Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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GRANITE FALLS -- City council members in Granite Falls have awarded a $2,427,449 bid to Quam Construction in Willmar for sanitary sewer improvements. It represents one of the largest utility projects every undertaken by the city, according to City Manager Bill Lavin. Quam Construction offered the low bid for the project, which will replace deteriorating sanitary sewer lines.
SPICER -- One man was overcome by carbon monoxide Tuesday while helping rescue a popular houseboat used for cruises on Green Lake. Chris Pientka, owner of Four Seasons Lawn and Beach Service, was operating pumps used to raise the partially submerged boat. He was transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was placed in a hyperbaric chamber.
GRANITE FALLS -- Paddling the Mississippi River to prepare for their adventure, they were warned: "The Minnesota River is like chocolate milk.'' They got the color right, and there's been plenty of mud, but the Minnesota River has more than made up for it by the scenery, wildlife and wilderness-like feel it has offered them. "It's so much more beautiful than we thought it was going to be,'' said Natalie Warren. Warren and her friend Ann Raiho know of what they speak.
DANUBE -- A former Danube City Council member who had wanted the city's police chief suspended while he was under investigation for an alleged theft is now charged herself with felony theft of city funds. Sharon Marie Lothert, 58, currently of Hector, faces three separate felony theft charges for allegedly taking a total of $20,940 in funds from the Danube Economic Development Agency while she served as its president between Aug., 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. She is charged with a felony count of forging a savings withdrawal slip for $1,000 from the city account on Aug.
It took some getting used to living in a community calling itself Montevideo yet where everything seemed so different from his home in Montevideo, Uruguay. Not quite one year later, Federico Estol has returned to Montevideo, Minn., along with a book of his photographs telling about his experiences and the unique relationship between the two sister communities. "I made a promise last year to come (back) with a book and present it in person about all of my experiences in town,'' said Estol, 29, of Montevideo, Uruguay. "Hello Montevideo'' is much more than a promise kept.
BENSON -- Kayla Williams' first job ended in a real disaster. A tornado destroyed her place of employment. Ten years later, Williams said she is happy to be back at work for her first employer, this time at the "new" Ahrndt 'U' Hungry restaurant in Benson. Williams is serving up new ice cream treats nicknamed "twisters'' in memory of the original Ahrndt 'U' Hungry restaurant destroyed by the Benson tornado on June 11, 2001.
HAWICK -- There are two different kinds of people who craft their own cedar strip canoes, according to David "Duke" Hassinger. "Some people like to have the ones they can hang on the garage wall to show to their neighbors and friends,'' said Hassinger. "I want it to be pretty too, but I want it for utilitarian purposes. I love to paddle.'' At age 80, paddle and craft he does. A tandem canoe designed to carry paddlers and gear for an extended wilderness trek is taking shape in his shop on the south shore of Long Lake near Hawick today.
WILLMAR -- As faithfully as purple martins gather to roost prior to their migration each fall, so too will birding enthusiasts join near Willmar to learn all about these and other songbirds. Dick Doll's home and purple martin nesting colony near King Lake north of Willmar will be the site for the ninth annual Minnesota MartinFest! from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
MONTEVIDEO -- Montevideo City Council members on Monday approved the acquisition of a parcel alongside U.S. Highway 212 as part of the upcoming levee improvement project. The parcel is among 40 separate properties the city is acquiring as part of the right of way needed for the levee improvement along Highway 212, according to City Manager Steve Jones. He said the acquisition process is moving along and he is hopeful of seeing all the needed properties acquired soon. That will allow the U.S.
OLIVIA -- While a number of counties are discontinuing their practice of issuing passports, Renville County has committed to continue the service. The County Board of Commissioners informally agreed Tuesday to set a $10 fee for passport photographs.