Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WEGDAHL — The last time the tiny, Minnesota River community of Wegdahl could be called a destination dates to the days when a dance hall and speakeasy known as Skunk Hollow sold bootleg whiskey, and there were stories galore about fights and shady card games. The crowd that showed up Thursday found a much different environment. Chippewa County hosted an open house to introduce people to the park it has developed on this site along the Minnesota River roughly halfway between Montevideo and Granite Falls.
MONTEVIDEO — Two Montevideo brothers have taken on a challenge as big as getting kids to eat their vegetables. Which is kind of how they describe their goal of introducing regular folks to poetry. "Interesting People Reading Poetry" is a newly launched, independent podcast co-produced by Andy and Brendan Stermer of Montevideo.
MILAN — It might seem a very lonesome endeavor to practice art amidst the open, rolling farmlands of the Upper Minnesota River Valley. John Larson knows better. Although the artists are scattered over a five-county area the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, they are anything but isolated. "There is a community of artists,'' said Larson. He credits this community with making his own choice to practice his art here possible. "As an artist in rural Minnesota I wouldn't be able to survive without a community that supported me,'' he said.
WOOD LAKE — A modern archaeological examination of the Wood Lake Battlefield offers new insights into what is considered the decisive engagement of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The use of modern technology has allowed a team of archaeologists to recover nearly two dozen conical bullets and musket balls fired by the combatants on the site on Sept. 23, 1862, and identify the locations of the U.S. soldiers and Dakota warriors during the fight along a steep ravine and former military road in what is now Yellow Medicine County.
NEW LONDON - A defendant in a New London case involving a large quantity of methamphetamine has petitioned the court to enter a guilty plea. The Kandiyohi County attorney's office filed-and the district court accepted a petition to dismiss the charges against a co-defendant in the case.
Jay Gustafson quit the job he loved and hit the trail. We should say trails, as in Minnesota's water trails. He intends to paddle all 34 of them, a total of 4,500 miles. "This is the thing I love more than anything,'' said Gustafson. "I love to canoe. I love to be on our rivers. I love paddling,'' he said during a break from the waters of the Minnesota River last Saturday. He was expecting to reach Jordan by this weekend. He will get a ride back upstream so that he can start paddling some of the tributaries: The Pomme de Terre, Chippewa and Redwood.
RENVILLE - The City of Renville will have to decide whether to opt out of a Renville County ordinance aimed at preventing tobacco use by youth, or lose a potential convenience store development. The county ordinance adopted in 2015 prohibits the granting of licenses to sell tobacco "within 1,000 feet of any school, playground, house of worship, or youth-oriented facility." Two developments in the City of Renville are within 350 feet of youth-oriented facilities.
OLIVIA - Renville County's is a leader in rural Minnesota in its efforts to prevent tobacco use by youth. Members of the Renville Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drugs, which originally drafted the county's tobacco ordinance in 2015, outlined the progress that has been made in a presentation to the Renville County board of commissioners on Tuesday.
APPLETON — Of the five counties served by the Upper Minnesota River Valley Regional Development Commission, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties have the farthest to go to provide broadband services in their rural areas. Dawn Hegland, executive director of the Regional Development Commission, said Big Stone, Lac qui Parle and Swift counties have made gains in extending broadband services in recent years. All of the region's counties are continuing to focus on developing their broadband infrastructure. They understand its economic importance, she noted.