Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA — Renville County's long-range, strategic plan calls for it to explore the possibility of merging the auditor/treasurer, assessor and recorder offices, as well as joining the social services and public health departments. The county will abide by its plan and explore those options, the Renville County Board of Commissioners agreed at its meeting Tuesday. The board instructed the heads of the respective departments to put together reports on the proposals, with intentions of reviewing them in late 2017 and early 2018.
OLIVIA — An ongoing effort to emphasize education along with the enforcement of health codes appears to be paying dividends in Renville and Kandiyohi counties. The two counties have now seen a two-year decline in the number of violations issued to licensed food, swimming pool, and lodging establishments, according to information presented Tuesday to the Renville County Board of Commissioners. The counties jointly operate an environmental health services that licenses and inspects restaurants, hotels and motels, mobile home parks and campgrounds.
OLIVIA — Renville County is adding a statement that it intends to improve and protect prairie on the site proposed for the Minnesota Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area as part of the environmental assessment worksheet now being undertaken for it. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is requesting that the statement be included in the worksheet, Scott Refsland, acting director of the county's environmental and community development office, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
WILLMAR - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host an informational meeting Tuesday in Willmar to discuss Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed increases to hunting and fishing license fees. The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd St. N.E., Willmar, MN. DNR officials will discuss the need for fee changes and how license money is used. Area hunters, trappers, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to attend.
REDWOOD FALLS — Patricia Lubeck will go to her grave believing William Rose was an innocent man. How Rose got to his grave played a role in making Minnesota one of the first states to abolish capital punishment.
OLIVIA — There's no mystery about what attracts people to the Minnesota River Valley corridor shared by Renville and Redwood counties. "You can see that without a doubt people are interested in visiting the valley to appreciate nature and see the beautiful landscapes there. And that's the agricultural landscape, but it's also the natural landscape that's there as well,'' said Drew Stoll, Great Outdoors Consultants. He spoke to an audience of approximately 30 people Wednesday evening in Olivia.
GRANITE FALLS — One of Minnesota's top three attractions for 2016 is located amidst the rolling farmlands of western Minnesota. Explore Minnesota recognized the Fagen Fighters World War II Museum south of Granite Falls with an Award of Merit at its 2017 tourism conference recently in St. Paul. The agency devoted to promoting tourism in the state cited the Fagen Fighters and Spam Museum in Austin with Awards of Merit in the category that saw the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth honored as the Attraction of the Year.
CLARA CITY — A divided MACCRAY School Board is looking for ways to unify after voters in the Feb. 7 referendum rejected a $38.8 million bond issue that would have created a single campus for the district. "People are asking: What now? What are we going to do now? Until we can get our board together, we are not going anywhere, in my opinion,'' said Lane Schwitters, chairman of the MACCRAY School Board. His comments at the board's meeting Monday opened up discussions by board members on how they can bridge their divisions.
WATSON — Record-breaking temperatures helped attract approximately 2,200 anglers to Lac qui Parle Lake for the fourth annual Ice Castle Classic fishing tournament on Saturday. David Grant of Revillo, S.D., won the tournament's top prize of $10,000 for catching an 8.84 pound northern pike. Over $75,000 in prizes were awarded.
WILLMAR — Gayne Stone's plans for ice fishing on Sunday evening came to an abrupt end when he discovered just how quickly ice conditions are deteriorating. Stone, 78, of Willmar, broke through the ice on Long Lake north of Willmar as he was driving his 2008 Saturn Outlook SUV around 5 p.m. He was just off the point of land in the northeast corner of the lake off Decathelon Drive. Stone said one wheel broke through first, and he opened his window as the entire SUV began crashing through the ice. He said he didn't feel scared; just knew he was going to get wet.