Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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DAWSON -- To the hundreds of visitors who watch them every day, Jarrett and Jordan Dahl are surrounded by more noise than can be made by a frenzied crowd of Viking fans in the Metrodome. The two brothers rev chainsaws at full throttle and spit out blizzards of wood chips all day long. It's all in the name of giving life to dead trees. Their talent as chainsaw artists is to evoke a feeling of energy and motion in the detailed images of wildlife they carve from logs.
OLIVIA -- There is no telling how many motorists have spotted Olivia's Ear of Corn alongside U.S. Highway 212 in Olivia, and snapped pictures to stick in their scrapbooks. Two independent filmmakers have done them all one better and are putting the Ear of Corn on the big screen. Olivia's giant Ear of Corn is among 61 roadside attractions across the country featured in an independent film titled "World's Largest." The documentary premiered in March at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
GRANITE FALLS -- The two-year project to upgrade and renovate the Yellow Medicine East school buildings could lead to a reconfiguration of grades in the district, according to Superintendent Al Stoeckman. He said the district is studying the possibility of adopting the middle school concept for grades 6, 7 and 8. The school board is considering a proposal to move some preschool programs from the high school building into the elementary school, and making it a K-5 facility.
GRANITE FALLS -- Stuffy classrooms and hissing steam radiators might be the stuff of nostalgia, but they're also the cause for plugged noses and drowsy children not paying attention to teachers. They're part of the past at the Bert Raney Elementary School in Granite Falls, where the Yellow Medicine East School District is testing its entirely new heating, ventilation, lighting and electrical systems. "A lot more positive,'' said Superintendent Al Stoeckman of improved air and lighting evident in the district's elementary building. New energy-efficient lighting has made classrooms and hallwa
MONTEVIDEO -- The steady build up of sediment in Lake Pepin and the hypoxia or oxygen-depleted "dead zone'' in the Gulf of Mexico continue to get lots of attention, and are leading to increasing calls for environmental regulations on upstream farming practices. Yet there are plenty of good things being done by farmers in the Minnesota River basin, and reason to believe that continuing to use a carrot in place of a stick can be the best way to keep things on the right track. That's some of the thinking behind a recent "Friendship Tour'' that joined upstream farmers in the basin with downstrea
WILLMAR -- This is the time of year when residents in west central Minnesota make their annual pilgrimage to Mount Tom in Sibley State Park to enjoy one of the state's most spectacular panoramas of fall colors. Don't stop there. We asked for suggestions on other, perhaps lesser known but equally inspiring locations in the region for fall color viewing.
WILLMAR -- Would residents in Kandiyohi County be willing to pay a special sales tax to speed up the process of making state Highway 23 a four-lane route all the way to St.
WILLMAR -- Work on the Paynesville bypass project remains on schedule, despite this year's record precipitation. The contactor has been able to develop much of the grade for the new route, thanks to the sandy soils in the area, Jon Huseby, District 8 engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told members of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Highway 23 Task Force on Friday. The $42 million, three-year project is one of many being undertaken toward the goal of expanding Minnesota Highway 23 from two to four lanes between Willmar and St.
MONTEVIDEO -- Heavy rains kept public works crews on the run throughout the region to keep sanitary sewer systems from backing up into basements, but no major problems were reported. There were some cases of localized flooding, but overall Montevideo did not experience any serious flood problems, according to Greg Schwaegerl, public works director, when reached late Thursday. He said crews kept pumps running and responded to problems. Chippewa County sent its sandbagging machine to Steele County to help emergency crews there. Public works crews in Granite Falls stayed up through the night
WILLMAR -- It's easy to find Cardinal Pride on display at Hoddap Field, but if you have an eye for it like Lee Wierschem, you can find it at rummage sales, auctions and a thrift shop or two. A self-confessed packrat, Wierschem has made collecting Willmar homecoming buttons his latest passion.