Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BENSON — Benson School Board members will learn in April what it is expected to cost to take on needed but costly upgrades to the heating and ventilation systems in the district's facilities. It's another step in a process to prioritize the school district's facilities needs before possibly going back to voters for support of a bond measure.
BENSON — A group of citizens in Benson is hoping to persuade the Benson School Board that the school's indoor swimming pool is too valuable an asset to lose. Board members voted nearly one year ago to close the indoor pool at the end of the 2015-2016 school year rather than invest in new lighting for it. A school board-appointed task force recently examined what to do with the pool as part of its overall look at the school's facilities needs. The task force made no recommendation one way or the other on what to do, according to Superintendent Dennis Laumeyer.
SAINT PAUL - A coalition of religious and civil rights organizations will continue to oppose legislation that calls for the State of Minnesota to lease or purchase the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. "Locking up people for profit has nothing to do with justice and has everything to do with making millions from human misery,'' said Rick Neyssen, a corrections sergeant at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud and president of Local 599 with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees during a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.
CLARA CITY — Members of the Clara City Economic Development Authority are considering whether to invite their counterparts in Raymond and Maynard to meet and discuss the issues that are dividing the MACCRAY School District.
OLIVIA — The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected a bid by a Renville County defendant for a reduction of his 415-month prison sentence for second-degree murder. The court rejected the argument by Dwayne Case, 31, that the sentence "exaggerates his criminality" in a ruling issued Monday. The court also said it found "no compelling circumstances'' to reverse the sentence.
WILLMAR — Amy Rager spotted the first drops of sap seeping from a wound on the sugar maple tree on her Chippewa County farm, and was in disbelief. It was the last week of January. As the director of the University of Minnesota Extension's Master Naturalist program, she keeps an eye on the natural progression of seasons in Minnesota. This is one that tops the charts. She tapped her favorite maple and started collecting sap to boil for syrup, the earliest ever in her experience. "By a month,'' Rager said.
APPLETON — Local legislators are hopeful legislation will be approved this session calling on the state of Minnesota to either lease or purchase the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, although the Department of Corrections remains uninterested in the facility.
MONTEVIDEO — Construction could get underway this year on Chippewa County's first commercial wind farm. Fagen Engineering is currently in the permitting process for a 44.6-megawatt wind farm, which would be capable of producing electricity to power approximately 13,000 homes a year. Representatives of the company outlined plans Tuesday to the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners for the planned Palmer's Creek Wind Farm. A group of investors formed Palmer's Creek Wind Farm LLC for the project, according to Todd Hay and Mike Rutledge with Fagen Engineering of Granite Falls.
GRANITE FALLS — Project Turnabout was termed a "pioneer" when it opened its doors to help compulsive gamblers 25 years ago. It still is. Nearly 4,000 people have been helped by the Vanguard program for compulsive gamblers ever since, but this remains pioneering work. There have been lessons learned in how best to help those in need, but otherwise, only incremental gains have been made in responding to what many term the "silent addiction,'' according to today's team at the Vanguard program.
BIRD ISLAND — Many rural communities are embracing art and culture to promote tourism and economic opportunity. And some rural communities also realize that there is much more to community revitalization than the economics alone. That includes Bird Island, population 1,042, which is opening its own Cultural Centre. Everything from displays of local art and music jam sessions to a "poetry pound down'' are already in the works for it.