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News from the week of October 3, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Naval reservist gets set for first active duty in 35 years

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Chuck and Sally Evrist of Walnut Grove won't be celebrating their 30th anniversary exactly as they planned. They won't be enjoying a romantic dinner out, or taking a second honeymoon.

This anniversary will be marked by good-byes as Chuck boards a plane for Seattle, Washington.

“We have no idea what's in store for me,” said Chuck Evrist.

It all started one week ago Wednesday, when Chuck, a Chief Petty Officer in the Naval Reserves, received a call at work from the commander of his reserve center.

The commander told Chuck that he should report to Sioux Falls for processing the following Monday. He would then fly to Seattle for more processing, and from there would be sent somewhere else for security training until Nov. 15. After that, Chuck will spend close to a year on a naval base in Sasebo, Japan.

The call wasn't totally unexpected, Chuck said. He had been on alert since the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S.

“I wasn't that surprised, but I didn't think there would be a role for me to play because this war is going to be fought mostly by small, special forces,” he said.

Mother Nature glows, as combines whirl thru amber fields of grain

Buoyed by balmy, dry weather, fall harvest is underway throughout Southwest Minnesota. Many area farmers began combining beans late last week.

Weather conditions have created excellent drying conditions, said Lyon County Extension Educator Bob Byrnes. Light frost early last week also helped, he said. While the frost wasn't enough to kill plants, beans were far enough along in the maturing process for the frost to speed up leaf drop and the drying process.

“It's beautiful weather for harvesting,” Byrnes said.

Bob Anderson at the Tracy elevator said yields this year are more in the normal range, although they are not as high as the past few years, when yields were excellent.

Anderson said soybean yields have averaged in about the mid-40 bushel an acre range so far. Over the weekend, the Tracy elevator was busy, he said, but had slowed down somewhat Monday.

“We're looking for a big run later this week,” he said.

Retirement town? Census shows Tracy kids outnumber retirees

Some may think of Tracy as a retirement community. But 2000 Census figures show otherwise.

According to the Census, the largest portion of Tracy's population is 19 and under.

Census figures show that 30.1 percent of Tracy's population is 19 and under. That compares with 25.9% of the town's population that is over 65 years old.

The next most populous age bracket in Tracy is the 35-54-year-olds, which make up 23.1 percent of the population.

Twenty to 34--year-olds make up 13.5 percent of the population. The age bracket with the least population in Tracy is the 55-64-year-olds. They make up only 7.5 percent of Tracy's population.

In the 1990 Census, 29.6 percent of Tracy residents were over 65, while 25.6 percent were 20 and under.

The median age in Tracy is 40.8. In comparison, Balaton's median age is 36.4, Slayton's is 44, Milroy's is 39.9, Walnut Grove's is 46.1, and Tyler's is 44.9. Marshall, home to Southwest State University, has the lowest median age in the area at age 30.

Historic Monroe Town Hall might be moved to museum

• Township will build new hall, if agreement reached

Wheels Across the Prairie Museum leaders are looking into the possibility of moving the Monroe Township Hall to the Tracy museum.

The town hall will become available, if township officials decide to build a new town hall when Hwy. 14 is improved west of Tracy next summer.

Larry Bornitz, Monroe Township clerk/treasurer, says the township will build a new hall if an adequate financial settlement can be reached with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. (MDOT).

“Everything is contingent upon reaching an agreement with the state. They (MDOT) would like to move the township hall back so there is a clear view of the intersection,” Bornitz said. The existing location also contributes to snow blockage on Hwy. 14.

If the state offers enough money, the township will build a new town hall and the old hall would need to be torn down or moved, Bornitz said.

If a new hall can be built, the township is willing to give the old building to the museum. The museum, however, would need to raise the funds necessary to move the building and provide a new concrete slab foundation. Estimated costs are $5,000 to $6,000.

Museum Curator Mary Lou Ludeman says the town hall does have historical value, since the building was the original country school for District 33. The country school was known as “Pleasant View School” or “Muedeking School.” The structure has served as the Monroe town hall since 1928, when another building a mile east burned down.

New pastor installation set Sunday in Garvin

Rev. Melba Smith will be installed Sunday as the pastor of a three-point parish serving Lake Sarah Lutheran Church in Garvin, Willow Lake Lutheran of rural Tracy, and Our Savior's Lutheran in Dovray.

The installation service begins at 10:30 a.m. at Lake Sarah Lutheran. A congregational potluck dinner follows the service.

“This is going to be a great challenge for me, but I like challenges,” says Pastor Smith, 50, of her new responsibilities. The focus of her ministry, she said, will be to “spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people” and serve the needs of people in the parish.

The three-point parish is Pastor Smith's first call.

She received her Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul this May. Her undergraduate studies were done at Des Moines Area Community College in Carroll, Iowa, and Grandview College in Des Moines, Iowa. She attended Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, for two years before transferring to Luther Seminary in 1998.

The three congregations have a baptized membership of about 400. Each Sunday morning, Pastor Smith will lead a worship service at each church. The Willow Lake service will always be held at 9:45 p.m. The Dovray and Garvin churches will rotate monthly between 8:30 and 11 a.m.

Swedish immigrants founded Nelson farm

This is the fourth in a series of articles about Tracy area Century Farms that were recently recognized at the Minnesota State Fair.

By Val Scherbart-Quist

The Nelson Farm was founded by Philip Albert and Anna Nelson in 1895. Philip Nelson was raised at another farm located six miles northeast of the current farm. That farm was homesteaded by his parents, who were from Sweden, in 1875. Anna Nelson came to the United States with her parents when she was 10 years old, and lived in Amiret Township.

The farm was passed on to their son, Will Nelson, who was born and died on the farm. After Will Nelson's death, his son, Phil, took over the family farming operation.

Phil Nelson, who now owns the farm with his wife, Pat, has lived on the farm for the majority of his life.

"I've lived on this farm my whole life, except for a year or two while I was in the army," Nelson reflected.

Together, Phil and Pat Nelson have lived on the farm for 48 years. They raised their two sons, Eric and Will, on the farm. Eric and Will have now continued the family tradition and are farming the land. The Nelsons and their sons accepted the century farm sign together at the Lyon County fair this summer.