Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA -- Renville County's board of commissioners toured the area proposed as an Off Highway Vehicle Park on Tuesday, one week before they will take a vote on it. The quiet, December tour gave little hint of the controversy that has divided neighbors and recreational users of the Minnesota River. The commissioners will be deciding whether staff should proceed with efforts to obtain state and federal grant funds for an estimated $1.3 million park. It would be located in sections 22 and 23 of Sacred Heart Township north of the Minnesota River and east of the Enestvedt Seed Farm.
OLIVIA -- This marks the 20th anniversary of a unique holiday tradition offered by Olivia businesses. Along with the usual holiday events and promotions, businesses in Olivia sponsor the "Spirit of Christmas.'' At random times, shoppers are surprised with the gift of a $5 Corn Capital Cash certificate. Nancy Standfuss, director of the Olivia Chamber of Commerce, distributes hundreds of dollars' worth of the certificates to local shoppers during the holiday season. She makes a point of visiting a variety of businesses and distributing the certificates to the first shoppers she encounters.
WILLMAR -- While their general manager is on paid administrative leave, some Willmar Municipal Utilities employees are moving forward with the expectation that he will not be returning. The Willmar Utilities Commission on Monday placed Bruce Gomm on paid administrative leave. Dave Baker, vice president of the commission, on Monday told the Tribune that an outside management firm will be asked to investigate and make a report before a final determination is made on Gomm's status. When reached Thursday, Baker emphasized that Gomm's contract has not been terminated. No action would be taken o
OLIVIA -- Renville County is again looking at the possibility of developing an off-highway vehicle park, and hearing mixed reactions to it. Members of the Minnesota Valley Trail Riders Club, and some neighbors to the proposed site in Sacred Heart Township, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the park would meet a long-sought recreational opportunity and provide economic rewards by attracting visitors. "It's a good use of the land as the minerals are depleted," said Joel Harmoning, of Franklin, in reference to plans to site much of the park in exhausted gravel pits
MONTEVIDEO -- A Clara City woman pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal vehicular injury for her role in a motor vehicle accident that left her and her passenger with severe injuries. Both had to be extricated from her vehicle. Tara Beth Gabbert, 30, (formerly Lalim) pleaded guilty Monday to the second of two criminal vehicular injury charges in District Court in Montevideo, according to Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson.
MONTEVIDEO -- A $10 price was placed on the head of coyotes in Chippewa County starting Dec. 1, and some bounty hunters are answering the call. One week after the start of the bounty program, Chippewa County had paid out $10 bounties for eight coyotes. All of the coyote bounties were claimed by hunters who pursued the animals with firearms, and none by trappers, according to Chippewa County Sheriff Stacy Tufto.
You might think that a life change such as moving from the Hawaiian island of Maui to a Renville County farm place would be all it takes to explain what happened. But no, that is not what mattered at all for June Kramin. It was the day she stepped into the barn to feed the pony and was startled by an opossum. It was as if flint had struck metal and the sparks landed on dry tinder. "It just popped,'' said Kramin.
MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo have opened the way for a new auto parts store in the community. The council Monday also OK'd new salaries for non-union employees and reviewed next year's proposed budget. Council members approved the sale of a city-owned lot to O'Reilly Auto Parts and easements to allow access to the site from both Minnesota Highway 7 and Washington Avenue. The action will allow O'Reilly Auto Parts to construct a new store at the location, according to City Manager Steve Jones. The site includes two lots.
GRANITE FALLS -- City Council members in Granite Falls have certified the final assessments for more than $2.4 million in sanitary sewer improvements. Council members at their meeting Monday certified assessments totaling $258,492.30 to property owners as their share of the costs. The assessments are lower than earlier estimates due to competitive bids for the project. Quam Construction of Willmar was the primary contractor for the project.
NEW LONDON -- There's still time to reserve camping sites and lodging in Minnesota State Parks before the reservation system is taken down for an upgrade. The system will be temporarily unavailable from Dec. 27 to Feb. 29, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced this week. The reservation system will be upgraded as part of a transition to a new provider, US eDirect. It is possible to reserve campsite, camper cabins and teepees in state parks one year in advance. The temporary shutdown of the reservation system is not likely to affect camper plans at Sibley State Park.