Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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LAKE LILLIAN -- A rural Lake Lillian family is staying with relatives after fire forced them to flee their home during the night on Saturday. Michael and Shannon Schemmel and their two young children escaped unharmed after Shannon apparently smelled smoke and alerted other family members around 1:50 a.m. on Saturday.
BENSON -- A project in the 1950s to straighten the Chippewa River channel at Benson made the threat of spring flooding a problem of the past for the Swift County community. Or did it? "There's a certain conviction out there that we haven't had it before and likely won't have it again.
BENSON -- The city of Benson is encouraging residents to learn whether their homes or properties are within the floodplain, and to consider purchasing flood insurance. There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy is active. Residents may also want to check their homeowner and renter insurance policies to see if they have purchased protection against the possibility of sewer back-up. Most homeowner insurance polices offer the protection, but it must be purchased as an addendum and is usually not part of the regular coverage package.
OLIVIA -- Matthew Fahey's abduction and sexual assault of a young newspaper carrier met the legal standards for "heinous,'' and other aggravating factors were present in the commission of the crimes, according to a ruling issued on Monday by District Judge Randall Slieter in Olivia. The ruling means that Fahey, 25, originally of Fairfax and more recently of Marshall, fa-ces a mandatory life sentence in prison. Fahey pleaded guilty Jan.
OLIVIA -- A district judge has ruled that Matthew Fahey's abduction and sexual assault of a young newspaper carrier met the legal standards for "heinous'' and that other, aggravating factors were present in the commission of the crimes. The ruling on Monday by District Judge Randall Slieter means that Fahey, 25, originally of Fairfax and more recently of Marshall, faces a mandatory life sentence in prison. Fahey pleaded guilty Jan. 25 to charges of criminal sexual predatory conduct, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.
GRANITE FALLS -- Granite Falls City Council members called for a public hearing to consider an estimated $2.8 million in work to correct deficiencies in its sanitary and storm sewer systems. Council members decided at the meeting Monday to set the hearing for March 21, according to City Manger Bill Lavin.
MONEVIDEO -- Concerns about the potential for spring flooding led Montevideo City Council members to order extra pumps and sandbags. During its meeting Monday, the City Council planned to award a $35,629.83 quote for a Thompson Pump but opted to order three of them instead. The diesel powered pumps are used to de-water areas behind levees. The Thompson Pump was among three models considered. The pump is more expensive but offers a greater working capacity than the other two models considered.
BENSON -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has decided in favor of the Glacial Plains Cooperative in its dispute with the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company LLC over grain storage obligations at the Glacial Plains handling facility in Benson. In a decision issued Tuesday, the Court of Ap-peals reversed an earlier district court ruling that had favored the ethanol company. The Court of Appeals sided with Glacial Pl-ains in its claim that Chippewa Valley Ethanol must pay storage costs for grain held in excess of 180,000 bushels. The court sent the matter back to district court to determine the com
WILLMAR -- Cold temperatures and deep snow didn't stop volunteers from venturing out for the annual Christmas Bird Count in the Willmar area, but it probably kept some of the birds from showing up. The volunteers spotted 43 species of birds and 3,353 individual birds, slightly above the average but down when compared to years with milder weather, according to the annual report by organizers Joel Halbritter and Joel Schmidt. "The cold weather and deep snow surely affected our count numbers," they wrote in their report on the day. Raptor numbers were down, as were waterfowl, no doubt due to t
WILLMAR -- Two of the three suspects involved in a home burglary last fall where responding Willmar police officers encountered gunfire entered pleas Friday in District Court in Willmar. Arcadio Salinas Jr., 23, of Willmar, offered an Alford plea to a charge of aiding and abetting an attempted robbery in the first degree during a Kandiyohi County District Court appearance in the morning.