banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of March 12, 2003

Superintendent interviews begin

Six candidates for the superintendent position at Tracy Area Public Schools are being interviewed this week.

The candidates are Curt Tryggestad, a high school principal at Pine City; Karen Norell, a high school principal in Granite Falls; Ted Suss, superintendent in Ivanhoe; Gary Harms, an assistant superintendent in Aberdeen, S.D.; and David Marlette, superintendent in Clear Lake, S.D., and Mark Schmitz, a middle school principal at Waseca.

The interview process gets underway today, Wednesday, March 12, at 4:30 p.m. The first three candidates, Tryggestad, Norell, and Suss will be interviewed Wednesday. Schmitz, Harms and Marlette will be interviewed Friday, March 14 beginning at 5:45 p.m.

Each evening, a panel of selected community and staff members will have the opportunity to ask the candidates questions. A "facilitator" will help lead community and staff sessions. Only designated representatives will be allowed to ask questions, but the public is welcome to attend.

The community and staff sessions will not formally be considered part of the interview process. However, the panel will be asked to give the board their thoughts and impressions on each candidate.

Following these half-hour discussions, the candidates will be interviewed by the board of education.

City acts to prevent sex businesses

Could a sexually oriented "adult" business someday try to set up operations in Tracy—perhaps in an inexpensive, vacant downtown building?

Tracy City Council members, deciding that such a scenario wasn't beyond the realm of impossibility, enacted an emergency ordinance designed to prevent sexually oriented businesses from coming into Tracy. The ordinance declares a one-year moratorium on a wide range of "adult" sex-related businesses, such as strip bars, books stores, movie theaters and saunas. The one-year moratorium can be extended by up to six months.

The emergency ordinance, which is published on Page 14 in this newspaper, goes into effect immediately.

City Administrator Audrey Koopman said the ordinance is intended to be a pro-active step that could head off potential problems. She said that problems in other small Minnesota communities have occurred when sexually oriented businesses have unexpectedly opened in vacant buildings. What typically happens, she said, is that an out-of-town person checks to see if a town has any zoning laws against sexually-oriented "adult" businesses, and if not, buys up a vacant property and starts the business before any restrictions can be set into place.

Senior Dining Center faces possible loss state money

Proposed cut is 20% of budget

By Val Scherbart Quist

Senior citizens throughout the state could soon be losing their lunch—literally.

Under Governor Tim Pawlenty's plan to reduce the state of Minnesota's $4.2 billion budget deficit, there would be no state dollars allocated to senior dining or home delivered meal programs. This means a loss of $196,000 in the nine-county area.

This isn't the first time senior dining's future has been in jeopardy. At the end of 2001, it was unknown whether senior dining facilities would be able open their doors in 2002, due to what was then a $1.95 billion deficit in the state's two-year budget.

Senior dining survived the cut then, but with the estimated budget deficit now more than double what it was only 15 months ago, the scenario is much more grim.

Seniors and others concerned with the future of senior dining participated in a focus group Friday afternoon at the Tracy Multi-Purpose Center. The meeting was the third in a series of focus groups; previous meetings were held in Lakefield and Pipestone.

Mary Nordgren of Western Community Action led the discussion. She explained that the point of the focus group was to discuss options for how to maintain senior dining so that a plan of action could be formed.

EDA might forego $30,000 city allocation to loan fund

The Tracy Economic Development Authority might forego a $30,000 budgeted transfer from the city's general fund this year.

Tracy Community Development Director Robert Gervais told EDA members Friday that City Administrator Audrey Koopman has asked all city departments to reduce their spending by 10%. One way the EDA could help, he said, would be to forego the $30,000 that the EDA's revolving loan fund is scheduled to receive.

Gervais said the EDA could use existing balances in the loan fund, or the Minnesota Community Capital fund, to handle future loan requests.

Gervais said that the $30,000 would amount to more than a 10% cut for the EDA, but he said everyone needs to look at what is best overall for the city.

Wellness center still on TAMS radar screen

What's happening at the Tracy Hospital and Medical Clinic?

A great deal, judging from reports presented at the February meeting of the Tracy Area Medical Services advisory board meeting.

Highlights include:

Wellness Center—Dan Reiner, TAMS chief executive officer, said that a private individual had met with TAMS representatives about developing a wellness center in a vacant downtown Tracy building. Such a facility could be utilized as part of wellness/rehabilitation programs connected to the hospital.

Reiner expects a specific proposal to be given to TAMS within 60 days.

An on-site wellness center could also be incorporated into future facility improvements at the hospital, Reiner said. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. An on-site model would be more convenient for hospital staff and patients, he said, while on off-campus wellness center would have lower start-up costs and would have advantages for the downtown.

Whichever option is pursued, Reiner said it is important that staff members be consulted on the type of equipment purchased. He said Tracy could not support more than one wellness center.

College dance team keeps Tracy grad in synch

For a 1999 Tracy Area High School grad, dancing has been a lifelong dream—and a lifelong activity.

“I've actually been dancing since I was 3 years old,” said Susie Syverson.

She began dancing at Anita's Conservatory of Dance in Lamberton. She also took classes for two years at Just for Kicks. She danced for four years with the Twisters danceline team, and was a football cheerleader during her high school years.

When she began attending SDSU, Syverson didn't bother trying out for the school's dance team, the State Sensations. Her second year there, she decided to try out after all, and has been a part of the 12-member team since. The tryout was a four-day process that involved doing a kicking series, learning a dance, choreographing a dance, and doing a leap. This year, she was a team captain and was responsible for helping put together tryouts.

The team performs at basketball and some football games, as well as performing at campus events such as Hobo Days. Syverson said her participation on the team has made her feel more involved with the campus. “I've met so many nice people,” she said. “It's been a privilege do dance for SDSU. It's been amazing.”

While Syverson's dancing career with the State Sensations will soon come to a close, she is beginning a new one with the Sioux Falls Storm Lightning Girls. The Storm are an arena football team, and Syverson will be part of a 10-member team. Their first performance is April 5.