Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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SVEA -- A second roof in the area has collapsed under a growing snow load. Workers and family members with Gorans Brothers were able to safely move approximately 12,000 turkeys from a brooder barn northeast of Svea when its roof collapsed around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Late Monday, a roof on a warehouse building at Perkins Lumber in Willmar collapsed. Brian Gorans said they do not know if the recent snowfall was the straw that broke the camel's back and led to the collapse of the turkey barn roof, but it's likely.
WATSON -- Voters in Watson will soon have a say in one of the disputes that has divided the community. A special election will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb.
BENSON -- Swift County had a New Hampshire-like feel about it on Saturday night, when the DFL party reaped the benefits of being one of the first to hold its county convention. Six gubernatorial candidates looking for the DFL endorsement attended the Swift County DFL convention for the chance to woo delegates and garner support for their campaigns. Gubernatorial candidates R.T. Rybak, Tom Rukavina, Tom Bakk, John Marty, Matt Entenza, and Paul Thissen made the trek on snow-slickened roads to the Law Enforcement Center in Benson for the evening event.
WILlMAR -- As much as 10 inches of snow could fall in the Willmar area before it's all over on Tuesday, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen is forecasting. The Weather Service issued a winter storm warning on Sunday for west central Minnesota. What it termed a "long duration'' event that began Sunday afternoon will continue to bring snow to the area through Tuesday morning. Strong winds with gusts of up to 25 miles per hour are forecast for Monday evening and night. Travel conditions on Sunday ranged from fair to difficult in the region.
SPICER -- Kandiyohi County has been fortunate in not having the widespread infestations of aquatic invasive species in its lakes as has been experienced in some areas of the state, according to Bruce Gilbertson, fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Spicer. Nonetheless, invasive species are a problem here and have been so for more than a century.
PRINSBURG -- A helping hand from west central Minnesota reaches all the way to the north coast of Haiti, where it is aiding the relief efforts for orphaned children along with victims of the earthquake. Volunteers and staff at the Children of the Promise orphanage near Cap-Haïtien have been keeping a very hectic pace ever since the magnitude 7 earthquake devastated the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, on Jan. 12, according to Jan Bonnema of Prinsburg.
WILLMAR -- Like a stuck accelerator pedal, we've speeded up the delivery of sediment to Lake Pepin so that it will fill up in a mere 300 or so years, instead of the 3,600 years that natural processes would have required. We've pointed the finger of blame largely at farm fields in the Minnesota River basin.
WILLMAR -- Last year's discovery that zebra mussels have infested waters only an hour's drive away has become a rallying call in Kandiyohi County. An estimated 80 or more people attended an open house on a sub-zero night on Jan.
GRANITE FALLS -- Uncertainty about what the state may do to local governments led City Council members in Granite Falls to postpone a decision on whether to fill a recently vacated police officer position. City Council members learned at their meeting Monday that police officer Dave Evenson has resigned his position with the city. His departure reduces the department from five full-time officers to four, according to City Manager Bill Lavin.
HANLEY FALLS -- A family of 11 is without a home and their possessions after fire raged through their rural farmhouse around 2:39 a.m. Wednesday west of Hanley Falls. Chai Vue, his wife Shoua Kong, a grandmother and eight children, ages infant to 14, safely fled the fire. Only a pile of debris in the basement foundation of the home remains, according to Richard Hagen, Hanley Falls volunteer firefighter and mayor. He said firefighters arrived to find the attached garage of the home engulfed in flames.