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News from the week of August 20, 2003

EDA loan okayed for new downtown business

The Tracy Economic Development Authority has approved a $19,000 loan for the Tracy Computer/Office Supply and Computer Learning Center.

Owner Lary Parker has been renovating the former Tita's Boutique building in Downtown Tracy for the business since early this summer. The loan will go toward renovation, equipment and inventory costs.

Okayed by EDA members Friday, the loan is to be repaid over a seven-year period at 2.125% interest. The EDA is obtaining a first-mortgage on the building and inventory as security for the loan.

In other EDA business Friday:

JOBZ application—It was decided that five areas of vacant land in and around Tracy will be included in an regional application for one of Minnesota's new tax-free Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ).

The Southwest Regional Development Commission is writing the 12-county application, which can include up to 5,000 non-contiguous acres. Communities throughout the region have been invited to participate.

The Tracy areas to be included in the regional JOBZ application are:

• About 165 acres of city-owned land around the municipal airport;

• About 10 acres of vacant city-owned land in the industrial park;

• About 70 acres of land east of South Center Street, along the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad;

• About 40 acres in a triangular parcel bounded by Lyon County 73 and the railroad.

• About 90 acres north of Hwy. 14, on the northwest edge of Tracy.

Thursday meeting to explain grant program

Property owners must be

within 10-block target area

An informational meeting about the City of Tracy's Small Cities Development program is planned Thursday, August 21 at city hall.

Property owners within a ten-block target area are eligible to apply for loans and grants to renovate owner-occupied houses, commercial buildings, and rental housing for low and moderate-income households. The target area is bounded by Fifth St. on the west, Rowland St. on the north, Center St. on the east, and South St. on the south.

The meeting for property owners within the target area begins at 6:30 p.m.

A second meeting for owners of commercial and rental property within the target area begins at 7:30 p.m.

Contractors who are interested in working on grant projects are invited to an 8 p.m. meeting.

All sessions will be in he Tracy City Council Chambers.

The Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development announced in April that Tracy had been selected for a $934,750 Small Cities grant. Work has been underway since then to lay the administrative groundwork for the program.

The Small Cities grant program will make available $252,450 for commercial rehabilitation loans, $198,000 for rental housing repair loans, and $352,800 for owner-occupied housing repairs.

Western Community Action will be administering the program for the City of Tracy. Interested property owners will be able to begin the application process at Thursday night's meetings.

New AFS students arrive from Finland, Germany

Tracy's AFS tradition continued this month with the arrival of two 16-year-old girls from Europe.

Sandra Hohlfeld, of Wartha, Germany; and Nanna Maria Lindholm, Lahti, Finland, arrived in Minnesota August, 8. Both came to Tracy through the AFS international student exchange program.

Sandra, who will soon turn 17, is staying with the Mary and Tim Byrne family of Tracy. Nanna, whose birthday is in April, is staying with the. Bill and Kathy Brockway family of rural Tracy.

The students will attend Tracy Area High School during the 2003-4 school year. They'll stay with their host families until next July.

This is the 42nd consecutive year that Tracy has hosted at least one AFS teacher or student. Sandra and Nanna are the 78th and 79th people to come to Tracy through AFS's year-long program.

Alice Stonebrink was first exchange student

The AFS tradition at Tracy Area High School began in the fall of 1962, when Alice Stonebrink became Tracy's first foreign exchange student. The student from the Netherlands stayed with the Wendell Anderson family.

Since then, Tracy has had at least one foreign exchange student each year. Most have come through the AFS exchange program. Counting this year's two AFS students, Tracy High School will have hosted 78 foreign exchange students and one teacher in 42 years.

Where have they come from?

Thirty-seven of Tracy's 79 guests from abroad have been from a West European country. Nineteen have come from South America, seven from Asia, and six from Central America.

Germans are the most numerous nationality in Tracy's foreign-exchange fraternity. Eight of Tracy's foreign exchange students have come from Germany. Five students have come from Finland, and four from Italy.

Where aren't Tracy exchange students coming from?

Walnut Grove firemen plan red-hot celebration

The Walnut Grove Fire Department is celebrating its centennial this weekend.

The celebration is planned Saturday, August. 23, beginning with a Whopper Feed in the Walnut Grove City Park, from noon to 3 p.m. The Whopper Feed is a fund-raiser for new playground equipment.

At 1 p.m., the Tracy Fire Department will demonstrate the use of "Jaws of Life" equipment. From 2-4 p.m., there will be a “Bucket Brigade” with various community groups and area fire departments taking art.

A ceremony honoring retired Walnut Grove firemen is planned at 5 p.m.. The Walnut Grove Jaycees will serve barbecued pork sandwiches in the city park from 5-7 p.m. Minnesota West Community & Technical College will be doing a live propane burn from 7-8 p.m.

A centennial street dance featuring Black Diamond, a contemporary country and variety show band, p.m. to 1 a.m. on Main Street in downtown Walnut Grove.

Lonesome Dove wranglers corral ranch rodeo honors

An area team called Lonesome Dove took top honors out of 21 teams at the Lincoln County Fair Ranch Rodeo held over the weekend.

Lonesome Dove members are Duane Weedman of Marshall, Nick Kissner of Wood Lake, Gary Johns of Tracy, and Lonnie Schrunk of Lynd. Each received a belt buckle for their efforts.

There are four events in a ranch rodeo. Lonesome Dove placed first in team doctoring with a time of 17 seconds, and in team penning with a time of 34 seconds. Teams are given a minute-and-a-half in each event, and the team that completes the task in the least amount of time wins that event. The team that wins the most events is the overall winner.