Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- On the heels of the latest storm, residents are once again being urged to make sure fire hydrants are kept clear of snow. During a fire call in December, Willmar firefighters were forces to seek assistance from Willmar police and ambulance squad members to dig out the nearby hydrant. Fire Chief Marv urges residents to keep hydrants clear, and firefighters are shoveling around hydrants when they discover a snow-covered hydrant or are informed about one. Other communities are taking similar approaches.
MONTEVIDEO -- Those promoting a local foods and sustainable, agricultural economy as the way to clean water and a healthy landscape in the Upper Minnesota River Valley have a partner in the urban center of Minneapolis. "We are part of two, big grassroots efforts that are about to meet in the center,'' Mayor R. T. Rybak told a crowd of nearly 300 at the annual meeting for Clean Up our River Environment in Montevideo on Feb. 12. Rybank applauded the efforts taking place in rural Minnesota. "The land is a mirror.
WILLMAR -- The funds are getting out there, but not always the message. Legacy funds generated by the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 are being distributed to projects throughout the state, very much as intended, according to a recently released report by Conservation Minnesota and the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. An independent analysis for Legacy investments for fiscal year 2010 showed that $211 million was provided to projects across the state, without any apparent slant towards one region over another, according to Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation M
In 1966 commercial television ruled the airwaves by premiering shows like "The Monkees,'' "Mission Impossible,'' "Batman,'' "Star Trek'' and the "Newlywed Game.'' On Feb. 7 of that year, a group of people flipped a switch and started broadcasting Educational Television from a 400-foot tower planted next to a rural school house holding all of its electronic gear. If competing for viewers against the prime time line up of commercial TV wasn't audacious enough, then certainly the location for the new station was.
REDWOOD FALLS -- Friendships are forever. Theirs just happened to be interrupted by 50 years. "We were both scared,'' said Russell Hoff of what it was like when the two old sweethearts reunited for their first date after all of those years. They had lots of catching up to do. Both had married, raised children, made their careers, and lost their spouses to cancer before finding one another again. Russell Allen Hoff and Beverly Joan (née Enger) Kissner are ages 75 and 72. They had first met on Jan. 25, 1957, at the Fiesta Ballroom in Montevideo.
LAKE LILLIAN -- A rural Lake Lillian family is staying with relatives after fire forced them to flee their home during the night on Saturday. Michael and Shannon Schemmel and their two young children escaped unharmed after Shannon apparently smelled smoke and alerted other family members around 1:50 a.m. on Saturday.
WILLMAR -- Onlookers lined the sidewalks and watched as a 90-year-old landmark in Willmar was made rubble over the weekend in Willmar. The demolition of the building that originally housed the First Covenant Church in Willmar at the intersection of Seventh Street and U.S. Highway 12/Litchfield Avenue went according to plan, with the last of the standing walls taken down late Sunday afternoon. "It couldn't have gone any better,'' said Dennis Larson, whose workers with MACC Inc.
BENSON -- The city of Benson is encouraging residents to learn whether their homes or properties are within the floodplain, and to consider purchasing flood insurance. There is a 30-day waiting period before a flood insurance policy is active. Residents may also want to check their homeowner and renter insurance policies to see if they have purchased protection against the possibility of sewer back-up. Most homeowner insurance polices offer the protection, but it must be purchased as an addendum and is usually not part of the regular coverage package.
BENSON -- A project in the 1950s to straighten the Chippewa River channel at Benson made the threat of spring flooding a problem of the past for the Swift County community. Or did it? "There's a certain conviction out there that we haven't had it before and likely won't have it again.
OLIVIA -- Matthew Fahey's abduction and sexual assault of a young newspaper carrier met the legal standards for "heinous,'' and other aggravating factors were present in the commission of the crimes, according to a ruling issued on Monday by District Judge Randall Slieter in Olivia. The ruling means that Fahey, 25, originally of Fairfax and more recently of Marshall, fa-ces a mandatory life sentence in prison. Fahey pleaded guilty Jan.