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News from the week of July 20, 2005

Summer heat sends crops schooting skyward
Rain now would be huge plus

By Kyle Lessman

Hot July weather has helped corn shoot to above average heights. Timely rains now (Tracy got .22” early Wednesday) )would boost crop prospects further.

“Most of it (recent hot weather) is pretty positive,” said Jodi DeJong-Hughes of the Lyon County Extension’s Crops and Soils Department. “The corn has really taken off. We started off a little behind on the five year average, but this caught us up and actually pushed us above the average.”

According to the USDA’s most recent crop report, corn height is at 65 inches compared with 54 inches last year and 58 inches for the five-year average.

Although the heat has helped so far, more rain is needed.

“It’s not too big of a concern yet, but next week some time we are really going to start looking for rain,” explained DeJong-Hughes.

Bob Anderson the manager of Cenex Harvest States Elevator Tracy agrees,

“We’re not doing too bad yet. We still have sub-soil moisture.”

Plant moisture needs in corn are especially critical during the tasseling stage, which began this past week.

“About 50 percent of the corn has started tasseling,” DeJong-Hughes estimated on Monday. “Due to different varieties and the fact that some of the corn had to be replanted some fields haven’t started yet.”

Anderson explains that cooler temperatures and a little moisture are beneficial for corn pollination.

Rootworm concerns

Although corn development is progressing well, DeJong-Hughes says that the risk of rootworm damage is higher this year. Rootworms in their larval stage attack corn by feeding on the plant’s roots. Peak rootworm beetle numbers will probably be during the end of July to first couple weeks of August. DeJong-Hughes feels that soybean aphids are also a concern. The soybean aphid is an Eastern Asian pest that was first detected in Minnesota in 2000 and now has a well-established population in northern soybean growing areas.

“Farmers are watching them pretty closely this year. I don’t think that anyone has sprayed yet though. “If it is watched carefully I don’t think that it will be a huge issue.”

All issues aside Anderson sums up by saying, “I think that we are right on track for a good harvest.”

Morgan asks teen for demo recording
Derek Daniels is thrilled by surprise call

The filing period for a Tracy school board election this fall continues through Tuesday, July 19.

Three, five-year terms on the District 417 school board will be decided in a Nov. 8 election. Incumbents with terms expiring at the end of this year are Eric Nelson, Ed Carter, and Garry Hippe. As of Monday, no one had filed for the offices.

Nelson and Carter announced at a Monday night school board meeting that they do not intend to file for re-election. Hippe told the Headlight-Herald Monday that he had not decided whether to seek another term. Nelson has served on the board since July of 1992. Carter has been on the board since July of 1997. Hippe is completing his first term on the board.

Forms for filing for the school board election are available at the Tracy Area High School district office. Candidates must file an affidavit of candidacy by 5 p.m. July 19 to have their names placed on the ballot.

District 417 school board candidates must be eligible to vote, be a school district resident 30 days before the election, be at least 21 years old upon taking office, and not be registered as a convicted sex offender. The filing fee is $2.

If more than six candidates file for office, a primary election will be held on Sept. 13 to narrow the field to six.

As of Tuesday morning, no one had filed for the school board positions. The filing period opened Tuesday, July 5.

Flower show extends invitation for entries

By Megan Meyer

Tracy United Methodist Church will host its 66th annual Flower Show on Thursday, July 28. This year’s theme is “Hobbies for Everyone”.

Entries will be taken from 7:30 to 10 a.m. through the office entrance (east end of the building). The exhibits will be in Wesley Hall along with lunch served from noon until 7 p.m. In the education wing, there will be a produce sale including plants, jams and jellies.

Judy Hamilton, Tracy United Methodist Church member, chairs the event. She credits committee members for helping plan the event.

“The committee is the greatest.. Everyone does what they know how to do and it all gets done. There is a specific system and we all follow it closely.” Committee members, she says, are the creative minds behind the theme and categories.

Hamilton encourages all Tracy area gardeners to consider sharing flowers at the show.

“You don’t have to be a professional. It’s fun and you just need to try it. Gardening is something you learn as you go.”

For people looking for somewhere to start, she suggests the miniatures category or just entering some specimens, which are usually 1 to 5 stems of one type of flower displayed in a plain vase or glass bottle.

Hamilton has brought entries to the show for years, and won her share of blue ribbons. But it wasn’t always that way.

“I entered for years without ever receiving a ribbon,” she shared. “It’s not about winning.” On average, she has 20 entries every year. She considers gardening to be her “therapy.” She enjoys being able to work alone and in her own way. Typically, she spends four to five hours a week working on her flowerbeds—now exploding with beautiful colors and lush greens—and a vegetable garden.

“The rabbits and deer sure enjoy eating my plants,” she says with a chuckle.

Hamilton stresses that the flower show is meant for the entire community.

“Look at pictures. Learn from others. Figure out what works and what doesn’t then just go from there.” Hamilton and the committee offer these suggestions.

• If you don’t have a regular vase or watertight container, make your own! Put something inside that is water-tight such as a cottage cheese tub or a plastic bottle with the top cut off.

• Use “Oasis” to hold your flowers in place. It usually comes in a block of green foam. It can be purchased at most craft stores. Make sure the label says it holds water.

• Use a steak knife to cut the oasis to fit your container. Do not pour water on top of oasis, but instead set it on top of the water. It will absorb the water and be more even throughout the block.

• Avoid white containers unless white flowers are being used in the arrangement. Good colors to use for containers include tans, browns, greens and grays.

• Pick the flowers that will be used in the evening or early morning because the water content is highest at those times.

• Fully open or faded flowers are too old and will not keep well. Tight buds and young leaves sometimes wilt because they cannot take up water.

• The tallest part of the arrangement should be one and a half to two times the longest dimension of the container. Arrangements need to be in proportion.

• Use odd numbers of main flowers because it makes a better balance.

• If a stem is broken, push a toothpick inside to make it straight.

• • •

The Tracy United Methodist Flower Show has a long history. It was started by the Ladies Aid in1939 as a service to the community. The show was an opportunity to share all the beautiful flowers and quality vegetables with every member of the Tracy community, and not seen as a fund-raising event. A lunch was added several years after its inception. The show now has a produce room for gardeners to sell their plants, jams and jellies.

Aquatic Center demo work expands
Tests show splash pool was built over poor base

Tracy City Council members wrestled with both good and bad news about the Tracy Aquatic Center Monday.

The bad news was that engineering tests show that poor base materials exist underneath the concrete foundation of the aquatic center’s splash pool. Correcting the problem—which dates from the aquatic center’s construction in 2001-02—will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The good news is threefold. 1) The problem was discovered prior to the onset of the extensive renovations planned at the aquatic center this summer; 2) Test results indicate that the poor base exists only underneath the splash pool, not the larger lap pool; 3) Money has been set aside for the unexpected pool renovation costs.

Council members unanimously approved a motion instructing engineer Brian Pashina to negotiate a price with a contractor for the removal of all of the concrete and base material in the splash pool area. New aggregate material will be hauled in and compacted before new concrete decking is poured.

The council opted for the complete tear out and replacement upon Pashina’s recommendation.

“There is a significant risk of frost-heave movement,” the engineer advised, if the new splash pool were to be built over the existing concrete base.

“We don’t have much choice,” said Mayor Steve Ferrazzano before the motion was passed. “We have to do this.”

“It wasn’t done right to begin with,” agreed Bill Chukuske, referring to the original construction.

Cost of removing the old splash pool material, and installing the new, is not yet known. Pashina is to negotiate a price, and then present the change order to the council for approval. However, the extra cost is expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. A $66,000 option to remove and replace the entire splash pool area was listed by the contractor in the original aquatic center bid letting. The council at that time rejected the complete replacement option.

Organic materials found

Tests confirmed the presence of organic materials and black dirt, rather than compacted aggregate materials, around the splash pool’s concrete shell and deck. Council members were told that such organic matter should never be found near a construction site, because organic materials retain moisture and greatly increase the risk of concrete heaving or settling in Minnesota’s freeze-thaw weather cycles.

Rick Robinson, Tracy public works director, said that core samples had been taken at eight locations in the splash pool. All showed organic material underneath the concrete.

Councilman Russ Stobb asked how the city could be assured that the entire pool didn’t have an inadequate base.

Pashina, speaking to the council by telephone, said that further core samples had been drilled in the lap pool, but did not show inappropriate organic matter.

The poor base problem, Pashina said, “appears to be localized” around the splash pool area.

Ferrazzano asked whether the complete splash pool tear out will push back the targeted completion date for aquatic center repairs.

“I don’t think so,” Pashina replied.

The engineer noted that the current repair schedule now contemplates an end of October completion, rather than Nov. 15 in the original schedule. All concrete work is to be done by the end of September, with the installation of the new Myrtha gutter system beginning in September. Installation of the new Myrtha liner will also start in September, with completion targeted by mid-October.


City to seek compensation

Ferrazzano asked whether the city would be able to recover the extra cost of demolishing and replacing the entire splash pool area, in its aquatic center related litigation.

“Yes,” legal counsel Jim Kerr said.


Inspection questions addressed

After deciding the splash pool issue, the council reviewed the oversight responsibilities for the upcoming project.

“We have to make sure that someone is watching the store,” said Chukuske.

Robinson, said that while he is not responsible for construction supervision or inspection, he is making it a point to visit the aquatic center site about five times a day. He said he is keeping a daily log about the construction activity and weather conditions.

The city’s two consulting engineering firms—WJE Associates and Gremmer & Associates—will provide construction administration services. A statement from Pashina described the services that the firms will offer.

“…services will include visiting the site at intervals that are appropriate to the state of the work in progress. During these inspections, the consultants will observe the work performed and keep the City informed on the progress and quality of the work completed. The consultants will not be providing continuous full-time inspection, but will inspect the project as dictated by the work being performed. Weekly inspections will likely vary from one to three days per week.” If City of Tracy personnel notice “non-conforming work or suspect conditions” WJE and Gremmer and Associates consultants will be contacted “so that appropriate action can be taken.”

Pashina noted that the contractor (Pool Construction, Inc./Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. of Eagan) “will also have an on-site superintendent who will supervise and direct the work on a daily basis.”

The contractor, Pashina said, “is responsible for and has control over construction means, methods and sequences for coordinate and executing all phases of the work.”

Aquatic center repairs include cutting and patching, removing and replacing concrete slabs, installing a ‘shotcrete” liner, building a new retaining wall, installing a new Myrtha gutter system and pool liner, and mechanical and electrical work.


Troubled past

The $1.8 million Tracy Aquatic Center opened in July of 2002, replacing an outdoor pool in Sebastian Park that had operated 50 summers. Suspicious-looking cracks in the new aquatic center were noticed in the aquatic center in the spring of 2003. Significant leaks in the pool were suspected that summer because of unusual water loss rates, and tests were ordered in the fall of 2003. Tests, which included the removal of the pool’s Diamondbrite finish coat and the removal of concrete core samples, turned up voids and foreign objects in the aquatic center’s concrete shells.

The City of Tracy is seeking financial damages in a lawsuit that is scheduled to come to trial in January. Olympic Pools, an original pool contract; USAquatics, the pool’s designer and construction manager; and a bonding company are the dependants. Olympic Pools is seeking damages from the City of Tracy for money withheld from the original construction contract.

The aquatic center has remained closed since 2003.

The city had hoped that pool repair bids would be awarded last fall, and that the aquatic center would be operational for at least part of this summer. But delays were caused by the refusal of a product manufacturer to offer a warranty on a repair job.

A $790,800 construction contract and a $297,000 materials contract were awarded by the city this spring. A $150,000 contingency fund was set aside for unexpected expenses. It is expected that a portion of that contingency fund will be used for additional renovations planned for the splash pool.

Emotional pains & gains
Unorthodox therapist sees link betwween emotional & physical

By Johanna Schmidt


When Charles Reinert was two years old, a new baby was born into his family. No longer receiving the attention he was used to, the young boy was upset for months. As time went on, however, Reinert adjusted and got used to his younger sibling, never imagining that his experience had any long-term effects.

However, a California therapist named Anna Brandysiewicz, told Reinert that she believes otherwise. Through a procedure known as energetic body scan, she found a congested area in his lower calf, which she believes is the place Charles has been carrying these unresolved feelings all these years.

Brandysiewicz is a specialist in “isedotherapy,” which is “a blend of acupressure and advanced emotional release methods, to achieve a highly effective therapy especially valuable for those with deep emotional trauma such as rape, physical and emotional abuse, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder,” according to Reinert, who operates Helping to Heal in Tracy.

Brandysiewicz offered isedo therapy at Helping to Heal for a one week this month. She shared her beliefs about healing at an evening forum.


Unusual experiences

The isedotherapist grew up in Poland. Her siblings were much older than she, and by the time Brandysiewicz was just learning to read and write, her brothers and sisters were at the university level. As a result, she said she was constantly exposed to intellectual concepts that far exceeded what was expected of her age. “Before [age] 10, I was learning the structure of the atom,” she explained.

Something soon began to happen, though, that her educated family members couldn’t explain.

“Really strange things started happening to me.” The little girl began experiencing symptoms that were similar to allergic ones, but there was no connection between her environment or surrounding objects. She began to find that she was attracted to these places that were harmful to her. She would subconsciously put herself in places that were unhealthy, although she had no idea why. The symptoms continued to get worse as she entered her 20s.

She once began to experience these “allergic symptoms” at her sister’s apartment in Warsaw, and knew there must be something wrong. She told her sister to leave the apartment, but her sister couldn’t understand why the place was harmful in any way, and refused to leave. Not long after, Brandysiewicz’s sister was diagnosed with cancer and died within three months.

“That was my first conversation with God. I had to know what I was feeling. It was just too much.” Brandysiewicz, devastated, became determined to find out what exactly what it was that was so unsafe. After extensive research, she found that she had been reacting all those years to the energy of the underground water tunnels. She was especially sensitive to where the tunnels crossed. She found later, in fact, that her sister’s bed had been directly over “a peak” of crossings.


Fascinated by energy fields

Brandysiewicz became fascinated with how the energy of the world affects people. She said she can feel which places have “good” energy. That’s why she chooses to live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s one of the locations she deems are good, healthy places to live. “Now I can just look at a map. When I get there, I know.”

In conjunction with her job as an electronic engineer, she began her work of healing. Brandysiewicz encourages her patients to talk about their pasts, usually evoking painful, unresolved memories. Once each memory is discovered, then Brandysiewicz says she helps her patients to “transform or reinforce it.”

Though this technique may sound a bit like mind reading or similar to fortune telling, Brandysiewicz stresses that what she does doesn’t involve telling people what they are thinking, or even what they feel. She assists people in feeling their bodies and interpreting their negative feelings.

The challenge of hearing all about people’s painful memories is not getting people to talk or to help them heal through therapy. The hardest part, she says is avoiding letting the patients’ negative beliefs and memories affect her. She also concentrates on not making judgments about her patients:

“Judgment is very, very dangerous.” Through her work, she says she has learned compassion. She has allowed herself to understand others’ feelings and feels she has helped them understand their own feelings.


Learning to love

Two years ago, she decided to work solely as a therapist. Through her experience, Brandysiewicz says that she has learned everything “through meditation and listening.” She strongly believes that our purpose here on earth is simple:

“All we’re learning here is how to love.” It’s easy, she says, to “get stuck up in being spiritual.” It is possible to be praying or meditating, and not think at all about love, she believes.

Brandysiewicz was recommended to Helping to Heal by Sunny Ruthchild, a Tracy native who works at Helping to Heal during the summer. Ruthchild had seen Brandysiewicz at a seminar at Ruthchild’s store in Washington, and was impressed.

“I had never seen anything so effective and so fast.” The two quickly became friends, and before long, Brandysiewicz was planning a trip to Tracy.

Brandysiewicz says her stay in Tracy was a pleasant one:

“I just love Tracy.” She also says she loved working with the employees at “Helping to Heal.” “They are so open…very friendly. I admire what [Reinert] is bringing here.”