Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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CLARA CITY -- Seven felony counts of theft by check have been filed against the bookkeeper for a Clara City business. The Chippewa County Attorney's Office filed the charges April 7 in District Court in Montevideo against Brenda Sue Kabisch, 35, of Clara City. Her first court appearance is not yet scheduled. According to court records, Kabisch is accused of embezzling funds from the checking account of her employer, Crossroads Truck Repair Inc., since Jan. 1, 2008.
MONTEVIDEO -- Sanitary sewer service was restored to the Smith Addition in Montevideo on Monday morning as the flood waters of the Chippewa and Minnesota Rivers continue to recede. Sanitary service was restored when the Minnesota River dropped to the 17-foot level, according to Steve Jones, Montevideo city manager. He said residents were being asked to limit water use for a few days. The sewer had been turned off April 5. The Minnesota River is continuing to slowly drop in both Montevideo and Granite Falls, but still remains above flood stage in both communities.
From his home along Hawk Creek, Renville County environment and community development director Mark Erickson has watched its rushing waters swell to two separate crests in the last couple of weeks, bouncing back 32-inches overnight the second time. The second time, he also watched a four- to six-foot wide section of river bank collapse into the churning waters as well. It's becoming an increasingly common occurrence on the waterway, and part of a bigger issue facing many of Minnesota's agricultural counties. When it comes to water quality issues in Minnesota's agricultural counties, water q
CLARA CITY -- A telling silence greeted Superintendent of Schools Greg Schmidt and school board member Tim Smith on Thursday evening in Clara City. No one from the public came to register an opinion on the four-day school week the MACCRAY School District has implemented for nearly three years running. The district will be seeking to continue the practice for the next three years, but must obtain approval from the Minnesota Department of Education to do so. Part of the requirement is to hold public hearings on it, said Schmidt.
There are plenty of independent contractors and businesses operating in the rural counties of the Upper Minnesota River Valley, but they rarely get a shot at the big projects, even those that happen close to home. Many lack the resources to deal with the paperwork, bureaucracy or bonding requirements that come with big, public projects.
The Minnesota River has fallen from its crest of 19.84 feet one week ago in Montevideo -- 5.84 feet above flood stage -- to 18.35 feet on Wednesday afternoon. The river needs to drop to about 17 feet before the city can restore sanitary sewer services to the Smith Addition. Based on current projections by the National Weather Service, that could happen sometime on Sunday, said City Manager Steve Jones. Floodwaters in Granite Falls had dropped to 891.5 feet, or 3.5 feet above flood level, on Wednesday. The river had crested last Thursday at 893.01 feet.
MONTEVIDEO -- As floodwaters in the upper Minnesota River basin recede, the affected counties and cities are beginning to assess the damage left behind. Preliminary, admittedly rough assessments indicate that Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties will qualify for emergency disaster aid, if the president declares the state a disaster area. A presidential declaration would mean that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover 75 percent of the reported damages. Montevideo has been the hardest hit by the flood of 2011.
KANDIYOHI -- What was once the heart of the commercial district in the city of Kandiyohi will be a vacant lot by the end of the week. Workers with Chad Monson Excavating of Willmar and MACC Inc.
SPICER -- We'll soon be learning whether some area lakes suffered winter fish kills. Fisheries workers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Spicer will begin assessing some of the shallow lakes in the region this week. There are 10, possibly a dozen lakes that they intend to assess at some point this spring, said Dave Coahran, acting fisheries supervisor. Area lakes were under a heavy blanket of snow for an extended period of time this winter.
MONTEVIDEO -- The Minnesota River is starting to recede after reaching new, second crests in Montevideo and Granite Falls. The river reached its second crest of the spring season on Thursday. In Montevideo, the river was reported at 19.86 feet on Thursday, and was expected to come down to 19.7 feet today.