Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WATSON -- It's getting noticeably quieter on the prairie each spring, much to the disappointment of Dave Trauba. Since 1999, he's been part of an effort to re-introduce prairie chickens to the grasslands of the Lac qui Parle wildlife management area and protected prairie areas, including the Chippewa and Plover. During the early morning hours of late April and early May, he makes regular stops at remote sites to listen for the whoos, cackles and occasional whoops of the prairie chickens.
OLIVIA -- The State of Minnesota will argue in district court Thursday that probable cause exists for the second-degree murder charge against Sergio Turrubiates Jr., 20, of Olivia. He is charged in the death of 18-month Tiana Moore, who died of traumatic head injuries Dec. 24, 2010, at Children's Hospital in St. Paul. The hearing follows a ruling May 17 that found Turrubiates mentally competent to stand trial.
GRANITE FALLS -- A personal care attendant has pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor charges of theft of medical costs and failure to report a health condition. Casandra Kay Sannerud, 26, entered the pleas Monday in district court in Granite Falls.
UPPER SIOUX COMMUNITY -- A television program that motivates viewers to explore the great outdoors found right outside their front doors is about to air. Pioneer Public Television Channel 10 will air its locally produced "Minnesota River Sensations'' at 7 p.m. on Sunday, and repeat the broadcast at 12:30 p.m. on Monday and 7 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Boaters need to pay close attention to laws that carry possible fines of $50 to $135 and are aimed at stopping the spread of invasive aquatic species. Boaters are now required to drain their boats, live wells, bait wells and bilges when they leave a lake. They must also drain minnow buckets when they leave waters infested by invasive species. The Little Crow Anglers and West Central Bassmasters of Kandiyohi County strongly urge compliance with the rules. Members of the local organizations also have some concerns.
WILLMAR - A cool, wet fishing opener hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of anglers with the Little Crow Anglers or the West Central Bassmasters. The lakes of Kandiyohi County offer great fishing, and members of the two county-based fishing organizations are looking forward to the season ahead, said seven representatives of the organizations during a recent meeting at the West Central Tribune in Willmar. But first, they'd like to clear the muddied waters.
MONTEVIDEO -- New graduate Matt Sudduth was still wearing his cap and gown when he waved down the van full of strangers. They pulled up, snapped his picture with family around him, and moments later Sudduth and five other volunteers from the University of Minnesota were on their way to Montevideo. They spent the past five days helping repair the exteriors of two homes in the Chippewa County community, and forging new friendships. "We've had a blast,'' said Marina Mossaad, of Rochester.
OLIVIA -- A driver in a fatal crash last summer in Renville County pleaded guilty to two of 12 counts on Tuesday in District Court in Olivia. See Xiong Moua, 20, of Eau Claire, Wis., entered a guilty plea to separate felony and gross misdemeanor charges of criminal vehicular homicide or operation - operate motor vehicle in grossly negligent manner, according to Renville County Assistant Attorney Glen Jacobsen. Other criminal vehicular homicide and reckless driving charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug.
MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo gave their support to a proposal to remove a 1950s-vintage, low-head dam on the Chippewa River in Lagoon Park. The dam will be replaced by possibly four rock weirs, which will create rapids at the site.
OLIVIA -- The Minnesota River Board needs to establish clear-cut goals and a strategy to meet them if it is to see continued state funding support, according to John Jaschke, executive director of the Board of Water and Soil Resources. He told members of the board that the political mood in St. Paul is "ugly and getting uglier. Things always get worse before they get done,'' he said during the board's meeting on Monday in Olivia. The River Board represents the 37 counties in the basin and works under a joint powers agreement to promote clean water initiatives.