Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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NEW LONDON - Without a doubt, tears were shed at Sibley State Park on Friday morning. It's a ritual that goes back a few decades. Since possibly sometime in the 1970s, Sibley State Park's group center has been host to summer camps offered by the Minnesota Farmers Union. The annual camps are an opportunity for young people to build leadership skills, make new friends and enjoy the outdoors. It's the saying goodbye to new-found friends at the end of camp that is the cause of the Friday morning tears, according to Glen Schmidt, education director for the MFU.
WILLMAR -- Rather safe than sorry, members of the Little Crow Ski Team are following two exhausting days of competition with one very long day of hard work. Piece by piece, volunteers with the local team devoted a full day on Monday to power cleaning all of the equipment they used during the Midwest Regional Show Ski Competition on July 30-31 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Ski team members learned that the Cedar River on which they competed could be infested with microscopic veligers, the larvae of zebra mussels, and they want to make absolutely certain they do not introduce the invasive species to
WILLMAR -- This doctor makes house calls, and doesn't mind putting on a few miles to do it. Ron Bartsch is a mobile, windshield repair "doctor'' covering west central Minnesota. He travels in a 2001 PT Cruiser with over 255,000 miles on its odometer and the moniker "NOBETR Windshield Wizard'' splayed across its outside. His service area includes 15,000 square miles, and the Willmar area is part of his route virtually every week.
SPICER - High water on Green Lake in Spicer continues to chew up lakeshore and over-work sump pumps, but there really is no short term solution to the costly dilemma. The lake's outlet at Lake Calhoun is a fixed, concrete structure and water flow there is equal to and greater than the flow coming into Green Lake from upstream. Even if the outlet at Lake Calhoun could be enlarged, downstream culverts and road crossings, the size of the channel and a relatively flat grade would not allow any significant increase in the flow.
BASS LAKE -- Most of us work for a living, but there are a few among us smart enough to fish. Bruce Hoaglund is one of the smart ones. A retired Willmar public schools instructor, Hoaglund, 68, is one of a handful of fishing guides operating in this area. It's not a full-time gig for him, nor would he want it to be.
BENSON -- Marie Lightning Koenigs' family roots belong to the tiny Buffalo Point first nation in southeastern Manitoba, Canada, on Lake of the Woods. It's where her mother had to make a fateful choice. Live a largely subsistence lifestyle on the Ojibwa band's land in Canada, or take up residency off the reservation in Warroad, Minn., where she had a one-room log home to shelter her family. Her mother chose Warroad. It meant that the day came when her daughter moved away to attend college in Iowa.
GRANITE FALLS -- Water levels on the Minnesota River continue to run high and so does interest in flood protection by residents living along it. The city of Granite Falls has nearly completed its removal of six homes on Prentice Street along the river.
SPICER -- High waters on Green Lake have residents concerned about shoreline erosion and the possibility of greater ice damage next year if the wet trend continues. The lake's water level ranks in the top 15 percent of its high-water records.
MONTEVIDEO -- A Clara City bookkeeper charged with stealing from her employers must make $161,926.79 in restitution. Brenda Sue Kabisch, 35, of Clara City, was sentenced Thursday in Chippewa County District Court after she had pleaded guilty to two of the seven felony counts of theft against her. The court ordered her to serve 90 days in jail and 10 years of supervised probation.
BENSON -- Take a seat at the DeMarce Theater in Benson if you want to see what the future might hold for Main Street movie theaters in rural Minnesota. That is, if you can get a seat. The 320-seat theater was only a few seats shy of capacity when the DeMarce joined other theaters across the nation in hosting the midnight opening July 14 of the final Harry Potter movie, "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part Two." Many who filled the seats for the 3-D movie had arrived at 9:30 p.m.