Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
MONTEVIDEO -- There's still time and all the incentives in the world to do something about climate change before Minnesotans, as one wag put it, add 'possum stew' to the favorite recipes of hunters in the state. Developing the state's clean energy opportunities could create new jobs and economic opportunities while reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, Reed Aronow told a gathering at the Clean Up our River Environment office in Montevideo on Wednesday. Aronow, 25, represented Minnesota as a youth delegate to the 2009 world conference on climate change in Copenhagen, De
WILLMAR -- Area wildlife groups and many individuals are contemplating whether to begin feeding wildlife to help see them through a difficult winter. There's no doubt the growing snowpack, last week's freezing rain, and steady, below-average temperatures are taking a toll on area wildlife populations, according to Jeff Miller, assistant wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources office at Sibley State Park. "We're keeping an eye on it,'' said Miller of the conditions. The Lake Lillian Sportsmen's Club put out a gravity box with corn for those willing to feed pheasan
A warm-hearted country singer and song writer is on her way to take the chill out of a western Minnesota winter. Michelle Murray, a Nashville, Tenn.- based recording artist, will be performing at venues ranging from Franny's in Starbuck tonight to the Prairie's Edge Casino near Granite Falls on Sunday. The tour will serve as a fundraiser for Elizabeth Giese, a 35-year-old Benson woman with large medical bills from a severe kidney disease.
BENSON -- Elizabeth Giese was caught off guard by the pain, swelling and growing fatigue that began to afflict her in 2009. The swelling puffed her face so badly that at one point, she could hardly see. Giese, of Benson, said that neither she nor her doctors had any idea of what the cause of her misery was until her diagnosis in the spring of 2009. She is afflicted with a kidney disease known as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS.
MONTEVIDEO -- Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery will be equipped this year with the Army's new M777 howitzer, and their arrival means changes are coming to area armories. Since the new guns have greater accuracy and fire much faster than the M198 howitzers they replace, the Army has decided to outfit the battalion with four guns instead of the current six, according to Lt. Col.