Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
MONTEVIDEO -- The 25-year-old Montevideo man charged in the fatal stabbing of a co-worker has filed a motion seeking to enter a guilty plea to second-degree murder. A grand jury indicted Darek Nelson on a first-degree, premeditated murder charge in the Jan. 13 stabbing of Vinessa Loz-ano, 18.
DAWSON -- Associated Milk Producers Inc.
WILLMAR --District 17 senate and 17B house legislative candidates found plenty to spar about, a few things to agree on, but always differed on whether the Legislature is working as it should. That issue separated incumbents State Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, and State Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, as they debated with their challengers, State Sen.
NEW LONDON -- Hunters are looking forward to the opening of the deer firearm season on Saturday with lots of optimism, and they should. Anecdotal evidence indicates that deer numbers are up, and one of the earliest corn harvests on record means deer have few places to hide, noted Jeff Miller, assistant wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in New London. A mild winter has helped the deer herd rebound in the area, said Miller.