Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO -- Water levels on the Minnesota River are continuing to rise at a faster-than-expected pace, but current forecasts are not sounding alarm bells for either Montevideo or Granite Falls. The National Weather Service projects that the Minnesota River will reach flood stage of 14 feet in Montevideo at 7 a.m. this morning. It will continue to rise to major flood stage at 17.9 feet by 7 a.m.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota has grown by 200,000 people since Gov. Tim Pawlenty took office, but there are 33,000 fewer people working today. Minnesota has joined Wyoming, South Dakota and rural Louisiana as among the only states allowing four-day school weeks due to a lack of educational funding. No matter where he goes, gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton said he hears from people upset with the state of affairs in Minnesota he described.
CLARA CITY -- Sirens will be sounded in Clara City if volunteers are needed for emergency sandbagging, fire fighters in the community decided on Monday. The fire fighters are preparing for the possibility of additional flooding after they were joined by other volunteers in battling the rising waters of Hawk Creek on Sunday. Some 75 Clara City residents responded to rising waters on Hawk Creek by filling and tossing an estimated 4,000 sandbags on Sunday. The bags were stacked to protect eight homes -- four of them located outside of town and four others inside the community. Nineteen of the
UPPER SIOUX COMMUNITY -- Seven years after the Upper Sioux Community opened Prairie's Edge Casino Resort, it's about to make a major investment to enhance the facilities. The Upper Sioux Community is prepared to invest up to $14 million in a project that will nearly double the number of hotel rooms and add 200 new slot machines. It also calls for adding meeting space for the convention center, creating a new hotel lobby and entrance, and refurbishing and improving the fixtures in the existing restaurant, gaming, hotel and convention areas.
GRANITE FALLS -- It isn't just the silent approach of a big-antlered deer that gets hunters excited these days. So do possible rule changes. The possibility of a four-day deer season for youths generated lots of animated discussion on Tuesday in Granite Falls. So did a proposal to allow anyone age 55 or older to use crossbows to hunt deer and another to allow the trapping of otters on the Minnesota River. The three topics are among a number of proposed changes that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is considering.
MONTEVIDEO -- Temperatures are now topping 100 degrees in western Kuwait, but it is the fresh air and cool breezes of spring in Minnesota on the minds of the 560 soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's 1st Battalion 151st Field Artillery. Their impending return to families and springtime in Minnesota is the constant topic for conversation among the soldiers during off-duty hours, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Erik Arne.
GRANITE FALLS -- Predicting a flood is a lot like cheering for a certain Minnesota sport team: You never really know what's going to happen, but you hope for the best and prepare for the worst. It's exactly the situation that Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski described to an estimated 125 people who attended a community meeting on Thursday evening.
NEW LONDON -- October could never come soon enough for Dr. Roger Strand, a life-long waterfowl hunter. He still looks forward to October, but now it's April that can't come soon enough. As happens to so many hunters, he's become just as passionate about learning about his prey and promoting their well-being as he is about pursuing them in autumn. Dr. Strand has become a nationally-recognized expert on wood ducks, especially when it comes to building and maintaining nesting boxes for the colorful birds. That's what makes April so special.
GLENWOOD -- Andrew Lemcke, 35, was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree manslaughter in the Sept. 12, 2004, shooting death of his wife, Nichole Lemcke Riley, 26, in their Appleton home. Lemcke faced charges of first-degree premeditated murder and second-degree intentional mu-rder. The verdict was rendered by a Pope County jury of seven women and five men at 8:30 p.m. following 10½ hours of deliberations, according to information provided to the Tribune by the Pope County Tribune. District Judge Jon Stafsholt ordered that Lemcke be remanded into custody.
GLENWOOD -- Andrew Lemcke took the stand in his own defense Monday to tell a Pope County jury his account of how his wife was fatally shot around 6:36 a.m. Sept. 12, 2004, in their Appleton home. Lemcke, 35, faces charges of first-degree premeditated murder and se-cond-deg-ree intentional murder in the death of Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26. Lemcke described the shooting as accidental.