Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- A Willmar business owner who strove to give his young employees a good start in life discovered that what goes around really does come around. Employees current and past were among the hundreds of well-wishers making sure that Walt and Raeanna Gislason got their new lives as retirees off to the best start Tuesday. "This cast and crew, you couldn't ask for anything better,'' said longtime customer Greg Dugstad as he gestured to the Gislasons and the employees and new owners at Walt's. The iconic self-service gas station, car wash, oil change and convenience store at the intersecti
MADISON -- The age wave predicted to sweep across Minnesota from 2020 to 2030 reached rural Lac qui Parle County 10 years ago. By the turn of the century, more than 20 percent of its population was 65 or older, and those age 80 and older represented one of its fastest growing segments. All the while, the area saw a steady decline in population as young people left for opportunities elsewhere. No one was quite sure how these demographics would impact rural health care, but one thing had already been decided at Madison Lutheran Home. "You can't stand still,'' said Scott Larson, CEO of the no
GRANITE FALLS -- A dam built for one of the state's first hydroelectric facilities is being considered for removal. Xcel Energy hosted an informational meeting Thursday in Granite Falls to outline its evaluation process for the Minnesota Falls dam, located about three miles south of Granite Falls on the Minnesota River. Constructed in 1905, the nearly 600-foot-wide dam housed a hydroelectric facility that operated until 1961.
APPLETON -- Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is cutting its workforce by more than half in response to declining inmate numbers. The facility notified 120 workers Friday that they would be laid off effective Dec. 1. It will leave a working staff of 110, according to Warden Tim Wengler. The decision was forced when the private, 1,600-bed prison learned that the State of Washington would be removing 100 inmates, the warden told community representatives at a meeting on Friday. There are currently 342 inmates in the facility from the states of Washington and Minnesota.
Our quest to protect endangered animals can take us to some very wild places.
APPLETON -- Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is cutting its work force by just over half in response to declining inmate numbers. The facility notified 120 workers on Friday that they would be laid off effective Dec. 1. It will leave a working staff of 110 in Appleton, according to Warden Tim Wengler. The decision was forced when the private, 1,600-bed prison learned that the State of Washington would be removing 100 inmates, the warden told community representatives at a meeting on Friday.
BENSON -- Mike Jerke will succeed Bill Lee as the general manager of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, the company announced. The company operates a 48 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Benson, is the majority owner of Frontline BioEnergy LLC and recently joined as one of nine owners purchasing the 100 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Janesville. Jerke brings seven years of experience in ethanol plant management with Quad County Corn Processors, a 29 million-gallon-per-year, farmer-owned ethanol company located in Galva, Iowa. He began serving as the plant's genera
BENSON -- Bill Lee is leaving an ethanol plant known as a leader in innovation for what he believes will be the next big step in renewable energy. Lee said he believes biomass from agricultural and forest-product residues will be playing an ever bigger role in not only providing the power to convert corn to ethanol, but also to produce the electricity that lights our homes. Lee has been CEO since June at Frontline BioEnergy LLC in Ames, Iowa.
OLIVIA -- Nicolle Marie Mercedes Prechel, 31, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to causing the death of a child and injuring the child's mother. Prechel backed a van over their tent July 5 in Renville County's Beaver Falls Park, causing the death of 3-month-old Whyatt James Sander and injuring his mother, Sheena Hinshaw, 21. During a court appearance Monday in Olivia, Prechel entered guilty pleas to criminal vehicular homicide for Sander's death and to criminal vehicular homicide - causing bodily harm while under the influence for the injuries to his mother. Her guilty pleas were part of a
MONTEVIDEO -- A visiting group of students from Uruguay recently had the opportunity to witness everything from the bluster of politics in Washington, D.C., to the blitz of consumerism at the Mall of America. They liked best the discussion they joined just over 100 miles west in Montevideo. Their host in Montevideo said they told him: "When we got here, we saw the real America that shared our values and our world views.'' Patrick and Mary Moore heard it from the students while visiting Montevideo, Uruguay, in August. Robin Mathewman, interim U.S.