Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MURDOCK -- The farm fields north of Murdock lie fallow and snow-covered, but the winter scene is anything but quiet. There's a drum beat of hammers at the Falk Seed Farm, where a warehouse and adjoining loading dock are under construction. By spring, the site, which is about the size of a football field, will be stacked with bags of seeds reaching toward a towering rooftop.
BIRD ISLAND -- Having been "discovered'' by Mark Dayton, it is only appropriate. McKaia Ryberg will be singing the National Anthem for Governor Mark Dayton's inauguration at noon today, her family reported. Dayton's office contacted the 11-year-old and her family during the week before Christmas to ask if she would do the honors, her mother, Sandy Ryberg reported. The inauguration will be held at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. The swearing-in ceremony begins at noon and will be broadcast on Channel 9. Ryberg is a sixth-grade student at St. Mary's Elementary School in Bird Island.
MONTEVIDEO -- It could be a year or more yet before it is known for certain whether the 81-pound canine found killed alongside a Chippewa County roadway last March is a wolf, as is believed. The carcass recovered along Minnesota Highway 7 about halfway between Montevideo and Watson had all the characteristics of a wolf, but only genetic tests can confirm it.
OLIVIA -- Bail was set at $2 million Tuesday as Sergio Turrubiates Jr., 20, of Olivia, was arraigned on a charge of murder in the second degree - without intent for the death of 19-month-old Tiana Moore. Moore died on Christmas Eve at the Children's Hospital in St. Paul of traumatic head injuries she allegedly received on Dec. 22 while in Turrubiates' care at her home in Olivia. Turrubiates' first appearance Tuesday in District Court was marked by tension. As he entered the courtroom, a man and woman charged toward him from the spectator benches, the man shouting obscenities.
An annual choir of bell ringers began making music weeks ago in Kandiyohi County, the steady tinkle of their bells bringing the jingle of coins dropped into Salvation Army kettles at 11 different locations. The bells stop ringing at noon today, but the crescendo will be heard Christmas morning in homes throughout Kandiyohi County. That's when more than 1,000 children will be opening presents made possible by those who donated to kettles watched over by the bell ringers. "How I'd like to peek in the windows,'' said Capt.
GRANITE FALLS -- It will cost an estimated $2.8 million to correct deficiencies in Granite Falls' aging sanitary sewer system. City Council members are committed to moving forward with the work, said City Manager Bill Lavin, but must now decide issues ranging from how to fund and assess the improvements, and whether to take on all the projects at once. Dozens of basements in the community were flooded when sanitary sewer lines backed up last summer during large rain events.
ST. PAUL -- Two managers responsible for some of this area's most highly-regarded and popular resources have left the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as part of a retirement incentive program. Tuesday was the last day on the job for Bruce Gilbertson, who has managed the DNR's fisheries office in Spicer since 1994; and Paul Otto, who has managed Sibley State Park for just a few days shy of 10 years. Otto completes a 35½-years career with the DNR.
NEW LONDON -- A career of more than 35 years with the Minnesota state parks system hasn't made it any easier to answer the question that has made Paul Otto's work so rewarding. Otto retired from his career with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday as the manager of Sibley State Park. Asked what he's enjoyed the most, Otto said it comes down to two things that are hard to rank one over the other. He said he's always enjoyed the role of helping people who come to have fun, make memories and enjoy the outdoors. By the same token, he's always enjoyed making these outdoors h
SPICER -- As certain as a fish taking the bait, Bruce Gilbertson was destined to make fisheries management his career. He basically grew up in a fishing boat. His grandfather was a commercial fisherman on Lake Superior. His father was an avid fisherman, and brought his sons along to fish the lakes and streams near their home in Duluth.
WATSON -- Hunting geese in December takes some adjustment and, as we discovered, some cooperation from Mother Nature. For the first time ever, there's a December goose hunting season at the Lac qui Parle refuge, but successive winter blasts have deflated more than the Metrodome roof.