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News from the week of June 4, 2003


Saturday night concert promises plenty

The renowned Concord Singers of New Ulm are headlining a fund-raising concert for the Tracy Area Medical Services Foundation Saturday, June 7.

A 6:30 p.m. dinner will be followed by an 8 p.m. concert. Both events are in the banquet room of the Mediterranean Restaurant, Tracy.

"It's going to be a fun night," said Faye Von Bokern, a foundation board member, who is helping organize the event. Tickets are $25 each, which includes both the meal and the entertainment. "People are really getting a pretty good deal," she adds. Von Bokern notes that not only are people getting a meal and a concert, but they will also be supporting health-care in Tracy.

Proceeds, after expenses are paid, will go to the foundation. The non-profit foundation's mission is to provide money for local medical scholarships, community medical programs, and capital improvements. Other board members are Romane Dold, Linda Fultz, Dan Kern, Elise Lanoue, Mary McVenes, Denise Rokke, and John Schleppenbach.

Tickets must be purchased in advance, in order to plan food preparation. Tickets can be purchased at John's Drug or Summit Place in Tracy, the Tracy Hospital business office, Zen's Hardware in Currie, Oleson's Merchantile in Walnut Grove, or any foundation board member.

City hanging up on US West

• Service goes to Prairie Wave

The City of Tracy is switching telephone companies.

Last week, Tracy City Council members approved a recommendation from Finance Director Dave Spencer, to switch the city's telephones to Prairie Wave. Prairie Wave is offering the city a rate of $14 per line, and seven cents a minute for long distance. The city is now paying $15 a line and eight cents a minute long distance to U.S. West.

If Lyon County switches to Prairie Wave, it was stated that the city would be able to call county offices in Marshall toll-free.

In other council business May 27:

• Sheila Leonard was appointed to a vacancy on the Tracy Planning Commission.

• The purchase of a $5,809 digital copier from Davis Typewriter was approved. Spencer recommended the purchase, explaining that a reduced per copy maintenance agreement would save about $1,100 a year.

• A June 30 date for a meeting with the Marshall City Council was approved. The Tracy council requested the joint meeting earlier this year, in order to discuss areas of mutual concern. Housing, transportation, economic development and a regional corrections facility are possible agenda items.

• A contract was okayed with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers was okayed, to allow Karaoke performances at the municipal liquor store.

• A proposal to repair the roof at the Tracy Multi-Purpose (Senior) Center was approved by Buysse Roofing of Marshall.

State funding cuts will total $149,000 for city

State funding cuts to the City of Tracy will be significant, but not as drastic as feared earlier.

City Administrator Audrey Koopman said Tuesday that she expects the city to lose about $149,000 in Local Government Aid from the State of Minnesota this year. However, there are not expected to be any further reductions in state aid next year. In February, Governor Tim Pawlenty proposed a budget that would have slashed Local Government Aid to Tracy by more than $400,000 over a two-year period.

"We can live with this," Koopman said, of the $149,000 reduction.

The lost $149,000 in state money will be made up in two ways. Last year, the city council increased its property tax levy by about $90,000 in anticipation of the lost state aid. This spring, the city enacted about $97,000 in spending cuts for this year. A variety of city fees were raised, which will raise an estimated $10,000 annually.

Since the combined city fee increases, property tax hikes, and spending cuts are more than the $149,000 in lost Local Government Aid, Koopman said that she expects the council to consider a cut in the city property tax levy for 2004. She said is it possible that some of the city budget cuts could be "revisited."

Softener, trip to Spain, Title money are among school topics

The District 411 board is saying no—at least for now—to a new water conditioner for the elementary school.

Custodian Jo Pyle presented the board with quotes from Culligan and EcoWater for water conditioners, and for demolition of the old softener and installation of the new one from Hander Plumbing and Heating and GH Plumbing and Heating.

Including demolition, installation, and a new conditioner, the total cost would range from about $8,400 on the low end to about $12,000 on the high end.

The current softener is original to the elementary school. While it is still working, Pyle said, the softener is experiencing several problems, and, because of its age, parts are difficult to come by.

Pyle told the board that while a new water conditioner is not critical at this time, it would be a good time to do it with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning improvements now taking place at the school.

“This project could wait,” he said.

The board agreed, with members citing cash flow issues that are expected to arise this summer. The board took no action.

Letters being sent to property owners about nuisance ordinance

The owners of nearly two-dozen Tracy dwellings are receiving certified letters from the City of Tracy this week.

The letters inform the property owners that they are in violation of the city's residential nuisance ordinances, and that they have 20 days to correct problems identified in the letter, or face the possibility of further legal action.

The 20 addresses are part of a list of 54 properties identified in a police survey earlier this spring. Police Chief Bryan Hillger told council members last week the violations at the 34 other properties had been "abated" after owners received an initial written notice. Hillger reported that as of May 22, problems at the other locations still existed. At Hillger's recommendation, the council ordered that letters be sent to the 20 property owners.

Vehicles with non-current license tabs, and accumulations of junk and debris in yards are the most common types of violations identified in the police survey.

FFA rounds-up awards

Tracy High School FFA members were recognized for 2002-03 accomplishments at a year-end awards banquet held at the Mediterranean Restaurant.

Erin McCoy received the president's gavel from out-going president Jeff Buyck. Other new officers inducted for the coming year are Kasey Schmidt, Jon Carter, Jason Morin, Kyle Lessman, Kim Lenertz, Brad Lanoue, Johanna Schmidt and Ann Lanoue.

Evan Peterson was announced as the chapter's DeKalb winner.

Other achievement cited at the banquet included:

State FFA degree—Emily Vandendriessche, Jeff Buyck, Evan Peterson.

Proficiency awards—Brienna Beierman, Laura Lanoue, Josh Ruppert, Jeff Buyck.

Chapter degrees—Johanna Schmidt, Laura Lanoue, Tina Gervais, Megan Meyer, Lynn Brockway, Kyle Lessman, Jon Carter, Scott Torkelson.

Horse judging–Lynn Brockway and Kylie Henkel earned gold placement in horse judging at the state convention. Brockway was the second highest individual in the state.

Fruit sales—Courtney Bitker, Kim Lenertz, and Laura Lanoue were recognized for selling over $1,000 during the annual FFA fruit sale.