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News from the week of May 7, 2003

New principal choice likes keeping rural school roots

Chad Anderson of Canby says he is looking forward to starting his new job as the principal at Tracy Area High School.

“The school is the size I like,” he said. “It's a rural area, much like the areas I have grown up in and worked in before.”

Last week, the Tracy Board of Education offered Anderson the high school principal's contract, and Anderson has accepted.

For the past four years, Anderson has been assistant principal and activities director in the Canby Public School district. He and his wife, Darci, have a son, Cobey, 16 months.

Anderson is originally from Langford, S.D. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D.

After earning his degree, Anderson taught in Arlington, S.D. from 1995 to 1999. He taught social sciences, which included government, psychology, sociology, and history. He was also the head football coach, assistant boys' basketball coach, and junior high track coach.

While in Arlington, Anderson received his master's degree in secondary school administration from Northern State University.

He received his sixth-year certification in educational administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato, which gives him K-12 licensure from the state of Minnesota.

Anderson said he went into teaching and coaching because he enjoys working with kids.

He said he is looking forward to working with all the teachers, students, staff, and board members, and meeting others in the Tracy community. His past experiences with Tracy people have all been positive, he said.

'Extravagaza' is word for concert

Singers at Tracy Area High School are preparing for their "Vocal Extravaganza" Friday, May 9.

The spring choral pops concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the high school gym. Junior and senior high choirs will perform, along with several soloists and ensemble groups.

Yeng Her, Stacy Lavoy, Celia Brockway, Brad Lanoue, and Molly Miller are among the soloists. Ensemble performers include Casie Miller, Bobbi Buyck, Brittany Scott, Yeng Xiong, Tina McIntire, Lyndsie Murphy, and Allison Rasmussen.

Brad Lanoue, Casie Miller and Bobbi Jo Buyck will emcee the show.

A highlight of the show is the number "There's a Hero," sung by Bekah Zens, Ben VanMoer, Christina Peterson, and Jessica Mason. The song will be dedicated to local firemen and policemen.

Reserved table seating may be obtained by calling the school at 629-5500 and asking for the choir department. General seating will be available in the bleachers. Admission is $3 a person for reserved tables and $2 for bleacher seating. Admission includes pop and "munchies."

"We hope everyone will come and enjoy the show," comments Director Shirlee Gilmore.

Band 'pops' concert is Tuesday night

An instrumental spring "pops" concert is planned Tuesday, May 13, at Tracy Area High School.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Fifth, sixth, junior high, and high school bands will perform. Musical selections include rock and roll standards, television, and movie themes.

There is no admission charge. Chris Miller is directing the groups.

Public meeting set May 19 to answer prison questions

An informational meeting about the possibility of a large prison being built in Tracy is planned Monday, May 19 in Tracy.

The gathering is scheduled at 7 p.m. at the Tracy Multi-Purpose Center.

"If people have questions, we will certainly try to answer them," said Robert Gervais, Tracy community development director.

Tracy Economic Development Authority and Tracy City Council members are expected to be on hand for the discussion.

City leaders have been investigating the corrections facility for the past two months.

The proposed 600 to 800 bed prison would be privately-owned and operated, and is expected to be used for short-term offenders. An option to add another 200 beds to hold county-level offenders could also be a part of the project.

The construction of the prison hinges upon the passage of a bill by the legislature allowing the Minnesota Department of Corrections to send state inmates to a new privately-operated prison. A second bill would allow county governments to contract with the new prison.

If the legislation if approved and signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a nine-member selection committee would be established for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The committee would select both a site for the prison, and the company to operate the facility.

The economic impact of a new corrections facility in Tracy would be immense, Gervais said. It is expected that 240 to 270 jobs paying $10 to $15 an hour would be created at the prison. The infusion of that many jobs, he said, would fuel extra demand for a wide range of local business services, attract new city residents, and also boost the local housing market.

City-owned farmland between the Tracy industrial park and airport has been proposed as a possible site for the prison. Last week, city leaders held a meeting with financial consultants to discuss the city's options for offering tax abatement and tax-increment financing incentives for the new prison.

Corrections Corps of America, which operates a large prison in Appleton, is one of the companies expected to be a contender for operating the new prison.

Gervais said that Tracy is one of five communities that has expressed an interest in the prison facility. The others include Canby, Lamberton, and Fergus Falls.

Rambler might be next EDA housing project in Eastview

Early buyer could select style, colors

The Tracy Economic Development Authority is looking into the possibility of building another "spec" house in the Eastview Edition.

The house would be a one-level rambler, with about 1,100 square feet of living space and an attached double garage. Special financing is available from the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to build the house, and also to provide a long-term mortgage for the buyer.

Robert Gervais, Tracy community development director, explains that the home could be "pre-sold" to a buyer before construction begins. Anyone who commits to buying the house now would be able to select the floor plan, and options.

The EDA is interested in building a rambler style house, because of many people expressed a preference for a one-level house after the EDA completed a split-level in Eastview, Gervais said.

The split-level was for sale for more than a year, before being sold this spring. Gervais said the house would have been sold much quicker if it had been all on one-level, judging from the comments from potential buyers.

The three-bedroom rambler would be priced about $110,000. The dwelling would have ground-level entrances, as well as extra wide door openings.

"If someone wants to jump on it now, they could pick out the lot, pick the style of home and pick out the colors," Gervais said.

Not getting any younger?

Fair offers thoughts for age-old issue

By Melanie Pamp

An "Issues in Aging Fair" sponsored by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association SW Minnesota Chapter and Retired Senior Volunteer Persons held in Tracy last Saturday provided timely and useful information for baby boomers and older.

Three speakers discussed the expanding needs of the new aging population. The experts offered suggestions for lifework planning issues, increasing income and reducing taxes during retirement. Options that make it easier for seniors to remain in their homes as they grow older were also discussed.

Jan Hively, coordinator of the Vital Aging Network, based in the College of Continuing Education at the University, spoke about the rapidly growing population of 55-80 year olds, and the number of 80+ adults increasing as people are living into the 100s.

She noted that the oldest of the post-World War II "baby boomers" are now reaching 58 years old. The National Coalition on Aging has found that the upcoming seniors have more financial resources, more years of retirement and are more educated than ever before.

"This new, active, young-old generation has a need to reduce barriers in order to expand access and gain support for longer employment, and a need for volunteering and civic engagement," said Dr. Hively.

Bob Peterson, director of planned giving at the University of Minnesota Foundation has many years of experience as an estate, tax, and retirement planner. He presented several scenarios involving rural and small town couples and singles retirement planning.

Pam Enz, designer and owner of Tangible Space, Inc., past president of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, showed several slides and gave suggestions for renovation options that facilitate "aging in place."

All three speakers felt that it is important that 40 to 50-year-olds begin planning and take action to ensure an active, enriching, and healthy senior age.

Megan Schons cross-stich works on display at bank

Cross-stitch pictures created by Megan Schons are on display in the lobby of Minnwest Bank South.

The display is sponsored by the Fine Arts Council of Tracy.

Schons is a 2002 Tracy Area High School grad and a student at Alexandria Technical College. Her interest in cross-stiching was sparked by her mother, Chris.

"I remember being a little girl and sitting next to her and matching continuously on Saturdays as she made stitch after stitch. I was so impressed by how she made pictures by making tiny littles Xs. She would ask me all of the time if I wanted to learn, and I would always tell her 'no.' I finally gave in one day, and little by little, I worked my way through pattern after pattern, each more difficult than the other."

Her first project was a Looney Tunes pillow done as a 4-H project in the seventh grade. She qualified for the state fair on three occasions. She received a purple ribbon for "The Parade," which she describes as "the most time consuming and intricate work, but definitely may favorite."

The pillow and "The Parade" are on display at the bank, along with three pictures by P. Buckley Moss.

"I thoroughly enjoy this hobby as something relaxing to do, and also something to cherish for years to come and be able to pass on," Schons concludes.