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News from the week of March 19, 2003

Superintendent field narrowed to three

Who will be the next Superintendent of Schools in Tracy?

Will it be...

A) Curt L. Tryggestad, a high school principal in Pine City?

B) David A. Marlette, the superintendent of schools and athletic director in Clear Lake, SD?

C) Ted L. Suss, superintendent of schools for Lincoln HI Public Schools in Hendricks and Ivanhoe?

All three educators are finalists for the District 417 superintendent position. Interviews for the position were conducted Friday, with both school board and community members taking part. A six-candidate field was reduced to three following the interviews.

The three finalists are scheduled to return Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25-26, to meet with school staff, tour the Tracy area, and meet again with the school board.

After the meetings, Tracy Board of Education members hope to reach a consensus on their first choice for the job. The board would then need to reach a contract agreement with whoever is offered the job. Board members have stated that they'd like to fill the position by the end of this month. The position becomes vacant June 30, when the resignation of Dr. Rick Clark becomes effective.

Suss and Marlette are both scheduled for their return visits to Tracy on Tuesday afternoon. Tryggestad is slated to return Wednesday afternoon.

Lawmakers: 'Needs' are safe, but 'wants' are out

The budget-balancing model proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be revised to soften cuts to local government and human services, local legislators said Friday.

Speaking at a "town meeting" attended by about 75 people, Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) and Senator Dennis Frederickson (R-New Ulm) predicted that the legislature will modify the Pawlenty administration's plan to drastically cut back Local Government Aid to municipalities and counties. They also said that the governor's plan for eliminating senior dining funding and reduced spending for nursing homes would also be changed.

"We don't want to do things that are pennywise and pound foolish," said Seifert. The lawmaker said he would not support, for example, cuts in senior nutrition programs that could force more elderly to lose their independence and need nursing home care.

Frederickson said that proposed cuts in Local Government Aid disproportionately affect rural areas.

"There is a coalition in the Senate that will not allow this to happen (the proposed Local Government Aid cuts)," Frederickson said.

Seifert agreed.

"Quite frankly, what has been proposed is unacceptable and it will not work," Seifert said of Pawlenty's proposed cuts to municipalities. "It will not pass the House tax committee."

Bags packed for Spain

Spanish students leave Friday morning

Eleven Tracy Area High School Spanish students are packing their bags for a two-week study trip to Europe.

The students are scheduled to leave on the first leg of their trip Friday morning. They board a bus in Tracy at 7 a.m. After stopovers in Boston MA., and Amsterdam, Netherlands, their flight will land in Madrid, Spain.

The travelers, all seniors, are: Brooke Averill, Alicia Brey, Greg Carlson, Jessica Lenertz, Katrina Moore, Anna Nybo, Gina Ockenfels, Brittany Scott, Emily Vandendriessche, Dana Verlinde, Laura Zwach. Spanish teacher Pam Anderson is accompanying the students.

Upon their arrival in Madrid, the group will see attractions in Madrid, Toledo, Granada and Senilla, for a week. A five-day stay with a Spanish family near Puerto de Santa Maria, (near the Mediterranean Sea) is next, before a return to Madrid. The delegation is scheduled to fly out of Madrid on April 4.

The trip is arranged through the Language and Friendship program. The Tracy/Milroy/Balaton delegation will travel with 19 students and two advisors from Clear Lake, Iowa.

The trip is occurring at a time of rising international tensions over the prospect of an American-led war to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But Anderson said she has no safety concerns about the trip. She pointed out that Spain is one of the countries backing American foreign policy against Iraq. Areas being visited by students, she said, are not considered unsafe for Americans.

Ludeman: 'An opportunity of a lifetime'

Cal Ludeman predicts that he's not going to win any popularity contests at his new job as Minnesota Commissioner of Employee Relations.

"Remember that book by Dale Carnegie—How to Win Friends and Influence People?" Ludeman said Saturday. "Well, I've concluded that I can either win friends or influence people, but I can't do both."

Ludeman, the Independent-Republican party 1985 gubernatorial, addressed the Lyon County Republic Convention held at the Mediterranean in Tracy. The Tracy farmer said that difficult decisions confronted him almost immediately following his appointment by Governor Tim Pawlenty this January.

An immediate task was a directive to cut 15% from his department's budget.

"I had to lay off 28 very loyal, very capable employees. It was very difficult."

Nonetheless, Ludeman said that the budget cuts in his department, and elsewhere in government, are necessary sacrifices to balance the state budget.

Something the public needs to understand, Ludeman said, is that even with the spending cuts proposed by Gov. Pawlenty, state spending will increase about a billion dollars in Minnesota's next two-year budget period. Pawlenty's proposed budget cuts of just over $4 billion for the next two years are needed steps to put the brakes on excessive government spending, Ludeman said.

"Yes, it is asking people to do more with less."

Fund-shelf drive seeks to meet growing hunger needs

The challenge of feeding the hungry hits close to home Sunday in Tracy.

A door-to-door drive is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, to collect food and cash donations for the Tracy Food Shelf. The Amiret Busy Bees and youth groups from local churches will conduct the residential effort. Adult volunteers will help receive and organize donations at the food shelf.

"We really hope people will support this," said Rosemary Hemmingsen, volunteer food shelf director. "It's important for meeting the needs we see at the food shelf.

People who wish to donate food, are asked to leave bags and boxes on their front door steps. Young people, driven around town by adults, will pick up the food.

Those able to give money to the food shelf can contribute in several ways. Donations can be placed into the collection plates of Tracy area churches Sunday morning with a note designating the gift for the food shelf. Checks can also be given to the youth going door-to-door Sunday afternoon. Or donations can be dropped off at the food shelf Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.

Monetary gifts are used to buy food from the Second Harvest Food Bank at bargain-basement prices.

"Cash donations allow us to get more food, because sometimes we can buy food really cheap," Hemmingsen said. The food bought at the Second Harvest Co-op comes from surplus United States Department of Agriculture commodities or food that is donated by corporations. When available, the Second Harvest food items can often be purchased for just pennies a pound.

However, food donations are still needed and appreciated, food shelf volunteers say, because some food staples can't be purchased from Second Harvest.

Speakers travel to Tyler for sub-section Saturday

Team is second in 23-team field at Redwood Falls

The Tracy Area High School speech team is preparing for the sub-section speech meet Saturday. Competition begins at 9 a.m. at Tyler. The event is open to the public at no charge.

The speech team competed in their final invitational tournament this Saturday at Redwood Falls. Minnesota Valley Lutheran won the meet with 91 team points, followed by Tracy with 73. Mt. Lake-Butterfield-Odin was third with 67 team points.

Twenty-three schools with over 400 students competed.

Eric Nelson ended his senior year with a remarkable first-place finish in the category of extemporaneous speaking with three straight "ones".

Tying for first place in the category of dramatic duo also with three straight "ones" were Bobbi Jo Buyck with partner Casie Miller and 8th-graders Jessica Mason with partner Allison Rasmussen. Junior Dani Jones earned second in storytelling.