Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — The Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative remains on track to meet environmental requirements and put behind it the issues that saw it pay more than $1.5 million in penalties and fees in 2016. The cooperative is committed to a goal of 100 percent environmental compliance, Joe Peter, environmental manager for SMBSC, told the Renville County board of commissioners on Tuesday.
BREWSTER — Never would Kathy Miller have imagined anything positive coming from her son's death 11-years ago in Iraq. But just a few weeks after the 11th anniversary of the June 29, 2006, death of Sergeant Kyle Miller, his mother could say: "There've been positive things that have happened since my son has been killed.'' She was speaking of one that will last a very long time, and in a very big way.
KERKHOVEN — Kordell Van Heuveln wasn't happy with how things were going with his hometown's city council, and he felt compelled to do something. So he ran for mayor. "Why complain if you don't do anything about it?'' he said of his decision last year to run for mayor of Kerkhoven. Besides, he said he felt he had something different to offer his community. Voters elected James Rothers as mayor with 145 votes last November. Van Heuveln was right behind him with 122 votes as a write-in candidate in a four-way race for mayor.
WILLMAR — A phone call Tuesday morning put a mother of two children in tears and brought more than 60 people to the Living Hope Church in Willmar for a prayer vigil Sunday evening. They gathered to pray and discuss ways to help Melvin Siu, who was taken into custody Tuesday morning by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A native of Guatemala, Siu has been living in the U.S. for more than 16 years; the past 10 years in Willmar where he has been employed during this time at Jennie-O Turkey Store.
LAKE LILLIAN – A 54-year-old man was airlifted for medical care after falling about 25 feet while trimming trees around 4 p.m. on Friday at a residence about 1 ½ miles east of Blomkest on Highway 7. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Department reported that the man was trimming trees in the yard when a branch fell and struck the ladder causing him to fall.
FRANKLIN — They've experienced some of our country's most wild and scenic of locations doing work as wilderness guides and park rangers, and on their own as avid backpackers and canoeists. And everywhere they've been, they made it their point to leave it better. Paul Twedt and a friend hiked the Appalachian Trail and removed 1,100 pounds of litter they picked up along the 2,200 miles they covered. They followed that with a 2,659-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, where they collected 720 pounds of discards others left behind.
Two escape burning house in rural Meeker County LITCHFIELD – A homeowner and guest safely escaped a house fire that broke out as they were sleeping at 1:15 a.m. on Friday, the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office reported. Homeowner Kellie Heggem and guest got out of the home on the 31000 block of 710th Avenue, Kingston Township. Numerous cats were in the house, and all but one was accounted for, according to the sheriff’s department.
WILLMAR — Kandiyohi County Commissioners intend to decide next week whether the county should join other regional centers and take advantage of a local option sales tax to help meet road and bridge funding needs. The Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to put the issue on their July 18 agenda after reviewing five-year road projections. The projections by Public Works Director Mel Odens showed a continued gap between road and bridge needs and funding. This is despite the increase in state transportation aid enacted in the recent legislative session.
YELLOW MEDICINE COUNTY — Propane blow torches, herbicide, the sharp blades of mowers, hand pulling, and most important of all, the vigilant eyes of landowners. These are among the weapons the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has employed to eradicate Palmer amaranth from 30 conservation plantings in Yellow Medicine and Lyon counties. And so far, it's been working.
WILLMAR — An important gateway to Willmar's industrial park and southwest corner could be the site for the community's first roundabout. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners voted Monday during a road and bridge meeting to support a consultant's recommendation to develop a roundabout at the intersection where County Road 5 becomes a north-south route through the industrial park and County Road 15, which is also 19th Avenue Southwest, continues as an east-west road.