Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO -- Amid warnings to prepare for major flooding, more than 200 people on Friday filled the American Legion Club in Montevideo to hear Gov. Mark Dayton and public safety officials say they are ready to do all they can to help. "We're ready to respond to whatever occurs," Dayton said. The governor said the state is preparing for widespread flooding. Adjutant General Rick Nash of the Minnesota National Guard said roughly three battalions and ample supplies of heavy equipment are ready to respond to flooding needs in the Red, Minnesota, Mississippi and St.
MILAN -- For years the school lunch menu was as simple as pizza on Monday, chicken nuggets on Tuesday and beef nachos on Wednesday. "Over and over again," said Jeannine Bowman, school lunch director for the Benson and Morris schools. She upset the apple cart by replacing much of the processed, institutional foods with locally grown foods -- everything from apples to bison to zucchini -- prepared from scratch on site. The variety has won lots of applause. "Kids like different things," said Bowman, who knows their tastes better than they.
BIRD ISLAND -- Ever since two sisters-in-law opened up a quilting shop in Bird Island in 1998, this farming community has been getting used to strangers strolling about Main Street. The visitors are obvious by the colorful, hand-knit garb many of them wear, and the tractor caps they don't. Those in Minnesota and neighboring states who love the needlecrafts have been discovering the Gathering Friends Quilt Shop and making it and Bird Island a destination. Now, business owners Kathy Squibb-Ludowese and Deb Jacobs are about to add a lot more color to this town. Their business at the intersec
BENSON -- Three teenagers were taken by ambulance to the Swift County-Benson Hospital for injuries they suffered when a driver apparently lost control of his pickup truck and struck them as they walked on a sidewalk around 10:55 a.m. Saturday. The injuries were described by the Minnesota State Patrol as non-life threatening, and a State Trooper was able to interview the injured youths at the hospital. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene on foot, but was subsequently arrested by Benson police officers at his residence. He is identified as Calvin Lee Woodin, 22, of Montevideo.
LITCHFIELD -- Life has a fixed starting point at the Karen and Gene Anderson household on the shores of Litchfield's Lake Ripley. "The year didn't start until dad started trapping," said their daughter, Katrina Lustfield of Sioux Falls, S.D. Now the parent of two grown children, Lustfield remembers accompanying her father as he worked his trap lines, hiking through woods and grass or canoeing into cattail-lined sloughs as the air turned brisk and the days short in late autumn.
SPICER -- It will cost more to put walleyes in the boat or pheasants and ducks in the bag, if the state Legislature approves license fee increases being requested by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The requests would raise the annual fishing license fee from $17 to $24, and the small game license fee from $19 to $22.
SPICER -- It's no secret that slot limits on the harvest of northern pike in designated lakes aren't very popular with spear fishermen and women. But spear fishermen will likely have to continue living with them on most of the lakes where the special regulations currently exist, according to Jason Moeckel, fisheries operations supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Moeckel offered a preview of recent survey work by the Minnesota DNR on its northern pike management strategy. It found that most anglers and spear fishermen were generally satisfied with it.
COSMOS -- An early morning fire Thursday destroyed the Cosmos Public Library and forced residents in a neighboring building to evacuate their second-floor apartments. "A huge loss,'' said Mayor Rich Gieser of Cosmos. "It was one of the most used facilities in town.'' A passerby reported the fire in the structure on Milkyway Street -- the town's Main Street -- shortly after 5 a.m. She had noticed smoke coming from under its eaves. Volunteer firefighters raced to the fire station located just yards from the library building, but the fire had too much of a head start.
GRANITE FALLS -- An automated flood monitoring gauge will be installed on the Minnesota River in Granite Falls after City Council members agreed to share in its costs. The new ga-uge will help improve the ac-curacy of flood forecasting for the area, and help city officials make the best decisions when flooding is a threat, according to Mayor David Smiglewski. "There is too much of a risk for us to be flying in the dark,'' he said.
MONTEVIDEO -- A district court judge has found in favor of the city of Montevideo and against the homeowner who challenged a city permit allowing an anhydrous ammonia storage facility near his home. District Judge Paul Nelson ruled in an order filed Feb. 16 in Chippewa County that the city's issuance of a conditional use permit for the facility was not "unreasonably arbitrary or capricious.'' Kim Johnson had challenged the permit issued to Farmers Union Co-op Oil Company, or Cenex, to build an expanded anhydrous ammonia storage facility.