Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — A private cooperative planning a $42 million, fiber-optic broadband network is asking Renville County to consider adding a loop to the system. For an estimated $1.6 million, Renville County could develop a “backbone” loop connecting government offices in Morton, Bird Island, Hector and Olivia to the proposed Renville-Sibley County network, according to Mark Erickson, Winthrop city administrator. He unveiled the proposal to the Renville County Board of Commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday. The Renville-Sibley fiber project is a venture by a private cooperative.
CLARA CITY — An area school that led the way in placing Apple iPads in the hands of its students is ready for its first big upgrade. The MACCRAY School District has received a $191,600 quote from Apple Computer for a three-year lease for 400 iPad minis, Interim Superintendent Loren Hacker told school board members on Monday. At the end of the lease, the district can purchase the tablet computers for $1 each. The school will also need to purchase cases for the iPads, bringing the overall estimated cost closer to $200,000, according to discussions on Monday. The district’s three-year lease o
WILLMAR — Olivia and Litchfield were reporting eight inches of snow as a spring snow storm continued to make its way through the region late Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen. Willmar recorded nearly five inches of snow by 5 p.m., and more was still on its way.
WILLMAR — Snow and strong, gusting winds will make travel difficult through the day in west central Minnesota, with hazardous conditions forecast for areas north and east of Alexandria. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is reporting difficult road conditions in an area north of Alexandria and running northeast to Duluth, where eight or more inches of snow are possible.
CLARA CITY — What will be the next step for the MACCRAY Schools following last January’s defeat of a $20 million bond issue for a new elementary school and theatre remains on the top of the district’s agenda. The Raymond and Maynard city councils sent resolutions to the MACCRAY School board calling on the district to upgrade the East and West elementary facilities in each community. School board members reviewed the resolutions at their meeting on Monday in Clara City, but offered no comments.
OLIVIA — With over 1,300 acres of woodlands and prairie, and lots of shoreline on the Minnesota River and two lakes, Renville County’s seven parks offer camping, hiking and fishing opportunities all within a short drive for all of the county’s residents. Yet last year, only 28 percent of campers in the parks were county residents. The county is launching a new marketing campaign this year in hopes of introducing more county residents to the parks.
SPICER — An early-morning lightning strike ignited a fire that caused extensive damage to a house overlooking Green Lake near the Green Lake Bible Camp on Saturday.
BENSON — The City of Benson has issued tickets to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for stalled trains that allegedly blocked the community’s downtown crossings for periods of time exceeding a 10 minute, state statue. Benson is not alone in its frustrations with the railroad over stalled trains. Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes told the Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 8 Area Transportation Partnership board that his community has experienced similar problems.
OLIVIA — A 25-years-long effort to develop a trail linking the Renville County communities of Olivia and Bird Island may now be just a few years from happening. On a unanimous vote, the Area Transportation Partnership board approved $600,000 in funding for the project, contingent on the local sponsors matching the contribution with $800,000. The funding is being offered in fiscal year 2018, which gives the trail sponsors time to secure the matching funds. The vote came Friday morning before a room full of supporters and opponents of the trail at the Renville County government office center
NEW ULM - As the danger of wild fires increase, area residents are reminded that permits are required for open burning and those permits have limitations, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. An open burning permit is required for any fire larger than 3 feet in diameter and when the ground is not covered by at least 3 inches of snow.