Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- Elmo Volstad will continue as chair and Grant Velde will serve as vice chair of the Yellow Medicine East School Board, board members decided at their meeting on Monday. Along with reorganizational matters, board members discussed a tentative contract agreement with the district's instructors and plans for an informational meeting on the $14 million air quality and heating project, according to Superintendent Al Stoeckman. Instructors in the district will be voting on the contract Thursday. Board members will be holding a special meeting at 6 p.m.
WILLMAR -- The earthquake that struck Haiti caused no injuries or damage at an orphanage on the country's north shore started by a Willmar couple and supported by families and churches in the west central area. Word was received Tuesday that everyone was unharmed at the Children of the Promise orphanage located in Cap-Haïtien, said Bud Bonnema, who was reached at his home today in Prinsburg.
NEW LONDON -- Four families have lost their homes to fires since the start of the year in the Hawick, Maynard, Granite Falls and Dassel areas. The most recent fire happened Jan. 9 near Dassel and caused major damage to the home of Martin and Nora Hendrickson.
WILLMAR -- This winter's growing snowpack and spate of subzero temperatures is not record-setting, but it is putting stress on wildlife populations in the region. The stress on pheasants is the most visible at this point. The birds are readily seen feeding along roads and in open fields.
GRANITE FALLS -- A second Granite Falls area family has had to flee a burning home within the week, and has lost their home and belongings. Jerry and Jessica Zwart, and their three daughters, ages 10, 9 and 7, were in their large, two-story home on Ninth Avenue near the Yellow Medicine East High School in Granite Falls when the fire started sometime before 10 p.m.
MELROSE -- Ron Welle began volunteering to help disabled persons enjoy the outdoors about seven years ago, only to discover it was his passion. Nearly two years ago he organized Midwest Outdoors Unlimited, a non-profit organization devoted to providing outdoor recreational opportunities for the disabled. Welle now spends much of his time fund raising and recruiting volunteers to make possible outdoor adventures for disabled persons.
BLOMKEST -- Diabetes and a workplace accident conspired to take away Calmon Peterson's eyesight. Neither has been able to steal his passion for the outdoors and hunting. And nearly 20 years after his once perfect vision has faded away, Peterson, 44, of Blomkest, enjoyed the one hunting triumph that had eluded him since childhood. He bagged his first buck. No ordinary buck either, but a hefty 10-pointer that will be a shoulder-mounted trophy for the living room wall. Not that this is news to anybody in Blomkest, thanks to Peterson's dad.
WILLMAR -- Blowing snow, reduced visibility and drifting have created difficult to hazardous driving conditions in the region. No travel is advised in areas west of Montevideo, where road conditions are described as hazardous.
GRANITE FALLS -- Local legislators pledged to once again introduce bills this session that would allow counties to place bounties on coyotes. Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, told the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that he believes the bill could make it out of committee this session. Rep.
GRANITE FALLS -- Local DFL legislators would prefer to solve the state's projected $1.2 billion budget deficit with a mix of spending cuts and new revenue. But they don't hold out much hope for reaching the bipartisan consensus a mixed approach of spending cuts and tax increases would require. They are also skeptical about negotiating any kind of budget deal with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, unless court decisions on the governor's use of unallotment powers force him to the bargaining table, they said. "Realistically speaking, it will have to be cuts,'' said Sen.