Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — Careless smoking is the apparent cause of the fire that damaged an apartment unit Feb. 7 at Westcourt Apartments in Olivia. The body of the apartment’s tenant was later discovered. Billy Eugene Camper, 64, of Olivia, died of natural causes before the fire broke out in his apartment, an autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner determined.
LITCHFIELD — Two of his brothers served in the military. His eldest brother died last January.
BENSON — Law enforcement officers in Swift and Kandiyohi counties are asking the public’s help in locating a missing teenage girl. Jade Ovando, age 14, is described as 5-feet tall and weighing 100 pounds. She has brown eyes, long brown hair, and a pierced nose. She is of Native American/Guatemalan heritage. She has been reported missing from the Willmar and Benson area since April 4.
MONTEVIDEO — Authorities in Chippewa County believe they are close to solving a series of recent burglaries to businesses in Montevideo. Charges have been filed against one suspect and charges are expected soon against at least one other.
Charlie Roth made his getaway like so many others, signing up with the military right out of high school. “I had to leave Madison. I always felt that I needed to go out and see the world,’’ said Roth, now 57, and living outside of St. Cloud. These days, Roth is helping the world to see Madison and rural Minnesota. This June the full-time musician and songwriter will be returning to Europe for his third tour. He’s become an emissary of the prairie, a unique voice whose songs tell of the western Minnesota experience.
GRANITE FALLS — So-called “food deserts” in our nation’s urban areas have received much press lately, but the problem may be even more challenging in parts of rural southwestern Minnesota. In urban areas, food deserts are neighborhoods where convenience stores are the main source of food items. They primarily stock snack foods and very little in the way of fresh produce or other healthy items.
BENSON — Benson city council members unanimously rejected a proposal Monday to build a flood barrier to protect the Hawleywood subdivision along the golf course. The decision came a little more than a week after council members hosted an open meeting with nearly 50 residents, according to Rob Wolfington, Benson city administrator.
OLIVIA — A fire being investigated as arson has left two Olivia residents without a home and their possessions and took the life of the owner’s therapy dog. The Monday night fire destroyed a mobile home owned by Jordana Wenzel, 63. Wenzel is a transvestite, and said there is the possibility that she was the target of a hate crime.
BENSON – Benson city council members unanimously rejected a proposal to build a flood barrier to protect the Hawleywood subdivision along the golf course at their meeting on Monday. The decision came just over a week after council members hosted an open meeting with nearly 50 residents, said Rob Wolfington, city administrator. Residents seemed to be fairly evenly-split over what to do.
MAYNARD — The city of Maynard escaped serious problems after a sanitary sewer line collapsed on Easter Sunday, but city workers are keeping a watchful eye on a patched up system as the city seeks funding help from the state. City workers were able to temporarily bypass the collapsed sewer line and prevent backup problems in basements in community homes, according to Maynard City Clerk Amanda Dack. The line collapsed under the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks that split the north and south sides of the city of 366 people.