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News from the week of October 8, 2003

Child-care center hinges on money

Before & after-school program also proposed

Planning continues for a non-profit child-care center in Tracy.

Tracy Kids' World Inc. is hoping to open a day care that could serve up to 60 pre-school children. Options are being studied to either renovate an existing building or build a new facility near Tracy Hospital and the Prairie View nursing home.

"We feel that August of 2004 is a realistic goal for opening," comments Louise Nooman, administrative assistant for the Tracy Chamber of Commerce and community development office.

Financing for the project is still uncertain, however.

Nooman said that the estimated cost of a new facility is about $500,000. She is seeking to raise $100,000 to $150,000 from "larger companies that service the immediate area." A significant local financial commitment is needed, she said, before Tracy Kids' World can seek low-interest loans and grants from the federal Rural Development Agency to finance the remainder of costs.

Prospects for obtaining money from Rural Development are good, Nooman said, because child-care centers are a priority for the agency.

The campaign to build a Tracy day care center was launched about two years ago by the Chamber and the Tracy Economic Development Authority. After surveys showed a needed for additional day-care services in Tracy, a non-profit organization was formed to spearhead the project. The effort was assisted by a $5,000 planning grant from a Minneapolis foundation.

The proposed child-care facility would serve pre-school children, including infants. Tentative hours would be from about 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Area medical services report expected soon

Central clinic is one of models

By Seth Schmidt

What is the best model for providing medical services in the Tri-County area?

Sioux Valley Rural Health Services has commissioned two studies which are trying to answer that question. Data from the studies will be shared with the public soon.

"We do expect that we will be holding public meetings within 60 days," said Rick Nordahl, chief operating officer for Tracy Area Medical Services, the Westbrook Healthcare Center, and Murray County Memorial Hospital in Slayton.

A Minneapolis architectural and engineering firm was hired last winter to develop a "master facilities" plan for health-care services in all three communities. A second study by a Twin Cities accounting firm was launched later to evaluate financial models for different health-care scenarios involving the three communities.

"We want to find out how we can best use our space and our dollars," Nordahl said.

Both studies look at ways in which resources from Tracy, Westbrook, and Slayton can be "integrated" to improve services and operating efficiencies. A new centrally-located clinic—perhaps in the Currie/Lake Shetek area—is one model being examined. Another option calls for the development and expansion of specialty medical programs in each of the three communities. Cardiology, urology, orthopedics, oncology, pediatrics, and dermatology are among the specialty areas being considered. For example, one community might specialize in orthopedics, while another might establish an oncology program, with pediatrics located in a third community. Patients would be encouraged to see specialists in the affiliated clinic that meets their needs.

Millers unveiling new business next week

By Val Scherbart Quist

A unique new business is opening its doors in Tracy next week.

Uniquely Yours, owned by Jim and Ade Miller of Tracy, will officially open its doors on Friday, Oct. 17. Doors will open at 9 a.m. The business, which specializes in revitalized furniture and accessories, is opening in the former Almlie Furniture building on 3rd St. in downtown Tracy.

The Millers bought the building in June and have been in the renovating process over the past three months. One big change is the hardwood floor, which was redone by Dick Jacobsen.

The large main floor showroom space has been arranged into 13 vignettes, or groupings. Each space also has its own custom wall treatment.

“It's set up by color so everything is color-coordinated,” said Ade Miller. “We hope that it will give people ideas about what they can do with a room.”

Each area has its own distinct personality and color palette, from green to pink and safari to kids' rooms.

Most of the furniture has been hand-painted. The Millers take pieces of furniture that are perhaps slightly damaged in some way, fix them, and embellish them with decorative paint.

Harvest of goodwill

Neighbors help surgery-sidelined farmer

"It's nice to have good neighbors," remarked Gary Pemble, as he gazed at the soybean fields surrounding his Springdale Township farmstead.

It was a perfect autumn day. Sunshine kissed the golden foliage of the farm grove. A breeze blew gently from the southwest. Only the whir of distant combines chewing through amber soybeans broke the silence.

A platoon of friends and neighbors turned out at the Pemble homestead Monday to harvest the family's soybean crop. Five combines and a convoy of grain trucks harvested and hauled out 150 acres of soybeans in a matter of hours.

Normally, Pemble would have been out harvesting his own crop. But this September he underwent cancer surgery. The Redwood County farmer is on his feet again, but he is still in no condition for farm work.

He stressed Monday how thankful he was for his neighbors' help.

Bob Syverson, one of those helping with the Pemble harvest, downplayed the good deed.

"This is what neighbors are for," he said.

Others who assisted with the Pemble soybean harvest were Bob Boerboom, Brian Johnson, Bruce Johnson, Junior Landuyt, Mike Landuyt, Jamie Labat, Scott Hoffman, Dave Hoffman, Harold Hewitt, and Bob Knott.

Gary and Marlys Pemble have three adult children: Curt, Mankato; Wendy, Denver, Colorado; and Cindy, Bloomington. Marlys Pemble is a para-professional at Tracy Elementary School.

Summer approaches for Tracy woman—in Antarctica

By Val Scherbart Quist

Minnesotans may think they're the authorities on cold weather. But how cold is really cold?

The average annual temperature at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica is zero degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, the temperature can reach as high as 50 degrees. The average winter temperature is –58 degrees.

Minnesotans have survived that, right?

Well, at times at McMurdo Station—in fact, just as recently as a couple of weeks ago—the mercury gets all the way into the 90s. Below zero, that is. Not to mention the 100-mph. winds that sometimes accompany the bone-chilling temps.

Now that's cold!

Taking all of this into consideration, why would anyone want to go there? That's a good question. Just ask Karla Seaberg, who could be leaving for the icy continent as soon as Oct. 19.

“I'm going down there to work hard,” says the 32-year-old Tracy woman.

Seaberg, who will spend a year working for the Raytheon Company in Antarctica, will be one of 400 support staff members at McMurdo Station, in addition to 610 scientists who will be researching everything from meteorology to marine biology. Seaberg will be among representatives of 22 different countries working in Antarctica over the next year.

Wind energy rebates offered

Grants for development of locally owned wind energy projects are now available through the Minnesota Department of commerce, State Rep. Aaron Peterson announced this week.

"This is an excellent opportunity for communities in our region to obtain financial assistance for wind energy projects," Peterson, of rural Madison, said. "I encourage local communities and organizations to look into the program."

The Community Wind Rebate program will provide two grants of $150,000 each to qualifying projects. The application deadline is Nov. 13, 2003.

Projects must be capable of generating at least 750 kilowatts of power and be operating and connected to the electric grid by June 30, 2005. The projects must be "community owned," meaning they must be owned by non-commercial entities such as schools or colleges, non-profit organizations, or units of local government.