Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners approved a new redistricting plan Tuesday. All five commissioner seats are up for election this year due to redistricting, a vacancy due to death, and the completion of terms. The commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday approved the first of two redistricting options presented, according to Yellow Medicine County Administrator Ryan Krosch.
OLIVIA -- A defendant who had eluded law officers while on a crime spree last summer has pleaded guilty. Matthew James Wrobleski, 38, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday in District Court in Olivia to felony charges of illegal possession of a firearm; second-degree burglary; and motor vehicle theft. The charges were among 14 filed against him in Renville County.
BENSON -- Some of the best lessons are learned outside of the classroom, and in this case, the farther away the better. Since 1994, Benson instructor Barb Schwarz has been leading her seventh-grade, American history students on an annual trip to Washington, D.C. "It is kind of a rite of passage almost in Benson,'' said Superintendent of Schools Lee Westrum. He joined one of the trips years ago as a social studies instructor, and returned as enthusiastic as the students. "It was a lot of fun,'' said Kaitlyn Knutson, one of the seventh-graders. It's also a lot of education.
CLARA CITY -- Sarah Guggisberg took on her quest for Jacob's Law with the determination to make as many trips to the Capitol in St. Paul as it required, no matter what. Her only concern was whether her 1994 model Lexus with nearly 260,000 miles on it would see her through. It did, but with hardly a mile to spare. Gov. Mark Dayton on April 4 signed the legislation requiring that both parents are notified when a child is the victim of abuse or neglect.
MONTEVIDEO -- A 54-year-old dam on the Chippewa River will be coming down this summer. The Montevideo City Council approved plans and specifications at their meeting on Monday to remove the dam in Lagoon Park, according to City Manager Steve Jones. A bid letting on its demolition is likely in May. The project will involve punching a hole in the dam to lower the river elevation before removing the structure, possibly in July and August. The city has obtained $400,000 in funding from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S.
GRANITE FALLS -- City Council members in Granite Falls will consider amending a zoning ordinance so that a vacant commercial property along U.S. Highway 212 can be converted for use as a church. Members of the Rock Haven Church asked council members on Monday to amend the commercial zoning for the former Rittmiller Motors property on U.S.
ORTONVILLE -- Residents in the area of a proposed hard rock mining quarry had their say before the Big Stone County Board of Commissioners at a public hearing on Tuesday evening. More than 120 people are estimated to have attended the hearing at the armory in Ortonville, with 18 of the 20 people who testified voicing opposition to the project, according to Duane Ninneman, Clean Up our River Environment. The Big Stone County Board will take up the issue again May 1, and commissioners are expected to make a final decision on a conditional use permit by May 21. Strata Corporation of Grand Fork
Life presents some difficult choices. Do not pity Luanne Fondell for having to make these. She helped select nearly 70 different artworks by 18 rural artists from Minnesota and Wisconsin that are displayed in the new branch office and corporate headquarters building for United FCS in Willmar. The 20,000-square-foot building sits on a 6.4-acre site at the intersection of U.S. Highway 71 South and 45th Avenue Southeast (Kandiyohi County Road 19) south of Willmar. ''There were many more decisions to make than I ever imagined,'' said Fondell.
MADISON -- There are a lot of thoughts that can go through your mind while lying helpless on the ground with four broken ribs and the bones in your ankle shattered like broken glass. And, the grove on your farm is on fire and the wind is blowing toward your house. Only one thought went through Dave Linde's mind. He was worried about how he would get the spring field work done.
Just over eight years ago, Karin and Ron Koenen and their sons decided to grow their traditional corn and soybean farm in a way entirely new to the Chippewa County prairie. They planted cold-hardy grape hybrids developed by the University of Minnesota in a vineyard on their working farm just outside of Clara City.