Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- School officials in the Yellow Medicine East district are hopeful of fixing the electrical problem that forced the cancellation of classes today, and resuming normal school activities on Thursday. The district cancelled classes today due to a power outage in the Bert Raney Elementary school in Granite Falls. The district will know sometime this afternoon if the problem can be fixed in time to allow classes to resume as usual on Thursday, according to Superintendent Al Stoeckman.
SACRED HEART -- A Sacred Heart man faces charges including second-degree attempted murder - with intent but not premeditated after he allegedly grabbed a woman by her neck and put a knife toward it while asking her if she wanted to die. Jose Felix Barajas, 45, is currently held in the Renville County Jail awaiting a Nov. 3 court appearance. The court set bail at $200,000 unconditional and $100,000 conditional during his arraignment on Aug.
SPICER -- It only took two years from their initial discovery in waters between Lake Huron and Lake Erie in 1988 for zebra mussels to spread throughout all of the Great Lakes. More recently, the invasive species has been found in the Lake Le Homme Dieu chain of lakes in Douglas County and below the Sartell dam on the Mississippi River near St. Cloud, both locations within an hour's drive of Green Lake in Spicer.
SPICER -- Transport an invasive species like zebra mussels to Green Lake, and someday you might face a possible penalty of $3,000, one year in jail and the prospect of paying restitution for the harm done. Tougher laws, the possibility of closing public accesses to the lake, and building expensive decontamination stations were among the proposals raised by Green Lake property owners to protect the lake from zebra mussels. There was also a suggestion to require that boats be tagged with color-coded stickers when they leave infested lakes, such as Mille Lacs or Minnetonka.
MONTEVIDEO -- West central Minnesota has sent hundreds of men and women to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and experienced the sorrow of losing seven of its own. One of the heaviest burdens fell on soldiers serving in the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery of the Minnesota National Guard.
OLIVIA -- There's no place like home, especially when it comes wrapped in a package and reaches you in a faraway land. "It's a real morale booster,'' said Sgt. Mark Morse, with the Minnesota National Guard in Olivia. Morse received his packages while serving two deployments with local troops in Iraq and Kuwait in 2004-05 and 2009-10.
GRANITE FALLS -- For the last 17 years, a World War II-era bomber has continued to fly missions. It flies from a base in South St. Paul to communities across Minnesota and beyond. The "Miss Mitchell'' continues to fly today to honor the men and women who built and served on these aircraft in World War II, according to the volunteers who brought it Saturday to the Granite Falls Municipal Airport. "Beautiful,'' is how Owen Larson described its landing.
SPICER -- Roger Benson and Ray Oie spend their summer days baiting hundreds and hundreds of fishing hooks but almost never pull up a fish. Yet they consider themselves among the luckiest guys on the water. As volunteers with the Willmar chapter of Let's Go Fishing with Seniors, they let their guests catch the fish. They take home the real trophies. "Story after story,'' said Benson of the tales his guests tell on the water. There's a certain magic that happens on the water that neither of the two can easily explain. They've seen it in so many ways.
MONTEVIDEO -- Chippewa County has filed a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct against the Clara City man who allegedly self-reported his own crime with phone calls that also triggered a search for him by law enforcement officers. Cheyenne Clay Johnson, 42, of Clara City, is charged with the felony count for allegedly assaulting a juvenile female at a residence in Clara City. District Judge Paul Nelson ordered bail set at $100,000 unconditional and $50,000 with conditions during a hearing held late Wednesday afternoon, according to court records.
BIG STONE COUNTY -- A public interest group is charging that heavy metals and chemicals are leaching from coal ash stored at the Big Stone power plant near Milbank, S.D., and contaminating groundwater at the site. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources -- charged with regulating the ash storage -- refutes the claims contained in the report by the Environmental Integrity Project. The report "In Harm's Way'' takes aim at what it calls inadequate regulations nationwide to regulate coal ash storage.