Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WATSON -- Jason Avelsgard took office as mayor of Watson one year ago, hopeful that his ability to see both sides of the issues could help in finding solutions to the problems dividing the small community. He remains hopeful, but admits the challenges are more than what would be expected in a community of 211 people, and that there are no easy answers at this point. Watson's City Council members were expected to act on a petition at their meeting Tuesday to set a special election on the city's governance structure.
OLIVIA -- Renville County's underlying geology is among the state's most interesting, according to Dale Setterholm of the Minnesota Geological Survey at the University of Minnesota. Exposed gneiss along the Minnesota River in the Morton and Granite Falls areas is among the world's oldest rock, dating to some 3 billion years ago. Look under all of the rich, glacial till that make the county's farm lands so productive, and there is the possibility of finding cretaceous rock and sediments 60 million to 100 million years old.
Their Chevrolet Malibu comes to a stop in yet another farm yard and a golden Labrador suddenly emerges. Bruce Bloomgren cautiously cracks open the car door. "Let's see if this dog is friendly,'' he said as the dog shoves its snout into the car and onto his lap in answer to the question. Farm-by-farm and dog-after-dog, Bloomgren and Tyler Reiner are on a quest. Armed with a hand-held Global Positioning System, a clipboard stacked with records and a box full of maps, they aim to record the exact coordinates of more than 850 water wells scattered throughout Renville County by year's end.
WILLMAR -- Work commitments kept Joe Schlagel from waterfowl hunting as much as he wanted this last season, but he got out early and found the action "slow.'' The West Central Ducks Unlimited chapter member from Clara City said that other waterfowl hunters told him things never really did improve much. And in fact, the waterfowl season that ended Tuesday will probably go down as one of the worst in recent memory, said Jeff Miller, assistant wildlife director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in New London. "Disappointing,'' is how he and others called the season. We have be
APPLETON -- Corrections Corporation of America plans to close its Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton on or about Feb.
BENSON -- The Chippewa River continues to carry sediment to the Minnesota River by the dump truck load. Last year it averaged about 88 tons a day, and in previous years it has been as high as an average of 186 tons, or nine dump truck loads a day, according to data collected by Paul Wymar, scientist with the Chippewa River Watershed Project. Now comes the real heavy lifting: Finding ways to significantly reduce that load and meet federal clean water standards for the river. The Chippewa River Watershed Project intends to have its plan in place on how to do that next summer, Director Kylene
APPLETON -- Corrections Corporation of America plans to close its Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton on February 1, 2010. Warden Tim Wengler notified the facility's remaining 125 employees of the decision this morning.
APPLETON -- Appleton police took two suspects into custody after hearing gunshots and surrounding an Appleton home on Nov. 23. The two are allegedly responsible for a number of thefts in the Appleton area, according to a police report. Facing felony charges of second- and third-degree burglary and damaging property are Dallas Scott Senske, 19, and Landon Pederson, 17, both of Appleton. After a hearing Tuesday, Pederson was certified to face the felony charges as an adult.
BENSON -- Police in Benson aborted a high-speed chase for safety's sake, but continued their pursuit with shoe leather instead of rubber and got their man when he picked up a prescription one day later. Charles William Skaife, 49, of Benson, entered not guilty pleas during appearances last week in Swift County District Court in Benson. He faces felony charges of assault - second-degree with a motor vehicle for a Nov. 14 incident at Swenson Motors in Benson and a felony charge of fleeing a police officer for a separate Nov.
GRANITE FALLS -- The first in a series of formal hearings to be held on plans for the southern route of the CAPX electric transmission project attracted some resistance from residents along its path. About two dozen people attended the hearings during the afternoon and evening Monday at Prairie's Edge Casino Resort, but only a handful voiced concerns about the proposed route for the record, according to Administrative Law Judge Richard Luis. The Public Utilities Commission has issued a certificate of need for an estimated, $1.7 billion upgrade to the state's electric transmission system. El