Kwon Do demonstration, bingo stand, fly-in airport breakfast, antique tractor show, and the St. Mary's Arts & Crafts Show, and kiddie parade.

"I'm looking forward to it,” said Gervais. “Being able to take part in planning something this big has been a lot of fun.”

Box Car Days committee members include George Hebig, Nicole Larson, Tom Rignell, Deb Saxton, Linda Fultz, Robert Caron, John Swanson, Brad and Joanne Roberts, and Mike & June Mumm.

Free admission, root beer floats offered Saturday at aquatic center

The Tracy Aquatic Center has a deal that just about everyone can dive into.

Free admission is being offered at the aquatic center on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. Each person will also be given a coupon for a free root beer float, which will be served from 3-5 p.m.

The event, planned by an aquatic center advisory board, is intendeded as a "thank you" to pool patrons who endured numerous delays before the aquatic center opened on July 6. The event is also intended as a "get acquainted invitation" to anyone who has not yet visited the new aquatic center. Daily admission to those who don't have a season pass is normally $5.

The new aquatic center has a 2,572 square foot "splash pool" designed for young children, and a 5,078 square foot miulti-purpose pool. The multi-purpose pool has two large flume slides, a drop slide and a diving board.

A grand opening for the aquatic center is planned for June of 2003.

99-year-old feels blessed

Anna Nackerud still holds a hand of aces

by Brady Averill

"I have been blessed," Anna Nackerud affirms 99-year-old Anna Nackerud. And she is thankful.

"I'm happy. If you are well, it's okay." Anna is unsure of why she has lived such a long life, but she feels fortunate. It is her belief that she has lived more than a lifetime. Het, after nearly a century of life, the Tracy Nursing Home resident remains intelligent and alert.

She lived independently in her South Street home until last summer. She moved to the nursing home after a fall in her home. Although she has made the transition, she admits "it is hard" sometime. She says she never thought she would live in a nursing home.

Moving to less spacious living quarters has been difficult for her at times, she said. However, she acknowledges that it is the right place for her now. "I would like to go back home, but there would be no one to take care of me."

Farmers wait to see how corn rebounds from wind damage

Farmers are assessing the damage this week after a severe thunderstorm swept through the area Sunday afternoon.

The storm cut a path along Highway 14 and to the south, leaving fields of flattened corn in its wake. There were reports of softball-sized hail in the Tyler area and winds in excess of 60 miles per hour along the storm's route.

Lyon County Extension Educator Bob Byrnes said the majority of the damage appears to be confined to the southern part of Lyon County and northern Murray County, as well as Pipestone and Lincoln counties.

“There were pockets of hail damage,” Byrnes said. “The vast majority of the damage is wind damage to corn.”

Many acres of corn were flattened in the damage areas, Byrnes added. Beans, with the exception of the areas that received hail, fared much better. Small grain that was damaged is not likely to come back, Byrnes said.

For many, the storm was reminiscent of a similar squall last summer.

“Last summer the storm was one week earlier,” Byrnes said. “The corn was just entering the pollination stage. This year, much of the corn was pollinated.”

This has its pros and cons, Byrnes said.

“Following pollination, the corn is less successful in righting itself. However, last year, there were problems with incomplete pollination in corn that was downed.”

Byrnes believes pollination should have been successful in most fields before the storm hit.