banner.gif (15051 bytes)

News from the week of January 12, 2000


Historic Lau seed house for sale

The building that until early last fall was the site of the Cenex Harvest States seed house in Tracy is up for sale. Bids are expected to be opened Feb. 1.

A management decision following the merger of the Tracy/Garvin Cooperative with CHS in 1998 transferred seed sales, cleaning operations and staff to the Marshall site of the cooperative in September of 1999.

Once a thriving venture, the closing of the site reflects the continuing evolution taking place in the agriculture industry. Most farmers today, said elevator officials, purchase specifically developed hybrid seed varieties from independent seed companies rather than saving and cleaning their own seed.

The cooperative replaced the floor of the warehouse with sections of the hardwood gym floor from Tracy's old central high school (corner of Rowland and Third streets) shortly before the school was demolished in 1974.

With the family name still on the tall centerpiece of the brick building, Doug Lau has more than a casual interest in the future of the structure.

"I'm sorry to see it closed," he says. At the same time, the retired farmer is realistic about the sale. Two of his sons, Jack and Jeff, farm the land his grandfather bought in 1914.

"I don't think they hardly clean a seed anymore," he concluded.

Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Bids sought for $2.3 million Tracy sewer & water project

The much discussed and long studied Tracy sewer-separation project moved one step closer to reality Monday night.

Council members called for bids on the estimated $2.3 million project. A bid-opening is scheduled on Feb. 22. If bids are favorable and the council awards a contract, construction could begin this year.

The city faces an October, 2000 deadline from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to correct deficiencies in its sewers. Engineers estimate that it will cost about $1.8 million to upgrade the sewer. About $500,000 in water main improvements are also planned.

To finance the project, the city plans to take out low-interest, long-term loans offered through the State of Minnesota.

Vickerman seeks 5th term

Senator Jim Vickerman plans to seek a fifth term in the Minnesota Senate.

"There are still things I want to get done," Vickerman said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning. "I had thought that maybe this would be my last term. But I still like the job and people have told me that they'd like to see me run again." He said his decision to lease his farm to his son, Kevin, will free up more time for his Senate job.

The Tracy DFLer, who was first elected in 1986, is now one of the most senior members of the Senate. He feels this seniority, and his ag background, will help him promote rural issues.

"This is going to be a critical time for rural Minnesota," Vickerman said. Effective rural leadership, he feels, will be all the more important, because the 2000 census will result in less representation for rural areas.

New school board members take office

Newly-elected board members took their seats, and officers were elected at Monday night's organizational meeting of the District. 417 board of education.

Dan Zimansky was re-elected as chairman and Eric Nelson as secretary/treasurer. Keith Rayman will serve as the board's vice-chairman. Other board members are Ed Carter and newly-elected Mike Carlson, Sandy Carpenter and Randy Lancaster.

On a unanimous vote, pay rates for board members were approved at the same level they've been for the previous five years.

Jehovah's Witnesses congregation traces roots to Balaton Bible study

Local group began in 1940s

The Jehovah's Witnesses congregation based in Tracy began in Balaton as a Bible study group under the direction of Tom DeVries sometime during the late 1940s. DeVries, who supported himself as a mechanic, was enrolled in a ministry school started in 1943 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and was the group's first presiding elder. Others who have led the congregation throughout its five decades in Tracy are Robert Murch, Steven Pulsipher, Dick Dressen and David Daniels.

John Barclay of Walnut Grove is the congregation's current overseer. Other elders are Amos Daniels, Barry Daniels, Chris Fischer and Rick Pool. Elders, emphasizes Barry Daniels, are not elevated above the rest of the congregation.

“Jesus said that any who take the lead must be the slaves of all,” he states.

Tracy's Kingdom Hall has 33 members or “publishers” who are actively involved in “public educational work.”

Meeting in homes at first, the congregation purchased a rural Balaton school house in 1951 and moved it to its present location at the corner of Tenth and Morgan Streets in Tracy.

While varying in design from country to country, Kingdom Halls are usually modest and functional structures that have an auditorium with chairs, a speaker's platform, a lectern, and an area where members can request or pick up literature. Kingdom Halls have no religious symbols such as crosses or images in their meeting places. The reason, say Witnesses, is the Bible's command to guard against idols.