Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- High school music instructors are not on the endangered species list, but tight budgets and declining enrollments have reduced their numbers in many rural school districts. That's why Nicole Boelter, instrumental music instructor for the Yellow Medicine East Schools in Granite Falls, admits she initially resisted a proposal to offer online instruction to her students through the MacPhail Center for Music in Minnesota. She was worried it was a step toward replacing classroom teachers. Case in point: She was one of two instrumental music instructors in the district when she b
GRANITE FALLS -- The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners is moving ahead with plans to remodel a newly acquired building to hold county offices. At their meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners approved a base contract of $18,500 with Contegrity Group, of Little Falls, to serve as construction manager. One day earlier, the county closed on the acquisition of the building in downtown Granite Falls for $450,000 from Fagen Inc.
Brian Albers teaches an all-girls shop class at the Montevideo High School, and every year it's the same thing.
MONTEVIDEO -- There are ways for aspiring filmmakers to launch their projects absent connections in Hollywood or a pile of money big enough to fund a campaign for Congress. One story tells how a duo tackled director Ed Harris and forced him to watch their movie trailer to win his backing. More famously, Minnesota's own Coen brothers are said to have gone door to door with a film projector to beg the money needed to produce "Blood Simple.'' Samuel Hathaway, 24, is trying a different tactic. He came home to Montevideo. "For better or worse, this is where I have been inspired and these are t
MONTEVIDEO -- Darek Nelson's first court appearance since his arraignment in May on a first-degree murder charge focused largely on motions concerning what can be presented at a trial. Yet Friday's hearing on whether probable cause exists for the charges against him also brought poignant testimony by the first police officers on the scene. Montevideo Police Officer Angela Milo witnessed what may have been the most lethal of the 33 knife wounds that took the life of Vinessa Lozano, 18, on the night of Jan.
GRANITE FALLS -- More than two decades of work to clean up the Minnesota River has brought together a diverse partnership of stakeholders in the state's namesake watershed, and produced something once unimaginable. The river once derided as an open sewer is a candidate for designation as one of the country's first Blueway Rivers, intended to be a "badge of honor, a mark of prestige." The designation is a way of saying: "We've got something really good here you might want to come and see," said Rebecca Wodder, senior adviser to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar.
WILLMAR -- Efforts to reduce phosphorus reaching the Minnesota River are producing results, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Staff with the MPCA monitored the lower 20 miles of the river during August, when water temperatures were bathtub warm and flows were at a 24-year low. They found oxygen levels were sufficient to support fish and other aquatic organisms. It was a far cry from 1988, when similar temperature and flow conditions led to a widely reported fish kill in the lower reaches of the river. The MPCA attributes much of the improvement to the gradual, but stead
OLIVIA -- Olivia is mourning the death of an independent business owner who exemplified the belief that customer service and giving back to the community are the guiding rules for operating a small town business. Ben Dirks died Saturday at the age of 83 at his home in Olivia after being diagnosed this summer with an incurable cancer. Dirks was the third generation in the family to take over the Dirks Funeral and Furniture businesses in Olivia. He returned to his hometown after serving in the Marine Air Force from 1951 through 1953.
LAKE LILLIAN -- The next mayor of Lake Lillian could be Kenneth Wittman, if he accepts the job. With no candidates filing for the mayor's position, Wittman was the top vote-getter with 13 write-in votes. Wittman had not sought the office, and told the city he was undecided about accepting the post, according to City Clerk Susan Jungclaus. He is currently a City Council member. If he does not accept the post, the City Council must appoint a council member to serve as mayor.