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News from the week of September 27, 2006


True to their school

Homecoming week is approaching at Tracy Area High School.

Festivities begin Monday, Oct. 2, with an 8 p.m. variety show and coronation ceremony. Senior king candidates are Levi Miller, Tyler Anderson, Brady Jackson, Dan Dieter, and Travis Cambronne. Emily Scharfe, Jackie Haecherl, Ashley Vandromme, Elizabeth Rayman, and Celia Brockway are the queen candidates.

“Beach Party: ‘Scorch ‘Em’ is the homecoming week theme, with special dress-up days planned each day. Sue Nackerud will pick “best dressed” students each day. Monday is “Summer Bum Day,” followed by “Toga Day” on Tuesday, “Super Hero Day” on Wednesday, “Surfer/Hawaiian Day” on Thursday, and “Spirit Day” on Friday.

Wednesday highlights will include a volleyball game pitting the seniors against school staff.

A homecoming volleyball match Thursday night will be followed by a bonfire.

Homecoming week activities come to a climax Friday, Oct. 6. High school classes will be dismissed Friday afternoon for special games and activities, including Powder Puff football pitting the junior girls against the senior girls, and a soccer match. A pepfest will conclude the school day, with a parade planned through Downtown Tracy at 4 p.m. A 7 p.m. homecoming football game will be followed by a dance for grades 7-9 at the elementary school, and a grades 10-12 dance at the high school.


'Furniture & More' opens in former Med Club building

A new retail business has opened in Tracy.

“Furniture and More,” owned by Larry and Kathy Dukek of Walnut Grove, is located in the former Mediterranean Club building on Hwy. 14. The business offers used and new furniture, collectibles, home decor items, and other merchandise.

“We want to sell good quality merchandise at a reasonable price,” Larry Dukek said. Their store’s “slightly used” furniture, he said, will sell from 50 to 80% less than new furniture prices.”

The Dukeks operated a similar store in Staples. They decided to open a business in Tracy, in part, because of the availability of the Mediterranean building. Furniture and More will have its main merchandise display in what was the Mediterranean’s 56x65-foot ballroom. The Dukeks also have an additional room to the west of the ballroom.

The store’s customer entrance and parking lot is on the Hwy. 14 side of the building. Wide, double-doors on the south side will be used for loading and unloading. They are renting the facility from Tom and Sue Morin.

Larry Dukek said that “90 percent” of items are used, but there will be some new merchandise. The Dukek’s will offer consignment items in addition to their own inventory.

“We are ready to accept consignments. It works out well.“ Larry said. But, he stressed, “we don’t want any junk. We’ll be only accepting things that are of good quality, in good shape.”

Kathy said that some of their furniture will be “vintage” pieces.

The Furniture & More inventory will also have surprises for customers, the Dukeks said. The current inventory has two motorcycles.

“We’re happy to be here,” Larry concludes. “People have been really friendly and welcoming.”

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.


Palm trees & pain combine for marathon happiness

By Seth Schmidt

Marathon (noun)—A cross-country footrace of 26 miles, 385 yards. …a task or action that requires endurance.

Paradise (noun)—A place of ideal beauty…a state of delight.

What does running 26 miles have in common with paradise? Ask four Tracy women, who recently ran a marathon on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Kris Tiegs, Mindy Butman, Kristin Haugo-Jones, and Jenni Larson joined about 2,000 other runners at the start of the Maui marathon Sept. 17. All four crossed the finish line, but it wasn’t easy.

Tiegs said the long distance run was difficult. “It (the marathon) was really hard. But Hawaii was absolutely beautiful. We had a wonderful trip.”

Haugo-Jones said that the breath-taking scenery of Hawaii helped her to “forget about the pain” during the marathon.

Heat and humidity greatly added to the marathon’s challenge.

“It was 70 degrees when we started at 5:30 in the morning, and it was 88 degrees and humid when we finished,” Tiegs said.

The sultry weather resulted in relatively slow race times, even for the elite athletes who finished near the top. The women’s winner in Maui crossed the finish line in 3 hours and nine minutes, about a half-hour slower than is common for female winners in major marathons. Larson, 28, finished the race in four hours, 29 minutes. Butman, 36, had a time of 4:40. Haugo-Jones, 37, was 5:30; and Tiegs, 43, finished in 5:46.

Butman said the Tracy runners were expecting hot weather in Hawaii, but their training hadn’t prepared them for the Hawaiian tropics.

Many of their training runs this summer, she explained, were taken early in the morning, and Minnesota mornings were much cooler than what the faced in Hawaii.

“It was really, really hot,” Tiegs said.

Much of the marathon route looped along the island’s shore. But Tiegs said it became more difficult to appreciate the idyllic scenery as the miles wore on and fatigue mounted.

Aid stations—first every two miles and less than mile apart near the finish—provided water, energy drinks and first aid.

All of the runners credited the encouragement of bystanders and the camaraderie of fellow marathoners with keeping them going.

“People were just awesome,” Haugo-Jones said. “It’s hard to explain.”

Larson said that she felt uplifted running with hundreds of other people, all in the pursuit of a common goal. Other marathoners were inspiring. Larson remembers being passed once by a 70-year-old runner. That was humbling, she said, but also encouraging. “You think, if they can do it, then I can too.”



Faithful training

The friends began their marathon training in May, and gradually worked up to a regimen of about 40 miles each week. When possible, the runners trained together to give one another moral support, especially during their weekly “long run.” Their two longest runs prior to the marathon, were 20 miles.

Haugo-Jones came up with the idea for running the marathon.

“I’ wanted to run a marathon before I turned 40. “ And if she was going to run a marathon, why not in beautiful Hawaii? Would the others join her?

Only Tiegs, a 1991 finisher of both the Twin Cities and Grandma’s marathons, Both Butman and Larson were experienced recreational runners, but neither had run a race longer than a 10K (6.2 miles). Haugo-Jones hadn’t run a road race of any distance.

All of the friends feel good about accomplishing their goal.

“Running a marathon is something that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do,” Butman said. “It’s a good feeling now to have achieved that goal.”

Larson said that some people have the mistaken idea that running a marathon is an incredibly difficult task. It really isn’t, she said.

“The training is the important thing. You build yourself up to it.” With proper training and motivation, she said, many people are capable of finishing a marathon.

“It’s very gratifying to be able to set a goal and achieve it,” she concluded.

The runners all work with children in the Tracy Public School district. Haugo-Jones is a physical education teacher at Tracy Elementary, and Larson is a fifth-grade teacher. Butman is a school psychologist. Tiegs assists in the special education department at the high school.

More long-distance running could be on the horizon for the women next year. Grandma’s Marathon, Grandma’s Half Marathon and the Twin Cities Marathon have been discussed among the group.

“It gets in your blood. Once you do one marathon, you want to do another,” Larson said.

Grant survey gets response

Tracy Community Development Director Robert Gervais says he is pleased with the response to a survey being conducted as part of a community development block grant application.

Through Monday, 83 surveys had been returned. He expects 100 or more surveys before a Wednesday, Sept. 27 deadline. Tracy is applying for a state grant that would provide money to rehabilitate houses, apartments, and commercial buildings.

O'Brien Court repairs considered for leaks

Twelve years after its construction, O’Brien Court is starting to need exterior maintenance.

The Tracy Economic Development Authority is having specifications drafted to repair fascia, soffit, and shingles on the senior living complex.

Robert Gervais, Tracy community development director, reported to EDA members last week that leakage problems are being experienced around west windows on the building. Apparently, he said, water is getting behind the fascia and soffit, and trickling down the side of the building. It is reported also that shingles are worn on the building.

Repairs, Gervais told EDA members, are expected to exceed $50,000.

O’Brien Court, which offers congregate living and assisted living apartments to seniors, is owned by the EDA. The Sioux Valley Rural Health system leases and manages the facility.

O’Brien Court opened its doors in 1994.