Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR — A Litchfield man will serve up to 30 months in prison for his convictions in separate Kandiyohi County jury trials on charges of theft and violating a no-contact order. District Judge Stephanie Beckman sentenced Richard James Graf, 44, to 30 months in prison on the felony conviction for violating a no-contact order and to 19 months in prison on the felony theft conviction. The sentences handed down Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar are to be served concurrently, or at the same time.
MILAN — An abundance of wildlife and fish attracted Hosea Randall to the shores of Lac qui Parle Lake. A commercial hunter, trapper and fisher, Randall harvested waterfowl and fish and packed them in barrels which he shipped by rail to fine restaurants in Chicago and New York. And sometime in 1928, as far as his grandson Jeff Randall can tell, Hosea opened up what today is known as the Milan Beach Resort.
PAYNESVILLE - Friends, family and the Paynesville community celebrated the lives of Wilbert "Wilie" and Gloria Scheel exactly the way the couple wanted. Exactly, because the couple had previously met with the funeral home and their pastor to plan their funeral service in its entirety. "They had the scripture, the hymns, the singer, the piano player, the prayers, the worship order,'' said the Reverend Bob Kandels to those who filled Grace United Methodist Church in Paynesville on Saturday for the service. Willie Scheel, 93, and Gloria Scheel, 80, died March 22.
WILLMAR — It's hard to draw a crowd when you're talking about broken plumbing or shingles curling on the roof. But Tom Landwehr, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, did just that when he visited Jay Cooke State Park south of Duluth this week. Before a media audience, he called attention to long-deferred maintenance needs in the buildings, trails and other assets managed by the DNR. They make possible our access to the outdoor resources that naturally do attract a crowd.
HANLEY FALLS — Volunteer firefighters and emergency responders went door-to-door evacuating residents near the Hanley Falls Farmers Cooperative Elevator early Friday morning as flames from the burning structure spewed glowing embers in the predawn darkness. No one was injured, and the local firefighters — with help from at least 10 other departments — were able to contain the blaze to the 1959-built, traditional wood-crib elevator on the west side of the community.
BENSON — Lynn Geyer packed a Suburban with so many donated goods that it brought tears to the eyes of employees at the Ronald McDonald House on Oak Street in Minneapolis when she delivered them Wednesday. That was all for the good. Geyer reported that the employees were "beyond grateful for all the donations, even overwhelmed with tears." The donations were all in honor of the seven students and driver from the Hancock Public School who were injured when their van struck a semi March 12 at a rural Swift County intersection.
CLARA CITY — MACCRAY School Board members are moving forward with a third try at addressing facilities needs in the district. School board members unanimously approved a contract with TSP Architects of Excelsior to work with the district on a new proposal for addressing building needs. Board members held a special meeting Monday morning to approve a new contract with the firm, according to interim Superintendent Sherri Broderius.
OLIVIA — Making it possible to open up farm sites in Renville County for commercial events such as weddings while protecting the interests of neighbors will be a challenge, but one the county will be taking on. The Renville County Board of Commissioners informally directed Scott Refsland, director of environmental services for the county, to continue working with the Planning Commission to develop the regulatory framework to make it possible to license commercial operations to host weddings or other events in rural locations.
BIRD ISLAND — An arts economy is taking root in Renville County, a new study suggests, and there are plenty of people who want to see it grow. A newly released study by Creative Minnesota tallied the economic impact of arts and culture organizations, audiences and artists in Renville County in the past year at $952,080, according to Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and chair of Creative Minnesota. She reported on the study's findings Tuesday to a small gathering at the Bird Island Culture Centre.
MONTEVIDEO — Construction is expected to get underway late this year on a $4.5 million school in Montevideo to serve special education students in the region. The city of Montevideo, its Economic Development Authority, and the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative signed a letter of understanding to construct the new special education facility, the parties announced this week. The new facility could welcome its first students in August 2019, according to the current plans.