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News from the week of September 18, 2002

Dollars-for-Scholars reaches $5,000 goal

The Tracy Dollars-for-Scholars chapter has reached an exciting goal. The chapter has raised over $5,000 to date, and has received $5,000 in matching funds from Schwan's Sales Enterprises.

“We're very pleased that we have reached our threshold of $5,000,” said Chris Kamrud, Dollars-for-Scholars committee chair.

Fund-raising began in mid-April, and the $5,000 goal was reached before the June 30 deadline. Schwan's also contributed $2,000 in start-up money.

The majority of the contributions were received from TAHS alumni, said committee member Deb Ludeman. Alumni were sent a letter asking for contributions. About $6,800 was received through those mailings. An additional $700 was raised at a spaghetti supper fund-raiser.

Combined with the Schwan's contribution, Dollars-for-Scholars has raised over $12,000 to date.

“The committee members feel really good about it,” said Kamrud of this accomplishment. He also credited Ludeman for the great deal of work she has put into the drive.

Committee members include Kamrud, Ludeman, Principal John Rokke, Cheryl Bitker, Lauri Fox, Robert Gervais, Supt. Rick Clark, Garry Hippe, Doug Prairie, Luann Hansen, and Jeanette Hollingsworth.

Homecoming candidates announced

Coronation ceremony planned Tuesday

Senior homecoming candidates have been announced at Tracy Area High School.

Brooke Averill, Katie Bauer, Kelli Knutson, Kristin Sweetman, and Laura Zwach are the queen candidates.

King candidates are: Randy Bornitz, Jake Peterreins, Nate Pool, Matt Prairie, and Matt Schreier.

The seventh grade crown bearers are Kyle Fraser and Chantalle Cooreman.

Homecoming coronation ceremony is Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the high school gym beginning at 7 p.m. A bonfire will follow.

Five “dress up” days are planned for homecoming week. Monday is “Farmer/Hunter Day,” followed by “Hat & Sunglasses Day” on Tuesday and “Twin Day” on Wednesday. Thursday is “Recycling Day,” with Friday designated as “Pride Day.”

Special homecoming activities are set Friday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m. Games, a pepfest, and movies are planned. A homecoming parade through Downtown Tracy begins at 4 p.m.

The homecoming football game, pitting the Panthers against the Renville County West Jaguars, begins at 7 p.m. Friday. A senior high dance follows the game.

A junior high homecoming dance is planned Saturday from 9 to midnight at the high school.

Thailand student adjusts to new life in Minnesota

Paphawee “Aum” Nantarajit explains that she is from a “small town” in Thailand.

How small?

Rayong, her hometown, has a population of 300,000 people—a far cry from the 2,268 souls who inhabit Tracy. But all things are relative. Nearby Bangkok is one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world, with an estimated population of more than 10 million.

Aum (pronounced “ooom”) is Tracy Area High School's sole AFS student this year. She arrived in Minnesota on August 8 and began school Sept. 4. She is staying with the Seth and Betsy Schmidt family in Tracy, where she has two new American sisters, Johanna, a junior; and Maria, a seventh grader.

Aum's father is a banker; her mother a high school English teacher. Two cousins live with the family. An older sister, a marketing manager for a Nike factory in Thailand, was an AFS exchange student in New Jersey.

Aum's career aspiration is to become a doctor. Her favorite subject is math.

Speaking and understanding English has been the student's biggest challenge in the USA. Reading comprehension comes easier than speaking. One-on-one, she communicates well in English, although sometimes she must pause to select her words. Following the conversation of a large group remains difficult. She has studied English for six years.

The Hmong language, spoken by some of Tracy's Southeast Asian students, is foreign to her. Her own Thai language, she explains, is entirely different from Hmong.

The Thai student trains each night after school with the Panther cross-country team. Although she has struggled with running, the student has successfully completed all five races she has competed in. Piano lessons are another new venture.

State duck stamp winner has Shetek connection

The son of two Lake Shetek residents is the 2003 Minnesota Duck Stamp winner.

A painting by Mark Kness of Albert Lea was chosen from among 36 entries in a contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He is the son of Norman and Darlene Kness.

“We very happy for him,” Mrs. Ness said Monday. “He's worked for this a long time.”

The Albert Lea artist entered the contest for the last nine years. But he has never been a finalist, let alone been the winner.

His painting shows two longtailed ducks flying over Lake Superior on a sun-dappled day.

“I tried to capture some good mood and the elements. I think that helped me win,” he told the Albert Lea Tribune. Kness estimates that he spent 80 to 100 hours painting the winning duck print.

All artists were required to paint the same type of duck. The longtailed duck (formerly called oldsquaws) was the duck selected for this year's stamp contest. Including the longtail, only three of the Minnesota's 29 duck types have not appeared on a duck stamp.

The $5 Duck Stamp is a required purchase for all Minnesota waterfowl hunters ages 18 through 64. Stamp sales generate $400,000 to $600,000 annually for habitat enhancement projects in state wildlife management areas and designated waterfowl lakes. The 2003 waterfowl stamp will be on sale beginning next March.

Mrs. Kness says that her son got his start in wildlife art about 20 years ago when he lived in Worthington. His pastor, Jerry Roedeke, also painted wildlife and helped spark his interest. Roedeke is now a nationally known artist.

Planning continues for school heating & cooling upgrades

Tracy school board members last week got an update on the major heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvements planned during the 2002-2003 school year.

Upgrades are in the works for both the high school and elementary buildings. Estimated costs range from $500,000 to $800,000, depending on which options are chosen. Money for the upgrades is to come from the district's voter-approved operating levy.

Supt. Rick Clark told board members that 27 vendors have requested bid information on the project.

Feb. 15 is the targeted completion date for installing new boilers in the elementary and high school buildings.

Other options, such as digital controls in each classroom and air conditioning, wouldn't be completed until next summer. Dr. Clark told board members that installing the classroom controls during the school year would be too disruptive.

New hot water boilers will be much smaller than the existing boilers, which date from the original construction of the schools three decades ago. As a result, contractors will be able to put both new boilers in the spot where an out-of-operation boiler currently sits. Once the new boilers are installed, the second, operational boiler will be removed.

The old chiller unit will also be removed. A central air conditioning unit is being proposed for each building. Both the elementary and high school buildings have been operating without functional cooling systems this fall.

Dr. Clark told board members that one advantage to computerized digital controls is that if the boilers go down, the boiler operator will be notified via computer at home. An extra back-up will be in place with the company that monitors the school's fire alarm system.

Cookie Cooreman is new community relations director

Carol "Cookie" Cooreman, rural Tracy, began work August 1 as the Community Relations Director for Tracy Area Medical Services, Murray County Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and the Westbrook Health Center.

A graduate of Tracy High School and St. Joseph's Hospital School of Practical Nursing in Mankato, Cooreman has been a staff nurse for both Tracy Municipal Hospital and the Tracy Nursing Home. Most recently she was employed as an advertising sales representative for Tracy Publishing and as a marketing director for the True Value Home Center in Marshall.

Cooreman is the most recent in a series of employee hirings and promotions involving the three health-care facilities.