Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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SPICER -- We'll soon be learning whether some area lakes suffered winter fish kills. Fisheries workers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Spicer will begin assessing some of the shallow lakes in the region this week. There are 10, possibly a dozen lakes that they intend to assess at some point this spring, said Dave Coahran, acting fisheries supervisor. Area lakes were under a heavy blanket of snow for an extended period of time this winter.
MONTEVIDEO -- The Minnesota River is starting to recede after reaching new, second crests in Montevideo and Granite Falls. The river reached its second crest of the spring season on Thursday. In Montevideo, the river was reported at 19.86 feet on Thursday, and was expected to come down to 19.7 feet today.
As faithful as a monk called to prayers, Jim Gilley has made the walk down from his house on the hill to the Smith Addition in Montevideo every day for the last few weeks to watch the waters rise. Thursday he may have seen their peak. "This year it seems like we're avoiding any serious damage,'' said Gilley, as he stopped to chat. "Let's just really hope,'' said Montevideo Mayor Debra Lee Fader when she hesitantly expressed the same thought to a reporter later in the day.
MONTEVIDEO -- The Minnesota River is rising towards its expected crests in Montevideo and Granite Falls. The river had reached 19.66 feet in Montevideo this morning, or 5.66 feet above flood stage. It is expected to reach a crest of 20 feet tonight, which is very similar to last year's crest of 20.09 feet. The river reached 892.65 feet in Granite Falls this morning, or 4.65 feet above flood stage. The Weather Service is predicting a crest of 892.9 feet on Friday morning, which would be lower than last year's crest. Additional precipitation could bump the projected crests upward.
MONTEVIDEO -- As had been expected, the city of Montevideo shut off sanitary sewer services to homes in the Smith Addition on Tuesday as the Minnesota River rose towards a second crest. The National Weather Service is predicting the river will reach a 20-foot crest today in Monte -video. The river reached 19 feet on Tuesday, the level at which the city needed to shut off sanitary sewer service to the Smith Addition and Forest Avenue. The city is not requiring residents to leave the affected areas, and most are remaining.
MONTEVIDEO -- Rising waters on the Minnesota River are forcing additional safety measures in Montevideo and Granite Falls this week. The National Weather Service is forecasting that the river will reach a second crest this week exceeding that experienced last week. In Montevideo, the Weather Service issued a forecast on Monday for a 20-foot crest to be reached Wednesday. The rising waters will force the city to shut off sanitary sewer service today to about two dozen homes in the Smith Addition, said City Manager Steve Jones. He said the city will also be reviewing updated flood forecasts
SPICER -- Geothermal heating and cooling systems require a sizeable investment up front, but offer a proven payback through reduced energy costs. Thermal solar is no different. And as did geothermal energy, it could use government support to kickstart the industry. Randy Hagen, with Solar Skies of Alexandria, told representatives of U.S. Sen. Al Franken that tax credits and other incentives remain important to launching the solar thermal industry. He also emphasized a need for consistency in government support for the industry.
MURDOCK -- Ethanol may get the press, but there's another farm-based, biomass industry quietly taking root on the west central Minnesota prairie. Its aim is to use agricultural residues and possibly devoted crops as the energy feedstock to provide clean and competitively priced energy to heat our homes, schools and businesses. "It's building a whole new market," said Robert Ryan, founder of European Energy Connections.
MONTEVIDEO -- A defendant who police had named as a suspect in a series of home burglaries last summer in Montevideo has been taken into custody. Jordan Lee Downwind, 19, of Montevideo, is charged with two separate counts of burglary in the first degree for separate incidents, as well as felony theft, possession of stolen property, and possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Downwind made an initial appearance March 28 in District Court in Montevideo and returned for a hearing on Monday. The court set bail at $125,000 wi-thout conditions at his first appearance. A warrant
Courtney Lewis credits a "really wonderful high school music teacher'' with igniting his passion for classical and orchestral music. It has taken him from his native Belfast, Ireland, to his role today in front of the Minnesota Orchestra as its associate conductor. Now it's his turn to inspire others. Lewis will lead the Minnesota Orchestra to Dawson for a performance Tuesday as part of a three-city tour. The concert series will also include performances in Brainerd and Watertown. Lewis sees this as an opportunity to introduce new audiences to orchestral music.