Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — State Sen. Andrew Lang will have a voice at the table as millions of dollars are awarded for projects benefitting Minnesota's outdoors. The first-term, Republican senator from Olivia was recently appointed to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. He succeeds State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who stepped down from the seat he's held on the council since its start nine years ago.
WILLMAR — A longer detour is in store for motorists using state Highway 7 as work gets underway to resurface the 16.4 miles from Clara City to the intersection with U.S. Highway 71 near Blomkest. The extended detour begins Wednesday and is expected to remain in effect through Sept. 1, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced in a news release Friday. A shorter detour has been in effect since June 12 for Highway 7 from the intersection with Kandiyohi County Road 5 to just east of Blomkest. It will remain in place until July 17.
SWEDES FOREST — Everyone came looking to meet up with some odd-named characters, and found them. It's the five-lined skink, aka "blue devil,'' that brought Katie Leuenberger to the Swedes Forest Scientific and Natural Area on land in Yellow Medicine and Redwood counties. She surprised the speedy, blue-tailed reptiles by lifting wood and tin covers she keeps scattered about the granite outcrops on this site. They love hiding underneath them.
MILAN — The iconic Milan Bridge will be replaced in 2019 with a "plain and simple" concrete span structure. Representatives of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's district office in Willmar this week outlined early plans for replacing, rather than rehabilitating, the 1938 bridge to about two dozen Milan area residents. The open house meeting Wednesday was the first to gather public input as designs for the new bridge are developed, according to Teal Spellman, project manager with MnDOT.
MONTEVIDEO — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Michael Dean Grussing, 57, for a new trial in the death of his roommate. Grussing was convicted of second-degree, intentional murder in the death of his roommate, Kevin Richardson, 44, on Sept. 8, 2015, in Montevideo. The decision released Monday affirms a Chippewa County jury's guilty verdict on Feb. 24, 2016. Grussing is serving a 439-month sentence, and is currently incarcerated at the Rush City Correctional Facility.
SPICER — The waters of Games Lake and Lake Andrew are still clear enough for swimmers to see their toes when they wade into them, or for anglers to see the sparkle of their spinner baits as they retrieve them.
BENSON — A 33-year-old Benson man faces felony charges for allegedly attempting to solicit a child for sex over the internet. Bradley Christopher Alsaker is charged with two felony counts: soliciting for sexual conduct a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communications and engaging in electronic communications relating or describing sexual conduct with a child. Swift County filed the charges June 8, and Alsaker was released on his personal recognizance with conditions. Alsaker made an initial court appearance June 20.
Young driver dies in rollover west of Canby CANBY – An 18-year-old man from Minneota died as a result of a rollover accident west of Canby in Yellow Medicine County at 4:40 a.m. on Sunday. Donald Mark Schuelke IV was eastbound on Minnesota Highway 68 when he left the roadway to the left, entered the ditch and rolled over. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected, according to the Minnesota State Patrol accident report.
OLIVIA — RC Hospital and Clinics is looking at offering robotic-assisted surgery services, Nathan Blad, hospital CEO, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Board members for the county-owned hospital have been exploring the possibility and are expected to make a decision next week, according to Blad. If approved, Blad said officials believe the hospital would become the first critical access hospital in Minnesota to invest in the new technology.
WILLMAR — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has affirmed a Pennock man's conviction for domestic assault, but reversed his conviction for fifth-degree assault. A Kandiyohi County jury returned guilty verdicts on the two charges against Solomon Washington McIntyde, 33, on April 26, 2016. In his appeal, McIntyde alleged that the prosecutor had committed misconduct in closing remarks to the jury by stating that the victim's fear was evidence for domestic assault.