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News from the week of August 18, 2004

School draws near

Elementary registration next week

Tracy Area Elementary School staff is hosting a two-day student registration next week.

Registration days are Tuesday and Wednesday, August 24-25, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to register their student for school at that time. Student registration is required for the 2004-05 school year.

An open house at Tracy Elementary is set Tuesday, August 31, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. A parent or guardian must accompany students.

For questions, parents can call the elementary school office at 629-5518. Wednesday, Sept. 1, is the first day of school.

New student orientation set at high school Tuesday

Seventh grade and new student orientation is planned Tuesday, August 24, at Tracy Area High School.

The orientation begins at 9 a.m. in the high school lunch room. A general session will brief students about school policy and programs, and allow time for student questions. Building tours will be given. All students will receive schedules and be assigned a locker. Parents are encouraged to attend.

"This is a good opportunity for students and parents to spend some time in the building to locate classrooms and lockers," explains Principal Chad Anderson.

Student registration for returning students in grades 8-12 is also planned next week. Students can come to the high school office on Tuesday or Wednesday, August 24 and 25, to pick up schedules. School office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Lockers for students in grades 7-10 will be assigned. Juniors and seniors may choose lockers. Rural students must be prepared to list an in-town winter "storm home."

Students in grades 10-12 have the option of leaving school grounds during the noon school lunch period. Parents will be required to grant permission for students to leave the school grounds during the lunch period. Forms will be available at registration time. Anderson indicates that completed, signed forms must be on file before students will be permitted to leave the building at noon.

The first day of class for students is Wednesday, Sept. 1.

Interim hospital administrator named

A hospital administrator from Jackson has been named interim chief executive officer for Tracy Area Medical Services, Murray County Memorial Hospital, and the Westbrook Health Center.

David Hove, CEO at the Jackson Medical Center, assumed his added responsibilities Friday. He is expected to serve in that capacity until a permanent CEO can be named.

According to a statement from Sioux Valley Regional Health Services, Hove will work closely with Rick Nordahl, chief operating officer; and Jeri Schons, assistant administrator. Both had assumed additional responsibilities following the July 27 resignation of former CEO Dan Reiner.

"We've asked a lot of them and they have excelled," said Ed Weiland, Sioux Valley Regional Health Services president. With Hove working about two days each week in Tracy, Westbrook, and Slayton, Weiland indicated that Nordahl and Schons would be able to concentrate on their regular duties.

Hove has more than 25 years experience in the healthcare field. Prior to coming to Jackson in 2001, he served as president and CEO of St. Joseph's Area health Services, Park Rapids, and was CEO at Hillsboro Community Hospital and Home in Hillsboro, N.D. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul-Minneapolis; and his health care administration degree from Concordia College, Moorhead. He is retaining his regular duties in Jackson during the interim period.

"Having David here with us will help tremendously," said Nordahl. "I've worked with David and welcome his expertise and assistance. I know he will be an asset to the organizations."

Cancer survivor shares story to help others

Chris Schons is honorary Relay-for-Life co-chair

By Brady Averill

It was just a routine self-breast exam. A morning exercise. She sat in her bathroom, feeling for what no woman hopes to find. But she felt it. A lump. It would go away, she thought. It didn't

Every cancer survivor has a story. And for each one, it's different.

Two years after that fateful morning, Chris Schons will tell hers. She is a Lyon County Relay for Life honorary co-chair, and will speak Friday evening at the 11th annual "Feat at the Fairgrounds" opening ceremony.

“I hate giving speeches. I feel very self-conscious in front of people,” she said.

Nevertheless, she'll disregard her phobia for one night. She'll stand at a podium, and share her story with thousands of survivors, relatives and supporters.

“If there's someone out there that I can maybe put their mind at ease a little bit or help their family cope a little better, then it's worth it. If I can make someone think `I can get through this after all,' then that will make me feel good,” she said.

“I think it takes a lot of guts and courage to tell people your story,” said Margie Nielsen, also a cancer survivor.

What the 51-year-old breast cancer survivor will say exactly, she doesn't yet know. It will come to her, probably Thursday evening, she said. But she has a story, one about a family in transition, about her own therapy, about dealing with it.

Her family will likely be included in her speech, because after all, they were her main support system while she fought her cancer battle. She wasn't the only one who endured the effects of cancer. Cancer holds many hostage: victim and family.

“I'm the one who got cancer, but my family was very much affected by this, also,” she said.

Three AFS students welcomed

Three AFS foreign exchange students have arrived in Tracy. The teens-a boy from France, a girl from Italy and a girl from Guatemala-will attend school at Tracy Area High School this coming school year.

Guillame Frebault, the French youth, is staying with the Louis and Laura DuCharme family. Italian Valeira Sotte is staying atthe home of Tom and Joan Gervais. Jim and Jeanine Vandendriessche are hosting the Guatemalan girl, Diana Benavente.

A welcome picnic honoring the student is planned Thursday, August 26, at the DuCharme home. The potluck picnic (bring a dish to pass) begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call the DuCharme home at 763-3442.

Board receptive to school land sale

Land west of Tracy Elementary School may be the site of a new housing development in Tracy.

Tracy Economic Development Director Robert Gervais received a positive reception from the District 417 board of education Monday night as he presented the idea to the board.

Gervais told the board that the EDA is interested in purchasing the land for new housing development. There is only one prime lot left to sell in the Eastview addition, he said, and the EDA is looking for other prospective development sites.

“We want to be progressive and proactive in what we do,” Gervais said. “Bringing in young families to the community will help all of us.”

With the city council looking into storm sewer improvements in that area, now would be a good time to develop the area, Gervais said.

Superintendent David Marlette agreed. “What better time to work with the city than now?” he said.

Gervais said it would be up to the district to decide how much land they want to sell, and the EDA would make an offer. Board member Garry Hippe said the boundary would likely be an unmowed grass area to the west, and a tree line to the north.

Based on an early estimate, Gervais said, the site has the potential for 15 to 20 houses. He said entrances to the addition would be placed so that they would not be directly across from the elementary school. Rather than a square block layout, he added, the EDA would likely put in cul de sacs and allow for larger lots.

“The sooner we get started, the sooner we can market it,” Gervais said.

Hippe felt that a development close to both school buildings would be a draw for families.

“I think we should proceed with it,” he said.

Board member Peg Zwach agreed. “I think it's a great idea.”

The district will get a better idea of the amount of land they are willing to sell, and get back to Gervais.

The school district acquired the land more than 30 years ago with the idea that it would eventually be the site of a middle school. No middle school has been needed, and the district currently only mows the site.