banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of May 10, 2000 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880


Play ball! Fast-pitch girls softball hits home run

A proposal for high school girls' softball cleared the fences Monday night in Tracy.

On a unanimous vote, Tracy and Milroy school board members approved girls' softball as a school-sponsored sport beginning next spring. The Panther girls' softball team will begin play in the 212 Conference in April of 2001.

The vote came after lengthy and sometimes impassioned comments from softball supporters. The crowd included about 12 girls from the Balaton school district who plan to attend school at Tracy Area High School next year and also play softball.

Tracy survives tornado scare

Funnel sighted, but no evidence of touchdown

The Tracy area escaped a tornado scare unscathed Monday night.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for southeast Lyon County and Tracy shortly after 11 p.m. Civil defense sirens were sounded in Tracy at about 11:04 p.m.

The sheriff's dispatcher immediately paged authorities in Garvin, Balaton, and Tracy, to post severe weather spotters. Fire department and police responded.

Shortly before 11 p.m., Eric Block, the police chief for Balaton and Garvin, saw what appeared to be a funnel near Garvin Corner, but couldn't be certain because of poor visibility.

Catch a falling star

Spectators jammed the high school gym for the Tracy Area High School prom grand march. Bleachers were filled on both sides of the gym, with prom watchers spilling onto the gym floor, as 84 couples walked the length of the gym. The 90-minute grand march was followed by the prom dance. Many students also attended a parent-sponsored "after Prom" party held at the Hollywood Ballroom. "Catch a Falling Star" was the prom theme.

Agronomist sees growing role for biotechnology

The importance of biotechnology in the American ag industry is certain to grow, an agronomist told Tracy Kiwanis members last week.

“In 1980, there were about 4.3 billion people in the world. Today the world population is about 6 billion,” said Dr. Michelle Obermeier, a Sioux Falls-based agronomist employed by Monsanto. In another 20 years, the world population is projected to grow to about 8 billion, she said.

“How are we going to feed all these people? We can't make any more tillable land. So we have to learn to be more productive with the land we have.”

New genetically-modified crops are one answer, she said.

Using genetics to improve plant varieties, she said, is not a new concept. Corn has been cultivated in North America for centuries, she pointed out. But today's hybrids are vastly different from the corn plants cultivated by indigenous people prior to European settlement centuries ago.

'Million dollar rain' boosts crop prospects

"It's what farmers are calling a million-dollar rain."

That's what Ann Bonestroo, of the Minnesota Extension Service, had to say about the late Sunday and early Monday rainfall.

Accumulations in the area varied from an inch and two-tenths in Tracy, up to an inch and a quarter in Balaton and as much as two to three inches in the Slayton area. Bonestroo said that there was some pea-sized hail north of Marshall, but that there was no significant damage.

New school rules ot make open campus noon hour astudent privilege, not a right

Leaving school grounds during the lunch period will be a privilege, not a right, for Tracy Area High School students next fall.

School board members accepted a recommendation to continue allowing grades 10-12 students to leave school grounds during the lunch period next fall. However, for the first time, some requirements will be tied to the open lunch period.

A policy change was also approved for the high school's grading system.

Beginning in the fall of 2000, a 4.0 grading system will go into effect at the high school. Under the existing 12.0 system, students can earn an A plus. The switch is being made because almost all other high schools and colleges use a 4.0 system, where the top grade is an “A.”