Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — Renville and Redwood counties are creating a standing committee to promote recreational opportunities in the 65-mile-long corridor of the Minnesota River they share. The Renville County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday approved creation of the committee and approved a conservation master plan for the corridor. The Redwood County Board of Commissioners was expected to approve the same at its meeting.
GRANITE FALLS - When Xcel Energy removed its Minnesota Falls dam on the Minnesota River in 2013, an underwater surprise was revealed a few miles upstream. Waiting for modern eyes to see was the rock-filled cribbing that was the base of a dam that spanned the river immediately downstream of the present day U.S. Highway 212 bridge in Granite Falls. The "old power dam" as it was called in a 1900 plat book may have been built as early as 1871. It's base had been hidden underwater for 108-years by the higher waters the Minnesota Falls dam had created when it was built in 1905.
MONTEVIDEO — The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners has selected the finance director from neighboring Yellow Medicine County to serve as the county's interim auditor/treasurer beginning in January. The Chippewa County Board at its meeting Monday approved the appointment of Michelle May. The appointment is for the calendar year 2018, to complete the remaining term of current Auditor/Treasurer Jon Clausen. Clausen has announced his intentions to retire at the end of February following a 43-year career with the county.
ST. PAUL — A number of rural fire departments in the area are among those that will be benefiting from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants. The program aims to save lives and protect property in rural areas. The DNR Rural Fire Department program provides financial and technical assistance to Minnesota fire departments in cities or communities with populations under 10,000. Grant recipients will use the funds for fire protection within existing state and county rural fire protection plans.
MONTEVIDEO — The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a septic hauler to use underground, steel tanks to temporarily store human waste when conditions do not allow it to be land applied.
OLIVIA — BOLD school board members postponed a decision on hiring a superintendent search firm, and whether to make the position part time, until their January 8 meeting. The action at their meeting on Monday occurred as they heard from community members on both sides of two issues dividing the district: Whether to approve a new, part-time contract with Superintendent John Dotson; and whether or not bullying by staff and students is occurring in the schools.
BENSON - A former Benson High School student is charged with a single, felony count of terroristic threats-reckless disregard or threat- for allegedly posting statements and video on social media that led law officers to evacuate the high school gymnasium during a basketball tournament on Friday. Alexander Forsberg, 22, of Moorhead, was arraigned in district court in Benson on the charge Monday. He was released on his own recognizance on conditions that he not consume alcohol or drugs, have no contact with those he allegedly threatened, and not possess any firearms.
OLIVIA - BOLD School Board members are entertaining the possibility of reducing their superintendent search to someone willing to take on the position on a part-time basis. One interested candidate tossed board members a proposal to do exactly that just as they began discussing the possibility.
GRANITE FALLS — A large, global energy developer plans to build a 150-megawatt wind farm in western Yellow Medicine County. RES America applied with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in November to erect 37 turbines to be dispersed over 22,888 acres in an area southwest of Canby and near the South Dakota border. Representatives of RES and its wholly-owned subsidiary for the project, called Flying Cow LLC, outlined the plans to the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday in Granite Falls.