Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- This doctor makes house calls, and doesn't mind putting on a few miles to do it. Ron Bartsch is a mobile, windshield repair "doctor'' covering west central Minnesota. He travels in a 2001 PT Cruiser with over 255,000 miles on its odometer and the moniker "NOBETR Windshield Wizard'' splayed across its outside. His service area includes 15,000 square miles, and the Willmar area is part of his route virtually every week.
SPICER - High water on Green Lake in Spicer continues to chew up lakeshore and over-work sump pumps, but there really is no short term solution to the costly dilemma. The lake's outlet at Lake Calhoun is a fixed, concrete structure and water flow there is equal to and greater than the flow coming into Green Lake from upstream. Even if the outlet at Lake Calhoun could be enlarged, downstream culverts and road crossings, the size of the channel and a relatively flat grade would not allow any significant increase in the flow.
BASS LAKE -- Most of us work for a living, but there are a few among us smart enough to fish. Bruce Hoaglund is one of the smart ones. A retired Willmar public schools instructor, Hoaglund, 68, is one of a handful of fishing guides operating in this area. It's not a full-time gig for him, nor would he want it to be.
BENSON -- Marie Lightning Koenigs' family roots belong to the tiny Buffalo Point first nation in southeastern Manitoba, Canada, on Lake of the Woods. It's where her mother had to make a fateful choice. Live a largely subsistence lifestyle on the Ojibwa band's land in Canada, or take up residency off the reservation in Warroad, Minn., where she had a one-room log home to shelter her family. Her mother chose Warroad. It meant that the day came when her daughter moved away to attend college in Iowa.
GRANITE FALLS -- Water levels on the Minnesota River continue to run high and so does interest in flood protection by residents living along it. The city of Granite Falls has nearly completed its removal of six homes on Prentice Street along the river.
SPICER -- High waters on Green Lake have residents concerned about shoreline erosion and the possibility of greater ice damage next year if the wet trend continues. The lake's water level ranks in the top 15 percent of its high-water records.
MONTEVIDEO -- A Clara City bookkeeper charged with stealing from her employers must make $161,926.79 in restitution. Brenda Sue Kabisch, 35, of Clara City, was sentenced Thursday in Chippewa County District Court after she had pleaded guilty to two of the seven felony counts of theft against her. The court ordered her to serve 90 days in jail and 10 years of supervised probation.
BENSON -- Take a seat at the DeMarce Theater in Benson if you want to see what the future might hold for Main Street movie theaters in rural Minnesota. That is, if you can get a seat. The 320-seat theater was only a few seats shy of capacity when the DeMarce joined other theaters across the nation in hosting the midnight opening July 14 of the final Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two." Many who filled the seats for the 3-D movie had arrived at 9:30 p.m.
UPPER SIOUX AGENCY STATE PARK -- Some time next week, the soft sounds of conversations around campfires will return to the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Until then, it's the steady buzz of chainsaws that reverberates through the park's wooded trails and camping areas. Park workers are clearing away storm-damaged trees and limbs that block trails and roads and lie across some campsites in the 1,280-acre park along the Minnesota River south of Granite Falls. The July 1 storm that caused a path of destruction in neighboring Renville County started its melee here, in some cases toppling and up
SACRED HEART -- The July 1 storm and the high waters of the Minnesota River have left their marks in Renville County's parks too. All of the Renville County parks offering overnight camping are open for both camping and day use, but visitors will see piles of brush as cleanup efforts continue. The July 1 storm inflicted damage to trees in all of the county parks, according to Barry Huisman, parks supervisor. Huisman and his crew have been able to open the park roads and trails, but there is still cleanup work under way. The July 1 storm made roads impassable in Beaver Falls.