Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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REDWOOD FALLS — Patricia Lubeck will go to her grave believing William Rose was an innocent man. How Rose got to his grave played a role in making Minnesota one of the first states to abolish capital punishment.
OLIVIA — There's no mystery about what attracts people to the Minnesota River Valley corridor shared by Renville and Redwood counties. "You can see that without a doubt people are interested in visiting the valley to appreciate nature and see the beautiful landscapes there. And that's the agricultural landscape, but it's also the natural landscape that's there as well,'' said Drew Stoll, Great Outdoors Consultants. He spoke to an audience of approximately 30 people Wednesday evening in Olivia.
GRANITE FALLS — One of Minnesota's top three attractions for 2016 is located amidst the rolling farmlands of western Minnesota. Explore Minnesota recognized the Fagen Fighters World War II Museum south of Granite Falls with an Award of Merit at its 2017 tourism conference recently in St. Paul. The agency devoted to promoting tourism in the state cited the Fagen Fighters and Spam Museum in Austin with Awards of Merit in the category that saw the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth honored as the Attraction of the Year.
CLARA CITY — A divided MACCRAY School Board is looking for ways to unify after voters in the Feb. 7 referendum rejected a $38.8 million bond issue that would have created a single campus for the district. "People are asking: What now? What are we going to do now? Until we can get our board together, we are not going anywhere, in my opinion,'' said Lane Schwitters, chairman of the MACCRAY School Board. His comments at the board's meeting Monday opened up discussions by board members on how they can bridge their divisions.
WATSON — Record-breaking temperatures helped attract approximately 2,200 anglers to Lac qui Parle Lake for the fourth annual Ice Castle Classic fishing tournament on Saturday. David Grant of Revillo, S.D., won the tournament's top prize of $10,000 for catching an 8.84 pound northern pike. Over $75,000 in prizes were awarded.
WILLMAR — Gayne Stone's plans for ice fishing on Sunday evening came to an abrupt end when he discovered just how quickly ice conditions are deteriorating. Stone, 78, of Willmar, broke through the ice on Long Lake north of Willmar as he was driving his 2008 Saturn Outlook SUV around 5 p.m. He was just off the point of land in the northeast corner of the lake off Decathelon Drive. Stone said one wheel broke through first, and he opened his window as the entire SUV began crashing through the ice. He said he didn't feel scared; just knew he was going to get wet.
DAWSON — Living in Lac qui Parle County means more than being rural. It also means being "out of network'' for many farmers, business owners and others who purchase individual health insurance coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. The entire county has been designated by state regulators as out of network for the policyholders. Unless they want to pay the bill on their own, the affected policyholders must obtain their health care services from out-of-county providers, except for emergency care.
GRANITE FALLS — Ashley Hanson helps rural communities tell their stories in the landscapes that define them. She and Andrew Gaylord created PlaceBase Productions to write and produce community theater with local actors. They helped New London tell its story on the shores of the Mill Pond, Appleton along the banks of the Pomme de Terre River, and Granite Falls along the Minnesota River for an audience that paddled in canoes from site-to-site.
CLARA CITY - Voters in the MACCRAY School District rejected a $38.8 million bond referendum for a single-campus system in a down-to-the wire vote on Tuesday. Unofficial results show voters rejected the bond issue by a 1,108 "no" to 1,003 "yes'' tally, or a 52 percent to 48 percent showing. The measure was leading until the final numbers arrived from Maynard shortly before 9:30 p.m.
COSMOS - Cosmos knows how to celebrate large, thanks to the American Legion Club. For four decades the club has hosted wedding dances and events that routinely filled its dining and dance hall to its capacity of 360 and more. Anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 guests make their way through the club during the town's annual, two-day smelt fry. Manager Jim Lies still remembers the Friday night football games with rival Silver Lake. On those nights, the club's restaurant would easily serve upwards of 500 people, or more than the town's population of 460.