Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- Voters in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District aren't the only people who have noticed Republican candidate Lee Byberg's Norwegian accent. Ingeborg Eliassen, a correspondent in Washington, D.C., for the Norwegian daily newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad, spent Wednesday and Thursday in Willmar to learn about the American political candidate with Norwegian roots. Eliassen's introduction to Minnesota came on Tuesday night, when her plane was finally allowed to land at the Minneapolis-St.
WATSON -- A Watson woman hopes to learn the fate of a landmark tree early this week. Kylene Olson, former mayor of Watson, is attempting to save the "Watson Mile Tree'' along Minnesota Highway 7/U.S. Highway 59 near the Chippewa County community. She believes the towering cottonwood could be 150 years old. It was slated to be felled as part of a project to build a sanitary sewer line from Watson to Montevideo. The tree's demise was put on hold after Olson learned about the plans and rallied support to save it.
GRACEVILLE -- Jay Backer wants to pack twice the punch in St. Paul. Backer and his twin brother, Jeff, are both campaigning for the state Legislature. Jay is running as the Republican-endorsed candidate against Andrew Falk for the District 20A House seat. Jeff is seeking the state Senate seat for District 9 against Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon. Jeff Backer has served as mayor of Browns Valley for the past 10 years.
MURDOCK -- Andrew Falk has logged thousands of miles traveling to St. Paul since being elected to represent House District 20A in 2008, with this result: He's only deepened his roots back home. Since being elected, Falk has purchased land of his own to farm and continues to assist his father in the family's seed business near Murdock. Falk, 27, is the fifth generation of the family to farm in Swift County.
WATSON -- A Watson woman is rallying support to spare a landmark tree from the ax. Kylene Olson, former mayor of Watson, is attempting to save the Mile Tree along Minnesota Highway 7/U.S. Highway 59 south of Watson. She believes the cottonwood could be 150 years old. It is slated to be felled as part of a project to build a sanitary sewer line from Watson to Montevideo. Olson said Monday that U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has offered to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in support of sparing the tree.
CLARA CITY -- It's not as if there's never been a political discussion when the Koenen family gets together. Lyle Koenen's father, Kenneth, serves as a Chippewa County commissioner and his brother, Kurt, was mayor of Clara City, and is running again. But Lyle Koenen insists it's not the politics that he enjoys as a state legislator, but the nitty-gritty task of fighting and plowing through various budget, tax law and policy issues on behalf of the rural needs of House District 20B. Koenen, a four-term incumbent and DFL-endorsed candidate, attributes his political involvement to his farm bac
OLIVIA -- Clad in a red polo shirt and black pants, Brian Kohout said he could see the disappointment when he told the boy answering the door that he wasn't there to deliver pizza. He was door-knocking as the Republican-endorsed candidate for the House District 20B seat. Political rivals will do well to recognize that there is much more behind the 21-year-old candidate than a youthful appearance and enthusiasm. While he didn't decide to run until persuaded on the last day to file, he hit the ground running.
BIRD ISLAND -- Eleven year-old McKaia Ryberg handled her brush with fame without missing a note and it may only be the start. A video featuring the sixth grader from St. Mary's Elementary in Bird Island singing the national anthem for President Barak Obama's visit Saturday to Minneapolis has been posted on You Tube. Its potential audience could rival that present at the University of Minnesota for the president's campaign stop. "She was so not nervous I could not believe it,'' said her mother, Sandy Ryberg, of her daughter's performance in Minneapolis. The family received VIP treatment.
HECTOR -- Gregg Kulberg is making his first bid for elected office but is going at it with the confidence of an incumbent. Perhaps it's because he is on familiar ground when it comes to taking on new challenges. The Republican candidate for the Minnesota Senate seat representing District 20 started his working career as a loan officer with Production Credit Association in Redwood Falls. He jumped to a Lakeville-based company known as National Electric and helped it grow as an environmental firm serving utility companies.