Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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Our quest to protect endangered animals can take us to some very wild places.
APPLETON -- Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is cutting its work force by just over half in response to declining inmate numbers. The facility notified 120 workers on Friday that they would be laid off effective Dec. 1. It will leave a working staff of 110 in Appleton, according to Warden Tim Wengler. The decision was forced when the private, 1,600-bed prison learned that the State of Washington would be removing 100 inmates, the warden told community representatives at a meeting on Friday.
BENSON -- Mike Jerke will succeed Bill Lee as the general manager of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, the company announced. The company operates a 48 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Benson, is the majority owner of Frontline BioEnergy LLC and recently joined as one of nine owners purchasing the 100 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Janesville. Jerke brings seven years of experience in ethanol plant management with Quad County Corn Processors, a 29 million-gallon-per-year, farmer-owned ethanol company located in Galva, Iowa. He began serving as the plant's genera
BENSON -- Bill Lee is leaving an ethanol plant known as a leader in innovation for what he believes will be the next big step in renewable energy. Lee said he believes biomass from agricultural and forest-product residues will be playing an ever bigger role in not only providing the power to convert corn to ethanol, but also to produce the electricity that lights our homes. Lee has been CEO since June at Frontline BioEnergy LLC in Ames, Iowa.
OLIVIA -- Nicolle Marie Mercedes Prechel, 31, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Monday to causing the death of a child and injuring the child's mother. Prechel backed a van over their tent July 5 in Renville County's Beaver Falls Park, causing the death of 3-month-old Whyatt James Sander and injuring his mother, Sheena Hinshaw, 21. During a court appearance Monday in Olivia, Prechel entered guilty pleas to criminal vehicular homicide for Sander's death and to criminal vehicular homicide - causing bodily harm while under the influence for the injuries to his mother. Her guilty pleas were part of a
MONTEVIDEO -- A visiting group of students from Uruguay recently had the opportunity to witness everything from the bluster of politics in Washington, D.C., to the blitz of consumerism at the Mall of America. They liked best the discussion they joined just over 100 miles west in Montevideo. Their host in Montevideo said they told him: "When we got here, we saw the real America that shared our values and our world views.'' Patrick and Mary Moore heard it from the students while visiting Montevideo, Uruguay, in August. Robin Mathewman, interim U.S.
SPICER -- Ryan Block's first encounter with Gary Westby was in a duck slough on the family farm, when the Minnesota Conservation Officer checked on the young Block and his hunting companions. There were no violations and the routine check would have been nothing more, except that Westby wasn't going to pass up a teachable moment.
WILLMAR -- Archers began their quiet search for that perfect shot a week ago Saturday and true to form, no one is making a lot of noise about what they may be seeing. A check with local registration stations indicates that few deer were registered since the start of the deer archery season. That's only to be expected with the warm weather, said Brad Foshaug, Brad's 71 Bait and Sports, Willmar.
MONTEVIDEO -- Flood waters that rose faster than anyone expected in April 1997 brought anguish and heartbreak that lasted longer than anyone could have imagined. More than a hundred homes and dozens of businesses were flooded in Montevideo and those affected faced a long, difficult road in rebuilding their lives. And yet, city officials called it a miracle that no one was seriously injured or killed in the flood of 1997. Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is crediting the city for taking major steps that could spare this community similar disasters in the future. Since the flo
BENSON -- An unexpected development will delay the start of the first degree murder trial for Andrew Gordon Lemcke, 34, of Appleton. He is accused in the fatal shooting of his wife, Nichole Riley-Lemcke, 26, in their Appleton home on Sept. 12, 2004. The start of the trial has now been moved from Oct. 16 to Feb. 22, 2010, in Glenwood. The change is the result of the recent resignation of the public defender representing Lemcke. Attorney Andrew Northrup has resigned his position with the Minnesota public defender's office in St.