Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- Thunderstorms swooped down in the middle of the night on 18 unsuspecting campers, with winds strong enough to pull some tents from their stakes and rain enough to soak most of the party. Some traditions never change.
MONTEVIDEO -- A defendant accused of having burglarized businesses in Montevideo will have to make several thousands of dollars in restitution and serve 120 days in jail, or face a possible 18-month prison sentence. Erik Fultz, 33, of rural Granite Falls, was sentenced Tuesday afternoon in District Court in Montevideo on felony convictions for two counts of criminal damage to property in the first degree and one count of third degree burglary. The sentences will run concurrently -- or at the same time.
MONTEVIDEO -- A Montevideo man has begun serving a prison sentence of 27 months for thrusting a knife into the chest of a man during an argument. David Medellin Jr., who will turn 19 this month, was sentenced last week in District Court in Montevideo on the charge of assault in the second degree -- causing substantial bodily harm, according to Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson. The defendant was given credit for 68 days served in jail. Medellin is to serve the sentence at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.
MONTEVIDEO — Just as the summer season gets underway, someone stole the Let’s Go Fishing pontoon boat from the Montevideo chapter. The 25-foot long pontoon boat was stolen on Sunday from where it is kept in the parking lot of the Tru Valu Store at 625 Legion Drive. Three different individuals believe they saw the pontoon being pulled by a dark colored pickup truck that night.
RENVILLE -- Southwest Minnesota is a leader in the state when it comes to food production. When it comes to access to healthy foods, the 27-county region sometimes leads in the wrong ways, or does no better than average. In many of the counties, the percentage of residents with what is considered "low access'' to supermarkets and grocery stores offering a good mix of healthy, affordable foods is higher than 20 and 30 percent, according to data analysis by the University of Minnesota Extension.
GRANITE FALLS -- The Court of Appeals provided the Yellow Medicine East School District a complete victory in a lawsuit filed by two taxpayers over $10 million worth of health and safety improvements the district made. District taxpayers Scott Wintz and Patrick McCoy had challenged whether the district could issue bonds for the improvements without holding a voter referendum.
PAYNESVILLE -- Connor Moore endured nine blasts from improvised explosive devices while serving in Afghanistan. He returned to Paynesville with a Purple Heart after surviving the last. Fortunately for him, his wife, a military veteran too, knew that a very dangerous battle still awaited him. "Because of her military experience, she knew what to do, and because of my previous experience, she knew what she didn't want,'' said Moore.
ATWATER — A fundraiser on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Project will be June 29 in Atwater. It will feature a golfing tournament, volleyball competition, and an exhibition performance by members of the U.S. Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team. The “Tournament of Duty 2013” fundraiser will be held on the Island Pine Golf Club course and the adjacent Atwater city park. There are still openings for teams in the golf and volleyball tournaments, according to Paul White, a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial in Litchfield.
OLIVIA -- Last year it was calculated that 8 million feet of new drainage tile, or roughly 1,500 miles, were added in Renville County farm fields. At that pace, it's easy to see why the benefit assessments for many ditch systems are outdated. A list of 55 systems presented to the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday contained not one in which the benefits have been redetermined since 1970. Most showed redetermination dates in the 1950s and 1960s, and others as far back as 1911 and 1917.
OLIVIA -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a decision by the Renville County Board of Commissioners requiring an environmental assessment worksheet to expand a gravel mining operation beyond 40 acres. The Court of Appeals ruled in the county's favor on April 15. The board of commissioners learned Tuesday that Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg will not appeal the decision.