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News from the week of February 20, 2002

Prairie View inquires about Eastview lots

Prairie View Healthcare Center is looking into the possibility of buying property in the Eastview Addition.

The Tracy Economic Development Authority was told Friday that Tealwood, Prairie View's corporate owner, might be interested in three undeveloped lots for its planned assisted living addition. Robert Gervais, Tracy Community Development Director, said that Tim Byrne, Prairie View administrator, had called him to inquire how much the lots would cost.

Since the EDA didn't have a quorum (only Dennis Fultz and Jan Otto-Arvizu were present), no action was taken on a price. Otto-Arvizu said one factor that should have a bearing on the price is whether the new addition would be subject to regular property taxes.

The three lots are south of the nursing home on the northeast corner of the Eastview development. The roughly 300x150-foot parcel is south of a platted, but undeveloped extension of Union Street. Gervais said that for Prairie View to add onto its facility to the three lots, the City of Tracy would need to abandon the undeveloped street.

In other discussion at Friday's EDA meeting:

• Gervais reported that the EDA's three-bedroom “spec” house remains unsold, despite interest expressed by several parties. Gervais said that one prospective buyer had asked what the response would be if an offer came in substantially lower than the $109,500 asking price.

EDA members felt it was difficult to respond without a written offer. EDA members did note that $109,500 is close to what the EDA has invested in the house. Optimism was expressed that the coming of spring will help spur the house's sale. Gervais said that the house's November completion date was not ideal for selling the house.

Jumping for Joy

High-soaring Twisters exceed expectations

It was the best of times, and the worst of times.

Jauntily arrayed with some 200 other uniformed dancers, the Tracy Twisters nervously waited. Would the Twisters be one of the four surviving teams advancing to state competition at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul? Or would their season end in abrupt disappointment?

The Twisters optimistically fixed their sights on fourth place. After all, three teams in the competition had beaten the Tracy dancers earlier in the winter. Several other squads also looked sharp.

An awards ceremony was about to confirm or dash their fourth-place hopes.

“And in fourth place, congratulations to the BOLD Divas!” the voice said over the loudspeaker.

The Twisters were crestfallen.

“When we heard that BOLD had gotten fourth, we thought that we hadn't made it to state,” remembers Brooke Averill. “We thought we must be fifth.”

BOLD had beaten the Twisters at several earlier meets. Yellow Medicine East, the defending state jazz funk champion, was the odds- on-favorite to win. Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop and New Ulm Cathedral were also expected to do well. What was left for the Twisters?

“And in third place, the GFW Voltage!” the announcer said. With the YME Silhouettes a near-lock to win, two options remained for the Twisters: elimination or elation. Alfred Hitchcock couldn't have plotted the suspense any better.

“I was hoping, but I was really scared,” recalled Elizabeth Malmberg, one of five dance line seniors. “I was afraid that I was never going to dance again and the season was over. It was kind of depressing.”

Similar thoughts ran through the mind of the Twisters' other “Beth,” senior Elisabeth Fox.

“After they announced third place, I knew the second place team had to be either New Ulm or us. But I thought, no, it couldn't be us. I was afraid we hadn't made it.”

“Congratulations to the Section 2A runner-ups, the Tracy Twisters!” came the announcement over the PA.

Mark Priegnitz elected chair of Tracy Kid's World, Inc.

A non-profit organization trying to build a new day care center in Tracy has elected officers.

Mark Priegnitz is the chairman of Tracy Kid's World Inc. Vice Chair is Lisa Schaar, with Louise Noomen serving as secretary.

The organization's goal is to spearhead the construction of a non-profit child-care center in Tracy. The group is finalizing its Articles of Incorporation and seeking tax-exempt status.

“Once that is done, we can go ahead with applying for grants to build the center,” Priegnitz said.

Supporters of a new day care center have been meeting since June. The group was formed after surveys showed a strong need for more day care facilities.

A site near Tracy Area Medical Services and Prairie View Healthcare Center—two of the largest employers in Tracy—is the group's preferred location.

Other people involved the Tracy Kid's World Inc. discussions include: Art Marben, Bonnie Hook, Robert Gervais, Dave Tiegs, Deb Skoglund, Jeri Schons, Kris Salmon, Scott Loeslie, Paula Ruoff, and Stacy Barstad.

Accelerated Reader keeps elementary kids turning pages

Library circulationincreases 45%

By Val Scherbart-Quist

A new program has Tracy Elementary students excited about reading.

Accelerated Reader (AR), a computer-based reading management system, is intended to guide and motivate students to read books that are both interesting and challenging.

Tracy Elementary School is in its second year of using the AR program.

Starting with an idea

In the fall of 1999, school media specialist Lori Fox approached Elementary Principal Scott Loeslie with the idea of doing something to encourage and support reading habits of students.

Before moving to Tracy, Fox worked at a middle school in Iowa that had just begun using the AR program. Fox had spoken with the school's media specialist about how AR helped students improve their reading scores. Loeslie had also had positive experiences with AR in Fulda. Together, Fox and Loeslie wrote an incentive grant to bring AR to Tracy.

Since AR was implemented at Tracy Elementary, the school media center has been able to purchase a number of fiction and non-fiction books, as well as the corresponding AR quizzes and the AR software program.

“Our media center circulation has increased by over 45 percent since the 1999 school year, and our book collection is improving in both numbers and content,” said Fox.

Tracy FFA has good reason to take stock of accomplishments

Ninety-four Tracy FFA members are celebrating National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23.

Tracy FFA members have good reason to celebrate. The Tracy Area High School FFA has been named the outstanding FFA chapter in Region VI for the past four years.

Chris Alexander, Rhonda Bitker, Ashley Erbes, Emily Vandendriessche, Curt Paradis, Jeff Buyck, Katie Lanoue, Kami Skoglund, Becky Lessman, and Laura Zwach are this year's chapter officers. Chapter recipients of the Minnesota State FFA award are Becky Lessman, Katie Lanoue, Leah Malone, Kami Skoglund, Steph Carter, Curt Paradis, Rhonda Bitker, and Pam Schreier. Fifteen Tracy Area FFA members have applied for the region proficiency award this year.

The Tracy FFA is one of the region's longest established and most successful chapters.

Since 1956, the Tracy Area FFA Chapter has held a corn drive to benefit Camp Courage. This past fall, over $4,000 was collected and donated to the charity from the Tracy area.

A newer FFA program is “PALS.” Last fall, FFA members had second and third grade students come to the high school, and taught them about agriculture through fun activities.

Tracy Area FFA members sponsored a lunch before the girls' basketball game Tuesday night.

Paul Skoglund and Chris Howard are the Tracy FFA advisors.

Speech team is runner-up

Cassandra Carlson is discussion category winner

A championship performance from Cassandra Carlson, and second-places from Brady Averill and Shanna Lowe led the Tracy Area High School speech team to a second place finish at Minneota Saturday.

Willmar captured the team championship with 56 points, seven points ahead of Tracy. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton was a distant third with 33 points.

Nearly 350 students competed. Carlson won the discussion category, capturing her first-ever championship. Averill was runner-up in extemporaneous Lowe took her honors in storytelling.

Fourth-place finishers for Tracy included senior Steph Carter in creative expression, juniors Joanna Olson in informative and Anthony Stephens in extemporaneous speaking, and sophomores Kim Lenertz in original oratory and Brian French in serious drama.

The Panther Speech team is hosting a 13-team junior high tournament on Thursday at the high school beginning at 3:45. The Panthers will travel to Luverne on Saturday. Over 350 competitors are expected.

The public is invited to both meets. There is no admission charge.