Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MADISON — Lac qui Parle County has overhauled how employee work hours in the Sheriff's Office are managed after bringing in an outside investigator to identify weaknesses in the system. Attorney and investigator Michelle Soldo in a report received recently by the West Central Tribune and delivered to a personnel subcommittee of the County Board of Commissioners in April identified seven areas where she recommended action. The issues varied.
CLARA CITY — Winter can come hard to the Minnesota prairie, but never so early that cover crops cannot be used to improve and protect the soil. "We do have the potential here,'' said Holly Hatlewick, district manager with the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District. "It is not just something that grows further south. We have that potential to have that living root on the landscape.''
CLARA CITY — The Symbionese Liberation Army was bombing squad cars. The Hell's Angels were targeting law officers who interfered with their grip on the drug trade. Not the best of times to be an undercover narcotics officer with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office in Oakland, California, but it's where and when Ralph Bradley devoted over 13 years of his career in law enforcement. He was ambushed, shot at, and attacked by trained dogs.
From the comfort of coffee shops, his home in Olivia and an office with its own baby grand piano, Don Orth has edited and produced eight books telling the stories of the greater Renville County community. For the ninth, he did much of the work from the bedside of his dying spouse.
WILLMAR — The 55th annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count in the Willmar area will be held Saturday, Dec. 17. Those wishing to participate in the annual count should be at Randy Frederickson's classroom (#104) in the Willmar Middle School at 7:30 a.m. on that day. Enter the east of the two doors directly off the south parking lot (next to the tennis courts). Dress appropriately as a part of the day will be spent outdoors.
CLARKFIELD — While politicians talk about bringing American jobs back, this small-town manufacturer has successfully fought to keep them against the odds. Clarkfield Outdoors continues to produce apparel for outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, but has also redefined itself to survive in an industry that long ago fled to countries with low labor costs. The American Apparel and Footwear Association reported in 2014 that 97 percent of all clothes sold in the United States are imported.
CLARKFIELD — There are lots of ways to measure the changes of the past 100 years, but ask those who have witnessed them and you will learn that what matters most hasn't really changed. The Clarkfield Care Center held a party Wednesday in honor of four centenarians who make their home there, a day that also happened to be the birthdays for two of them: Angie Lee, 110, and Eunice Anderson, 105. Sharing the spotlight as family and friends gathered were Elise Husby, 101, and Grace Larson, 100.
In his search for ghosts, Adrian Lee has ventured into the depths of a Lake Superior freighter on a three-dog night, sloshed through knee-deep water and oil in an abandoned factory and, in another, walked under stalactites of fat from the dogs that were once boiled and made into soap. Yet the most difficult environment he ever investigated, Lee told his audience recently, was the former Morton school building located just a couple of blocks from where he was speaking.
WATSON — Recent rains and high water levels have led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue to increase flows from Lac qui Parle Dam. The dam is located on the Minnesota River in west central Minnesota near Watson. The region received nearly an inch of rain over the weekend and that, coupled with snow melt, resulted in a significant increase of flows into the reservoir, necessitating the need to increase discharges through the dam, said a news release from the Corps' St. Paul District.
COSMOS — Five years after the death of Robert 'Bob' Verdon, his family remains committed to finding the answers to what happened and who may have killed their loved one. And always, they remain united. "It really sounds surprising, but we never have any discord,'' said Verdon's mother, Betty Colberg of Cosmos. Whatever differences that may exist are put aside when the family joins, be it for the holidays or the Cosmos Space Festival, when the family traditionally holds a summer camp out.