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News from the week of November 17, 2004

Wall of Fame' to grow by three

Vincent Wixon, La Vonne Wyffels Lutz, and Howard C. Rose will become the latest inductees into the Tracy Area High School "Wall of Fame" Thursday. They will be honored at District 417’s American Education Week Banquet, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Mediterranean.
All three honorees have indicated plans to attend Thursday night’s banquet.

Vince Wixon
Vince Wixon was born in Tracy in 1944, and attended Tracy schools. He still maintains contact with several of his Tracy High School teachers he admired both in the classroom and as fellow baseball players on town teams.
After receiving a BA from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Masters Degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, Vince taught for nearly 30 years. He taught at Washington State University, Northern Illinois University, and Utah State University, before certifying to teach public school at Utah State University in 1973. Then he taught two years at Carbon High School in Price, Utah, three years at McNary High School in Salem, Ore., and 23 years at Crater High School in Central Point, Ore.
In 1988, he was named Oregon Teacher of the Year. His many years of summer work for the National Writing Project contributed to this award.
During his teaching career, Wixon received several other awards and grants, including being named a National Endowment for the Humanities Teacher-Scholar to serve for a year as a scholar-in-residence in the William Stafford Archive. This began 13 years Wixon has served as a volunteer archivist, resulting in his co-editing five books of poetry and prose by William Stafford and a series of documentary videos and CDs on Stafford’s poetry.
Wixon also produced a video on Lawson Fusao Inada using poems Inada wrote about his experiences as a child in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. Wixon wrote teaching guides for these videos which have been used by teachers in many states and several countries including Japan, England, and Guatemala.
Wixon is frequently invited to present workshops on writing and poetry at National Council of Teachers conferences, National Writing Project sites, and various colleges and high schools. He is also a well-known Shakespeare teacher serving as co-director of an NEH-funded Shakespeare in Performance Institute for teachers from around the country for 14 summers.
During his teaching career, Wixon also continued his own writing of reviews and articles for professional journals and chapters in textbooks on teaching writing. Wixon’s poetry has appeared in several literary magazines. His chapbook, Seed, included many poems about growing up on a Tracy farm, and another book of poems called The Square Grove will be published by Traprock Press in 2005. The cover of this book will feature a photo of the Wixon barn built by Vince’s great-grandfather, S.S. Phelps, in 1915.
Vince retired from teaching in 2000, but continues to contribute to the fields of writing and literature as a volunteer. He’s in his 24th year as co-editor of poetry for a monthly public radio program guide with a circulation of nearly 8,000. He gives workshops on teaching poetry and last spring when his local school district budget forced a reduction in class options at Ashland High School, he taught as a volunteer a semester-long class on Shakespeare.

La Vonne Wyffels
La Vonne Wyffels Lutz was born on the family farm during a terrific dust storm in 1933. She began first grade at the District 53 one-room country school in 1939, and was the only one in her class for seven years.
In 1946, she began eighth grade at Tracy Junior High School. She graduated from Tracy High School in 1951, and was the class salutatorian.
Following high school, she attended college at the College of St. Catherine, where she was a member of Kappa Gamma Pi. She graduated in 1955 with a B.S. degree, and went on to a University of Iowa Hospitals dietetic internship in 1956. She began her hospital dietetics career that same year with the Baptist Hospital Foundation and Hamline University. She received her M.S. from the University of Iowa in 1957.
With all of her other achievements, Lutz considers motherhood her greatest achievement of all. She welcomed two sons, James Thomas and Thomas Murray Fritz in 1961 and 1963.
In 1966, Lutz began working for the Minneapolis Health Department in maternal and child health. She began her graduate study in public health at the University of Minnesota that same year. In 1967, she began working with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Pediatrics, College of Human Ecology, and Community University Health Care Clinic.
Lutz was named to the Governor’s Council on Aging in 1972. Eight years later, she established a private practice, specializing in professional nutrition management. In 1986 she joined the Minnesota Department of Health’s technical consultation and training team. She became health facility evaluator for the Minnesota Department of Health in 1992.
In 1996, Lutz relocated from Minneapolis to Southwest Minnesota and began semi-retirement. She resumed her professional nutrition management career in the southwest corner of the state. In 2000, she began working as a senior college advisor and student at Southwest Minnesota State University, and also began working with family farm management, volunteerism, and writing.
Lutz has volunteered for the Marshall Human Rights Commission; Marshall Lyon County Library Board; People to People as an ambassador to the Republic of China and Egypt; Friendship Force as an ambassador to New Zealand; American, Minnesota and Twin Cities Dietetic Association, American Home Economics Association; Minnesota Nutrition Council (president); St. Anthony High School Parents (president); St. Anthony High School Drug Awareness Task Force; U.S. Naval Academy Minnesota Parents (president); St. Anthony AAU Swimming Parents (secretary); and Cub Scouts.

Howard Rose
Howard C. Rose is a 1940 Tracy High School graduate. During high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and active in athletics. He was a member of the Tracy High School all-conference football team and state tournament basketball team in 1940.
He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before serving in the military in World War II. He spent 28 months in Europe on the 517th Parachute Combat Team, and fought during the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry Badge for his military service.
Following W.W. II, Rose graduated from St. Olaf College, where he was a member of the football team. After graduation he coached the St. James High School football team to a state championship and became the first football coach at the new Alexander Ramsey High School in St. Paul. He was also the first principal of Capitol View Junior High School in St. Paul.
Rose went on to secure his masters and doctorate degrees before returning to his alma mater, St. Olaf College, as Dean of Academic Affairs, and a professor in the education department. He completed an internship with the American Counsel of Education in San Fernando Valley State College in Northridge, Calif.
He then became the president of Valley City State College in Valley City, North Dakota. He then went on to become Dean of Education and Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. He served in this capacity until retirement.
Other achievements include becoming director of the Senior Mentor Program at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and receiving the Distinguished Service Award from California Lutheran University.

Honored veterans thankful, proud

Three Tracy area veterans were honored last week for their service to their country.
Honored at a Veterans’ Day program at Tracy Area High School were Corporal Jay Bosacker, PFC Paul Knoblauch, and Staff Sergeant Ernie Surprenant.
Tracy Area Public Schools Superintendent David Marlette introduced the three veterans.
"All three of our honored guests today saw the death and destruction that comes with war," Marlette said. "They all said the same basic thing: ‘I am proud to have served my country. I am very thankful to have survived and been able to live in our wonderful community.’"
Marlette also read a short biography of each veteran honored.

For more on this story, see this week's Headlight Herald.


Dennis Morgan inducted into
Nashville songwriters Hall of Fame

Tracy native Dennis Morgan was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Songwriters Hall of Fame, Nov. 7. An awards dinner was held at the Lowe's Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Country artists Jessica Andrews, Marcel and James Slater paid homage to Morgan by performing the Morgan penned "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," a No. 1 worldwide smash pop duet for Aretha Franklin and George Michael.
Country star Keith Urban followed up the performance with a version of "Roll On Mississippi," a No. 1 Country hit for Charley Pride, before being joined on stage by Ronnie Milsap to perform two of Milsap's biggest hits, "Smoky Mountain Rain" and "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For the World," both written by Morgan.
Morgan's professional song writing career has spanned four decades. His songs have been recorded by the biggest artists in Country and Pop, including Barbara Mandrell, Faith Hill, Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton. He has had over 25 records and is still actively writing hits, as well as running his own publishing companies, recording studios and record labels.

For more on this story see this week's Headlight Herald.


'Old-fashioned Christmas' set Sunday

A sleigh ride of festive activities is promised for the Old Fashioned Christmas celebration in Tracy, Sunday, Nov. 21.
Many events place in the Tracy Prairie Pavilion from 11 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Many Tracy businesses are also offering special sales and activities at individual stores.
Shoppers have a chance to win up to $375 worth of Tracy Cash. For a chance to win the $100 grand prize, two $50 prizes, or seven $25 prizes, people need only register at a participating store. The drawing will be held at 3:45 p.m. at the Pavilion. People must be present to win.
About 20 exhibits and booths will be at the Pavilion Sunday, featuring wares from crafts to homemade pies.
Old-Fashioned Christmas events at the Pavilion include:
o Pictures with Santa, sponsored by the Panther cheer team, from 1 to 3 p.m.
o Horse-drawn wagon rides around town, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($1 a person).
o Tracy Methodist Church youth food stand, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
o Piano selections by Tracy students, 1:30 to 2 p.m.
o Tracy Community Band Concert and sing-a-long, 3 to 3:45 p.m.
o Free punch and cookies served by Tracy Kiwanis.
The Tracy Area High School Chamber choir will be caroling around town from 1 to 1:30 p.m. St. Mary's School hosts its annual soup and pie lunch at the school gym from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Old-Fashioned Christmas events are sponsored by Business Partnership Committee of the Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more on this story, see this week's Headlight Herald.



Common wall between buildings complicates demolition plans

A common wall is complicating plans to demolish a vacant building east of the municipal liquor store.
The City of Tracy acquired the South Street property earlier this year for $500, with the intent of tearing down the brick building. Tracy City Council members approved the purchase of the building from Jason Stephens with the idea of using the space for a patio on the east side of the liquor store.
Ron Radke, liquor store manager, recommended the construction of the patio as a way of increasing on-sale business during the warm weather months.
Last week, council members got an update on demolition plans for the building.
Public Works Director Rick Robinson indicated that the razing of the building hadn't been a priority because of other more pressing work. When the structure is torn down, a common wall between the liquor store and the old pool hall will be an issue," he said.

For more on this story, see this week's Headlight Herald.


Retired Air Force Colonel shares perspective of being a veteran

By Val Scherbart Quist
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Jim Behrens began his Veterans’ Day speech with those words, attributed to John Stuart Mill. Behrens gave his speech during last week’s Veterans’ Day program at Tracy Area High School.
Behrens focused on three areas during his speech. First, he said, "Veterans are a little bit different people." Not in a bad way—they just look at things differently.
For example, "general parking" to a civilian means anyone can park there. To a veteran, it means the spot is reserved for a general.
"AAA" to a civilian means American Automobile Association or a size of batteries. To a veteran, it means "anti-aircraft artillery."
To a veteran, he said, "homefield advantage" is an oxymoron. He cited Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as examples.
"The fact is, we don’t want to fight here at home."
He said veterans also have camaraderie between them, no matter what branch they served in.
They also have core values, which they have sworn to uphold.
"Today, fewer Americans understand what military service means," he said. "Do these core values work? The answer is yes."

For more on this story, see this week's Headlight Herald.