Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- With the exception of Republican Bruce Vogel's upset of 14-year legislative veteran Al Juhnke in House District 13B, voters in west central Minnesota returned incumbents to the state Legislature. Vogel, R-Willmar, claimed a victory over the Willmar DFL'er in an election that saw Republicans win maj-orities in both the House and Senate. As a result, all of the area incumbents returned to office will find their roles reversed. It's the first time in 38 years that Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature. "It was a very good night, we are excited,'' said Sen.
MONTEVIDEO -- Forget the brutal winters. There is a financial storm coming, and west central Minnesota may be one of the better places to weather it, according to a popular Internet blogger on financial matters. Nicole Foss, of Ottawa, Canada, spoke Oct. 26 in Montevideo on what she believes is a coming, profound period of deflation that will be made worse by a looming energy shortage. "A very serious financial crisis is approaching,'' said Foss, who is co-author of The Automatic Earth under the pen name of Stoneleigh.
WATSON -- A Watson woman hopes to learn the fate of a landmark tree early this week. Kylene Olson, former mayor of Watson, is attempting to save the "Watson Mile Tree'' along Minnesota Highway 7/U.S. Highway 59 near the Chippewa County community. She believes the towering cottonwood could be 150 years old. It was slated to be felled as part of a project to build a sanitary sewer line from Watson to Montevideo. The tree's demise was put on hold after Olson learned about the plans and rallied support to save it.
WILLMAR -- Voters in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District aren't the only people who have noticed Republican candidate Lee Byberg's Norwegian accent. Ingeborg Eliassen, a correspondent in Washington, D.C., for the Norwegian daily newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad, spent Wednesday and Thursday in Willmar to learn about the American political candidate with Norwegian roots. Eliassen's introduction to Minnesota came on Tuesday night, when her plane was finally allowed to land at the Minneapolis-St.
GRACEVILLE -- Jay Backer wants to pack twice the punch in St. Paul. Backer and his twin brother, Jeff, are both campaigning for the state Legislature. Jay is running as the Republican-endorsed candidate against Andrew Falk for the District 20A House seat. Jeff is seeking the state Senate seat for District 9 against Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon. Jeff Backer has served as mayor of Browns Valley for the past 10 years.
MURDOCK -- Andrew Falk has logged thousands of miles traveling to St. Paul since being elected to represent House District 20A in 2008, with this result: He's only deepened his roots back home. Since being elected, Falk has purchased land of his own to farm and continues to assist his father in the family's seed business near Murdock. Falk, 27, is the fifth generation of the family to farm in Swift County.
OLIVIA -- Clad in a red polo shirt and black pants, Brian Kohout said he could see the disappointment when he told the boy answering the door that he wasn't there to deliver pizza. He was door-knocking as the Republican-endorsed candidate for the House District 20B seat. Political rivals will do well to recognize that there is much more behind the 21-year-old candidate than a youthful appearance and enthusiasm. While he didn't decide to run until persuaded on the last day to file, he hit the ground running.
CLARA CITY -- It's not as if there's never been a political discussion when the Koenen family gets together. Lyle Koenen's father, Kenneth, serves as a Chippewa County commissioner and his brother, Kurt, was mayor of Clara City, and is running again. But Lyle Koenen insists it's not the politics that he enjoys as a state legislator, but the nitty-gritty task of fighting and plowing through various budget, tax law and policy issues on behalf of the rural needs of House District 20B. Koenen, a four-term incumbent and DFL-endorsed candidate, attributes his political involvement to his farm bac
WATSON -- A Watson woman is rallying support to spare a landmark tree from the ax. Kylene Olson, former mayor of Watson, is attempting to save the Mile Tree along Minnesota Highway 7/U.S. Highway 59 south of Watson. She believes the cottonwood could be 150 years old. It is slated to be felled as part of a project to build a sanitary sewer line from Watson to Montevideo. Olson said Monday that U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has offered to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in support of sparing the tree.
BIRD ISLAND -- Eleven year-old McKaia Ryberg handled her brush with fame without missing a note and it may only be the start. A video featuring the sixth grader from St. Mary's Elementary in Bird Island singing the national anthem for President Barak Obama's visit Saturday to Minneapolis has been posted on You Tube. Its potential audience could rival that present at the University of Minnesota for the president's campaign stop. "She was so not nervous I could not believe it,'' said her mother, Sandy Ryberg, of her daughter's performance in Minneapolis. The family received VIP treatment.