Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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APPLETON - Legislation calling on the state to purchase or lease-to-own the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton did not make it through the 2017 session, but the state is now obligated to take a serious look at the possibility of utilizing the facility. Legislation approved and signed by Governor Mark Dayton requires the Department of Corrections to hire an independent contractor to assess the facility and determine what, if any improvements would be required if the state were to house its inmates there. The assessment must be completed by January 15, 2018.
BENSON — The legislation is now signed and approved that will lead to the closing and dismantling of the Benson Power plant. It ends Xcel Energy's mandate to purchase electricity produced with biomass fuel at the plant. The 55-megawatt plant has used a mixture of turkey litter and wood chips to produce its power since it began operations in 2007 as FibroMinn.
GRANITE FALLS — Pioneer Public Television will be able to begin a year-long move into its new studio and headquarters in Granite Falls. The public broadcasting station reported that the bonding bill approved Friday by the Legislature and also signed by Gov. Dayton includes $1.95 million for the equipment needed for the new building in Granite Falls.
WILLMAR — Peter Hoagland, 69, will be resentenced Aug. 28 for his convictions on eight counts of sexual abuse against five boys he had befriended in the 1990s. The owner of Pete's Communications in Willmar was sentenced by Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Jennifer Fischer in December 2015 to serve consecutive prison sentences totaling 222 months, or 18½ years. A recent Court of Appeals ruling ordered the district court to resentence him on two of the eight counts.
MONTEVIDEO — A group of Montevideo residents wants to work with the Minnesota Immigration Freedom Network to make the community immigrant friendly. "We wanted to see if Montevideo can take the next step,'' said Amy Bacigalupo as she welcomed a small gathering May 16 at the United Church of Christ Congregational in Montevideo.
Matthew Kahler gave his life leading one of the most decorated units in the Afghanistan conflict. Sgt. 1st Class Kahler, a 1997 graduate of Yellow Medicine East in Granite Falls, was among 16 troops in "Chosen Company" — C Company of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade — to sacrifice life for country during the 15-month deployment in 2007-08.
Granite Falls - Pioneer Public Television will be able to begin a year-long move into its new studio and headquarters in Granite Falls. The public broadcasting station reported that the bonding bill approved by the Legislature on May 26 includes $1.95 million for the equipment needed for the new building in Granite Falls. The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature.
WILLMAR — Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol watched the vehicle in front of him on the freeway weave from the right lane to the left lane and onto the shoulder before the driver snapped the wheel and nearly overcorrected. Another drunk driver? No, it was another drowsy driver. Drowsy driving is very possibly one of the most underreported causes of accidents on the roads, said Grabow, a 19-year veteran of the Patrol.
MARSHALL — Minnesota's manufacturing sector continues to express confidence in its economic prospects. A survey of over 400 executives at manufacturing firms in the state found that 94 percent are confident of improved financial performance in 2017, with 57 percent saying they are "very confident,'' according to Bob Kill, president and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota. He spoke Monday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall where he discussed the organization's annual survey on the manufacturing climate in the state.
DASSEL - Four of the 14 white-tailed deer previously euthanized at a Meeker County farm near Dassel have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health reported this week. Testing confirmed the four as CWD positive on May 14. The Meeker County herd was part of an investigation initiated with a CWD infected farmed deer herd found in Crow Wing County late last year. A two-year-old female deer at the Meeker County farm had tested positive for CWD in January.