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News from the week of October 31, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Decision time nears for school operating levy

Tracy Area Public School District voters have their say next week about a proposed school operating levy.

Polls will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Tracy City Hall, Amiret Township Hall, Currie City Hall, and the Garvin City Hall.

The referendum asks District 417 voters to grant the Board of Education the authority to levy up to $425 per resident student in each of the next five years.

The operating levy would raise about $357,000 for the 2002-03 school year. About $154,000 would be generated by local property taxes. The remaining $203,000 would come from State of Minnesota equalizing revenues.

The new levy would replace an operating levy that ends this year. The new levy, if approved, goes into effect for taxes payable in 2002.

District 417 is one of 182 public school districts seeking voter approval for an operating levy this fall. Tracy school board members called for the operating levy referendum at a Sept. 14 meeting.

Unusual 2001 crop year nears final rounds in field

Area corn yields are 125 to 130 bushels

The farm harvest is wrapping up in the Tri-County area.

Corn yields are lower than last year, and have ranged from less than 100 bushels per acre up to 150 bushels per acre in some fields.

In Tracy, corn yields averaged at about 125–130 bushels per acre, said Bob Anderson at Cenex Harvest States.

“This is down about 20–40 bushels from last year,” Anderson said.

In Milroy, corn yields averaged at about 130 bushels per acre, which is also down from last year.

“Corn yields this year can be described as extremely variable from farm to farm and from field to field,” said “There was a tremendous variation in corn yields this year.”

Byrnes added that yields this fall depended on where corn was in development this summer when stresses occurred.

“It was a very unusual year,” he said.

Tracy grant hopes defined

Revitalization plan to be reviewed soon by city boards

How can a Downtown Tracy revitalization plan qualify for grant funding assistance?

This was the $64,000 question—or perhaps the million-dollar question—on the minds of Tracy civic leaders last week during a two-hour meeting with a grant-funding specialist.

“Competition is intense,” said Rick Goodemann, executive director of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, as he explained the details of a Small Cities Development grant program. “The process is long and its drawn out,” with no guarantees of success.

Nonetheless, Goodeman indicated that Tracy has reason to hope. He reviewed a list of 18 Southwest Minnesota communities that had secured Small Cities community development grants with the assistance of the housing partnership.

For example, the City of Olivia was awarded a $742,300 grant to help redevelop a historic commercial building with eight apartments, rehabilitate 12 other downtown commercial buildings, and refurbish eight residential rental units.

Pipestone was awarded $1,150,000 to rehabilitate 16 downtown commercial buildings, 20 owner–occupied homes and 14 residential rental units.

The City of Marshall was awarded $1,395,886 to help rehabilitate 35 downtown buildings, 48 rental units, and eight owner-occupied homes.

Chances for commercial rehab grants projects can be improved, Goodemann said, when paired with housing rehabilitation for low and moderate income families, especially if the projects create more rental housing. Goodeman suggested that any downtown revitalization project include apartment renovations.

Pam Gervais publishes new collection piano arrangements

By Val Scherbart Quist

Familiar tunes get a new twist in Pam Gervais's new book of piano music, “It Is Well With My Soul.”

The rural Tracy woman has now published her second book of piano music. The first, entitled “From the Heart,” came out about a year ago.

Gervais's music is published through Augsburg Fortress, which is based in Minneapolis and sells to retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

“It's named after a hymn arrangement that's in the book,” Gervais said.

The book contains five hymn arrangements. “Amazing Grace” is in memory of her father-in-law, Vince Gervais. The title song, “It Is Well With My Soul,” is dedicated to Gervais's husband, Paul, and their children, Sarah, Ben, and Jake. “Sweet Hour of Prayer” is dedicated to Gervais's grandmother, Anna Jensen. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “There Is a Balm in Gilead” are also included in the book.

“They are favorite hymns of mine,” Gervais said. “Most of them from my childhood.”

The new book is available at Music Street in Marshall, at, or by calling Gervais.

Gervais's next project is a book of seven Christmas arrangements, which could come out as early as next fall.

Tracy sailor serves aboard newest addition to Pacific fleet

Many employers provide the unique opportunity for their employees to experience "firsts" while on the job. The U.S. Navy is no different in this category, with emphasis placed on the word unique. Crew members of selected ships have the opportunity to visit ports in foreign lands, cross the equator or international date line, reach the Arctic Circle and bring new ships to life.

Recently, Trevor J. Humphrey became a crew member on the Navy's newest guided-missile destroyer, the USS Lassen (DDG82). The commissioning of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer occurred on April 21. This occasion was celebrated by fanfare speeches and an obligation by the commanding officer and crew to keep the ship ready at all times to support and defend the policies of the United States.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Humphrey, the 19-year-old son of Jill Fritz of Tracy, realizes the responsibilities of manning a new ship.

"I feel that I'm on the cutting edge of technology. I am very proud of what I do," said Humphrey, a 1999 graduate of Tracy Area High School. Humphrey, an interior communications electrician, repairs phones, televisions and VCRs. He also works as a search and rescue swimmer.

Remodeling begins on Twin Circle kitchen area

Work is underway this week on a remodeling project at Twin Circle Apartments.

The project consists of remodeling and expanding the kitchen in the Twin Circle community room. In order to expand the kitchen, the women's bathroom is being taken out and a new bathroom is being put in at another location in the building.

The new and improved kitchen will have a second serving window, two stoves, a bigger refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, and new cupboards, said Twin Circle Apartments manager Dawn Benson.

“It will be nice because when people rent the community room, there will be more room for cooking,” she said.

The remodeling project is expected to be completed by Dec. 31. During the remodling, the community room will not be available to use for parties and other occasions, Benson said.

The $65,000 project is being completed by Lindberg Construction of Currie. Group II Architects of Marshall is overseeing the project.