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News from the week of December 12, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Sviggum: Budget deficit will be solved without tax increase

Are major tax increases on the horizon as a solution to a looming state budget deficit?

Absolutely not, one of Minnesota's most influential legislative leaders indicated in Tracy Saturday.

Steve Sviggum, Speaker of the Minnesota House, said that a projected $1.95 billion state budget shortfall is manageable without tax increases. The Republican legislative leader also said that cutbacks in K-12 education and nursing home funding will also be avoided.

“I think we will be able to address the deficit without cutbacks in education, without cutting back long-term health-care, and without raising taxes,” Sviggum told 80 people attending a legislative breakfast sponsored by Area II of the Minnesota River Basin Projects. The morning meeting was held at the Mediterranean restaurant in Tracy.

The Kenyon legislator offered a preview of the 2002 legislative session.

“This was supposed to be an easy session. We were going to pass a bonding bill and get out of there.” However, Sviggum acknowledged that the Sept. 11 terrorism and an economic recession has changed the political landscape.

Homeland security will be a major issue for lawmakers next session, the House Speaker said.

Mayor, Tracy Council rally support for DM&E

Mayor Claire Hannasch and Tracy City Council members are opening up the throttle on efforts to support the proposed expansion of the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad.

Concerned by news reports that Senator Mark Dayton was leading an effort to block the $1.4 billion DM&E project, Hannasch asked for council permission to send two letters. One letter, signed by the mayor, asks Dayton to "rethink" his views on the project. The other letter, also signed by the mayor, is addressed to the mayors in other communities along the DM&E. The mayors are urged to voice their support for the DM&E plan with Dayton's office.

The Tracy Council unanimously gave their blessings to Hannasch's letter.

Route chosen for Swift Lake bikeway

Center Street parking to stay

The City of Tracy is moving forward with plans to build a bike path through Swift Lake Park.

Tracy City Council members chose a route for the bike path Monday night. Much to the relief of Center Street residents, the council deleted a proposal to eliminate on-street parking along most of Center Street to make room for a designated bike lane.

The route chosen for the Swift Lake Park bike/pedestrian path follows the Airport Road from Hwy. 14, north to the park's entrance. Paved shoulders would be constructed on both sides of the Airport Road. (Lyon County Highway 11).

A 10-foot wide paved path through Swift Lake Park would closely follow an existing gravel road. After going past the campground, the path would turn south along the west side of narrow dirt access road. The bikeway would continue south of city softball fields and the Tracy Industrial Park to the intersection of Hwy. 14 and Fourth Street East.

In addition to the new Swift Lake Park loop, bike lanes would be designated along Hwy. 14 between East Fourth and the Highline Road, South Street, South Center Street, and Pine Street.

The bike routes would require parking restrictions on South Center Street, between Front and South Streets, and on the south side of South Street, except in the immediate downtown area.

Hospital ranks high in patient satisfaction poll

It's a report card good enough to hang on the refrigerator.

Tracy Area Medical Services (TAMS) received high marks on its third quarter report card, it was announced recently.

“We did very well,” said TAMS Director of Community Relations Valerie Sobrack.

Its most recent inpatient satisfaction surveys place TAMS at or significantly above the average for hospitals included in the survey.

“This is the first year we went with a big, system-wide survey,” Sobrack said.

Sobrack said TAMS feels the survey is a good way to let the communities it serves how it stacks up to other hospitals.

“We feel like we owe it to our communities to be straight-forward,” she said.

Among hospital inpatients, 91 percent of patients rated TAMS “very good” or “excellent” in categories of care/services, an increase of 26 percent from second quarter. Ninety-two percent rated TAMS “very good” or “excellent” in overall quality of care/services, an increase of 23 percent over last quarter. Ninety-seven percent rated TAMS “very good” or “excellent” in regard to recommending the facility to others, down three percent from last quarter.

Currie banker says he'll miss the people

Open house set Tuesday for Romane Dold

By Val Scherbart-Quist

From Romane Dold's office at Currie State Bank, he can see everyone who walks in the front door. For each and every customer, Dold has a smile and a wave, or a cheerful hello.

In a few weeks, Dold will be hanging up his hat as the bank's president.

As he prepares for retirement, Dold says it will be the people he'll miss the most.

“I'll miss my morning walk to the coffee shop, and greeting the people who walk by my door,” Dold said.

Dold's family moved to the Currie area when he was one year old, and he has lived there ever since. He attended school at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Currie.

Dold started working at Currie State Bank on March 1, 1977. He started out doing teller work, and over the next 20 years worked his way to becoming bank president in 1996.

“I guess that's how you learn in a small community,” Dold said. “You learn to do it all.”

Grand opening planned for Auntie Kay's, Shetek Station

A grand opening is planned this week at the new Shetek Station Custom Framing and Auntie Kay's Closet shop in Downtown Tracy.

Kim Thormodson, owner of Auntie Kay's, and Betsy Schmidt, owner of Shetek Station, extend a special invitation to stop by during their Thursday, Friday, and Saturday grand opening. Door prizes, in-store specials, and free refreshments are offered.

The businesses opened their doors at 192 Third Street on Nov. 18. Schmidt moved her custom framing business from the back of the Tracy Publishing building. Thormodson's Auntie Kay's Closet is a brand-new business. Although each is a separate business, the enterprises are housed in the same building at 192 Third St.

The women have been very pleased by the public reception they've had since opening.

“We've had lots of people stopping in,” said Thormodson. “It's been fun meeting all the people.”

Schmidt agreed. “Everyone's been very supportive. People are happy to see something new open up downtown.”