Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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APPLETON — From artists to bulldozers to the long arm of the law and volunteers with lots of zeal. Communities in the Upper Minnesota River Valley are employing a wide range of strategies to contend with vacant buildings. A changing retail economy and aging population are leaving open storefronts and empty school buildings in many rural communities. “We got pretty aggressive this past summer,’’ said Jon Radermacher, city manager in Madison, county seat for Lac qui Parle County.
GRANITE FALLS — A woman who has admitted to disposing of the bodies of her two infant children is being charged with a gross misdemeanor offense for allegedly pointing a gun at her head as she held her 9-month-old child. Yellow Medicine County filed a charge on Nov. 4 of endangering a child against Kelly Anderson-Person, 34, most recently of Clarkfield and formerly of Hendricks. A bail hearing is scheduled Wednesday. Anderson-Person is currently committed for mental illness by court order.
WILLMAR — Big winds, tall corn, and high hopes are all at play today as Minnesota’s deer firearm season opens. “They’ll shoot deer,’’ said Greg Melges, Mel’s Sport Shop, Spicer. Like most, he is optimistic about the prospects for success on the opening weekend, but also cautious about predicting how successful the opening weekend will prove. There remain areas in northern Kandiyohi County where plenty of corn still waits to be harvested. And, the opening day forecast is for windy conditions, which tends to cause deer to hunker down and reduce hunter success. One thing is certain.
MONTEVIDEO — Hundreds of volunteers risked their lives to stack 1 million sandbags and save Montevideo from certain disaster in the flood of 1997. It cost about $1 million just to wage the 1997 flood fight, and the damage to private and public properties was estimated at well over $5 million. The lessons were learned. Montevideo has removed more than 100 homes from harm’s way since 1997. It has built up much of its levee system. It has literally become a national award winner as an example of floodplain management, City Manager Steve Jones told Rep.
GRANITE FALLS — City Council members in Granite Falls awarded $1,890,000 in financing for projects to replace two hydroelectric turbines in the city’s dam and install a new control system. Northland Securities Inc. offered the awarded financing package. The 15-year issue offers a true interest rate of 3.5357 percent, according to City Manager Bill Lavin. The city had previously awarded a $1.3 million bid to Robert L. Carr Company, of Marshall, to install two 250-kilowatt capacity turbines.
MONTEVIDEO — City Council members in Montevideo approved a land transfer that will make it possible to build a storm shelter for residents in the Northdale Community Park area. The action by council members on Monday allows the city to take ownership of the property at 1304 Benson Road from the city’s Economic Development Agency, according to City Manager Steve Jones. The EDA had previously acquired the property with $40,607 in financing from the Montevideo Community Development Corporation. The EDA will repay one-half the loan amount to the Montevideo Community Development Corporation.
GRANITE FALLS — The public turnout at a series of open house meetings was small, although the question they addressed is big. Should Yellow Medicine County construct a proposed $8.1 million structure to replace its courthouse in Granite Falls, originally built in 1889 and expanded sometime in the 1950s? The county hosted the meetings to explain the proposal. It saw turnouts ranging from four in Canby to 10 in Clarkfield on Monday and 17 in Granite Falls on Tuesday. The County Board of Commissioners wants to inform the public as the county moves forward with decisions on what do about
MURDOCK — Transport trucks are traveling as far as Kansas and Nebraska and waiting as long as 10 to 15 hours at terminals to fetch propane needed to dry corn being harvested in west central Minnesota this year. Propane distributors in the region are struggling to keep pace with the demand this year, due both to the wet conditions across the Upper Midwest and constrictions in the supply to the region. “It’s just a bad deal,’’ said Dean Isaacson, general manager of West-Con, headquartered in Holloway. West-Con unloaded 250,000 bushels of wet corn on the ground Thursday to hold it until it can
WILLMAR — After months of stalemate over a new five-year extension of the farm bill, Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson is optimistic that a House and Senate conference committee will hammer out the differences and bring one to a vote. He believes votes could be held in both chambers by Thanksgiving. “I can kind of see where the end thing is, but they have to work this out,’’ said U.S. Rep. Peterson, D-Minn., ranking member of the House agriculture committee.
RENVILLE — Having operated at a loss for the past few years, MinAqua Fisheries Inc. of Renville has filed for bankruptcy protection and ceased operations, according to the attorney assigned the case. Attorney Brian Leonard, of Minneapolis, said he is now actively searching for a buyer for the MinAqua facility in Renville, and looking to sell the fish remaining in its tanks. MinAqua’s assets will be liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. The only farmer-cooperative aquaculture operation in Minnesota has been raising tilapia at the facility since October 1997.