Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR—Maxine Olson has known some tough times. Because of it, she also knows a high-powered antidote. It arrived Tuesday. Her brother Mark Malacek and his 1969 Plymouth Road Runner pulled into her driveway in Willmar to take her out for a spin. "It's on my bucket list,'' said Olson of Willmar. Olson was diagnosed in October of 2015 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. It's a progressive disease that causes the muscles of the body to degenerate. There is no known cure.
GRANITE FALLS - A big net is being cast for ideas on how to help the Minnesota River basin, and it is pulling in a surprisingly diverse catch. Calls for completing a trail the length of the Minnesota River Valley, increasing the organic content of the soils in the basin, and working to reduce the flashy hydrology of the system are just a sampling of the proposals citizens are bringing to the Minnesota River Congress.
MILAN - Zebra mussels have now been confirmed in another popular recreational lake in west central Minnesota. They were found in Lac qui Parle Lake, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported on Thursday. The department confirmed four new reports of zebra mussels in Minnesota lakes: Lake Sallie in Becker County; Lake Andrew in Douglas County; Lac qui Parle in Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Swift counties; and Big Birch Lake in Todd and Stearns counties.
OLIVIA — To celebrate Renville County's 150th anniversary, Gail Miller turned not to the past and stories well-known but to the present. Miller, the county's recorder since 1989, took her iPad to locations all across the county. She interviewed people from a variety of ages and walks of lives and recorded their stories. "That's what makes up our county,'' she said of the variety of people she met.
GRANITE FALLS — It's hard to know exactly how widespread opiate abuse is in rural Minnesota, but they are part of a large mix of mood-altering chemicals available. "The real danger is in the mixture,'' said Mike Schiks, executive director of Project Turnabout in Granite Falls. The chemical dependency center is treating a growing number of rural residents who have been mixing a variety of drugs; opiates, methamphetamine and alcohol among them.
MONTEVIDEO — Montevideo's Police Department was among the first in Greater Minnesota to make Narcan kits designed to save the lives of opiate overdose victims standard equipment in its squad cars. It's also now among the first in rural Minnesota to record a "life saved" thanks to the kit and accompanying training to use it.
NEW LONDON - Success in the waterfowl blind starts months before the season opens. Just ask Mike Benjamin. He makes a practice of watching and especially, listening to waterfowl as...
GRANITE FALLS—The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners is looking for community input as the fate of the former Clarkfield school buildings is decided. The commissioners agreed at their meeting Tuesday to appoint a joint task force with the city of Clarkfield and its Economic Development Agency to determine what to do. Some of the buildings appear to be salvageable, but the commissioners believe the majority of the elementary and junior and high school classroom areas will need to be razed.
ST. PAUL—Kirsten Tjosaas, 38, will serve a 78-month sentence in the federal prison system for embezzling over $5.7 million over eight years from her former employer, Fagen Inc. of Granite Falls. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank sentenced Tjosaas on Tuesday to the maximum sentence as recommended by federal guidelines for her convictions on federal wire fraud and money laundering charges.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Montevideo School District has agreed to pay $50,000 and reclassify the position of a female employee after a federal employment investigation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the agreement Thursday.