The show did go on

After two postponements, the Tracy Area Dance Studio’s 2018 Spring Recital finally took place Monday night. Dancers who delighted the crowd included (from left) Mallorie Hicks, Tabitha Munson and Clara Pagel. See more photos on the back page of today’s paper.

Weather woes keep schools on their toes

By Per Peterson

Already Monday morning, Tracy Area High School Supt. Chad Anderson was looking ahead to another weather system due to hit Tracy and the area today (Wednesday). Pardon Anderson if he has become weather-weary and even a bit paranoid.

“We’re in the two- to four-inch range right now, but they’re saying it could shift north, which puts us in the six- to 10-inch range — based upon how the year has been going, I’m not openly optimistic about having a full week of school this week.”

What’s new?

The possibility of more snow is the last thing any Minnesotan wants to think about after this past weekend, when another 12-plus inches of snow fell in Tracy and the surrounding area. The timing of this storm spared the school another lost day, but that didn’t mean Anderson didn’t have some decisions to make in what has become a stressful routine.

“It is part of my job, and we all have parts of our jobs that are more challenging than others,” he said. “Hopefully it only happens once in a while, but when it starts to happen on a regular basis, it does grate on you — the worry and stress about making the right decision. Every weather situation is different. It could be wind, it could be snow, it could be ice. It could be the middle of the night, it could be predicted and then not come.”

For more on the weather, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.


Another week, another spring blizzard — this time, 25 inches of snow was left behind, making a long winter even longer

SO MUCH SNOW — City of Tracy crews worked all weekend in an attempt to keep up with an onslaught of snow.

By Seth Schmidt

The Weather Channel dubbed the mammoth weekend storm that swept across the Midwest “Xanto.”

The National Weather Service called the April blizzard “historic.”

But for many in the region, the avalanche of heavy, wet snow that fell Friday through Sunday was simply a royal pain.

“I can’t remember a time when we’ve gotten this much snow at a single pop,” said Bob Karbo, as he neared the end of his area Star-Tribune delivery route at Sunday noon, hours behind schedule.

How much snow fell?

The City of Tracy’s weather station  at the water plant reported 25” of total snowfall from the storm.

At the Tracy Airport, 14.9” of snow was recorded Friday through Sunday. Lake Shetek weather observer Kevin Haney reported the storm’s total at 18”.

Large snowfalls were logged across the region. Canby snowfall was in the neighborhood of 23”.  Sioux Falls, S.D. reported 15” while a similar snow total resulted in the closure of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Saturday and cancellation of hundreds of flights.  Highways were closed throughout the region, including Interstates 90 and 29.

The weekend snow brought the November to April snow total at the Tracy water plant to 86”. Twenty-four inches were recorded in March and 37” in April.

“That’s a lot of snow,” said Public Works Director Shane Daniels.

The area was bracing for another snow forecast for Wednesday (April 18).

The unusual April blizzard disrupted many plans.

Virtually all area events for Saturday and Sunday were nixed,

including the Prairie Women’s Expo, which was postponed until April 28, and the Tracy Dance Studio’s Sunday recital, which was moved to Monday night. (See related story). Local churches called off Sunday morning service.  Tracy Food Pride and Casey’s General Store were among a handful of businesses that remained open Saturday.  Food Pride owner Bruce Schelhaas stayed the entire weekend giving employees rides to and from work.

No mail could be delivered from the Tracy Post Office Saturday, because mail trucks didn’t arrive.

Stormy conditions meant extended stays for employees at Sanford Tracy and the Prairie View Healthcare Center.

Jeri Schons, director of Nursing at Sanford, said some staffers were on-site for up to 60 hours, Friday night through Monday morning. Nursing, X-ray, lab, and respiratory therapy staff members were among those who stayed on, with sleeping arrangements made in extra rooms at the hospital and O’Brien Court.  Denise Clouse, Sanford’s director of community relations, cited Kendall Cooreman, for doing an exemplary job of keeping the hospital’s parking lot clear of snow.

Brian Hinrich, Prairie View administrator,, said that he spent much of the weekend shuttling employees back and forth from homes in town, with some staffers opening their homes up to out-of-town workers.  Drifts on the north side of Prairie View, he added, reached the building’s roofline.

• • •

The storm began with pebbles of hail Friday morning, and intermittent sleet and thunder.   Tracy school dismissed at 2 p.m. because of the on-coming snow. Heavy snow fell most of the day Saturday, with wind gusts over 30 MPH, as the state highway patrol advised no travel and closed numerous highways in the region.

City of Tracy crews tried to keep ahead of the snow, plowing snow from city streets from 8 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday,  and resuming operations from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.  Most streets had to be plowed twice, with some gone over three times, Daniels said. Snow clearing shifted Monday to the city airport and alleys Monday. (See related story).

Snow removal operations got underway Sunday for commercial operations, homeowners, and residents.  The depth and weight of the snow made operations challenging for most.

Tracy firemen worked Monday night, digging city fire hydrants out from snow.

Locals briefed on Hwy. 14 road project

By Per Peterson

About five dozen residents, most who have some kind of stake in next year’s Tracy-to-Revere Hwy. 14 road construction project, gathered at the Walnut Grove Community Center to share their concerns and get answers to questions about the $4 million project.

Three Minnesota Department of Transportation representatives were on hand to update local residents on where MnDOT currently sits in the planning stages of the project.

MnDOT’s District 8 Engineering Specialist Kent Medalen said that process is still in the beginning stages.

“We have about 30% of the plan done,” Medalen said. “Right now, there are more questions than answers. There are a lot of things we don’t know yet.”

What is known is the 12-mile bituminous resurfacing project will begin at 4th Street East in Tracy and end at the junction of Redwood Country Road 7 outside of Revere. The process includes grinding off three-and-a-half inches of surface, and putting it right back after mixing it up. Another three inches of mix will be put back on top of that before seal-coating is applied.

There will also be shoulder upgrades.

The likely detour will take motorists north from Tracy on Lyon County Road 11 for 6 miles, then east of Lyon County Road 2, which turns into Redwood County Road 4 for 13 miles, then south on Redwood County Road 7, which brings motorists back to Hwy. 14 by Revere.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

New floral service blossoms in Tracy

By Seth Schmidt

April snowstorms haven’t stopped a new business from blooming in Tracy.

Greenwood Floral is now offering fresh-cut flower arrangements for weddings, funerals, special occasion gifts and personal pick-me-ups.  Flowers can also be ordered and sent almost anywhere in the U.S.

The new floral shop is an offshoot of Greenwood Nursery, one of Tracy’s longest established family-owned businesses.

“We saw a need for this,” explained Greenwood founder Jeff Farber. “There wasn’t any other place locally where people could order flower arrangements.”

The floral shop venture opened at Greenwood’s South Fourth St. store the first week in April. Extensive remodeling paved the way.

A new display cooler now graces a corner of Greenwood’s gift and garden supply store, where an array of fresh floral arrangements are available for walk-in customers.  The cooler also preserves shipments of cut flowers and greenery used in making up arrangements.

The remodeling affected a 4,000 square-foot “footprint.”  Farber’s former office is being transformed into a floral consultation room.

Renovations have also created new office space and a new employee break room, while upgrading workspace for nursery operations. Electrical services have been updated.

Contractor Joe Pallansch, electrician Brad Stoneberg of G&R Electric, and Ryan Hoffman of GH Plumbing did the work.

“I tried to have everything done locally,” said Farber.  “They did a nice job.”

Farber is happy with the project.

“It’s been a nice change for both the business and the employees.”

He’s heard good reports from customers as well.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the response we’ve gotten.”

In its first two weeks, Farber said Greenwood Floral had already taken orders for a number of funerals, had significant walk-in traffic, and begun fielding orders for flower deliveries.

Terri Welvaert has been hired to manage Greenwood Floral.  The Tracy woman loves her work.

“I’ve always had a passion for plants and design,” says the 1996 Marshall graduate, who was trained in floral design at Brainerd Vocational Technical Institute, and has experience working at several floral businesses.

Her most exotic floral stint took place in 2006-09, when she lived in Hawaii, and had a job packing flowers for shipping to the U.S. Mainland.

Welvaert says she is upbeat about the opportunity at Greenwood Floral, because she is doing something that she loves, while also helping serve the needs of local customers.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight Herald.


Expo moved to April 28

The 12th Annual Women’s Expo has been moved to April 28.

The time — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — has not changed, nor has the vendors, food offerings or anything else associated with the event.

Section speech tournament moved to Tracy

The Section 3A Speech Tournament, originally slated for Saturday at SMSU in Marshall, has been moved to Thursday at Tracy Area High School.

The tournament will begin at 3:45 p.m.

So far, 26 school events involving TAHS have been either cancelled or postponed.

Some events have been rescheduled. They are:

Event – new date

ACT testing – April 24

A golf at Worthington – April 20

AB softball at MACCRAY – April 28

A baseball at CMCS – May 15

Youth Wrestling Banquet – April 16

AB softball at LQPV – April 26

Keep checking this page for more updates


Weber has harsh words for BWSR

District 22 senator offers blunt assessment of proposed Buffer Law penalties that have been labeled a mistake, says issue will cause rift between BWSR, Legislature

By Per Peterson

Riding parallel to public feedback on a draft potential additional option — also known as an Administrative Penalty Order (APO) — for governments to use in achieving Buffer Law compliance, District 22 Republican Sen. Bill Weber took to Facebook this week to share his blunt assessment of the draft provisions released last week.

“This is absolutely and totally ludicrous on the part of BWSR (Board of Water and Soil Resources),” Weber said in a video posted on his Facebook page Monday. “They told us in committee last year there won’t be penalties in excess of $500 and now we’re seeing actual penalties that cannot only be imposed on the footage that’s out of violation, but rather the entire length of the water course that would (potentially) total tens of thousands of dollars.”

For its part, BWSR — after receiving significant feedback to the recent Buffer Administrative Penalty Order (APO) draft option released for comment on April 2, 2018 — apologized for what it called a “communication misunderstanding.” Furthermore, BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke told the Headlight-Herald on Tuesday that the new proposal was an error and ultimately won’t see the light of day.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.

Women’s Expo is ready, rain or snow

The quilt that is the main raffle prize for the Tracy Area Garden Tour in July will be displayed at Saturday’s Women’s Expo.

By Per Peterson

As yet another spring snowstorm barrels its way toward Minnesota, questions have been raised about how severe weather would affect Saturday’s 12th Annual Women’s Expo — will it be postponed or cancelled altogether? Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce President Greg Carlson on Tuesday told the Headlight-Herald the Expo will go on no matter what track the storm takes.

“Regardless of the weather, we will proceed as normal,” Carlson said. “We haven’t run into this before, as we usually had the Expo late enough where the weather wasn’t too much of an issue. It’s hard with the vendors to do any rescheduling, because a lot of them have their calendars booked for months out.”

More than 60 vendors are lined up for a booth at Saturday’s Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Women’s Expo, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Center in downtown Tracy. As of Tuesday, Tracy is in a swath of Minnesota that sits between wind and snow to the north and rain and thunderstorms to the south. The forecast for the area that includes Lyon, Murray and Redwood counties calls for rain early, then snow.

“It appears the really bad stuff will go to the north,” Carlson said. ‘Whatever happens, people who can make it can bundle up, head indoors to the Expo and enjoy a taste of spring that way.”

The food court includes sponsors Bonnie & Clyde’s and Food Pride, as well as the Tracy Area Girls (TAG) softball club, which will be serving walking tacos as a fundraiser. Kettle corn will be cooked and served outside the main doors of the VMC, and 200 goodie bags will be given away.

This year’s fashion show, which begins at 1 p.m., features LuLaRoe, Pendants by Pam and Small Town Girls, and items can be purchased on-site.

There will likely be wine tasting going on at the Expo, but bottles of wine will not be sold.

Come meet their dancing feet

By Per Peterson

Finding peace in motion and harmony — that’s one of the goals for this year’s young Tracy Dance Studio dance students who are preparing for the annual spring recital at 1 p.m. on April 15, at the Tracy Area High School.

“When you dance or tumble with a group you must work together in harmony,” said Director Vicki Nilius. “You move in a certain direction and your body goes a certain way along with everyone else on the stage. Everyone works together to create a certain harmony aka peace. We try to find a theme that can incorporate all kinds of music so the audience feels entertained while they are watching.”

According to Nilius, students range in age from 3 to adult and will perform tap, tumbling, jazz and ballet. Some 150 students from Tracy, Milroy, Balaton, Slayton, Garvin, Currie, Avoca, Marshall, Lamberton, Dovray, Westbrook and Walnut Grove will be performing.

“We have a lively group of dancers that are set to put on a fabulous show; I always enjoy the preschoolers because you are never sure exactly what they will do or not do,” said Nilius. “We have four preschool classes set to dazzle everyone. We started a young adult class and it’s been a lot of fun. The energy level is amped up high to ‘You Can’t Touch This.’”

Nilius said the dancers’ season starts in November and concludes with the April recital. They normally practice once a week. She said one challenge she finds throughout the year is keeping the little ones from getting bored. This, she admits, takes some imagination, along with patience and a healthy sense of humor.

“I like to keep the classes moving along; I also like to surprise them from time to time with different activities each week,” Nilius said. “We might bring out the giant parachute, spray glitter or my magic wand to help dancers fly through the air. A good imagination and some creative thinking are key. We like to reward hard work with stickers or stamps, it’s surprising how that motivates.”

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.