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News from the week of July 11, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

$1.3 million Aquatic Center contract okayed

Higher than expected costs place new urgency on fund-raising effort; water slides & extras on budget bubble

Despite higher than expected costs, a Tracy Aquatic Center moved closer to reality Monday night.

Tracy City Council members approved $1.3 million worth of construction contracts. Work on the Sebastian Park aquatic center is scheduled to begin at the end of this month, with completion targeted for May of 2002.

The construction bids were about $100,000 higher than earlier projections. The higher bid prices occurred despite offering an August 1 start date; a move the city was told would make the Tracy project more appealing to contractors.

The $1.3 million covers the construction of the new aquatic center, remodeling the existing bathhouse, and the installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment. Not included in the $1.3 million are water slides, fountains, bubblers and other play features proposed for the pool.

Tracy voters approved a $1.5 million bond referendum this February to finance the new aquatic center. The 20-year bond was sold this May at a 5.25% interest rate.

The higher than expected construction costs put city leaders in a cost-squeeze.

Architectural and professional fees will be 6% of construction costs, or about $78,000. That leaves the city with just over $100,000 from the bond proceeds to purchase the aquatic center amenities.

Dennis Morgan set as 2002 Box Car Days grand marshal

If all goes as expected, Tracy Box Car Days for 2002 will strike a special note with audiences. A musical note, that is.

Tracy native Dennis Morgan has agreed to serve as the Box Car Days Parade Marshall next year, according to Community Development Director Robert Gervais. Morgan is well-known as music producer and songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee.

Gervais told Tracy City Council members that the expected appearance of Morgan is part of a larger effort to make next's year's Box Car Day celebration especially memorable. The year 2002 marks the 75th anniversary of Tracy Box Car Days.

A concert from a “big name” entertainer is one of the events envisioned for the more elaborate 2002 Box Car Days, Gervais said. Morgan, he said, has agreed to help Tracy line up the entertainment.

School letter gives notice on pool agreement

The Tracy Board of Education has announced its intention to end an arrangement with the City of Tracy for operating the Sebastian Park swimming pool.

An existing joint powers agreement involving the city and school district splits the pool's annual operating deficit. The city also pays for 100% of repairs and capital improvements at the pool. But a letter, mailed by the school district last week, notified the city of the school district's intent to drop out of the pool agreement effective July 1, 2002.

“This letter will serve as Tracy Area Public Schools' notice of intention to terminate participation in the pool portion of Community Education Services,” the correspondence said. The letter went on to say that the Board of Education would like to meet with the City Council of Tracy for the purpose of discussing “this and other important issues.”

City Administrator Audrey Koopman gave copies of the letter to Tracy City Council members Monday.

Walnut Grove prepares for Laura Ingalls-Wilder fans

Pageant begins 24th season Friday

It's pageant time in Walnut Grove.

Thousands of visitors are expected over the next three weekends as the community hosts its annual Laura-Ingalls Wilder pageant and other special events.

“It's a busy time, but we're really looking forward to it,” says Errol Steffen, Wilder Pageant committee chairman. “We've got volunteers who really pitch in.”

The festivities center around the memory of a little pioneer girl, Laura Ingalls, who lived near Walnut Grove 13 decades ago. As an adult, Laura Ingalls-Wilder immortalized her family, and the people of Walnut Grove, with the book “On the Banks of Plum Creek” and other popular children's books.

The Wilder Pageant, Fragments of a Dream opens its 24th season Friday, with nine performances are scheduled over the next three weekends. Performances are Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, July 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29. The outdoor pageant tells the story of Charles and Caroline Ingalls family, settling on the open prairie near Walnut Grove in the 1870s. Many scenes in the pageant are based upon stories in “On the Banks of Plum Creek.”

Christian Alliance plans Sunday groundbreaking for new church

A groundbreaking ceremony is planned this Sunday for the new Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Tracy.

The new 6,000-square foot church will be built in the Broadacres Addition, on a four-acre parcel the congregation has purchased on the south side of Front Street.

Pastor Edsel Miller said the 9:30 a.m. ground-breaking ceremony will be simple and short so congregation members may attend a 10:30 a.m. outdoor church service at Garvin Park with the First Congregational Church of Garvin, which Pastor Miller also serves.

Besides the main sanctuary, the new church will have a wing with a kitchen, fellowship area, offices and classrooms. Everything will be on one level. Pastor Miller said growth in the congregation has created the need for the new church At a recent church service, the entire 100-seat sanctuary was filled to overflowing.

High-school student offers computer security services

By Dave Brakke

Tony Stephens is launching his own computer security business.

A junior at Tracy Area High School, Stephens been offering computer security services to the public for several months. He has been doing freelance security for friends for the last four years. "I have always been interested in computers," said Stephens, "While my friends were playing computer games I was reading computer manuals."

His business, Comp Security, focuses mostly on securing computer information. However, he also does some maintenance, networking and installations.

Most computer owners take for granted that the security that they have on their computer is good enough to keep out hackers and strangers from accessing their systems. The reality is that many computer security systems are insufficient when dealing with a dedicated hacker, Stephens maintains.

"There are hackers even in the Marshall area." commented Stephens. "People usually don't believe that there could be hackers around here but there are."

Stephens tests each computer. Once he has found out the stats on each system he can choose and install security programs that best fit each computer. The programs are designed to keep strangers from accessing one's computer, either in person or over the Internet.