Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
MONTEVIDEO -- As surely as bears return to their dens to hibernate each winter, flathead and channel catfish seek out their favorite deep water hideouts in the Minnesota River to wait for the return of warm water. The fish return in large numbers to these deepwater refuges and stack themselves up like cordwood, lying motionless to save energy.
MONTEVIDEO -- For 30 years the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been electro-fishing the Minnesota River to coax out the secrets of the fish in its murky waters, and the intrigue only gets better. "You never know what you are going to see,'' said Brad Koenen, a Clara City native and fisheries technician with the DNR in Hutchinson. He described the often-times surprising findings to a room full of people as a guest of Clean Up the River Environment on Jan.
WILLMAR -- Arcadio Salinas Jr. 23, of Willmar, offered an Alford plea in district court in Willmar this morning for his role in an incident last fall where shots were fired as Willmar Police officers responded to a burglary. Salinas offered the plea as part of an agreement that reduced the charge against him to first degree, aiding and abetting attempted burglary. He could receive a 10 year sentence with a minimum of 34 months served in prison, based on discussions in the courtroom on Friday.
PENNOCK -- The price of gas was fast approaching 40 cents a gallon when bank president Wally Westrom pitched his job offer to Nancy Stockland. She could join the staff at the State Bank of Pennock and walk half a block from her home to work each day, instead of making the daily commute to her job in Willmar. She's stayed close to home ever since. A good thing too, judging by the crowds of people who made their way to the bank on Thursday.
OLIVIA -- Two men have been charged for allegedly burglarizing a rural property in Renville County, stealing firearms and gas and damaging a gas tank on the night of Dec. 23. Matthew James Wrobleski, 37, of Willmar, and Nicholas Ray Schmitz, 24, of Hector, face charges of burglary, first-degree possession of dangerous weapons; receiving stolen property; damage to property; and felony possession of firearms after being convicted of crimes of violence. Schmitz pleaded not guilty to the charges during a Jan. 31 court appearance in Olivia.
MONTEVIDEO -- A Clara City man faces felony charges of assault in the third degree and domestic assault for allegedly inflicting serious facial wounds on a woman. Frank Lee Chapman, 31, made an initial court appearance Jan. 24 in Montevideo and will return Feb. 2. He is being held on $100,000 conditional bail. Chippewa County charges that Chapman injured a 25-year-old woman during incidents Jan. 18 and 21 at a residence in Clara City. The complaint alleges that the defendant broke the victim's nose and the orbital bones in her face during an assault on Jan.
WILLMAR -- Efforts to improve water quality in Hawk Creek are showing results, but a solution to one of the more troubling of the problems remains elusive. Ten years of data show a steady trend toward decreasing amounts of sediment and phosphorus in Hawk Creek and Beaver Creek, two important tributaries to the Minnesota River, according to Cory Netland, director of the Hawk Creek Watershed Project. Netland spoke at the watershed project's annual meeting Wednesday in Willmar. "We've definitely made a difference over the last 10 years,'' Netland said. Yet while phosphorus and sediment loads
BENSON -- With a business as important as its movie theatre at stake, Benson has decided to write its own script to make sure the show goes on. The stars of the show couldn't be happier with their roles. "It's time to pay the community back,'' said Larry DeMarce, 74, owner of the town's DeMarce Theatre. "I want to be sure the community has a theatre.'' So do Tim and Susie Kletscher, who will soon become the new owners of the theatre that has been part of the DeMarce family since 1925. It's being made possible in large part through community involvement.