Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA -- The summer drought that is damaging the corn crop throughout the Midwest will not put a dent in this weekend's Corn Capital Days celebration in Olivia. As many as 2,000 people could show up for the annual sweet corn feed today, and they will not be disappointed, according to Nancy Standfuss, director of the Olivia Chamber of Commerce. She got word Friday that the Schmoll family is busy picking all the sweet corn promised. Volunteers will prepare more than 3,000 ears of the locally raised corn to begin serving at 11 a.m.
MONTEVIDEO -- A 70-year-old Clara City man with two previous convictions for driving while impaired has been charged with two counts of criminal homicide, as well as open bottle and stop sign violations, in District Court in Montevideo. Arnold Jaenisch is alleged to have had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit at 8:46 p.m. Dec. 16, 2011, when he drove through a double posted stop sign and struck a car driven by Kelly Marie Berghorst, 39, of Montevideo, originally of New London.
MONTEVIDEO -- Two men who allegedly told officers they wanted to "see the ghosts'' pleaded guilty to trespassing into a locked building after allegedly breaking into the Swensson Farmstead, a historic property in Chippewa County. Charles Dean Scheer, 26, of Redwood Falls, and Mathew Scott Tesch, 32, of Granite Falls, entered guilty pleas July 2 in District Court in Montevideo.
OLIVIA -- A special aerobatic show featuring one of the world's most famous stunt planes will highlight the Olivia Lions Flight Breakfast on Sunday. Rob Ator, aviation manager for Fagen's Inc. of Granite Falls, will fly a Pitts S-1S bi-wing. The plane is celebrated for its ability to ''dance in the sky'' and perform snaps, rolls, loops and other gymnastics at break-neck speeds. The airplane dominated world competition in the early 1970's and 1980's. It can zip through the skies at 200 miles per hour in vertical and horizontal flight.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar city worker was treated at Rice Memorial Hospital for a chemical reaction experienced while performing maintenance work Tuesday on the Rice Park wading pool. The man's identity and condition were not released. The pool had been closed for the maintenance work, and no children were endangered, reported Willmar Police Capt. James Felt. Emergency responders were waiting to meet with the worker to learn what chemical or chemicals he was using and apparently spilled in the small maintenance building at the pool site.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar city employee was taken to Rice Hospital Tuesday afternoon after being overcome by fumes he was using to clean the pool shed at the wading pool at Rice Park in southwest Willmar. Police cordoned off the area and evacuated several downwind houses. Ten to 11 people had to leave their homes for about 90 minutes. The pool was closed for maintenance work, so the pool was empty, and no children were involved in the incident.
LITCHFIELD -- Contracts on 60 percent of the land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program in Minnesota will expire in the next five years, and conservationists and hunters are bracing for the inevitable. Rising land and crop values will lead some landowners to return many of those 823,000 acres up for renewal to production. It's also why many are pinning hopes on a new Reinvest in Minnesota Riparian Buffer Easement program.
GRANITE FALLS -- Xcel Energy will be awarding a bid for the demolition of the 1905-built Minnesota Falls dam in August, unless a party unexpectedly steps forward with an interest to purchase it. Jim Bodensteiner, director of environmental affairs for Xcel, said the company is moving down the path toward demolition in the wake of a recent decision by Granite Falls Energy not to seek ownership of the dam. The ethanol company had recently notified the City of Granite Falls and Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties that it is ending its pursuit of ownership. The City of Granite Falls was the la
GLENWOOD -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is investigating a report that a zebra mussel was found in Lake Minnewaska in Pope County near Glenwood. A citizen reported finding what appears to be an adult zebra mussel. It was attached to the metal portion of a boat seat mount that was submerged in 4 feet of water.
MONTEVIDEO -- The biggest show of the year is now playing in Montevideo, but get there quick as its run will be short. In only eight days, workers with MACC Inc., of Montevideo have removed the Chippewa River dam that has stood since 1958 downstream of Lagoon Park in Montevideo. A steady procession of onlookers has snapped photos and watched as the years of accumulated sediment, and the concrete and rebar that comprised the 21-feet-high-by-120-feet-wide structure was removed. By the end of the day Tuesday the workers had already constructed two of the six rock weirs that will replace the da