Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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APPLETON -- The courts are not mandated to issue a consecutive sentence to prisoners who commit crimes while confined to a private correctional facility, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a case involving the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. A Minnesota state statute requires that a prisoner who commits a crime in a "state correctional facility" receive a consecutive sentence - meaning additional time is served after the original time - rather than a concurrent sentence when sentences are served at the same time. District Judge David Mennis relied on the statue when se
What lies ahead quickly became the topic as the Minnesota Department of Transportation hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Trunk Highway 23 bypass at Paynesville on Thursday. "The work is not done. It is just beginning,'' said State Senator Joe Gimse, R, Willmar, to a crowd gathered at the American Legion Post in Paynesville for the event. He was speaking in reference to calls from the Highway 23 coalition that lobbied for the bypass "to fill the gaps'' and develop the remaining two-lane segments between Willmar and St. Cloud into a four-lane road.
ATWATER -- Ethanol producers in west central Minnesota are coping with corn prices that are squeezing margins and have no plans to reduce production. "We've certainly seen throughout this year different challenges, pressures on that margin,'' said Mike Jerke, general manager of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson. But he also expressed views shared by his colleagues at Bushmills Ethanol, of Atwater, and Granite Falls Energy, of Granite Falls.
GRANITE FALLS -- Supporters of Steven Jon Lynn Horton, 22, of Montevideo, held picket signs Tuesday outside the Yellow Medicine County courthouse in Granite Falls to protest his recent convictions on first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. They came also to show their support for motions filed that morning by Horton's attorney, Aaron Walton of Olivia, asking for an acquittal or a new trial.
MONTEVIDEO -- A trial date has not been set in the first-degree murder case against Darek Jon Nelson, 24, of Montevideo pending a second evaluation requested by the defense. Nelson faces a first-degree murder charge in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano on Jan. 13 in Montevideo. He also faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. He remains in the Chippewa County Jail on $1 million bail. Nelson had undergone a mental health evaluation following his arrest.
GRANITE FALLS -- Entrepreneur Sunny Ruthchild of Walnut Grove wants to open a community kitchen where local food producers can process their foods and realize value-added earnings. Brian Schulz, director of the Yellow Medicine County Historical Society, believes that we are waiting too long to instill in our children a sense of place and identity. He wants to develop curriculum that would allow teachers to begin introducing the unique history and landscape of southwestern Minnesota to children in first, second and third grades, rather than waiting until they reach the sixth grade. Ruthchild
GRANITE FALLS -- Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis is urging fellow mayors not to squander the opportunity to propose significant changes in how the state distributes Local Government Aid, even if it means bringing a "politically risky" plan to the Legislature in 2013. "I'm up for it. I hope you guys are too," said Rybak as he and fellow mayors on Gov. Mark Dayton's tax reform advisory group met Friday in Granite Falls. The governor appointed 15 mayors in February to recommend tax reforms related to Local Government Aid.
There is heightened interest as Minnesota marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862. Hundreds of monuments and markers are scattered throughout southwestern Minnesota and the Minnesota River Valley to remember the tragic conflict. There are also historical sites that can also help us understand why it happened, and how it still shapes our lives today. Tom Ellig, Minnesota Historical Society, southern district, offers these starting points for those who want to begin a journey of understanding. Starting points Begin either at the Traverse des Sioux Treaty Site near S
GILFILLAN -- Funding for the basic research that makes American agriculture a world leader in innovation and production is stagnant if not in decline. America used to account for 21 percent of all research and development focused on agriculture in the world. Today, it is China that holds that lead position. The U.S. investment has shrunk to 14 percent, according to Dr. Brian Buhr, head of the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota.