Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BENSON --EMDASH-- On a chilly night in Benson, Ken Amundson took a perfectly-good violin, placed it in a leather case, and submerged it outside his home in a barrel of water liberally doused with sea salt. In the morning he discovered he had ruined the violin, and that he was now in the middle of a debate raging across the Atlantic. "It was in pieces,'' said Amundson of the violin.
BELGRADE - A rural Belgrade family has lost their home and possessions to fire. "To lose everything over a flash of lighting like that, it's crazy,'' Connie Oliver said of the blaze that destroyed the house she has called home the past 24 years..
MINNEAPOLIS - It will be six years ago on Aug. 1 that Lake Lillian native Lindsay (Petterson) Walz was plucked from the Mississippi River and set atop a slab of concrete near the collapsed I-35W Bridge to wait for help. That's when and where the survivor of the bridge collapse made up her mind. Walz said she decided she was going to pursue the dream she adopted as a 16-year-old and open a youth center. She wanted to do the good work she had witnessed and participated in as a youth at the Christian Community Outreach Center in Olivia.
OLIVIA - Four months after his termination, it's not clear yet if the dispute between the Renville County Hospital and Clinics and its former administrator is fully resolved. Asked if the matter was resolved, former administrator Glenn Haugo said on Thursday that it's "sort of over, but it's not, on the other hand.'' In response to the same question, Renville County Administrator Sara Folsted said she could not provide any additional information.
OLIVIA - Maintaining a road system that is the backbone for one of the state's leading agricultural counties comes at a big cost. The Renville County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to adopt a $10 wheelage tax as allowed by the Legislature. It will be imposed through 2018. The estimated $175,000 it will raise annually will be applied toward the interest costs on a $10 million bond issue the commissioners are considering to improve a portion of the county's road system.
CLARA CITY - Crash, slam, bam. That's the fate awaiting three buildings that will soon be razed in Clara City's commercial district. The hope is that others will be going up as the city embarks on a long-term effort to revitalize an aged commercial district. The City Council recently created a tax increment financing district on three downtown blocks. One of the three blocks is targeted for the first work: The city has acquired two properties in that block, and is soon to close on a third that it will remove.
CLARA CITY - Just as Clara City launches an initiative to revitalize its commercial district, it learns of a new challenge. Keaveny Korner Drug of Clara City will be closing its doors for a final time Aug. 1, owners Deborah and Kelly Keaveny announced in a letter sent to customers earlier this month.
LITCHFIELD - Two 16-year-old boys suspected in a series of thefts in the Star Lake area of Greenleaf Township in Meeker County are in custody, the Meeker County Sheriff's Department reported on Saturday. The two were arrested after sheriff's deputies responded to an address on 586th Avenue in Greenleaf Township on Star Lake at 6:16 a.m. on Friday. The deputies learned that a 2004 Chevrolet Impala had been stolen but returned to the residence overnight. The hood was still warm, the car had been damaged, and items had been stolen from it.
MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo are moving forward with plans to build a new fire hall, and expand the city police and administrative offices into the space that would be freed up. The city conducted a public hearing Monday night on the proposal to build a new fire hall, and the council heard no opposition, said City Manager Steve Jones. Council members agreed to move the plans forward, but must allow a 30-day waiting period. If there are citizens opposed to the project, they have the time to gather signatures for a petition to challenge it.
MURDOCK -- East Dublin Dairy is happy to keep a "quiet" profile in Swift County. Its location in Dublin Township south of Murdock was chosen in large part because neighbors are few. Yet as nearly 2,000 visitors to the dairy learned at an open house last week, there's really no hiding the economic impact of one of the state's larger dairy operations. East Dublin Dairy employs nearly 50 full-time workers, according to David Yost, a co-owner in the venture and manager of the East Dublin and neighboring West Dublin Dairy.