Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO — After finding no one in the neighborhood willing to pay her for shoveling snow, an 18-year-old woman is alleged to have burglarized one of the homes while its occupants were at work. She allegedly filled two suitcases with goods from their home, and carried them over to a neighboring house, where she asked a man for a ride home. She told him that her boyfriend had kicked her out, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Chippewa County Attorney’s office.
OLIVIA — Renville County Hospital board members voted unanimously this morning to place Administrator Glenn Haugo on paid administrative leave moments after meeting in closed session in Olivia. The meeting had been closed for the purpose of discussing allegations of misconduct. The allegations are for performance issues, according to Renville County Attorney David Torgelson.
LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY — More than 470 instructors gathered Monday at the Lac qui Parle Valley High School to learn the latest strategies and digital technologies to employ in their classrooms. The K-12 teachers with the Minnesota River Valley District schools also learned about the latest drugs available to students on the streets outside of their classrooms. Some of these drugs are also being made available to them via the Internet.
MONTEVIDEO — Darek Nelson, 25, will serve life in prison without the possibility of release for the fatal stabbing of Vinessa Lozano, 18, on Jan. 13, 2012, outside of the Pizza Ranch restaurant in Montevideo. District Judge Dwayne Knutsen sentenced Nelson to the maximum sentence just moments after he entered a guilty plea Friday afternoon to first-degree murder, premeditated, in District Court in Montevideo. Nelson entered the plea as part of an agreement in which charges of second-degree murder, with intent, and two second-degree assault charges were dismissed.
GLENCOE — Hennepin County is looking to build a 14-mile-long, light rail line from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis. It’s not just prospective riders — from Twins’ fans to suburban workers — who are weighing in on the Southwest Light Rail Transitway.
WILLMAR — The 75th anniversary of the Willmar War Memorial Auditorium was allowed to go unnoticed last year, but there is a chance to make up for it. This can be the year that Willmar celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Richard Haines mural it holds, and let the world know about all that is here, according to Dale Johnson, former parks and recreation director for the city.
OLIVIA — A decision on whether to go forward with a plan to build a new Renville County hospital facility could come in the next week or two. The Renville County Hospital Board will take up the issue Jan. 22, Hospital Administrator Glenn Haugo told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. The County Board has to make the final decision on whether to go forward. The county commissioners expressed differing views, and did not commit to a date to make a decision.
OLIVIA — Political gridlock in Washington is taking an economic toll on farm country, representatives of agricultural businesses in Renville County told U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., during a stop Monday in Olivia. The lack of a farm bill has forced Corn Capital Innovations of Olivia to put decisions on expanding its staff on hold, Joel Mathiowetz, director of growth with the consulting and risk management company, told the senator. He said it’s hard to invest in additional staff when there is so much uncertainty.
MONTEVIDEO — Felony char-ges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation will go forward against a 70-year-old defendant in a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred Dec. 16, 2011, in Chippewa County. District Judge Thomas Van Hon ruled this week that probable cause exists for the charges against Arnold Jaenisch, 70, of rural Clara City. The judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the charges. Jaenisch is charged with three felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide, as well as misdemeanor charges for open bottle and a stop sign violation.
GRANITE FALLS — Workers are only about one month away from opening what some expect will become western Minnesota’s top destination for paddle sports, and a popular fishing spot as well. Rachel Construction of St. Michael is on track to have the Minnesota Falls dam on the Minnesota River removed by mid-February. Work began in mid-December and has continued on schedule, thanks to low water flows and the cold temperatures.