Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BENSON -- Bill Lee is leaving an ethanol plant known as a leader in innovation for what he believes will be the next big step in renewable energy. Lee said he believes biomass from agricultural and forest-product residues will be playing an ever bigger role in not only providing the power to convert corn to ethanol, but also to produce the electricity that lights our homes. Lee has been CEO since June at Frontline BioEnergy LLC in Ames, Iowa.
MONTEVIDEO -- A visiting group of students from Uruguay recently had the opportunity to witness everything from the bluster of politics in Washington, D.C., to the blitz of consumerism at the Mall of America. They liked best the discussion they joined just over 100 miles west in Montevideo. Their host in Montevideo said they told him: "When we got here, we saw the real America that shared our values and our world views.'' Patrick and Mary Moore heard it from the students while visiting Montevideo, Uruguay, in August. Robin Mathewman, interim U.S.
WILLMAR -- Archers began their quiet search for that perfect shot a week ago Saturday and true to form, no one is making a lot of noise about what they may be seeing. A check with local registration stations indicates that few deer were registered since the start of the deer archery season. That's only to be expected with the warm weather, said Brad Foshaug, Brad's 71 Bait and Sports, Willmar.
SPICER -- Ryan Block's first encounter with Gary Westby was in a duck slough on the family farm, when the Minnesota Conservation Officer checked on the young Block and his hunting companions. There were no violations and the routine check would have been nothing more, except that Westby wasn't going to pass up a teachable moment.
BENSON -- An unexpected development will delay the start of the first degree murder trial for Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, of Appleton. He is accused in the fatal shooting of his wife, Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, in their Appleton home on Sept. 12, 2004. The start of the trial has now been moved from Oct. 16 to Feb. 22, 2010, in Glenwood. The change is the result of the recent resignation of the public defender representing Lemcke. Attorney Andrew Northrup has resigned his position with the Minnesota public defender's office in St.
MONTEVIDEO -- Flood waters that rose faster than anyone expected in April 1997 brought anguish and heartbreak that lasted longer than anyone could have imagined. More than a hundred homes and dozens of businesses were flooded in Montevideo and those affected faced a long, difficult road in rebuilding their lives. And yet, city officials called it a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed in the flood of 1997. Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is crediting the city for taking major steps that could spare this community similar disasters in the future. Since the flo
GRANITE FALLS -- Mayor David Smiglewski led 10 state senators into the Granite Falls municipal library and had a standing-room-only crowd to address. "It's hard to tour the library because this is it,'' said the mayor in reference to the library's lack of space. It's so small, librarian Madeline Bronson told the senators, that she is often asked by first-time visitors: "Where's the rest of your library?'' It was the first of many questions the senators heard Thursday morning. All led to bigger questions they will face when the 2010 session of the state Legislature convenes.
A gas station is held up. A drug deal goes bad. Two are found dead in a cornfield outside of Willmar. All of it took place before they got to the Horsehoe Bar in Lake Lillian on Tuesday. That's where the actors and crew with Point Lake Pictures LLC continued the seventh day of shooting for an as-of-yet untitled movie.
MONTEVIDEO -- City employees in Montevideo were entitled to a 4 percent pay hike in 2010, but have voluntarily cut their increase in half to help the city cope with cutbacks in local government aid. "In these tough times we all need to help out, and to pitch in together to keep making Montevideo the best city we can,'' said Steve Stand, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1686 in a joint statement issued by the employees and city. Most city employees are represented by either the AFSCME or the Law Enforcement Labor Service bargaining units.
SPICER -- There's a myth out there that goes like this: Eurasian watermilfoil will never thrive in the clean waters of Green Lake. Take a look through Greg Swenson's scuba mask, and the reality is much different. He saw patches of Eurasian watermilfoil in the lake that look like bamboo stands. Individual plants stood six- to eight-feet tall, and in some cases 10-feet tall. They grew as densely as six inches to one foot apart from each other, completely crowding out the native vegetation, said Swenson. Or, take a look at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's data on the problem.