Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BENSON -- If you're looking for some good economic news, it's here. "Agriculture has been one of the bright spots in the last couple, three years here that we've been going through some hard times," U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., told a gathering of employees Wednesday at the Case IH facility in Benson. Agriculture's economic importance is easy to see here. The company expanded its workforce by 100 workers in the last two years, according to Kim Heiden, plant manager. It's the largest private employer in Swift County with 430 employees.
CLARA CITY -- A 43-year old man is in custody in Chippewa County after allegedly sexually assaulting a 17 year-old girl and then reporting the crime on a cell phone while in a corn field. The man triggered a manhunt and rescue effort by also reporting he had stabbed himself. The man, facing formal charges today, called the Chippewa County sheriff's dispatch around 5:30 a.m., according to Clara City Police Chief Ralph Bradley. He allegedly told the dispatcher he had sexually assaulted the girl at a residence, fled into a corn field with a knife and stabbed himself.
OLIVIA -- The Renville County Board of Commissioners decided not to act on a petition by the city of Bird Island to remove itself from the County Ditch 66 system and instead pay an annual, fixed outlet fee. The decision came after the commissioners met Tuesday with three viewers -- the "disinterested residents" required under state statute with determining the benefits of a drainage system. The commissioners had appeared willing to approve the petition to remove the city from the system, but the commissioners and city are at odds over what the annual outlet fee should be. The city of Bird I
Lac qui Parle County is taking to the road to put the digital divide behind it. The county on Wednesday plans to unveil its "computer commuter,'' a mobile comp-uter laboratory that will off-er free Internet access and computer training to residents. The modified, transit-style bus will be making regular visits to six different communities in the county. It holds seven different computer st-ations, one of which is handicapped-accessible. Also on board will be Mary Quick, its coordinator.
OLIVIA -- Few are watching the gubernatorial campaign of Mark Dayton and running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon with the perspective of Julie Jansen of rural Olivia. She's been there. Jansen ran as Dayton's lieutenant governor candidate in his 1998 bid for the DFL Party endorsement. Hubert Humphrey III emerged as the winner in the crowded field.
GRANITE FALLS -- News that the city will be receiving $2 million of the $2.2 million originally sought in flood mitigation monies for the coming year shaped the agenda Monday for the Granite Falls City Council. The recent confirmation from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources of the mitigation monies was welcome news to the city, which has a long list of flood mitigation projects it's addressing, according to City Manager Bill Lavin. The city earlier had been assured it would receive $1 million of the requested funds and had committed the funds to improving its levee. Council membe
WILLMAR -- Obsessions come naturally in this family, and Dr. David Harder was only carrying on a family tradition when one day he announced his: Driving horses. "I could not honestly tell you why dad got into horses,'' said his daughter, Ragen Harder of Olivia. She can tell you how her late father pursued his passion.
MONTEVIDEO -- The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit Tuesday that opens the way for Duininck Inc., of Prinsburg, to construct a large asphalt storage facility at Asbury, a hamlet about six miles north of Granite Falls. The unanimous vote came after the commissioners refused to hear a final challenge by neighbors and opponents of the project. "Just a huge railroad job," said Jeff Muhl, one of the neighbors, in voicing his frustration outside the courthouse after the commissioners disallowed public comments during their meeting.
SPICER -- Fear of the havoc that a zebra mussel infestation could bring to Green Lake and other waters in the Crow River watershed has led the Green Lake Property Owners Association to host a return presentation by retired fisheries biologist and outdoor author Dick Sternberg. The association is sending out letters and encouraging people to attend Sternberg's presentation at 10:30 a.m. Aug.
HUTCHINSON -- Some adventures have to be made up on the way, and that worked just fine for Rudy Goldstein, 23, of Hutchinson. He returned home Aug. 9 after a 104-days, 2,300 miles long paddle in his 12-foot Old Town Dirigo kayak, according to the online blog he kept of his adventure. Inspired by Eric Sevareid's book "Canoeing with the Cree,'' Goldstein set out from Hutchinson in April to re-create Sevareid and Walter Port's epic trip to York Factory on Hudson Bay. He followed the Minnesota River and Red River to Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, but had to revise his plans.