Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR — The value of tillable farmland continues to rise in the region, although some county assessors are seeing signs suggesting that the market may be ready to cool down. Recently distributed property tax notices have already informed most landowners that values are up once again, continuing a trend that took off in earnest in 2008. The assessed value for 2014 on tillable land rose by approximately 10 percent or more in most area counties, including Renville County, which typically sets the pace. Renville County saw its largest increase in 2013, when the per-acre value of tillable land
GRANITE FALLS — A tornado caused damaged to at least three farm sites southeast of St. Leo in south-central Yellow Medicine County around 4:10 p.m. Monday, the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office reported. There no known injuries. The Sheriff’s office reported that damaged was reported to machine sheds, grain bins, out buildings and residences. The tornado was on the ground in an area southeast of St. Leo.
SPICER — Minnesota’s boaters are doing a better job of complying with laws to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, but there’s still a ways to go. One in five boaters checked by Minnesota conservation officers at roadside stops last year were found in violation of the state’s AIS laws, according to Lt. Col.
WILLMAR — As much as four inches of snow could blanket the Willmar area by nightfall, according to a weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Chanhassen for today. The Weather Service advises that a light rain this morning will turn to snow sometime after noon in the Willmar area. The greatest snowfall amounts are expected in an area running from Montevideo and Olivia northeast to Willmar and Litchfield to St. Cloud and Mora.
MONTEVIDEO — Pioneerland Library System is looking at the possibility of developing a local hold priority system that could resolve the dilemma faced by many small libraries in the regional system. Pioneerland has been discussing the possibility of using a system recently installed in the Plum Creek regional library system, Mark Ranum, executive director of Pioneerland and Plum Creek, told members of the Chippewa County Library Board on Tuesday, If a local person wants a book newly purchased by his or her local library, that person moves right to the top of the priority list for receiving it
WILLMAR — Charges continue to add up against a contractor who has been charged with swindling clients by not performing services for which he was paid. Shawn Ray Bachman, 42, of Montevideo, was arraigned Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar on two new sets of charges. He is charged with two felony counts of theft of services and two felony counts of theft by swindle. In the new charges, he is accused of accepting $7,253.56 in payments in June and September of 2012 from a Spicer man.
MONTEVIDEO — A woman who told a sheriff’s deputy that she was speeding because she was late for church is serving two days in jail for the offense. Janet Brandli Stevens, 49, of rural Montevideo, was sentenced to serve two days in jail and pay fines and fees totaling $485 for going 107 miles per hour in a 55-mph speed zone. The court sentenced Stevens on March 14, ordering that the jail time be completed by April. The complaint charges that a Chippewa County sheriff’s deputy was northbound on Chippewa County Road 6 at 10:21 a.m. on Sunday, Nov.
OLIVIA — A vehicle stolen in Willmar was recovered in Renville County when law officers responded to an accident in which a vehicle struck a utility pole at 7:51 a.m. on Tuesday. The Renville County Sheriff’s office reported that no one was injured, but three juveniles ages 15 and 16 were arrested at the accident scene in connection with the theft. A fourth was interviewed and released.
OLIVIA — Renville County will be opening its roads to most off-highway vehicles for recreational use. By a 3-2 vote, the county Board of Commissioners adopted an ordinance Tuesday that opens all county roads to all-terrain vehicles, single seat and side-by-sides, mini-trucks, and utility trucks. Drivers must be licensed and must obtain a two-year permit from the county for a $10 fee. The commissioners added an amendment to the ordinance restricting golf carts to those roads within roughly one mile of golf courses or the cities with golf courses.
GRANITE FALLS — Yellow Medicine County is looking to build a new structure to replace its aged courthouse, rather than remodel it. The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to direct staff to put together a proposal on how to move forward with building a new, 20,000-square-foot facility and razing the 1889 courthouse in Granite Falls and the 1970s addition to it.