Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA -- Property owners in Olivia got their first look Wednesday at what a proposed $20.8 million investment to rehabilitate aging infrastructure in the city might cost them. An estimated $4.7 million of the total costs would be assessed to approximately 450 different parcels in the project areas. Nearly 90 people gathered at a public hearing Wednesday evening at the Community Center to hear about the projects and view spreadsheets pasted on the walls showing the estimated assessments for their properties.
OLIVIA -- A lawsuit by two taxpayers against the Yellow Medicine East School District is headed to trial, with the potential for what their attorney termed a "train wreck'' should they prevail. The two parties did not reach a settlement Thursday during a conference in District Court in Olivia, but instead set the framework for a trial on the issues in March. At issue is the district's prior action to award nearly $11 million worth of financing for health and safety and other work in the district's school buildings without taxpayer approval. Patrick McCoy and Scott Wintz, both of Clarkfield,
WILLMAR -- The stage is set for spring flooding in the Upper Minnesota River Valley and its tributaries. The National Weather Service in Chanhassen is urging residents in the upper Minnesota River Valley to consider purchasing flood insurance so that it is in effect by the spring melt, and to pay attention to flood outlook advisories as they are posted in the weeks ahead. The next will be issued Jan.
OLIVIA -- Renville County is looking at adopting a social host ordinance to make it more difficult for youths to obtain alcohol. Annie Tepfer, director of the Renville Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drugs, asked the County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to consider adopting a social host ordinance. She proposed an ordinance modeled after that approved recently in Yellow Medicine County.
MONTEVIDEO -- Communities along the Minnesota River are keeping their eyes open for the potential of spring flooding as the snowpack continues to grow. The city of Montevideo recently sent letters to residents in the community advising them about the possibility of purchasing flood insurance if their property is in an area subject to flooding.
GRANITE FALLS -- Plans by Granite Falls Energy to expand its ethanol production capacity from 49.9 million to 70 million gallons per year raise no significant environmental issues, according to a recently completed environmental assessment worksheet. No concerns about the project were voiced by people attending a public hearing on the assessment hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday evening in Granite Falls. The project remains open to public comment through Jan.
OLIVIA -- Renville County will be ordering the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to take steps to remove snow and ice in County Ditch 45, and will consider imposing fines for flooding that has already occurred along it. The County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday instructed County Ditch In-spector Larry Zupke to order the cooperative to remove snow and ice due to concerns about flooding in the ditch. The decision at the meeting Tuesday comes amidst general agreement by the commissioners that the sugar cooperative's use of the ditch for its wastewater discharges is "not working.'' C
OLIVIA -- Security concerns kept the defendant in the death of a young child out of the courtroom Monday and in the protective custody of the Renville County Jail for his formal arraignment proceedings. Speaking by phone from the Renville County Jail, Sergio Turrubiates Jr., 20, formerly of Willmar and more recently of Olivia, deferred entering a plea to the charge of murder in the second degree - without intent. He is charged for the Christmas Eve death of 18-month-old Tiana Moore, who died at the Children's Hospital in St.
MONTEVIDEO -- Just as the heating season got underway in earnest, Bill Pauling spotted a guy looking over the natural gas meter at his downtown, Montevideo grocery store with a quizzical look on his face. "I couldn't figure out what the guy was doing,'' said Pauling, owner of Bill's Supermarket. The man with the quizzical look was the meter reader sent out by Xcel Energy. He couldn't figure out why the store's meter showed zero gas usage for the prior month. He was there to see why. Pauling should have seen it coming.
WILLMAR -- Farmland values in west central Minnesota are continuing to climb to new, historic highs, assessors in the seven-county area around Willmar report. The rising values come despite some angst over whether the values might represent a bubble in the making. "Is this the new normal, or is it going to come down?'' asked Steven Taff, associate professor and extension economist in the Department of Applied Economics with the University of Minnesota. Taff said the rising values seen in west central Minnesota are very similar to what's being seen throughout Minnesota's farm country.