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News from the week of December 5, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

55 blocks street improvements considered in Tracy for 2002

An ambitious Tracy street improvement project is under consideration for next year.

Up to 55 blocks of street work, with an estimated $567,741 cost, is being contemplated for 2002. Work would include:

• 35 blocks of bituminous overlay.

• 17 blocks where the old roadway would be milled off and replaced with a new bituminous overlay.

• 3 blocks new street construction on existing gravel streets, with new curb and gutter.

Richard J. Seifert, an engineer for RLK Kuusisto of Hibbing, Minnetonka, St. Paul and Twin Ports, explained the proposed project in a Nov. 13 correspondence to Tracy City Council members.

“Some of the proposed areas on certain streets are in need of immediate attention,” Seifert wrote. “Repairs on other streets could be postponed, but if improvements are delayed more than a year or two, a much more expensive repair or even a complete reconstruction will be necessary.”

Fire leaves family of 10 homeless

A family of 10 was forced from their Tracy home in an early morning fire Tuesday.

Blong Yang, his wife and their eight children were home at the time of the fire. Everone made it out of the house safely, said Fire Chief Keith Engesser.

The Tracy Fire Department was paged to the fire at 32 Morgan Street at 1:26 a.m. The department was on the scene for about two hours.

A smoke detector is credited with awakening the family.

"That smoke detector might have saved the lives of ten people," said Engesser. "At that time of night, you never know."

One of the girls in the family was awakened by the alarm and she roused other family members. The fire broke out in the kitchen area. The blaze was apparently started by a stove that had been left on. The kitchen was heavily damaged by fire. Other living areas were heavily damaged by smoke.

Corn seen as marketing key in 2002

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

It's no secret that crop prices have been less than ideal in recent years. But what marketing strategy can farmers use to make the best of the situation?

Robert Utterback, President of Utterback Marketing Services, shared some ideas at a meeting last week in Tracy sponsored by Cenex Harvest States. Utterback spoke at a second Cenex Harvest States meeting that evening in Ruthton.

“Marketing is becoming more and more important,” Utterback told the group.

Utterback, a registered commodities representative, bases his marketing company out of New Richmond, Ind. He assists farmers and elevators in developing marketing strategies for selling and buying ag commodities. His outlooks have been published in Farm Journal magazine. Utterback Marketing Services handles managed accounts and gives daily comments and strategies on the internet or by fax.

Utterback recommended that farmers keep several factors in mind for next year's planting season.

By the second quarter of 2002, said Utterback, farmers should seriously consider an interest rate policy that includes long-term rates. He also recommended locking into a long-term energy policy.

Utterback said he expects the coming farm bill to shift away from securing prices to ensuring income for farmers when prices are low, which he described as counter-cyclical.

Swift Lake Park bike trail eyed for 2003 construction

Public hearing planned Monday

Public comment is invited about a bike/pedestrian path that could be built through Swift Lake Park in 2003.

A public hearing on the proposed park improvement is scheduled at 6:45 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10, at Tracy City Hall. Tracy City Council members will hold the hearing. Anita Benson, Lyon County Public Works Director, will discuss the project and answer questions.

Three route options are being studied for the new pathway, which would be 10-foot wide with a bituminous paved surface. Cost estimates range from $102,000 to $128,000. At least $78,477 in federal grant funding has been okayed for the project.

Besides building a new pathway through Swift Lake Park, the project also calls for establishing designated bikeways on several of the city's major thoroughfares. Plans are to establish painted bike lanes on Center Street, Pine Street, South Street, Craig Ave. (Hwy. 14) and on the Airport Road leading out to the Swift Lake Park entrance. Signage would also establish East Hollett, Elm, and a portion of East Fourth as designated “Bike Routes,” although bike lanes would not be painted onto the street.

Center Street's proposed designation with a painted bike lane would require a ban in on-street parking. Currently, parking is allowed on one side of Center.

City tax levy hike now stands at 31%

• No public comment received at hearing

Tracy taxpayers seem to be taking in stride a large increase in the city's 2002 property tax levy.

Despite a 37.5 percent increase in the city's preliminary tax levy, not a single citizen turned out for a “truth-in-taxation” hearing Monday night. The meeting was adjourned after 15 minutes.

Several council members indicated that they hadn't heard much criticism of the levy increase on the street either. Mayor Claire Hannasch said he thinks that people realize that most of next year's levy hike is due to bond payments on the city's new aquatic center. Voters overwhelmingly approved a $1.5 million bond in February to finance the new swimming pool, which is now under construction.

Council members meet Monday, Dec. 10, to finalize their 2002 budget and property tax levy. This Monday night, they affirmed their intention to eliminate a $25,000 appropriation for new playground equipment at Sebastian Park for 2002. (Council members hope the playground equipment will qualify for a LAWCON grant). The deletion leaves the city with a 31% levy increase for next year.


Just about everyone left Tracy Area High School smiling Monday night.

Who could help it, after Tracy Elementary youngsters staged thier annual Christmas program? The musical was enhanced with a menagerie of special costumes, props, characters and familiar holiday tunes.

Sixth graders acted out a Christmas play while younger students provided the music. The play, "Ho-Ho-Ho-Hold It!" told the suspenseful saga of a Santa looking into a career change. But after trying out other careers, Santa returns to his true calling.

The play was written by teachers Russ Roots and Ade Miller.