Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BOYD -- Lac qui Parle County is about to leapfrog the rural-urban technology divide by extending broadband Internet access to all corners of the county. Before all of the fiber-optic cable gets there, Mary Quick is helping all the people who have a far bigger jump to make: They are making the transition from the keyboards of manual typewriters to those of modern laptop computers. It's actually a lot of fun, but not without its frustrations, said one of those making the transition. "I almost cried,'' said Connie Lein, of Boyd, of the time when all the neat stuff she had gotten on to her comp
You know it's been a tough ice fishing season when you have to wince at the bait shop owner's response to your inquiry as to where the best bet is for getting some fish. "Cash Wise,'' he said in reference to the supermarket, without so much as a smirk. Next best bet? "Solomon Lake.'' It's a lot more fun, too. East Solomon Lake north of Willmar has been a pleasant surprise for many this season. It's no secret, either. Last weekend saw a steady parade of pickups rushing fish houses to the center of the lake like arrows to the bull's-eye.
WILLMAR -- As more than 1,600 volunteers across Minnesota know, there are lots of ways to help Let's Go Fishing. Ripping apart pull tabs is no longer one of them. Joe Holm, founder and CEO of Let's Go Fishing of Minnesota, announced to chapters across the state this week that it will no longer be involved in charitable gaming and pull tabs. Holm acknowledges it was one of the most difficult decisions he's ever made since the organization's start in Willmar in 2002. Pull tabs have helped provide a steady stream of much-needed revenue.
MONTEVIDEO -- Amid warnings to prepare for major flooding, more than 200 people on Friday filled the American Legion Club in Montevideo to hear Gov. Mark Dayton and public safety officials say they are ready to do all they can to help. "We're ready to respond to whatever occurs," Dayton said. The governor said the state is preparing for widespread flooding. Adjutant General Rick Nash of the Minnesota National Guard said roughly three battalions and ample supplies of heavy equipment are ready to respond to flooding needs in the Red, Minnesota, Mississippi and St.
MILAN -- For years the school lunch menu was as simple as pizza on Monday, chicken nuggets on Tuesday and beef nachos on Wednesday. "Over and over again," said Jeannine Bowman, school lunch director for the Benson and Morris schools. She upset the apple cart by replacing much of the processed, institutional foods with locally grown foods -- everything from apples to bison to zucchini -- prepared from scratch on site. The variety has won lots of applause. "Kids like different things," said Bowman, who knows their tastes better than they.
BIRD ISLAND -- Ever since two sisters-in-law opened up a quilting shop in Bird Island in 1998, this farming community has been getting used to strangers strolling about Main Street. The visitors are obvious by the colorful, hand-knit garb many of them wear, and the tractor caps they don't. Those in Minnesota and neighboring states who love the needlecrafts have been discovering the Gathering Friends Quilt Shop and making it and Bird Island a destination. Now, business owners Kathy Squibb-Ludowese and Deb Jacobs are about to add a lot more color to this town. Their business at the intersec
BENSON -- Three teenagers were taken by ambulance to the Swift County-Benson Hospital for injuries they suffered when a driver apparently lost control of his pickup truck and struck them as they walked on a sidewalk around 10:55 a.m. Saturday. The injuries were described by the Minnesota State Patrol as non-life threatening, and a State Trooper was able to interview the injured youths at the hospital. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene on foot, but was subsequently arrested by Benson police officers at his residence. He is identified as Calvin Lee Woodin, 22, of Montevideo.
LITCHFIELD -- Life has a fixed starting point at the Karen and Gene Anderson household on the shores of Litchfield's Lake Ripley. "The year didn't start until dad started trapping," said their daughter, Katrina Lustfield of Sioux Falls, S.D. Now the parent of two grown children, Lustfield remembers accompanying her father as he worked his trap lines, hiking through woods and grass or canoeing into cattail-lined sloughs as the air turned brisk and the days short in late autumn.
SPICER -- It will cost more to put walleyes in the boat or pheasants and ducks in the bag, if the state Legislature approves license fee increases being requested by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The requests would raise the annual fishing license fee from $17 to $24, and the small game license fee from $19 to $22.
SPICER -- It's no secret that slot limits on the harvest of northern pike in designated lakes aren't very popular with spear fishermen and women. But spear fishermen will likely have to continue living with them on most of the lakes where the special regulations currently exist, according to Jason Moeckel, fisheries operations supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Moeckel offered a preview of recent survey work by the Minnesota DNR on its northern pike management strategy. It found that most anglers and spear fishermen were generally satisfied with it.