banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of February 27, 2002

Wellness Center studied in Tracy

Tracy Area Medical Services (TAMS), is looking into the possibility of developing a wellness center in Tracy.

Dan Reiner, TAMS administrator, told the Tracy Kiwanis Club last week that two sites are being considered.

“We're looking at two options, either on campus or remodeling a building downtown,” Reiner said.

The hospital administrator envisions a wellness center that could be utilized by both TAMS patients and the community. The wellness center would have rehabilitation programs for patients. Community people could use the facility for fitness programs, while students could train for athletic programs.

“A wellness center is very important,” Reiner said, especially during the winter, when bad weather makes it difficult for many people to get out and exercise.

The wellness center possibility, Reiner said, is an example of Sioux Valley's “incredible commitment” to the rural communities it services. (TAMS is a part of the Sioux Valley Health Network, based in Sioux Falls, S.D. Sioux Valley manages and leases the Tracy hospital, medical clinic, and O'Brien Court.)

Besides serving as the administrator at Tracy, Reiner is also the CEO at hospitals in Slayton and Westbrook, which are also affiliated with Sioux Valley.

Summer groundbreaking forecast for Prairie View

Expansion won't include hospital

Plans for a $4.1 million expansion of the Prairie View Healthcare Center are moving forward without Tracy Area Medical Services.

Tealwood, the nursing home's corporate owner, has notified hospital administration that Prairie View will pursue the building addition on its own, according to Prairie View Administrator Tim Byrne.

Byrne said that the idea to merge the nursing home and the hospital into a single campus proved unworkable for the current project.

“We'll be doing it on our own,” Byrne said. The administrator added that the nursing home remains open to the possibility of working with the hospital in other areas.

Prairie View's expansion has three components: 1) A 20-room assisted living wing built onto Prairie View's south side. 2) A new nursing home wing with 12 single rooms constructed off Prairie View's north side. 3) Renovations of the existing nursing home.

Estimated cost for the assisted living wing is $2.5 million. The anticipated cost of the nursing home addition and renovations is $1.6 million. The nursing home renovations include new boilers, a remodeled kitchen, new furniture, and the conversion of many of the nursing home's double rooms into singles.

Architects are now drawing up the final plans, Byrne said. “If things really click, we will be in the ground in June. But it will probably be July before we get started.”

$100,000 is early guess for school spending cuts

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Budget planning for the 2002-03 school year is underway for the Tracy Board of Education.

Supt. Rick Clark told school board members Monday night that he anticipates a need to cut about $100,000 in spending for the 2002-03 school year. Another $150,000 may need to be cut in the following year, he said.

Dr. Clark made his remarks as the school board was given a preliminary budget capital and supply budget for the coming year. Board members also received a worksheet on which to propose changes.

No budget actions have been decided upon. Dr. Clark expects it to take a month or more before specific spending reductions can be acted upon.

“We have some what-ifs,” Clark said. “We are only looking at the priorities right now.”

One of the “what-ifs” is how severe state funding cuts will be. On Monday, Governor Jesse Ventura vetoed the spending bill approved by the Minnesota House and Senate.

Activities Director Bill Tauer updated the board on the status of the school's affiliation with the 212 Conference. TMB was recently invited to join the Little Sioux Conference for football. At this point, Tauer said, any change would not take place until the 2003-2004 school year. “We may stay in the 212. We don't know.” Tauer added that most of the TMB coaches are in favor of looking into joining another conference.

The board approved new tuition agreements with Balaton and Milroy for students in grades 9-12.

DM&E's purchase of 1,700 mile railroad could boost grain markets

A proposed railroad acquisition by the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railroad is being praised for its potential to improve access to grain markets.

The DM&E last week announced plans Thursday to buy the 1,700 mile I&M Rail Link, which operates in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The I&M has 30 links to larger railroads, while the 1,134 mile DM&E has only three.

“It should help,” said Bob Anderson, manager of the Cenex-Harvest States office in Tracy, of the proposed combination of the two regional railroads.

Farm leaders from both ends of the political spectrum are also lauding the move.

“This combination will give Minnesota grain growers and other farmers important new competitive options in the rail and trucking sectors,” said Minnesota Farm Bureau President Al Christopherson. “We are pleased the DM&E is willing to make real investments in rural transportation...The end result of this system will give us not only a better railroad, but a more efficient overall transportation system in rural American.”

David Frederickson, Minnesota Farmers Union president, said the I&M acquisition will improve competitive access for shippers. “More competition means more dollars in the farmer's pocket.”

South Dakota Farm Bureau President Richard Kjerstad termed the rail acquisition “another incredible leap for this `little railroad that could.' We appreciate DM&E's aggressive leadership to provide a first-class transportation infrastructure to our region. (The DM&E's) importance to agriculture and our entire local economy really cannot be overstated.”

Dr. Editha Liu to begin seeing patients in Tracy

A new family physician will begin practicing at the Tracy Medical Clinic soon.

Dr. Editha Liu, a native of Manila, Philippines, earned her medical degree from the University of Philippines College of Medicine. She completed her residency at St. Vincent's Charity Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Liu is scheduled to begin her medical practice at the Tracy Medical Clinic on Monday, March 11. Her practice is expected to focus on women's health and geriatrics. She will also see patients at the Balaton Medical Clinic, which is expected to open soon.

The second of four children, Dr. Liu grew up in the city of Baguio, which is the summer capitol of the Philippines. As a child, she said she admired her family doctor.

“He was a great family doctor, and seeing him inspired me to want to be a general internist.”

As a child, she remembers having fun as a Girl Scout.

“I think I can still do a fisherman's knot and a square knot, and I can probably still manage to pitch a pup tent, although the modern ones are easier to put up.”

In college, Dr. Liu (who calls herself Edith for short) played volleyball, participated in long-distance running, and mountain climbing. She enjoys Rollerblading when the weather is good and considers herself an average bowler. When she can find the time, she likes to read and do needlepoint.

Speech kids top 19 teams in Luverne competition

Shanna Lowe wins storytelling division

The Tracy Area High School speech team won a large meet in Luverne Saturday.

Tracy amassed 55 points to outdistance runner-up Luverne's 38 points. Sioux Valley-Round Lake was third with 37. Nearly 300 students competed.

Senior Shanna Lowe won the storytelling competition, while teammate Bobbi Jo Buyck was second.

Senior Brady Averill collected her second consecutive runner-up performance in Extemporaneous Speaking. She also placed second the week before in Minneota.

Four Tracy performers took home third-place plaques-- senior Kim Lanoue in humorous, junior Joanna Olson in informative, sophomore Kim Lenertz in original oratory, and freshman Rebecca Gervais in extemporaneous speaking.

Freshman Katie Gervais and senior Becky Lessman ended up fourth and fifth respectively in serious poetry.

Senior Lisa Buysse, creative expression; sophomore Stef Hebig, serious prose, and sophomore Mollie Goltz, extemporaneous reading, placed sixth.

Thirteen speakers just missed placing in the top six.

Coming activities

Thursday is the annual Panther Speech Parents night. The evening offers parents, friends, and community members a chance to hear some team members perform. The event, free and open to anyone interested, begins at 7 p.m. in the Tracy Area High School cafeteria.

The speech team then prepares for the huge Fairmont Invitational on Saturday, March 2. More than 30 teams and over 700 students are expected to attend.