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News from the week of January 18, 2006


New Chamber manager meets Tracy people

The new executive director of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce spent her first day on the job meeting people.

Kayla Hussong, 23, was introduced to many Chamber board members and business owners on a tour of Tracy Tuesday morning. Chamber Board President Lori Hebig provided the introductions.

Hussong is a recent graduate of St. Cloud State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in community development. Before coming to Tracy, Hussong completed an internship with the Alexandria Economic Development Authority.

The new Chamber manager said that she is excited about starting her new job, and meeting local people. But Southwest Minnesota isn’t new territory for her. Her parents, Mike and Lori Hussong, owned property on Lake Sarah and recently bought a year-around residence on Lake Shetek.

“I like this area,” the new Chamber director said.

Hussong will work 30 hours a week for the Chamber. However, her schedule has not yet been set.

Preparing for the annual Chamber banquet on Feb. 4 and the Tracy Sportsmen’s Show April 22-23 will be among Hussong’s first projects.

The Chamber has been looking for a new manager since October, when Jason Swanson resigned to accept a job in Walnut Grove.

Chris Howard to end Tracy teaching career

District 417 will be losing a valuable member of its staff at the end of the school year.

Chris Howard, who has served as an agricultural/industrial arts educator and FFA advisor for the past six years, has resigned effective the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

In his letter of resignation, Howard indicated that he plans to move back to his hometown of Miller, S.D., where he will take on an active role in his family’s farming and ranching operation.

“I would like to thank the Tracy Area Public School staff and administration for such an enjoyable experience in Tracy. I have really enjoyed being able to work with individuals who sincerely care for the current and future well-being of students,” Howard wrote.

Supt. David Marlette said he was sorry to see Howard go.

“We hate to lose him,” he said.

“We have some big shoes to fill,” added TAHS Principal Chad Anderson.

Anderson and Marlette agreed that the position should be advertised for right away, and that the qualifications should be kept broad. The position will be advertised as an industrial tech or agricultural education position, leaving both options open.

“We want to work with the strengths of those who apply,” said Anderson. “We don’t want to be limited in one side.” He added that the position was advertised for similarly when Howard came to the district.

Marlette said it is also important to begin advertising for the position early.


Principal is upbeat about eight-period schedule

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Staff and administration at Tracy Area Public Schools are continuing to develop the eight-period day that will be implemented in the fall of 2006.

Tracy Area High School Principal Chad Anderson updated the board last week on the schedule committee’s recent work.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities this is opening up for us,” Anderson said.

He said the schedule committee had been working on the schedule for seventh through ninth grades.

In seventh grade, the proposed schedule would include English, math, geography, science, P.E./Health, and band/choir all year. The amount of P.E./Health that is offered would be increased under this scenario.

A double Quad offering is being considered for seventh grade. One Quad would include art, music, Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) and IT, as it has in the past. The second Quad would include Accelerated Reader, additional math (possibly Accelerated Math), and two sections of computers, divided into Mac and PC.

Under this scenario, students in band and choir would be allowed to opt out of one Quad and have study hall instead.

The eighth grade schedule would include English, history, math, science, P.E./Health, band/choir, and computers for a full year. As with the seventh grade schedule, P.E./Health would be increased. The eighth grade schedule would also include a Quad, with Accelerated Reader, ag, music, and IT.

In ninth grade, students would take a full year of English, history, math, and science. P.E./Health would be split with a semester of computers, split into quarters each of Mac and PC.

Band and choir would be year-long electives. Also offered as electives would be FACS, IT, ag, art, or study hall.

Anderson said he was pleased that the new eight-period schedule would allow for increased technology, and reading and math through the added Quad class.

The next focus of the schedule committee, he said, would be the 10-12 schedule.


Kid’s World

The board approved the surveyed plot of land to be sold to the Kid’s World Daycare Center once the non-profit organization has adequate funding to move forward with its construction plans.. Last year, the board agreed to sell the land to Kid’s World at a cost of $1 once funding has been secured for the daycare center.

The four-acre plot would extend from the elementary parking lot to the school’s boundary on the east.

Once completed, the district plans to move its ECFE and preschool programs to the new daycare facility. The daycare plans to use the district’s kitchen for preparation of lunches and snacks. Other uses of the facility by the district have also been discussed.


Tobacco settlement

The board approved the distribution of tobacco settlement dollars, totaling $24,380.85. Forty percent of the settlement will go to current district insurance users. Each current insurance user will receive $140 through the insurance settlement.


Secondary report

Principal Anderson reported that two students have shown interest in being student representatives to the school board. Spencer Zwaschka and Brittnee Michael will be the student representatives.

NWEA testing is scheduled to be held Jan. 16-18 at the high school. If needed, a make-up day has been set for Jan. 19.

The end of the quarter was Jan. 13.


Elementary report

Principal Scott Loeslie reported that NWEA testing was scheduled to begin Tuesday, Jan. 17 at the elementary school.

Loeslie also reported that the state has decided that Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students would be tested using a special test for reading. Last year, the LEP students took the test designed for them, as well as the regular test. They will take the same math test as the other students.

Loeslie said the math committee would be meeting with six different publishers in their quest to find a new curriculum.

The second date for pre-school screening has been set for Friday, Jan. 27.

Bobbi Buyck, David Schiller are Tracy Triple-A nominees

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Bobbi Jo Buyck and David Schiller have been selected as Tracy Area High School’s nominees for the Minnesota State High School League’s Triple A (Academics, Arts, and Athletics) award.

The award, which takes into consideration the students’ participation in arts and athletics as well as their academic records, is awarded to Minnesota seniors.

Buyck, the daughter of Joel and Lynn Buyck, has a 3.972 grade point average, and ranks fifth in the senior class. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Big Buddies, Spanish Club, and Breakfast Club. She is an academic letter-winner and has been involved in mentoring.

An accomplished athlete, Buyck’s sports of choice are cross country and track. She has qualified for state in several areas in track, including pole vault, 100-meter hurdles, 4x100 relay, 100-meter dash, and 200-meter dash. She is also active in speech, where she has also participated in state competition. In 2005, she placed seventh in storytelling at the state level.

Buyck’s involvement extends into the community as well. She is involved in church, Adopt-a-Highway, Dads Make a Difference, and other community activities. In September, she was chosen the winner in the 2005 Miss Tracy Scholarship Program.

In their student essays, the students were asked to describe their plans after high school, and how their participation in athletics and fine arts activities has prepared them to achieve this goal.

“Being involved in high school arts, athletics, and academic programs has helped me to realize that I can reach my dreams,” Buyck wrote. “I have learned many lifelong values to take with me to Augustana and beyond.”

Schiller, the son of Ken and Colleen Schiller, has also excelled in academics, arts, and athletics in many ways.

Schiller ranks seventh in the senior class with a 3.947 grade point average. He is a member of the National Honor Society, a recipient of the D.A.R. history award, and has been recognized in the Spotlight on Scholarship.

In November, Schiller was among seven students who were chosen to accompany Gov. Tim Pawlenty on a trade mission to China.

Schiller has also excelled on the football field, where he was the recipient of the scholar-athlete award for four straight years. This fall, he was selected as a team captain. During his junior and senior years, David has also been a participant in the golf program.

David is active in band at TAHS, and is percussion section leader. He has also participated in the Tracy Community Band, St. Mary’s Church Choir, and St. Mary’s Youth Choir. His participation in church activities extends to other areas as well.

David is a member of the TAHS student council, and is active in Peer Helpers and FFA, through which he has received several awards. In 2005 he was awarded the FFA’s State Degree.

In his student essay, Schiller describes how his participation in school activities will affect him in his future plans to become a mechanical engineer.

“Participation in athletics and fine arts activities has significantly prepared me to achieve these goals,” he wrote, citing teamwork, dedication, and time management as important characteristics he has developed through his participation.

The Triple “A” Award On-Court Recognition Ceremony will be held March 25. The top two award finishers from each region will be invited to the banquet. League officials will announce four Triple “A” Award recipients at the banquet. Award recipients—a girl and a boy from both a Class A and a Class AA school—will receive a four-year $1,000 scholarship.

Pioneer Public TV will visit Tracy next week

Pioneer Public Television (Appleton) staff will host a coffee hour from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m at Coffee on Third in Downtown Tracy, Thursday, Jan. 26.

The Tracy visit is part of an on-going coffee shop tour of western Minnesota communities by Pioneer Public TV staff. The public is invited to stop in, meet Pioneer Public TV staff, ask questions, and offer comments.

“As the only local television station serving much of our region it is important that we learn as much as we can from our viewers,” General Manager Glen Cerny explains. “Such an opportunity to meet face-to-face is something we are all excited about.”

Pioneer Public Television is a 40-year-old viewer supported educational television organization. The station’s goals are to promote educational growth, support cultural opportunities, and enhance the quality of life in the region. Pioneer Public Television is broadcast over KWCM Channel 10 from Appleton, KSMN Channel 20 from Worthington and UHF Channel 49 from Fergus Falls.

Bus offered to Chamber banquet at Key Largo

Free bus transportation is being offered to the Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

The banquet is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 4, at Key Largo, on Valhalla Island, Lake Shetek. The bus will leave from the Shetek Bend Banquet Bar & Grill parking lot at 5:15 p.m., and return to Tracy immediately following the banquet program.

The Chamber is paying for the Tracy Community Education bus transportation.

The Chamber banquet has traditionally been held in the Mediterranean Club banquet room. The Mediterranean closed in early 2005. With the Med closed, the Chamber board in the spring of 2005 decided to book the 2006 Chamber banquet at Key Largo, a Tracy Chamber member.

The Chamber banquet will include a silent auction, a review of past activities, election of new board members, and an awards presentation. Awards will include: “Outstanding Citizen,” “Boss of Year,” Distinguished Farmer” and outstanding Chamber volunteer.

Wes Harrison, a nationally-known special effects comic from Des Plaines, Illinois, headlines the entertainment. Harrison appeared at the Tracy Spring Sportsmen’s Show last April, and was well received. “Mr. Sound Effects” has provided vocal sounds for television programs, cartoons, and movies, including the Disney productions of “2,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Peter Pan.”

The Chamber banquet is open to the public. Tickets, on sale at the Chamber office in the Veterans’ Memorial Center, are $20 for Chamber members, and $25 for non-members.