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News from the week of April 19, 2006


Sportsmen's Show opens Saturday

Two-day event coincides with large gun show

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

The 2006 Tracy Area Sportsmen’s Show promises to be bigger and better.

The fourth annual show is expanding to two days, April 22 and 23, and will be held at a new location—Tracy Area High School. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Sunday.

“The biggest thing is that it’s expanding to two days,” said interim Chamber Director Louise Noomen. “The vendors showed interest in a two-day show and we thought we would go for it.”

Noomen believes adding a second day and moving to the high school will be beneficial to the show.

“I think it’s for the best,” she said.

In previous years, the event has averaged around 5,000, she said, though it is difficult to keep track because no admission is charged for the overall sportsmen’s show.

“We feel very confident that we draw 5,000 people to the show,” she said. “For being the fourth year, the show has really blossomed.”

Another big addition this year is a gun show, being held in conjunction with the Sportsmen’s Show. The gun show will be held downtown at the Veteran’s Memorial Center. Show hours are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 to the gun show. Children 12 and under get in free with a paid adult.


60 vendors

Noomen said there are a number of repeat vendors coming to the Sportsmen’s Show. One vendor, Cap’n Redbeard’s fishing tackle from Wisconsin, has been at the show every year and plans to return again this year.

“I think that says a lot about our show,” Noomen said.

There will be about 60 vendors total at the high school, with about 50 inside and 10 outside.


Lumberjack show

Returning to the 2006 show is Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Show, which was a crowd favorite two years ago. There will be three performances of the lumberjack show on both Saturday and Sunday. The shows will be set up just north of Tracy Area High School on the school grounds. While there is no cost to attend the vendor show, there is a charge of $5 for adults and $3 for kids 18 and under to attend the lumberjack show. Show times are 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Sunday.



Another highlight of this year’s show is the grand raffle prize, a 2005 Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycle. Other raffle prizes include a stay at Border View Lodge, a James Meger Print, a $1,000 certificate to Randall’s Resort or $750 cash, a Quick Stand B-Hut, and a $1,000 Southwest Tour & Travel package. A limited number of raffle tickets are available, and are $20 each. The raffle drawing will be held Sunday at 4 p.m.



Seminars will be held both Saturday and Sunday in the high school choir room.

“We’ve been working hard to bring in speakers,” said Noomen. “I think we have a really good line-up for our seminars.”

Returning speakers are Tony Dean of “Tony Dean Outdoors,” a fisherman and hunter, and Bill Hesselgrave, owner of Hess Video Productions and a journeyman meat cutter.

Other speakers include muskie fisherwoman Lucky Libby Hoene, Tom Ward of Dakota Yote Varmint Calls, and wilderness guide Steve Nelson. Joe Spoo will speak about hunting dogs and dog health. Jeff Berthelson of Rock Valley Kennels and Shooting Sports will speak about dog training.

“There’s an extensive variety in our seminars to capture anybody’s interest,” Noomen said. “That’s what a sportsmen’s show is about—variety.”


Archery shoot

The Saratoga Archery Club will be hosting an archery shoot both Saturday and Sunday on the football field at Tracy Area High School.

The demonstrations will feature world, national, and state archery champions. There will be a cash pay-out for first, second, and third place. All proceeds from the shoot will go toward the Kelsey Robinson Olympic archery training fund. Robinson will also be in attendance.


Other highlights

Returning to the Sportsmen’s Show is the Touch of the Wild Museum. This traveling museum, containing stuffed wild animals, gives people the opportunity to touch animals they normally would not have the chance to.

James A. Meger, nationally and internationally known wildlife artist and six-time Pheasants Forever Artist of the Year is returning to this year’s show with his artwork.


Food on-site

Food will be available on-site at both the Sportsmen’s Show and the Gun Show. The Tracy Hospital Auxiliary and Tracy Revitalization Committee will serve food at the high school, and St. Mary’s will serve food at the Veteran’s Memorial Center.




Seminar schedule

Saturday, April 22

9 a.m. Tony Dean

10 a.m. Bill Hesselgrave

11 a.m. Lucky Libby Hoene

Noon Tom Ward

1 p.m. Jeff Berthelson

2 p.m. Steve Nelson

3 p.m. Tony Dean

4 p.m. Joe Spoo

5 p.m. Bill Hesselgrave


Sunday, April 23

10 a.m. Steve Nelson

11 a.m. Tony Dean

Noon Bill Hesselgrave

1 p.m. Lucky Libby Hoene

2 p.m. Tom Ward

3 p.m. Jeff Berthelson

Rescuers can't save six-year-old

By Seth Schmidt

In the end, the frantic efforts of dozens of people—paramedics, ambulance EMTs, volunteer firemen, law enforcement officers, helicopter pilots, doctors and nurses—couldn’t save the life a 6-year-old Worthington boy Monday.

Kyle Xayphantho was pronounced dead at Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls, S.D., at 2:04 p.m., a little more than three hours after the boy fell or jumped into the frigid waters of the Shetek Inlet. Rescue workers pulled the boy from inlet waters at about 11:30 a.m. Attempts to revive the boy at the scene, during an ambulance ride to the Tracy hospital, in the hospital’s emergency room, during an air ambulance flight to Sioux Falls, and at Sioux Valley Hospital were unsuccessful.

“We did the best that we could,” said Tracy Fire Chief Keith Engesser, who helped coordinate search and rescue operations at the Shetek Inlet. “Maybe next time it will end up better.”

The Murray County Sheriff’s office received a 911-emergency call from a cell phone about the boy at 10:54 a.m. Monday. Kyle was reported missing after a relative, fishing with the boy on the inlet waters, noticed the boy’s absence.

Because it was suspected that Kyle had disappeared into the Shetek Inlet waters, search and rescue efforts zeroed in on the inlet. About a dozen firemen, from five fire departments, donned cold-water wet suits to search for the boy. A strong current and water over the heads of firemen hampered search efforts. Ropes, held by firemen on shore tethered all firemen entering the water.

The submerged boy was found at about 11:30 a.m., underneath the Hwy. 59 bridge, east of where he had entered the water. He was brought ashore on the northeast side of the Hwy. 59 bridge. Immediate efforts to revive the boy by waiting ambulance personnel included at least two paramedics. The Tracy Ambulance Service transported the boy to Tracy Hospital. The Balaton Ambulance took an unidentified relative of the boy to the hospital in Marshall.

Those who responded to the emergency rescue call included the Dovray, Currie, Tracy, Walnut Grove and Slayton fire departments, the Shetek First Responders, the Tracy and Balaton ambulance services, and officers from the Murray County Sheriff’s Department, State Highway Patrol and Slayton, Fulda, and Tracy police departments. A dive rescue team from Mankato was also on its way.

Ironically, firemen from Tracy, Balaton, Currie and Slayton late this winter had practiced a cold water rescue on Lake Shetek. The drill helped, Engesser said, because the departments agreed that in a real water rescue call, all area departments would respond immediately, instead of waiting to be called on mutual aid. The large amount of manpower converging on the scene was helpful Monday, Engesser said. Had the boy been carried by the current through the underpass and further downstream, the search could have taken much longer, the fire chief said.

• • •

The Shetek Inlet is located a mile and a half south of the Lyon and Murray county border on Hwy. 59. The site is popular for shore fishermen because the rushing waters from the dam west of the Hwy. 59 overpass attract fish. It is not uncommon, especially in the spring and fall, for fishermen to be parked along both sides of Hwy. 14.

“It’s been an accident waiting to happen,” Engesser said. “But I always thought the accident would happen when a truck had to swerve to miss a kid running across the road, and a bunch of people alongside the road would be taken out.”

Engesser, who favors closing the area along the highway to fishing, said that he had heard Tuesday that no parking signs had been posted along the highway.

Daughter joins dad at John's Rx Drug

By Seth Schmidt

One of Tracy’s longest-established family businesses is welcoming a new generation.

Maria Schleppenbach-Grogan is joining John’s Drug as a partner and pharmacist. Her father, John, who established the downtown landmark in 1966, is “semi-retiring.”

“I’m going to keep going,” the elder Schleppenbach said. “I love coming down here too much to stop. But I am going to be taking more time off.”

Maria, who earned her doctorate pharmacy degree in 1999, is buying the business and will be taking over as the store’s main druggist.

“I like it here, and I like Tracy,” said Schleppenbach-Grogan. “It’s always been the plan for me to come back and run the store.”

Exact hours for the two pharmacists are still being worked out.

“We’ll see if my dad really takes time off like he says he will,” Maria smiled.

“Let’s say that I’m going to work two to three days a week,” said John. “The rest of the time I am going to hunt, fish, play golf, and drink beer.”


A 1950 graduate of St. Bonifacious High School in Cold Spring, Schleppenbach, 74, has been a part of the Tracy business scene since October of 1957. He earned his pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota in 1956, and then served as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps at Fort Sam Houston, TX.

After his discharge from the army, Schleppenbach accepted a job at Dietz Drug in Tracy. He was a pharmacist at Kirkpatrick Drug from 1963 until 1966, when he started John’s Drug. The pharmacy, with its trademark Bavarian-style storefront, has operated at 131 Third Street since July 1 of 1966.

“I’ve loved coming to work every day, and I’ve loved the people,” he said. “Tracy is our home.”

He and his wife, Marge, whom the pharmacist described as “the love of my life,” raised four children in Tracy. All are Tracy Area High School grads: Sandy (Class of 1974), Julie (‘77), Maria (‘82), and Jake (‘89). Marge died last fall. Community activities for Schleppenbach have included community band, the Tracy Tones barbershop quartet, St. Mary’s Church Choir, Kiwanis, Eagles, Lions, and the American Legion.

• • •

Schleppenbach-Grogan has worked as a pharmacist in Rapid City, S.D. for the past seven years. Her employment has included Safeway, Rapid City Regional Hospital, and the Aspin Clinic. Her most recent position involved the management of a doctor’s clinic pharmacy.

Schleppenbach-Grogan indicated that she plans to maintain the same personal service at John’s Drug that the business has become known for. Besides taking the helm at John’s Drug, she is also considering a proposal from Sioux Valley Hospitals, to provide pharmacy services to hospitals in Tracy, Westbrook and Slayton on a part-time basis.

She and her husband, Jody, have a two-year-old daughter, Jordan. They are making their home on the west side of Lake Shetek. Jody operates J&M Cycles, a business that specializes in custom-built motorcycles, cycle repairs and parts. He plans to open a shop location on Valhalla Road near Lake Shetek.

“It’s really nice to be here,” the new Tracy pharmacist summed up.

Final farewells near for Dr. Javed Fazal

By Seth Schmidt


Dr. Javed Fazal admits that he’s getting lots of practice in saying “good-bye.”

Since announcing his resignation as medical chief of staff at Sioux Valley Tracy Medical Center two months ago, Dr. Fazal’s life has been in a transition. One by one, he’s had to say good-bye to patients, fellow workers, colleagues and friends.

Repetition hasn’t made the farewells any easier.

“It was a very difficult decision to leave Tracy,” Dr. Fazal said. “The people here have been wonderful. The people of Tracy are very kind and very warm.”

A final farewell for Dr. Fazal is planned Thursday, April 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Tracy hospital’s front lobby. The public is invited.

• • •

The Tracy physician has accepted an offer to practice at the Houston Health Care Medical Center in Warner Robins, a community of 100,000 people in Central Georgia. After one year, Dr. Fazal plans to open his own medical practice.

“The chance to have my own practice was really the biggest attraction,” Dr. Fazal said. He said that he turned down opportunities in the Twin Cities, because he wouldn’t have been able to establish his own practice.

Dr. Fazal praised the SVTMC staff members that he has worked with, especially his nurse, Kim Rolling; and Dr. Wilfredo Apostol.

“There are many excellent, dedicated medical people here.” He said that he had learned a great deal practicing with Dr. Apostol, who retired from a full-time Tracy medical practice last year. Local people, he added, benefit from access to many “excellent outreach physicians” in Tracy.

He and his wife, Saira, and sons Azwem, 3; and Ayoan, 18 months; plan to leave Tracy this weekend. After a short vacation, they will move into an apartment in Warner Robins.

• • •

A native of Kenya, Dr. Fazal completed medical school in Pakistan in 1994. After returning to Kenya to practice medicine for several years, Dr. Fazal moved to New York State, where he furthered his medical education and completed a medical residency.

He and Saira came to Tracy in March of 2001. The internal medicine practitioner was named the hospital’s chief of staff in 2002.

The greatest satisfaction of being a doctor in Tracy, Dr. Fazal said, was working to improve patients’ health and seeing successful outcomes.

“That is a physician’s greatest reward,” he said.

The occurrence that he will likely most remember from his years in Tracy, he said, is also the saddest. Monday, Dr. Fazal was the emergency room physician who unsuccessfully tried to revive a six-year-old drowning victim.

“That was hard. That is probably what I am going to remember the most.”


Swim lesson sign ups scheduled April 19-21

Registrations for swimming lessons at the Tracy Aquatic Center this summer are scheduled Wednesday through Friday, April 19-21.

Lesson sign-ups will be accepted in the city council chambers at Tracy City Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Any registrations received after May 10 will be subject to a late fee.

Three, two-week sessions of swimming lessons are offered: June 12-23, July 3-17, and July 24-August 4. The week after each session is reserved for weather-related make-up dates.

Classes will be offered for Water Babies (ages 1-4), Tiny Tots (ages 4-5), Pre-Beginners, Beginners, Advanced Beginners, Intermediates, Swimmers, Lifeguard Training, and Water Safety Instructor Certification.

Season passes can also be purchased during the April 19-21 registration. Resident rates are $60 for an individual and $100 for a family. Non-city resident rates are $100 for an individual and $150 for a family. Daily passes are $5 per person, or $2 for the early and senior swims.

The aquatic center is scheduled to reopen this spring for the first time since 2003. The pool was closed while extensive tests and repairs were conducted on the pool in 2004 and 2005.

Conservation Reserve sign-up period extended

The Farm Service Agency has announced an extension of the sign-up deadlines for both the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General Signup 33 and the special CRP re-enrollment and extension (REX) opportunities for CRP contracts expiring Sept. 30, 2007, until April 28, 2006. The deadline for both opportunities was originally April 14, 2006.

The Lyon County Farm Service Agency (FSA) is beginning to notify CRP participants with contracts expiring in 2008-2010 of their re-enrollment and extension opportunities. The deadline for participants to respond is June 30, 2006.

Additional information on the extension period for General CRP 33 and the special CRP re-enrollment and extension opportunities (REX) for CRP contracts expiring September 30, 2007, may be obtained at any county FSA office.