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News from the week of Augsut 31, 2005


Thirteen seek Miss Tracy honors

Thirteen Tracy Area High School seniors will compete this weekend for the title of Miss Tracy. The annual scholarship program begins Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Tracy Area High School.

The group of 13 is the largest group of Miss Tracy contestants in at least 20 years.

Co-director Jesse James said the large group presented a fun challenge in mapping out the evening’s program.

“We didn’t want to make it too long,” James said. “We’re streamlining the program so it’s fair to the girls and the audience.”

Co-director Sandy Fultz said the program was arranged very carefully in order to give each girl the attention she deserves.

James credited the hard-working participants for their willingness to attend rehearsals that have run later than most years.

Fultz agreed, saying the girls have been hardworking and fun to work with—not to mention talented.

“The judges are going to have a very hard decision,” she said.

He said the program will contain many interesting moments. There will be a segment featuring technology, changes in staging, and much music.

Contestants are vying for $4,800 in scholarships. The 2005 Miss Tracy will be awarded $1,300. The first and second runners up will receive $700 and $300, respectively. An additional $500 in scholarships will be given in the following categories, which participants are judged upon: scholastic achievement, creative arts presentation, fitness, presence and composure, and panel evaluation. Each candidate will also receive an alumni scholarship.

James said it is a huge credit to the program that Miss Tracy alumni are willing to contribute to the alumni scholarships.

“I think that says a lot for what it’s done over the years,” he said.

Fultz said she feels fortunate to work this year’s team of Miss Tracy directors. Besides she and James, directors are Vicki Nilius, Lori Bangasser, Dona Daniels, Colleen Schiller, and Sue Warner.

She said she also appreciated the volunteers who help in areas such as scholastic judging, tabulating and coordinating for the judges, taking tickets, and working backstage the day of the program.

“Our program is a success because of all the people who are involved with it,” she said.

This year’s Miss Tracy contestants are:

Amanda Olafson, daughter of Scott and Kim Olafson

Jillian Tholen, daughter of Randy and Elaine Tholen

Krista Swanson, daughter of John and Becky Swanson

Emily Minett, daughter of Lisa Minett, Kelly Miller, and Tom Gladis

Casie Miller, daughter of John and Claryce Miller

Cayla Caron, daughter of Robert and Donna Caron

Jacqueline Coulter, daughter of John and Muriel Coulter

Jenna Fischer, daughter of Elaine and the late Bill Fischer

Emily Miller, daughter of James and Adeline Miller

Ashlee Domine, daughter of John and Joni Domine

Bobbi Jo Buyck, daughter of Joe and Lynn Buyck

Brianna Schroeder, daughter of Dennis and Dawn Schroeder

Stacy LaVoy, daughter of Stephen and Janette LaVoy

Contestant portraits are on display at Summit Place in Downtown Tracy.

Tracy Box Car Days ready to roll

Excitement is building for the 78th annual Tracy Box Car Days.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to get together,” said Tracy Chamber Manager JoAnn Biren. “Tracy Box Car Days has established itself throughout the years as being a weekend of phenomenal entertainment.”

The tradition will begin Friday evening, Sept. 2 and continue through Monday, Sept. 5.

Many favorite events are returning for the four-day celebration. Biren said there is an impressive line-up on deck for Monday’s parade. The Tracy Area High School marching band, Tracy Community Band, Southwest Minnesota State University marching band, Lucan Community Band, and the Over-60 Band promise a parade fit for any music-lover. The parade begins at 1 p.m. sharp on Labor Day, and will follow the traditional route. From Second and Emory, the parade will go west toward Sixth St., south on Sixth to Morgan, and east on Morgan to Second St., before disbanding near Central Park.

• • •

A wildlife art exhibit is a new Box Car Days event.

Nationally-known wildlife artist James A. Meger will have his work on display at the Veterans’ Memorial Center (formerly the Prairie Pavilion) for three days.

Meger’s appearance is in promotion of Tracy’s annual Sportsmen’s Show. A James A. Meger print is one of the prizes that will be offered at the Sportsmen’s Show. Tickets will be available at the exhibit.

Meger, a six-time Pheasants Forever “Artist of the Year,” will also ride in the Box Car Days parade with Sportsmen’s Show committee members.

The art display will be open beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, starting at noon on Sunday, and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Monday.

A concert in the park will again follow the kiddie parade and Tae Kwon Do demonstration. This year, the featured band is “living daylights.” The concert will be held in the Central Park bandshell from 4 to 8:30 p.m.

Biren credited Box Car Days committee members and numerous other volunteers who help to make Box Car Days a success year after year.

“It can’t happen without so many unnamed volunteers,” she said. It starts with the committee, she explained, and has a ripple effect into the community, involving both organizations and individuals.

“By the time you’re done, you have most of Tracy involved and I think that says a lot about the community.”

Other weekend highlights include:

Burger Night

The Chamber of Commerce’s annual Burger Night begins at 5 p.m. Friday. Build your own burger in the municipal parking lot. The beer garden also opens at 5 p.m., and a talent show will take place next to the beer garden from 7 to 9 p.m.

Cow Pie Bingo

The Fine Arts Council of Tracy sponsors this fund-raiser next to Hebig’s Electric Saturday afternoon starting at 2 p.m. Tickets will be sold until Saturday at noon.

Kids’ Day in the Park

Central Park becomes kids’ central from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Vogel’s Exotic Animals, Petting Zoo, and Pony Rides will be there. Kids will also have the opportunity to check out a fire truck, ambulance, and police car. The annual kiddie parade begins at 3:30 p.m.

Tae Kwon Do Demonstration

High-flying action will be on display in Central Park from 2 to 3 p.m. as the USA/Korea Tae Kwon Do Association gives its annual demonstration.

Dodgeball Tournament

A flashback from school physical education has made a comeback. Area teams will compete to be top dogs of dodgeball Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Center.

Mechanical Bull Rides

A mechanical bucking bull makes its return to Box Car Days for a second year. Brave souls may try their luck on Saturday or Sunday from 7 to 11 p.m. outside the beer tent.

St. Mary’s School 50th

St. Mary’s School will be celebrating 50 years of faith and education during a Saturday afternoon celebration. A hog roast will be held from noon to 2 p.m., followed by school tours and entertainment from 2 to 4 p.m. A special Mass will begin at 4 p.m. (See separate story).

Golf tourney

The nine-hole, four-person best ball Chris Hannasch Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Saturday at the Tracy Country Club. Tournament participants tee off beginning at 9 a.m.

Mud Volleyball

The mud volleyball tournament starts at 10 a.m. Sunday next to the softball complex at Tracy’s Industrial Park.

Mud Racing

The Southwest Minnesota Mud Racers’ Association is coming to Tracy Sunday afternoon, sponsored by the Tracy Fire Department. Races begin at 1 p.m. at the corner of County Rd. 14 and County Rd. 11. Concessions will be available on site.

Miss Tracy

The Miss Tracy Scholarship Program begins at 6:30 p.m. at Tracy Area High School. See separate story for details.

Fly-in/Drive-in Breakfast

The annual Monday morning pancake breakfast will take place from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Tracy Municipal Airport. Airplane rides will be available and antique cars will be on display. The Marshall Radio Control Club will give demonstrations.

Road Race

The Box Car Days Road Race sprints into Tracy Monday morning. Results will be tabulated for a 5K walk/run, 10K run, kids’ mile, and half-mile race.

Registration starts the Central Park picnic shelter at 7 a.m. The 5K and 10 K races will start at 8 a.m., with the mile and half mile to follow. Part of the course will follow the Swift Lake Park bike/pedestrian trail.

Pigeon Race

Following the grand parade, a pigeon race will begin at the beer tent. The race starts at 3 p.m.

Softball tournament

The Box Car Days softball tournament will be underway Saturday, Sunday, and Monday starting at 9 a.m. at the Industrial Park softball complex.

Arts & Crafts Fair

The annual St. Mary’s Arts & Crafts Fair will be held Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food and beverages will be available on site.

Multi-Purpose Center open

The Tracy Multi-Purpose Center in downtown Tracy will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Lunches will be served.

Beer garden

The Tracy Chamber of Commerce beer tent will be open Friday from 5 p.m.-midnight, Saturday from 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday from 8 p.m. to midnight, and Monday from noon to 6 p.m. A DJ and karaoke will be in the beer tent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Museums open

Wheels Across the Prairie Museum is open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An antique tractor show will be held at the museum all three days.

St. Mark’s Museum is open Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and Monday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Midway & Carnival

The Midway Rides & Expositions Midway & Carnival will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Kids’ rides only will be open from 4 to 6 p.m. All rides, games, and food stands open at 7 p.m. Bracelet night will be from 7 p.m. to midnight. On Sunday, the midway is open from noon to midnight, with bracelet day from noon to 6 p.m. The midway is open Monday from noon to 7 p.m.

Tracy schools exceed goals in 71 of 72 test categories

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

The news Monday wasn’t great. But school administrators weren’t too discouraged by the announcement of the No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress reports Monday.

“We were so close, but we missed,” said Superintendent David Marlette. “We’ll go after it again.”

The only subgroup—one of 72 areas the district is rated in—the district did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in was in reading among Asian/Pacific Islander students in the high school. The group fell short by only .77 of a point.

“It’s a little disappointing because the kids did so well and have improved so much,” Marlette said of their Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results. “I am not disappointed whatsoever in our kids. They have really improved.”

Tracy Area High School Principal Chad Anderson said test scores among high school students went up across the board, and some subgroups performed at a higher proficiency rate than any other school around.

“They have some of the best test scores in the state,” Marlette said.

In math among all students, the proficiency rate at TAHS was 86.93 percent, up from 84 percent in ’04. The target rate was 71.22 percent. In reading among all students, the proficiency rate was 87.32 percent, down just slightly from last year’s 87.34 proficiency. However, that number is still well above the 75.03 percent target rate.

The target graduation rate was 80 percent. Tracy Area High School graduated 98.48 percent of its students in ’05.

Test scores also went up among Asian/Pacific Islander students, the group identified as not making AYP.

“I don’t take this as a negative,” Marlette said. “Even the kids who didn’t make it really improved.”

Eighteen percent of TAHS students have been identified as having Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Fifty-four percent are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

Anderson said efforts will continue to provide the best education possible to all students, no matter their level of proficiency. A half-time English as a Second Language teacher, Sandy Carpenter, has been added to the high school staff this fall to again boost that program.

“We have improved over the years and we will continue to improve,” he said. “We have terrific kids and terrific teachers, and the board has been supportive of everything we have done.”

Tracy Elementary School, which was on the list of schools not making Adequate Yearly Prog