banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of November 6, 2002

Tracy voters like Mondale, Pawlenty, Peterson, & Seifert

Ticket-splitting bucks state, national Republican gains

If it were up to only City of Tracy voters, Walter Mondale, not Norman Coleman, would be headed to the United States Senate. But Mondale's majority in Tracy was small consolation for Democrats in a bandwagon of Republican victories both statewide and nationally in the Nov. 5 general election.

In Minnesota, Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul, was declared the victor over Mondale by the Associated Press Wednesday morning. Republican Tim Pawlenty easily won the Minnesota gubernatorial race over Democrat Roger Moe and Independence party candidate Tim Penny. In the Minnesota legislature, Republicans posted gains in both the House and the Senate. About the only good election news for state Democrats was that the DFL retained control of the state Senate, although with a smaller majority. Democrats lost a seat in Minnesota's eight-member Congressional delegation.

Minnesota's Republican surge mirrored the national election, where Republicans increased their majority in the House and regained control of the U.S. Senate.

Tracy voters favored former Vice President Mondale over Coleman by a 451 to 360 margin. Mondale was a late replacement for Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash Oct. 25.

Ticket-splitting Tracy voters also favored Republican Tim Pawlenty in the gubernatorial race. Pawlenty, state House majority leader, received 373 votes compared to 342 for DFLer Roger Moe. Independence party candidate Tim Penny received 119 votes in Tracy.

Tracy voters also gave majorities to Republican Marty Seifert, who was easily re-elected to the District 21A House seat, and Democrat Congressman Collin Peterson, who was re-elected to the new District 7 Congressional seat. Seifert outpolled DFLer Deb Hess by a 477 to 356 margin in Tracy. Peterson was favored by a 500 to 316 margin over Republican Dan Stevens.

DFL State Senator Jim Vickerman was easily re-elected in District 22, beating Republican Alex Frick by a 3,270 to 1,272 margin in Murray County. Longtime DFL state representative Ted Winter lost a re-election bid to Doug Magnus, but carried Murray County by a 2,349 to 2,219 margin.

Ferrazzano wins Tracy mayor race

Stobb, Byrne, Otto-Arvizu claim council seats

Steve Ferrazzano will be Tracy's next mayor.

The city councilman won the Tracy mayoral election by 267 votes Tuesday, Ferrazzano received 539 votes, to outdistance Marv VanAcker, who received 272.

Russ Stobb, Tim Byrne, and Jan Otto-Arvizu were elected to four-year terms on the Tracy City Council. Stobb, an incumbent, topped all candidates with 684 votes, followed by Byrne at 459 and Otto-Arvizu at 409. Otto-Arvizu is also an incumbent.

Greg Torkelson received 380 votes, with Adeline Johnson receiving 307.

A total of 871 people cast ballots in Tracy, an election turnout of about 75%. Tracy had 1,151 registered voters on election day.

`Marching to Washington' dinner concert is next week

Tickets must be purchased in advance

Rousing music, sumptuous food and a noble cause are on the same venue next week in Tracy.

The Tracy Fine Arts Council is sponsoring a fund-raising dinner concert Friday, Nov. 15, for the Tracy Community Band. The event begins at 6:30 p.m., at the Mediterranean.

Tickets—priced at $15 each— include both a buffet meal and concert by the community band.

All proceeds will go toward defraying expenses for band's trip next summer to the nation's capitol. The 40-member band has been invited to perform several concerts in the Washington DC area as part of the National Festival of States. The Tracy group will be the only band representing Minnesota.

Possible concert locations during the band's July 28-31 trip are the Naval Plaza in Washington DC., a retirement home for military officers near Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and either the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials.

“It's a big honor,” comments Clint Peterson, the band's director. “We're really excited about this opportunity.”

Cost for the trip is estimated at about $40,000 or about $1,000 per member. The group's goal is to raise as much of that money as possible. To date, the band has received between $7,000 and $8,000 in contributions for the trip.

• • •

Admission to the Nov. 15 dinner concert is by advance ticket sales only, because of the need for advance meal planning. Tickets are on sale at John's RX Drug in Tracy, Minnwest Bank South, Tracy Food Pride, Tracy Public School office, Balaton Food Center, Currie State Bank, Fond Memories, and Milroy Co-op Elevator. Tickets can also be purchased from Fine Arts Council board members or band members. Only a limited number of tickets will be sold.

The dinner, which includes two entrees, begins at 6:30 p.m. The concert will follow at about 7:30 p.m. A patriotic “Marching to Washington” theme is planned. The concert will include music that the band expects to perform for its East Coast trip, including “The Navy Hymn”, and a host of marches. John Philip Sousa's “Minnesota March” is one of the marches.

Late opening torpedoes aquatic center revenues

The new Tracy Aquatic Center did not have a good first summer financially.

A preliminary financial statement shows that pool operations lost nearly $49,000 this past summer. Much of the loss is blamed on the five-week delay in opening the pool.

“We lost five weeks of income, but we didn't lose five weeks of expenses,” observed Councilman Russ Stobb, during a review of the aquatic center's finances at last week's Tracy City Council meeting.

Because of construction delays, the new aquatic center didn't open until July 6. It had been scheduled to open June 1. Because of the late opening, season pass prices were cut in half, further reducing revenues. Expenses did not see a corresponding reduction, since most aquatic center employees were paid for the entire summer.

Several factors could reduce the 2002 operating loss.City Administrator Audrey Koopman said that the $48,921 loss will likely be reduced by about $38,000 owed to the city in liquidated damages. The liquidated damages are being withheld from contractor payments because of work that was not completed on time.

Several other adjustments—including a $546 credit from Viking Coca-Cola—could also improve the aquatic center's bottom line. It was also noted that a number of “one-time” expenses this past summer also contributed to the aquatic center's red ink.

Overall, Koopman told council members that it's too early to draw any conclusions about aquatic center operations.

“What we really need is to have one complete year of operations under our belt before we can make any decisions.”

The 2002 season—because of its five-week late start—doesn't present a good picture of aquatic center operations, she said.

EDA may get first mortgage on former P-Plus store

The Tracy Economic Development Authority (EDA) may get a first mortgage on a Downtown Tracy building.

Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development director, told EDA members that Minnwest Bank South has offered to give up its first mortgage on the former P Plus Oriental grocery store on Third St. The EDA now has a second mortgage on the property. An EDA loan to Jon Herr, the store's former owner, is in default, with about $13,600 owed to the EDA. The store has been closed for more than a year.

Obtaining a first mortgage on the property, Gervais said, should improve the EDA's chances of recovering the loan. EDA members agreed to refer to the city's legal staff (Frank Nielsen and Jim Kerr).

The steel frame building was constructed in 1954 for Rignell Hardware. A NAPA Auto Parts store and Sears agency were located in the building prior to the opening of the grocery store several years ago.

Other EDA agenda items at a Friday morning meeting included:

Child care

Tracy Kids' World, a non-profit Tracy group that wants to build a child-care facility in Tracy, has become incorporated. Louise Nooman reported that the group's next goals are to obtain tax-exempt status and to complete a business plan. Grant applications will then be sought to help finance the facility.

The preferred location for the new day-care center, Nooman said, continues to be land in the Eastview Addition, near the Prairie View Healthcare Center, Tracy Hospital and the clinic.

Call center

EDA members hope to organize a group of local people who might be interested in investing in a Tracy call center.

The consensus was reached after a consultant asked what approach the EDA intends to take on the issue. Earlier this year, the business plan for establishing some kind of a technology center in Tracy was completed for the EDA.

“How are we going to proceed?” asked Frank Cesario, the consultant who had helped draft the technology center business plan. “It is really important if you want to develop a call center, that you develop a strategy. If you don't have a strategy, it won't happen.”

FFA returns from Louisville

Tracy Area High School FFA members and two advisors returned Saturday from Louisville, Kentucky, where they attended the FFA's 75th National Convention.

Tracy students attended sessions, workshops, and listened to motivational speakers. While in Louisville, the FFA attended Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) and the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory and museum. Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali also attended one of the FFA sessions.

Students attended the FFA career show, where nearly 1,000 booths were set up. The booths ranged from college recruiters, car and truck manufacturers, and the US National Guard.

The national FFA convention was moved to Louisville in 1998 from Kansas City, Missouri. Nearly 45,000 Agricultural Education Students from all across the USA attended the convention. The Tracy delegation traveled to and from Louisville by charter buses.