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News from the week of April 9, 2003

Sportsmen's show casts net for big crowd Saturday

Hundreds of visitors are expected in Tracy this weekend for the Tracy Area Sportsmen's Show. "Our goal is to get 4,000 people here for the show," said Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development Director.

Show hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Tracy Prairie Pavilion. There is no admission charge. A boatload of special activities, displays, and seminars are scheduled. Most events are free.

"Having no admission charge will encourage more people to come out," said Bill Chukuske, who co-chairs the sportsmen's show planning committee. Since this is a first-time event for Tracy, Chukuske said the committee felt the free admission was important in order to attract visitors who might not be familiar with an outdoors show.

Sixty exhibits will be set up both inside and outside the Pavilion, featuring everything from hunting dogs and fishing trips to boats and camper displays. To keep visitors busy when they're not checking out displays, the sportsmen's show has more special activities than bullheads below the Currie dam.

Nine seminars about fishing and hunting led by noted experts are planned from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. All seminars will be conducted on a special stage inside the Pavilion.

Thrill-seekers can get behind the wheel of a full-size NASCAR similar to see what it's like to drive a race care. The NASCAR simulator is also free, although people will likely have to wait their turn in line.

A traveling "Touch of the Wild" exhibit is expected to be another big crowd pleaser, as are demonstrations from the Saratoga Archery Club. A 360 Sprint Car display from Team Crown Racing of Worthington, a laser shooting target range, and a rock climbing wall are other top attractions.

"We've heard many good comments about us doing this show. People are shocked that a town this size is able to put on this kind of a show and bring in the quality attractions that we have. This is really a credit to our committee," said Gervais.

Prison study continues

The Tracy Economic Development Authority is continuing to explore the possibility of making a bid to attract a corrections facility in Tracy.

The $10 to $15 million facility for geriatric prisoners is being considered by Corrections Corporation of America. The new facility is contingent upon a bill being passed by the state legislature, that would allow the state to send inmates to the privately-operated prison. Corrections Corps of America already operates a maximum security prison near Appleton.

Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development Director, told EDA members Thursday, that people he has talked with at Appleton have been very positive about the economic impact the prison has had on their town. Gervais, and some EDA members, plan a trip to Appleton next week to learn more about the facility.

Several EDA members said Friday that they have heard no negative comments about the Tracy Prison Possibility, since the issue became public two weeks ago. The consensus of the EDA is that the idea has enough merit to pursue further. EDA members feel that the new jobs created by a corrections facility would be a major boost to Tracy. They agree also, that a public informational meeting should be held before the EDA and city would make a formal proposal to land a corrections facility.

Supt. contract finalized

David Marlette given three-year package

The Tracy Area Public Schools Board of Education made the hiring of new superintendent David Marlette final Monday night.

The board approved a three-year contract for Marlette. The contract states that Marlette will be paid $84,000 during the 2003-2004 school year, $87,000 during the 2004-2005 school year, and $90,000 during the 2005-2006 school year.

The contract also includes a health insurance plan, and 10 legal holidays. The previous superintendent contract included seven legal holidays, but Marlette and the board compromised on 10 since Marlette currently gets 12 in his present district.

Marlette will be succeeding Rick Clark, who has resigned effective June 30.

Six speaking at state

Team earns section runner-up honors

Six Tracy Area High School students have qualified for the state speech meet Friday in Circle Pines. Three other students earned alternate status.

Joanna Olson, Eric Nelson, Dani Jones, Dane Bloch, Bobbi Buyck, and Casie Miller qualified for state by placing high at the Section 3A speech tournament at Southwest State University Saturday.

Rebecca Gervais, Jenna Fischer, and Celia Brockway finished high enough to quality as state alternates.

The six state speech qualifiers might be the most in school history.

"We did well," said Coach Tamara Purrington.

As a team, the Panthers put an exclamation mark on a banner season by capturing the Section 3A runner-up trophy. Tracy's 43 points was second to Windom, the team champion with 58 points. Luverne was third with 37 points.

The team is scheduled to depart Thursday for the state meet, which is scheduled Friday at Centennial High School in Circle Pines. Three rounds of Class A competition begin at 8:30 am Friday. The public is welcome.

Why did chicken cross road?

To see display at Tracy Library

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

A new display at the Tracy Public Library may spark some discussion on this very topic. Wanda Apperson is displaying her collection of chickens, and Jackie Ruppert is displaying her collection of eggs.

Here's what the two ladies had to say about their collections.

Wanda Apperson, chicken collection—Collecting chickens began for me not long after I was married 15 years ago. My husband Ed and I raised a few and it “got under my skin.” It's fun to watch them interact, scratch around, fret and run. Maybe I like chickens so much because I can relate to them! Being a mom and a teacher you have to be a bit of a mother hen.

Chickens are so versatile. They're used for meat, eggs, pets, and income, and in some cultures, for pest control and as “watch dogs.” I miss not having a coopful around and the fresh eggs.

One of the chickens in my collection is from Africa and another is from Mexico. Most of the chickens have been gifts from friends, but perhaps my most treasured are the Royal Copley set that my Grandma Babcock gave me many years ago. She received them from an old lady friend whose house she cleaned—so they're a reminder of my Grandma and how hard she had to work.

Jackie Ruppert, egg collection—In the early 1970s, Gary gave me a Dremel for a Christmas gift. I was interested in wooden carvings at that point and he thought that I might be able to use it to carve. Instead, I started doing eggs—first hen eggs, then goose eggs. To date, I have worked on hen, goose, emu, rhea, and ostrich eggs. The more exotic eggs are available from suppliers of egg decorating supplies. During the `70s and `80s, egg decorating was a very popular craft and there were large shows held in the east. It has declined in popularity at the present.

The metal findings that I use are either brass of gold-plated metal. The plating is to reduce tarnishing on the findings. I use Swarovski crystals and chain as I like the brilliance of the colors. The part that I enjoy the most is the outside finish. The eggs have as many as eight coats of various compounds before I start to decorate them. Because of the various coats, they are not as fragile as they would be otherwise. They do, however, break, and I have broken more than one in the process.

Students return from Spain with new perspective world

Anti-war sentiment seen in Madrid

Eleven Tracy Area High School students returned to Minnesota Friday, after a two-week study trip to Spain.

"It was a good trip," said Spanish teacher Pam Anderson, who accompanied the students.

The war in Iraq, which began shortly before the group's March 21 departure, only marginally affected the trip. One evening in Madrid, the group took steps to avoid anti-war protesters near the hotel. The group also made a special effort to be inconspicuous and low-key in order to avoid potential anti-American confrontations. But generally, the trip went off as smoothly as previous years, Anderson indicated.

The Tracy Spanish students traveled with 19 other high school students and two advisors from Clear Lake, Iowa. The students saw attractions in Madrid, Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla. Each student stayed with a Spanish family for five days near Puerto de Santa Maria. Trip arrangements were through the Language and Friendship program.

Brooke Averill, Alicia Brey, Greg Carlson, Jessica Lenertz, Katrina Moore, Anna Nybo, Gina Ockenfels, Brittany Scott, Emily Vandendriessche, Dana Verlinde, and Laura Zwach were the students on the trip.