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News from the week of May 26, 2004

Engineers say aquatic center can be fixed

Tracy City Council members heard some good news and bad news about the Tracy Aquatic Center Tuesday night.

The good news is that engineering experts think that the aquatic center can be repaired. The bad news is that engineers also identified a wide assortment of aquatic center problems that would need to be corrected before the $1.8 million center could be put back in operation.

The council convened a special meeting Tuesday night to hear the findings and conclusions of an evaluation of the aquatic center by the engineering firm of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates of Minneapolis over the past several months. Lead engineer Brian Pashina presented the report.

Aquatic center problems "would not be considered significant enough to warrant removal and replacement of the pools," the report states. With comprehensive repairs, the aquatic center pools could be "expected to achieve the anticipated design life of 20 to 30 years with minimal maintenance," the report states.

In November, representatives from another engineering firm told council members that aquatic center problems were severe enough to consider demolition of the pool structure.

No specific recommendations were given for pool repairs Tuesday night, or how much the renovations might cost. Pashina cautioned that unresolved aquatic center issues might require additional tests. Decisions on the need for additional tests should be made within 30 days, Pashina indicated. Once that is done, WJE will make a repair recommendations to the city, he said. With the council's go-ahead, design specifications could be drafted before seeking bids from contractors, Pashina said.

Mayor Steve Ferrazzano said that the quicker the city could make a decision on aquatic center repairs, the better.

"It is important to get this done," the mayor said. If more testing is needed, Ferrazzano said he wants the decision made soon. "We want our pool fixed as soon as we can."

The city does not have to wait for the outcome of litigation before proceeding with repairs, the council was told.

WWII flyer, noted educator is Memorial Day speaker

The 2004 Memorial Day speaker in Tracy has had a star-spangled career in both military and professional life.

Dr. John Feda flew on 23 missions in a B-17 over Europe in World War II. A subsequent career in public education included 11 years as the Superintendent of Schools in Marshall, and three years as Minnesota Commissioner of Education.

The Tracy Memorial Day program begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday, at the Tracy Prairie Pavilion. The Tracy American Legion and VFW are sponsoring the event. The public is invited.

"We are very fortunate to have a speaker of this caliber," said Bernie Holm, Tracy American Legion post commander.

A native of Douglas County, Feda served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. After Nazi Germany's surrender in the spring of 1945, Feda was transferred to the Army Transport Command in the Pacific, as a navigator on a C-54. He was discharged from the service in 1946 with the rank of First Lieutenant, after three years of service.

He earned a bachelor's degree from St. John's University in 1950, and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1954. He completed work on his educational doctorate from Columbia University in 1970.

After teaching stints at Minneota (1950-52) and Alexandria (1952-55), Feda became the high school principal at Nicollet (1955-57). He was Superintendent of Schools at Villard (1957-61), Shakopee (1961-69), and Marshall (1970-81).

Dr. Feda served as the Minnesota Commissioner of Education from 1981-83. He held a government-industry relation's position with Schwan's Sales Enterprises of Marshall from 1983-89. He was the mayor of Marshall from 1988 to 1992. He came out of retirement to serve as interim Lyon County Administrator for three months in 2003.

Dr. Feda's wife, Betty Mae, is a registered nurse. They have six children, three sons and three daughters.

Dairy Queen treats given by Tracy grad

Got ice cream?

A Tracy Elementary third-grader posed the question to classmates Monday afternoon. A towering ice cream cone in the boy's hand answered the query.

Thanks to 1987 Tracy graduate Eric Peterson, more than 100 third and fifth-graders enjoyed ice cream treats at the Dairy Queen Monday. Peterson, who until recently was a marketing specialist for Dairy Queen, sponsored the delicious occasion because of nephew and niece, Alex and Galiya Bitton, who recently moved to Tracy. This isn't the first time Peterson dipped into ice cream philanthropy. He also treated Alex and Gailya's classmates at a Dairy Queen when the two lived in Illinois.

The Tracy Elementary third and fifth-graders wholeheartedly approved.

“It's pretty fun. You can get messy and stuff, and you can clean it up,” John Frisvold said, with a big ice cream mustache on his face.

Owner Brenda Hagert had another thought as she glanced around the crowded Dairy Queen.

“Maybe we have future Dairy Queen workers here.”

Third grade teacher Jan Landa said there was no doubt that the Dairy Queen trip was a hit with the kids.

“It's one of the positive things they'll remember their whole life,” Landa said.

Museum opens Thursday, more volunteers sought

Wheels Across the Prairie Museum in Tracy is opening for the season on Thursday, May 27.

The museum held its annual meeting last week to discuss the coming year. At the meeting, Dorthey Pamp was re-elected president and Mary Lou Ludeman re-elected secretary. Ludeman said attendance at the annual meeting was good.

Several projects are on tap at the museum this summer. The main project for the coming year is refurbishing and repainting the inside of the depot. New sidewalks have been poured at the museum site to provide easier accessibility. Other projects include fixing the head of the museum's windmill and working on the bathroom facility.

Ludeman said volunteers who could fill in on occasion are always needed at the museum.

“We invite people who might be interested in being hosts to come out and visit with us.”

She said the museum would like to find five or six people who could help out on occasions when a large group comes in or fill in when someone is gone. New members are always invited as well, she said.

One change this year is that the museum will not be open on Sundays except by appointment. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The museum prefers that appointments be made only for groups of six or more. To make an appointment, call Ludeman at 629-4374 or Pamp at 629-4918.

Ludeman also reminds people that Wheels Across the Prairie is also in charge of St. Mark's Museum, which is only open Labor Day weekend and by appointment.

Seniors challenged to live 'God-centered life'

Thirty-two Tracy Area High School seniors participated in baccalaureate services at the Tracy United Methodist Church Sunday night. The Tracy Ecumenical Church Council sponsored the non-denominational service.

Pastor Chad Seamann of the Tracy Church of Christ spoke. Seamann challenged students to be like the Biblical David, the shepherd boy who grew up to become the King of Israel. David, Pastor Seamann said, had the courage to stand up to Goliath.

"He stood up for what he knew was right."

David also fell prey to sin, the pastor said, pointing out that David committed adultery, and arranged the death of Bathsheba's husband. But David admitted his sin and sought atonement.

Pastor Seamann used David's son, Solomon, to illustrate his second point: Money, prestige, education, and worldly pleasures can not bring happiness.

Solomon was fabulously wealthy, Pastor Seamann noted. He had hundreds of wives. He indulged himself in creative pastimes and in the pursuit of knowledge. But ultimately, Solomon was frustrated by a lack of meaning in his life, Pastor Seamann said.

"Some of you are going to become wealthy. Some of you are going to be just scraping by.

"Some of you are going to marry a wonderful spouse and have well-adjusted kids, and some of you won't..."

Seamann challenged seniors to "live a God-centered life," which he said was the only way to have a truly happy, satisfying life.

• • •

The baccalaureate service was planned and conducted by students. Johanna Schmidt, Kim Lenertz, and Erin McCoy played the piano. Emily Rayman presented a welcome and greeting. Mollie Goltz led a prayer. Ann Lanoue read scripture. Yeng Her sang, "Go Light Your World." Stefanie Hebig led a closing prayer.

Shetek fishing tourney has whopping numbers of anglers

Fishermen were more plentiful than walleyes on Lake Shetek Saturday. A record 122 boats of anglers registered for the Lake Shetek Area Improvement Association's 13th annual walleye fishing tournament. but fishermen were challenged by less-than-ideal weather conditions and a difficult wallee bite. Only 25 boats of fishermen registered walleyes in the tournament, weighing in a total of 30 walleyes. Four entries registered panfish. but there were some nice walleyes caught.

David and Mike McCormick, an angling team from buffalo and Bursville, caught two walleyes totaling 11.57 pounds. They pocketed first-place money of $1,500.

Brad Rossow and Lon Hohenstein of Lakefield registered just one fish, but it was a whopper. Their walleye weighed in at just over 10.5 pounds, giving them second place overall in the tournament, plus honors for the largest walleye in the tournament. They received $800 for their second-place effort.

The first and second place teams both released their fish.

Tournament proceeds go toward the purchase of a second winter aerator for the lake.