Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR — With plans in the works by the city of Willmar to invest nearly $900,000 to make Robbins Island Park a regional destination, officials say now is the time to focus on what makes it so special. Keep the momentum going to continue to improve water quality in Foot, Willmar Swan and Skataas lakes, as these shallow lakes and the recreational opportunities they provide are so important.
BENSON — One of Benson's largest employers, and one of Swift County's largest tax-paying entities, is expected to be closed. Xcel Energy is negotiating to acquire the Benson Power facility with intentions of closing the 55-megawatt, biomass-powered plant, possibly as early as the summer of 2018, according to the Swift County Monitor News in Benson. It reported that the plant's 45 employees were told of the possible transaction and plant closing this week.
WILLMAR — Allison Chheng gave birth Thursday morning to her first child, Jakobie, as her husband, the boy's father, awaits his fate in a detention facility in Arizona. A flight leaves Tuesday for Cambodia and all Allison Chheng can do is hope that her husband, Souen "Posy" Chheng, 36, is not on it. He faces deportation to a country he has never stepped foot in. He has no family waiting there. "The bad thing is if he does get deported, there's no coming back,'' said Steve Peppin of Willmar.
ST. PAUL — Work on the Marsh Lake Ecosystem Restoration project got underway Monday involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, and its contractor, RTS Shearing of Jamestown, North Dakota. The $5.9 million project involves restoring the environment by improving the waterfowl and aquatic habitat. Phase 1 includes constructing a drawdown structure and a fish passage at the Marsh Lake Dam. Phase 2 of the project includes rerouting the Pomme de Terre River to its historic channel for an additional cost of approximately $3.5 million.
KERKHOVEN — City Council members in Kerkhoven could appoint someone to complete the term of Mayor James Rothers at their May 8 council meeting. Council members accepted the resignation of Rothers at their meeting Monday. They also agreed to appoint someone to complete the term rather than hold a special election to fill it, according to information from the city.
GRANITE FALLS — The city of Granite Falls can move ahead and raze a structure it has deemed a nuisance, despite a plea by its owner for the opportunity to complete the project in which he has invested approximately $100,000. Stating it is "not without sympathy" for Ted Thull, the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday released a ruling affirming a district court decision in favor of the city.
MONTEVIDEO — A father and son in Montevideo are charged with felony theft for allegedly removing the gravestone from the burial plot of the wife and mother of the two. John Wendell Albrecht, 74, and John Darron Albrecht, 47, will make their first appearances May 1 in district court. They were arrested April 17 at John Albrecht Sr.'s farm property northwest of Montevideo, and they were released from custody on their personal recognizance on April 19.
ST. LEO - Joe Blastick is looking to put more smoke up in the air, all for what it makes possible on the ground. Better habitat. Blastick is a fire manager with The Nature Conservancy's Prairie Coteau office in Clear Lake S.D., serving southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota. Thanks to a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Legacy funding, he's helped train volunteers with 14 rural fire departments in western Minnesota on how to conduct prescribed burns over the past three years.
WILLMAR — Every year, about 2 percent of the people reported missing are ages 18 to 22, and they can pose the biggest challenge for law enforcement to find, according to Patty Wetterling, who spoke Friday at the Willmar Civic Center. Wetterling said she was hoping to meet that day with relatives of Danny Newville, who is among those who have gone missing as a teenager. Newville was 18 years old when he left a party in New London in August of 2002. He has not been seen since, despite a continued campaign by family members and friends.
WILLMAR — Her 27-year-long search for her son is over, but it's left Patty Wetterling wondering what's next for her. "There are days when I think I am better. I am doing better. I am lighter, I am focused. And, then there's days when I have no idea who I am,'' Wetterling told an audience Friday at the Willmar Civic Center.