Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA—Renville County's Board of Commissioners announced Wednesday the appointment of Lisa Herges as the new county administrator. Herges had been offered the position in August and recently accepted it following discussions with Board Chairman Bob Fox. Herges has been working with Mille Lacs County for 13 years, the last eight years as personnel director/assistant county administrator. She is currently serving as coordinator for Todd County as part of a commitment made by Mille Lacs County to assist the neighboring county.
CLINTON—The small town of Clinton has not forgotten its native son for his bravery in the service of country. It's hoping the nation will not either. Residents in the Big Stone County community are joining an online petition by Homeland Magazine calling for retired Navy Captain E. Royce Williams to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The petition drive is seeking 100,000 signatures by month's end.
GRANITE FALLS—A district judge has ruled in favor of the city of Granite Falls by finding that a house built nearly 16 years ago but still not habitable violates the city's nuisance ordinance. District Judge Thomas Van Hon found in favor of the city in an order filed Aug. 15, but he vacated the order until Sept. 15 to allow time for its appeal. The owner of the house, Ted Thull of Oak Grove, is asking for a stay of the order and will appeal the ruling, said his attorney, Doug Kluver of Montevideo.
SPICER—Trees have a place on the prairies of west central Minnesota. Always have. And today, the need is as great as ever. "The wide open spaces,'' said Diomy Zamora, an extension educator with the University of Minnesota's agroforestry team, as to why Kandiyohi County was host to the team's annual summit. The event, held Monday through Wednesday at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer, was aimed at acquainting area professionals in agriculture and conservation with agroforestry opportunities.
OLIVIA—A national measure of vital health factors ranked Renville County 85th of Minnesota's 87 counties. "And while the obesity rate in most of the counties is declining, in Renville County it is increasing,'' said Pat Halbe, vice president of financial services for United FCS in Olivia.
APPLETON—An invitation will be on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton to tour the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, is asking the governor to tour the shuttered prison after hearing recent news reports that the governor is opposed to purchasing the facility. Miller said he is particularly concerned about a statement attributed to the governor in news reports in March. Dayton expressed concerns at the time that the privately owned prison needed rehabilitation. "That is a hugely expensive proposition,'' he is quoted as saying.
MILAN—For reasons only the late Vern Kleven knows, 40 years ago he decided that Milan needed its own version of the Liberty Bell to celebrate the country's bicentennial. "He got it in his mind he was going to build it and he did. So we just let him do it,'' said Larry Germann, who served on the Milan City Council at the time. Lt. Gov. Rudy Perpich came to Milan to dedicate the bell, and the community's bicentennial celebration turned into a big deal, with a parade featuring 125 floats.
MAYNARD—At the turn of the last century, Willmar's economic rival to the west was the bustling town of Maynard. With five grain elevators, farmers from far and wide chose this location on the Great Northern Railway to ship their grain. "I know according to the records, farmers came from as far as Benson. (Some) carried the grain on their backs,'' said Rick Groothuis, longtime mayor of Maynard.
OLIVIA—The Renville County Board of Commissioners offered the county administrator position to Lisa Herges, currently serving as county coordinator with Todd County. The board of commissioners at its meeting Tuesday selected Herges to succeed Sara Folsted as county administrator, according to information from the county. Herges has been offered the position and is currently in contract discussions with Board Chairman Bob Fox.
BENSON—After several years of acrimonious litigation, a judge has ordered that the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company of Benson comply with a contract making the Glacial Plains Cooperative its exclusive grain handler.