Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MINNESOTA FALLS -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has determined that an environmental impact statement will not be required for the removal of the Minnesota Falls dam. The Sept. 27 decision is based on a review of an environmental assessment worksheet completed by Barr Engineering for Xcel Energy, and on public comments to it. The environmental assessment worksheet -- a questionnaire about the project's setting and potential for environmental harm -- is a screening tool used to determine whether a full environmental impact statement is needed.
MONTEVIDEO -- As certain as the colors change in autumn, so too do the faces dropping in at DJ's Sporting Goods in Montevideo. There's always an influx of customers as pheasant and waterfowl hunters from the Twin Cities and places as far as Kansas make annual trips to their favorite stomping grounds, said Jon Dahlvang, of DJ's Sporting Goods, now part of Running's Farm and Fleet, Montevideo. "It's always been good,'' he said of the sales generated by out-of-town hunters to the area. The goal now is to make it even better. The opportunity to host the first Minnesota Governor's Pheasant Open
GRANITE FALLS -- For George Boman, there is no question about how Andrew Volstead should be remembered. "They were nice people,'' said Boman of Volstead and his wife, Nellie, and daughter Laura. Boman grew up on a farm owned by Volstead, and got to know him well enough to be called to serve as his pall bearer. Volstead was a frequent visitor to the farm outside of Granite Falls, said Boman, 87, and was always interested in all things farming.
GRANITE FALLS -- America's great social experiment with Prohibition made criminals of many otherwise law-abiding citizens. That was just as true in western Minnesota, home of Congressman Andrew Volstead, the author of Prohibition, as it was elsewhere in the county. Along with taking a look at Volstead's legacy, Pioneer Public Televison's documentary "Volstead Fever'' also offers a look at how the law was flouted and its end celebrated in western Minnesota. Dustin Brau, co-owner of the Brau Brewery in Lucan, tells how many farmers simply brewed their beer at home during Prohibiton. Jon Bere
GRANITE FALLS -- If you want to reverse years of decline and redefine a future for a small town Main Street, where do you start? In Granite Falls, they decided there is no place better than the choicest lot in the downtown. "He picked it because of its location,'' said Barb Benson, a member of a local group calling itself Granite Falls Riverfront Revitalization. She's speaking of K.K. Berge and the building he erected in 1924. The immigrant tailor located his business as the "front porch'' to the downtown.
GRANITE FALLS -- The K.K. Berge building will be the center of activities as Granite Falls hosts the kick-off events for the eighth annual Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl. The Meander takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at locations throughout the counties of the Upper Minnesota River Valley. This year's Meander offers opportunities for self-guided tours to 35 locations featuring 45 regional artists. The kick-off activities get under way from 4 to 8 p.m.
APPLETON -- All artists are born with their own creative talent. Some learn how to express it through formal study at schools with well-known artists. Kerry Kolke-Bonk was arguably more fortunate. "I grew up with it; all the time it was around me,'' said Kolke-Bonk. She is the featured artists for the 2011 Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl known as the Meander. No different than a carpenter's son or daughter growing up with the tools of the trade always at hand, the materials and opportunities for creating art were always a part of the Kolke household.
BENSON -- What John Daniels calls his company's "challenge'' is one that many rural communities would consider a good one to have. Case New Holland in Benson is preparing to expand its Case IH manufacturing facility and add roughly 50 hourly jobs and an unspecified number of salaried positions. The challenge is finding applicants for the positions, although recent news of the dilemma has started to bring job seekers to its door and website, according to Daniels, general manager. Case IH is the largest employer in Swift County with 470 employees at its Benson facilities.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar area family is mourning the loss of a loved one who was killed in action in Afghanistan on Friday. Army Spec. Christopher David Horton and two fellow soldiers were killed by enemy small arms fire when they were ambushed in Paktia, Afghanistan, according to information the family has received. Horton, 26, was serving his first deployment in Afghanistan with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, A Company, 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. He is the son of the Rev.
WILLMAR -- Willmar area residents commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept.