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News from the week of November 26, 2003

City seeks medical talks with Marshall

Tracy City Council members want to explore potential collaborative medical options in Marshall.

Council members instructed city staff to arrange a meeting with the Marshall City Council after Jan. 1. The Tracy Area Medical Services advisory board will also be invited to also attend.

The Marshall-Tracy meeting was suggested by Jan Arvizu, the Tracy council's most senior member. Arvizu said that cooperative medical possibilities with Marshall should at least be considered, since so many Tracy area people work in Marshall.

"I just think we need to respond to all options," she said.

Arvizu referred to the existing planning involving Murray County Memorial Hospital in Slayton, Westbrook Health Care Center, and Tracy Area Medical Service. One cooperative plan being studied calls for the construction of a specialty medical clinic, centrally located to serve the "Shetek Hospitals." A Westbrook-Tracy-Murray County task force was appointed last week to study medical cooperative possibilities in the region and make a recommendation.

Arvizu suggested that collaborative medical ventures in the direction of Marshall might be a better fit for Tracy, compared with a central clinic orientated toward Murray County and Westbrook.

"My concern is that we need to explore all avenues before we make a decision on such a big thing," Arvizu said. She said that she had already called Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes to discuss the Tracy-Marshall meeting. The Marshall mayor, she said, was supportive of a Marshall-Tracy discussion.

The decision to seek the Marshall meeting was arrived at with little council discussion, beyond Arvizu's comments. Mayor Steve Ferrazzano said, "We all agree to that," of Arvizu's suggestion.

Pool lawsuit 'inevitable'

Mayor Steve Ferrazzano said Monday that he considers it "inevitable" that the city will need to file a lawsuit seeking damages for faulty construction at the Tracy Aquatic Center.

The mayor made his remarks to Tracy City Council members Monday, as council members prepared to hire a "construction attorney" to assist the city with the litigation. The council asked city attorney representatives Frank Nielsen and Jim Kerr to draw up a list of recommended attorneys.

Ferrazzano said that the city needs to move on hiring the attorney as soon as possible.

The City of Tracy has spent over $80,000 this fall testing and analyzing the concrete pool basins at the Tracy Aquatic Center. Earlier this month, engineers from Braun Intertec of Minneapolis reported that significant and widespread structural problems had been discovered at the pool. Voids and foreign objects in pool walls are among the problems that have been identified. The consultants said that repairs of the existing structure can't be guaranteed. Demolition may be the only way to insure the long-range integrity of the aquatic center's pools, council members were told. (The aquatic center's bath house and concession stand would not be affected by any demolition).

The city is already involved in pool litigation that was initiated by Olympic Pools, a major pool contractor who contends that the city has unjustly withheld contractual payments dating from the pool's construction. A trial is scheduled on March 1.

The $1.8 million aquatic center opened in July of 2002. Significant cracking in pool basins was noticed this spring. The new aquatic center replaced a 50-year-old pool that opened in 1951.

The aquatic center, in its current state, can not be opened for another season of swimming. The pool's Diamond Brite finish coat, as well as portions of the underlying concrete, were chipped off with air hammers during this fall's testing process.

Lynn Brockway, Jon Carter are Tracy ExCEL selections

Tracy Area High School juniors Jonathon Carter and Lynn Brockway have been named ExCEL (Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership) award winners for the 2003-2004 school year.

Jon is the son of Ed and Mary Carter. Lynn is the daughter of Bill and Kathy Brockway.

To be eligible for the award, students must, in addition to being a junior in high school, make satisfactory progress toward graduation requirements, participate in a League-sponsored fine arts and/or athletic activity, hold a leadership position in his or her school, and work voluntarily in the community.

Jon has been an A-honor roll student in ninth through eleventh grades and won an academic letter in 2002 and 2003. He is active in Future Farmers of America, where he has served as a chapter officer, corn drive chairman, and a member of the general livestock and forestry judging team, as well as participating in the PALS program. Last year, he placed first in the region and third in the state Farm Bureau Discussion meet through FFA. He is also a Peer Counselor and a member of the National Honor Society.

In the community, he is an active 4-H member, and has served as 4-H fruit sale coordinator for the past three years. He has also participated in his 4-H club's Adopt-a-Highway project. In addition, he has volunteered to pop popcorn at the Wilder Pageant, gone on three “YouthWorks” servant trips, served at The Banquet soup kitchen, is a Sunday School assistant, and has worked to shingle his church's social hall and parsonage.

He has been involved in track, competing in discus, shotput, and 110 hurdles. He lettered in both 2002 and 2003, and received the “best attitude” award in 2002. He is also a band member, playing in the concert, marching, and pep bands, as well as the brass choir. He has been first chair in his section since 10th grade and was in honor band in 9th grade. He has received spotlight on scholarship awards for both track and band.

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Lynn is also an A-honor roll student, and is the junior class president. She is a National Honor Society member and a Peer Counselor. She is on the Sweetheart Dance committee and is chairman of the Prom committee this year. She has been the recipient of an art excellence award, academic excellence award, and Presidential Physical Fitness awards.

As an FFA member, Lynn has participated on the horse judging team, equine science entrepreneurship, and in the horse judging state competition. She has also received the FFA outstanding academic excellence award. She has also been a participant in the FFA PALS program.

Lynn is a member of her church youth choir. She has volunteered her time for Meals on Wheels, the food shelf, and food drive. As a 4-Her, she has been an ambassador and has been the horse project leader.

She has been a participant in both basketball and fast-pitch softball, and has received spotlight on scholarship awards in both sports. Lynn is also a member of the concert, marching, and pep bands. As first clarinet, she is a member of the honor band, ensemble and solo groups, and is also a drum major. She has received two outstanding musicianship awards. Lynn has also been in choir, where she was a soloist.

McConnell, Jones named 'teachers of year'

Kelly McConnell and Steve Jones were honored as "teachers-of-the-year" for Tracy Public Schools last week.

The honors were announced at the District 417 American Education Week banquet Thursday. McConnell, a third-grade and Title One instructor, is Tracy Elementary School's selection. Jones, a senior high English teacher, is the Tracy Area High School honoree.

Aric Carpenter, Tracy Elementary student council president; and Stefanie Hebig, high school student council president; announced the selections. Student votes at each school determined the selections.

Elementary award

McConnell is a native of Florida, where she was graduated from Coral Springs High School, Coral Springs. After earning a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Florida Atlantic University in Boco Raton, Florida, she moved to Colorado, where she worked as a substitute teacher and receptionist.

She and her husband, Tom, moved to a farm east of Balaton in 1998. They have two children: Bailey and Reilly.

In her fifth year at Tracy Elementary, McConnell has been a classroom teacher in grades six, four, and three, and also served as the school's lead Title I teacher. This year McConnel divides her time between the third grade and Title I. She is the school's volunteer student council advisor.

Senior high award

Jones is a native of Shavertown, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from Dallas High School in Dallas, Pennsylvania in 1977, where he was active in chorus and drama, and also participated in basketball, baseball, and cross country.

He spent the 1977-78 school year in Villahermosa, Mexico as a foreign exchange student, before attending Southwest State University from 1978-83. Following college, he moved to Tracy, where he ran the local KMHL radio studio. He joined Enderson Clothing in 1985, purchasing the business in 1993. He continued working for KMHL on a part-time basis, broadcasting over 600 area high school sporting events. He was elected to a term on the Tracy City Council.

In 1996, Jones began pursuing an education degree from Southwest State. He earned his bachelor's degree in education in1998, with majors in Spanish and speech communications, and a minor in language arts. He joined District 417's high school faculty in 1998.

Since joining the school, Jones has been active as an advisor and coach.

He coached the school's speech program for four years, building the program from 12 students in 1998 to 79 in 2001.

Jones also became the head track boys' and girls' track coach in 1998. Under his leadership, the girls' track team twice earned state runner-up honors in Class A True Team competition.

For the past three years, Jones has been attending graduate school. He earned a Master's degree in educational administration in May of 2003, and is scheduled to graduate in December with a specialist degree in educational administration. His wife, Kristin Haugo-Jones, is a physical education teacher at Tracy Elementary. There are four Jones children: David, 14; Alex, 12; Noah, 5; and Hannah, 2.

Senior becomes Eagle Scout

J Tee Hamilton was in good company Saturday as he received his Eagle Scout Award.

Two of Hamilton's uncles participated in Hamilton's Eagle Court of Honor. Both are Eagle Scouts. George Starken, his great uncle, became an Eagle Scout in Tracy in 1950. An uncle, Glenn Hamilton of Eagan, became an Eagle Scout in 1978 in Battle Ground, Indiana.

Starken, who was the court-of-honor keynote speaker, said that his Eagle rank is still one of his most cherished honors.

"You are always an Eagle," he said.

Starken noted that only 4% of boys who enter Scouting attain the Eagle rank. Eagle Scouts who have gone on to distinguished careers include Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon; and former President Gerald Ford.

Hamilton joined the Tracy Scouting program in 1996 when his family moved to Tracy from Indiana. For his Eagle public service project, Hamilton sanded and rustproofed antique farm implements at the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum. Over 130 hours were spent on the project.

A senior at Tracy Area High School, Hamilton is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. He joined the army reserve as a junior and attended basic training last summer. He now has a rank of Private First Class. This summer he will attend an Advanced Individual Training camp with the Guard.

Next fall, Hamilton plans to attend Minnesota West Community College, where he plans to study criminal justice. He is the son of Geana Hamilton of Tracy.

Lutefisk dinner has big turnout

Eighty pounds of lutefisk? Uff-da!

Add in 30 pounds of meatballs and 70 dozen pieces of lefse, and what do you get? A successful second annual holiday dinner at the Tracy Multi-Purpose Center.

The dinner, sponsored by the Multi-Purpose Center and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Lyon County, served 130 people last week in two seatings. Eighty-five people ate during the first seating, and 45 people ate during the second session. People traveled from Wabasso, Westbrook, Marshall, and Slayton for the event.

“The reputation is growing,” said Sheila Leonard, RSVP coordinator.

Local musician Darrel Larsen provided entertainment.

Money raised goes toward needs at the Multi-Purpose Center such as decorations and equipment. Some of the money from last year's event was used to buy lefse-making equipment, including grills and rolling pins.