Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GILFILLAN -- Funding for the basic research that makes American agriculture a world leader in innovation and production is stagnant if not in decline. America used to account for 21 percent of all research and development focused on agriculture in the world. Today, it is China that holds that lead position. The U.S. investment has shrunk to 14 percent, according to Dr. Brian Buhr, head of the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota.
SACRED HEART -- Three words explain why Susan Gustafson and her four young children can be found under the hot, summer sun in a roadside stand this week, hawking T-shirts and waving down motorcyclists on their way to the Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. "Genetic, terminal illness'' are the words on the report handed to her six days after the birth of her youngest child, Ella. "I couldn't get past that line,'' said Gustafson. The diagnosis of cystic fibrosis also explained why Ella's older brother Zachary had been so ill for the first 2½ years of his life. Ella, now age 4, Zachary, 6, and
GRANITE FALLS -- An historic bridge considered the iconic image of a community's struggles with flooding will be saved, thanks to a recent grant award and state bond funds. The City of Granite Falls recently learned that the National Scenic Byway will be awarding the city $512,000 to repair and preserve the historic pedestrian bridge that spans the Minnesota River in the city's downtown, according to Granite Falls City Manager Bill Lavn. The federal grant funds will match state bond funds previously allocated.
LITCHFIELD -- Is there a profit to be made helping the many nonprofits striving to raise funds for their cause? Kathy Lotzer of rural Litchfield believes the answer is a resounding "yes," and that she has the perfect formula and place to make it possible. Lotzer has converted her former, non-profit Developing Winning Personalities operation into a for-profit business to help nonprofits with their fundraising and missions. Her seven-acre site outside of Litchfield offers day activities for young people. Rock wall climbing, mini-golf, remote-control car racing, go-carts, disc golf, paintball
OLIVIA -- Matthew James Wrobleski's sentence for crimes allegedly committed in Renville County during a multi-county spree last summer remains unknown following a second sentencing hearing Thursday in District Court in Olivia. Wrobleski, 38, is currently serving a 24-month sentence in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Moose Lake for a check forgery conviction in Kandiyohi County. He arrived in court in Renville County facing two choices reached as part of a plea agreement for motor vehicle theft, second-degree burglary and felon in possession of a gun. Wrobleski could serve a se-ntence
BIRD ISLAND -- Part of the proceeds from the upcoming Let's Ride Minnesota' event being hosted by the Tim Orth Foundation will benefit the family of Drake Bigler, the 5-month-old killed in a head-on crash on July 29 near Starbuck. Bill Neubauer, coordinator for the Foundation, announced Wednesday that the Foundation wants to help the Bigler family with the expenses it incurred for their son while he was being treated at the Glenwood hospital, where he died of injuries from the crash. Let's Ride Minnesota will be held Aug.
WILLMAR -- The day does not start soon enough for Mary Sawatzky. "I feel like a race horse. I am at the gate every day,'' said Sawatzky. Pop open the gate and she is knocking at doors throughout Mi-nnesota House District 17B. It includes the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County, with the exception of a couple southern townships. Sawatzky's goal before the DFL primary Aug. 14 is to visit every household in the district.
WILLMAR -- Jessica Rohloff wants to get things done in St. Paul, and no one should underestimate her determination to do it. She describes herself as a "church-go-ing woman who wears a lot of dresses,'' but also advises: "If anybody thinks they are going to bully me, they really have picked the wrong person.'' She wants voters in the Aug. 14 primary to pick her as the DFL candidate for the Minnesota House District 17B race.
BIRD ISLAND -- Part of the proceeds from the upcoming Let's Ride Minnesota event being hosted by the Tim Orth Memorial Foundation will benefit the family of Drake Bigler, the five-month-old killed in a head-on crash on July 29 near Starbuck. Bill Neubauer, coordinator for the Foundation, announced on Wednesday that the Foundation wants to help the Bigler family with the expenses incurred for their son while he was being treated at the Glenwood hospital, where he died of injuries from the crash. Let's Ride Minnesota will be held August 18 at the Renville County Fairgrounds in Bird Island.
OLIVIA -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied Matthew Fahey's appeal seeking to withdraw his guilty plea in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a then-14-year-old Fairfax newspaper carrier in May 2010. Fahey's second attorney, Richard Swanson of Chaska had filed the appeal, charging that the District Court erred by denying his motion for a competency examination after his guilty plea but prior to his sentencing. In an unpublished ruling issued Monday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals sided with District Court Judge Randall Slieter.