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News from the week of March 21, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

School cuts plan spreads pain to all departments

Virtually all areas of Tracy Public School operations would be affected in some way by a proposed $300,000 budget retrenchment next year.

The potential impact of the spending reductions was unveiled at a special Tracy School Board meeting Monday night. Supt. Rick Clark outlined options to balance the 2001-02 school year budget under a “worse case” revenue scenario.

Board members are scheduled to take action on the budget-cut options Monday, March 26.

“This is not something that anyone enjoys,” Dr. Clark told board members and 40 spectators, referring to the proposed budget cuts.

Dr. Clark maintained that District 417 needs to reduce its spending by about $300,000, if the Ventura administration's school finance budget is adopted, in order to balance the budget. Otherwise, Dr. Clark said, “we will be spending money that we don't have.”

Bob Gervais to begin combined Chamber-city position April 2

Rettmer resigns effective March 23

Bob Gervais will soon become a man with two hats.

The Currie man has been hired for the newly-combined Tracy Economic Development Director and Tracy Chamber of Commerce manager's position.

“We were pleased at the quality of the candidates,” said City Administrator Audrey Koopman. She said city, Chamber and EDA members who served on the interview committee were impressed with Gervais' enthusiasm, energy, and ideas.

His job responsibilities will include fostering economic development in Tracy, pursuing grant funding, promoting events at the Tracy Prairie Pavilion, and coordinating Tracy Chamber of Commerce activities.

The City of Tracy and the Chamber will share the costs for the position. Koopman said that $27,200 is the starting salary. With all fringe benefits factored in the position's net cost to the city and Chamber totals $36,100.


St. Mary's science projects put book learning to test

Celia Brockway wondered how appearance affected the taste of food. So she asked volunteers to compare the taste of pudding samples with different colors. Puzzeled initially, the tasters soon figured out that no matter what the color, all pudding samples were plane old vanilla.

Darin Louwagie hypothozied that 75 degrees was the ideal soil temperature for corn germination. His experiments suggested otherwise—corn emerged quicker at 82 degrees.

David Schmidt figured that the most expensive carpet cleaner would do the best job of removing tough stains from carpet patches. Experimentation with several well-known brands revealed that an inexpensive store brand worked best.

And so it went last week at the St. Mary's School Science Fair. Fifth and sixth graders displayed science projects that either demonstrated a scientific principle or attempted to prove or disprove a hypothesis. Third and fourth graders displayed group science projects.

Three projects were selected for trips to the Regional Science Fair at Minnesota State University in Mankato April 28.

Peter Pan auditions held

May 31, June 1-2 performances set

Peter Pan is back on the radar screen for the Tracy Community Children's Choir.

Performances are scheduled Thursday through Saturday, May 31 and June 1-2. Auditions began Monday.

Plans for the musical were first announced in January, with performances scheduled in April. But plans were put on hold after Director Ade Miller went on medical leave from her job at Tracy Elementary School. Miller was back Monday afternoon to coordinate the auditions.

The musical is based on the classic children's story written by Englishman James M. Barrie. Peter Pan runs away to Never Land because he doesn't want to grow up. Like his companion, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan can fly. After listening to bedtime stories told to Wendy, Michael and John Darling Peter teaches the children to fly too. The children fly away to never land, where they meet a menagerie of colorful characters, including Captain Hook and his band of pirates, and the Lost Boys.

American Media buyer plans expanded services

Tracy, Balaton systems involved in proposed deal

The fourth largest cable company in America plans to acquire cable systems in Tracy, Balaton, Cottonwood and Canby.

Charter Communications, Inc. announced the proposed purchase Friday. The four Southwest Minnesota franchises are among 51 cable systems being acquired by Charter in a four-state area from Cable USA. Cable USA is the parent company of American Media.

The $99.5 million deal—involving 32,000 customers in Minnesota, Nebraska and Colorado—is subject to regulatory approvals. Closing on the purchase is expected by the end of second or third quarter of this year.

Andy Morgan, a spokesman for Charter Communications, said that American Media customers in Tracy and Balaton can look forward to expanded services and improved technology.

Plans are to connect Balaton, Tracy, Canby and Cottonwood via fiber optic cable to a “headend” facility in Marshall, where Charter already operates a cable system. The headend is building where telecommunications equipment is housed.

“The plan is to upgrade all of the systems by expanding bandwidth capacity,” Morgan said.

Increasing bandwidth increases the capacity and transmission speed of the system.

Currie is selected for $375,000 sewer grant

The City of Currie will receive a $375,000 state grant to improve its sanitary sewer treatment system.

The Minnesota Small Cities Development Grant will assist Currie in the construction of a third treatment lagoon this summer.

Estimated cost of the project is $648,000. Currie has another grant application pending with the Rural Development Agency. City officials hope that the Rural Development grant will fund the balance of the project. The new pond will be located east of Currie. The replacement of a sanitary sewer collection line is also included in the project.

The Currie sewer project was one of 39 projects funded statewide by this year's Small Cities program. A total of 107 applications were received.