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News from the week of August 13, 2003

Jim Creager remembered for contributions to school

Jim Creager, an administrator at Tracy Area High School for more than two decades, was eulogized this week as a respected school leader and a trailblazing advocate for girls' athletics.

Creager, 63, died Friday in Rapid City, S.D. A funeral service was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church of Tracy on Tuesday.

Creager came to Tracy in 1970, assuming a position as assistant high school principal and athletic director. He was named high school principal in 1985, succeeding longtime principal Art Marben.

"He was a good man," said Marben. "I always thought that he had a good working relationship with the students." Marben recalled that Creager was hired to fill the assistant principal's post, which was created to fill an accreditation requirement of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, "I was pleased to have Jim fill those boots.”

Centennial fair draws crowd

Rodeo nearly sells out Friday

More than a century's worth of exhibits, games, rides, food, and fun were celebrated last week during the Lyon County Fair centennial.

Roger Trulock, fair board member from Tracy, said that fair attendance was good, thanks, in part, to cooperative weather.

An extra day—Centennial Day—was added to the week's schedule of events. Featured were an antique tractor display, Shades of the Past car show, a flea market, ranch rodeo, and an appearance by farm broadcaster Lynn Ketelsen.

An estimated 650-700 people were served at a centennial supper held Wednesday evening. Those who attended were entertained by the Singing Farmers, a husband and wife musical team. Also that evening was a first-time event, a contemporary/inspirational music concert sponsored by Weiner Memorial Medical Center.

The best-attended event on Thursday was the rodeo. Thursday was also a big night on the Midway for bracelet night. Attendance at the Johnny Holm concert Thursday night could have been better, Trulock said.

“He was great, we just needed more people there.”

'Relay-for-Life' is Friday

Cancer survivors invited to take part in opening

The 10th annual Lyon County "Relay for Life" begins Friday night with a special tribute to cancer survivors at the county fairgrounds in Marshall.

All cancer survivors who are present for the 7 p.m. opening ceremony will receive an honorary sash and pin. Names of each individual will be read off as the survivors participate in a victory lap.

"It's a neat moment," says Margie Nielsen, Tracy, a member of this year's Relay-for-Life planning committee. All Lyon County people who have survived a battle with cancer are invited to participate. Survivors should be at the Lyon County Fairgrounds Arena no later than 6:30 p.m.

Relay-for-Life organizers hope to raise $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. The society uses the money for cancer research, educational programs and services to cancer survivors and their families.

Air war mounted against aphids

An extensive aerial spraying campaign is being mounted from the Tracy Municipal Airport this week in an effort to control an infestation of soybean aphids.

Three planes were operating from the airport Tuesday. Four to five planes were expected Wednesday. The aircraft, usually loaded with the herbicide Lorsban, were operating on the behalf of the Harvestland Cooperative of Morgan and Springfield and Meadowland Cooperative of Revere and Lamberton. The co-ops, in turn, accepted bookings from area farmers.

Russ Hacker and Jim Boyle of Harvestland said Tuesday that they had booked about 15,000 soybean acres within a 25 to 30 mile radius of Tracy. They expressed hope that spraying operations could be wrapped up in Tracy by the end of this week.

Paul Abrahamson, a pilot from Sartell, was spraying fields for Harvestland. He said that his plane, which can carry up to 500 gallons of herbicide at a time, can cover about 200 acres an hour.

Bob Byrnes, University of Minnesota Extension director for Lyon and Lincoln counties, calls the soybean aphid outbreak "significant." While this is the third summer that Minnesota has had soybean aphids, this is the first year of a widespread outbreak.

The aphid is a major concern, Byrnes said, because large aphid populations can reduce soybean populations by 40%. The threshold for treating aphids, he said, is when the aphid population reaches 150 to 250 bugs per plant. Aphid populations can grow rapidly, doubling within two to three days.

It's the berries! St. Mary's pies are fruitful fund-raiser

By Val Scherbart Quist

Most would agree that there are few things that can beat the taste—or smell—of a freshly baked pie. So it's no wonder that the sweet treats have become a popular fund-raiser for St. Mary's Church.

The idea first arose about two years ago. Betty Stassen had too many extra apples in her orchard, and hated to throw them out. She also knew that the Minneota Catholic church sold pies as a fund-raiser. She put the two thoughts together, and a group of volunteers has been making and selling frozen pies as a fund-raiser for the church ever since.

Stassen estimates that there are about 20 workers who get together to assemble the pies. Summer is the busiest time, because that's when the fresh fruit comes in. It's also the time of year when the most pies are sold.

All of the ingredients are homemade, from the crust to the filling. Stassen even renders the lard for the pies the old-fashioned way.

“They're all from scratch, and it's all fresh filling with the exception of cherry,” said Stassen.

State archers take aim for Olympics aspirant

Forty-one archers from across Minnesota gathered at Plum Creek Park Saturday and Sunday for the state FITA Archery Tournament.

The event—sponsored by the Minnesota State Archery Association—was put on by the Saratoga Archery Club. The FITA competition featured four rounds of shooting, with archers shooting at targets from four distances. The adult distances were 90, 70, 50, and 30 meters. Scoring is based on how close arrows are to the center of the target.

All proceeds from the tournament were given to Saratoga member Kelsey Robinson, Robinson, 18, is a 2003 Westbrook/Walnut Grove graduate who is training to make the 2008 U.S. Olympics archery team.

"This is great. I really appreciate what they are doing," said Robinson. "My club has always been very supportive of me." The money given to her from the tournament will go toward defraying training expenses.

Robinson, who has been shooting competitively for four years, shoots in about ten major tournaments each year. She recently competed in an international tourney in Reading, Pennsylvania. Now ranked as one of America's Top Ten women's juniors, she trains in the U.S. Olympic training facility in Chula Vista, California. She plans to attend Moorhead State University this fall, but hopes to transfer in another year to Texas A & M University, which fields a competitive archery team.