Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO -- New graduate Matt Sudduth was still wearing his cap and gown when he waved down the van full of strangers. They pulled up, snapped his picture with family around him, and moments later Sudduth and five other volunteers from the University of Minnesota were on their way to Montevideo. They spent the past five days helping repair the exteriors of two homes in the Chippewa County community, and forging new friendships. "We've had a blast,'' said Marina Mossaad, of Rochester.
OLIVIA -- A driver in a fatal crash last summer in Renville County pleaded guilty to two of 12 counts on Tuesday in District Court in Olivia. See Xiong Moua, 20, of Eau Claire, Wis., entered a guilty plea to separate felony and gross misdemeanor charges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation - operate motor vehicle in grossly negligent manner, according to Renville County Assistant Attorney Glen Jacobsen. Other criminal vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug.
MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo gave their support to a proposal to remove a 1950s-vintage, low-head dam on the Chippewa River in Lagoon Park. The dam will be replaced by possibly four rock weirs, which will create rapids at the site.
OLIVIA -- The Minnesota River Board needs to establish clear-cut goals and a strategy to meet them if it is to see continued state funding support, according to John Jaschke, executive director of the Board of Water and Soil Resources. He told members of the board that the political mood in St. Paul is "ugly and getting uglier. Things always get worse before they get done,'' he said during the board's meeting on Monday in Olivia. The River Board represents the 37 counties in the basin and works under a joint powers agreement to promote clean water initiatives.
CLARA CITY -- A former Clara City bookkeeper charged with seven felony counts of theft by check stood mute during her first court appearance on the charges Monday in District Court in Montevideo. Brenda Sue Kabisch, 35, of Clara City, did not enter a plea but requested that the court schedule a settlement conference in her case, according to Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson. She is accused of embezzling $164,283 from her employer, Crossroads Truck Repair Inc., of Clara City, since Jan.
MONTEVIDEO -- Alina Gil has a lot of explaining to do, which is exactly what brought her from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Montevideo, Minnesota. In the last several days, she's talked to students in the Ortonville public schools, at the University of Minnesota in Morris, and since last Monday, in the Montevideo public schools. "I'm happy because I know I've touched many people here and they will remember where Uruguay is,'' said Gil on Wednesday. Her home is a country of 3.5 million people and only about the size of Washington state, she told Spanish students in Amber Doering's class at the Mon
MILAN BEACH RESORT -- Before most anglers catch their first walleye of the season, Kyle Anderson and Doug Pierzina will have let something like 25,000 of them slip through their hands. But not before they take the time to snip a piece of the ventral fin from each of them. Anderson and Pierzina are fisheries workers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Ortonville.
RAYMOND -- Friends and family of Adam Hoekstra answered his untimely death in the best way they knew how. They made a lasting gift in the Spicer native's memory for all time. After his death at age 24 in 2009, they launched a fund drive that raised $170,000 for Ducks Unlimited restoration work. There were many who gave $20,000 or more in his memory. The funds are being applied to Ducks Unlimited's Living Lakes Initiative. Its goal is to conserve 400 shallow lakes and large marshes in Minnesota and Iowa in the next 10 years.
RAYMOND -- Olson Lake is a 124-acre, shallow water lake that was once a waterfowl hunter's Mecca and could be soon again. It's part of a 450-acre Waterfowl Production Area, and the protected grassland on the property are as popular with pheasant hunters as the lake will again be for waterfowl hunters. Olson Lake escaped the fate of many shallow waters in this area: More than 95 percent of our original wetlands have been drained, according to Scott Glup, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project leader with the Litchfield office. He spoke May 7 at the dedication ceremony.
WILLMAR -- Duluth Mayor Don Ness was on hand to wish them well, and 400 balloons were released as friends cheered their departure. Yet what's really etched in their memory is what greeted the team of bicyclists on the road: ''40 degrees and a driving rain at the start,'' said Clarence Nylund, describing their May 5 start from Duluth. Five days later, and Nylund and the bicyclists reached Willmar via a route that included Hinckley, White Bear Lake, Fairmont, and Marshall. The temperature was popping thermometers at 88 degrees as they rolled into the Day's Inn on East Highway 12 in Willmar on