Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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APPLETON — Of the five counties served by the Upper Minnesota River Valley Regional Development Commission, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties have the farthest to go to provide broadband services in their rural areas. Dawn Hegland, executive director of the Regional Development Commission, said Big Stone, Lac qui Parle and Swift counties have made gains in extending broadband services in recent years. All of the region's counties are continuing to focus on developing their broadband infrastructure. They understand its economic importance, she noted.
GRANITE FALLS — Now that Yellow Medicine County has discovered the high cost of developing a fiber optic network to serve its rural residents, a wireless provider based in the county is urging it to consider a hybrid model that would build on both technologies. Wireless technology offers a viable and economical means to reach rural areas, where the demand for high speed internet service continues to grow, according to Dan Richter, president, and Pam Rosenau, marketing development, of MVTV Wireless.
GRANITE FALLS — The verdict is in, delivered by none other than the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Lorie Skjerven Gildea. The Yellow Medicine County Justice Center in Granite Falls is a "magnificent new facility,'' the chief justice said Thursday during a dedication ceremony at the facility. The Minnesota Judicial Council, representing the chief judges from the state's 10 district courts and two high courts, held its monthly meeting at the facility.
GRANITE FALLS — Bridging the rural - urban digital divide will be expensive in Yellow Medicine County, where one very long bridge will be needed. A newly completed study looking at bringing broadband service to rural areas of the county calculates that it will cost $20 million to $22 million to lay the fiber optic network needed.
WILLMAR — A man accused of severely injuring a woman in her Willmar apartment last January entered a guilty plea Tuesday to first-degree assault. Jared Richard Busse, 45, of Duluth, entered a Norgaard plea in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar, saying he cannot remember what happened. A Norgaard plea is a guilty plea by a defendant who asserts no memory of events, but accepts there is sufficient evidence for conviction. The court ordered that Busse be held by the Commissioner of Corrections on $500,000 bail pending sentencing Sept. 29.
Four injured in three-vehicle crash in Benson BENSON – Four people were injured in a three-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 12 in front of the Case IH plant in Benson around 3:35 p.m. on Tuesday.
MONTEVIDEO — Equipment began arriving this week for the construction of an 18-turbine wind farm in Chippewa County, but work is not likely to get underway until spring. Company officials with Palmer's Creek Wind Farm outlined plans for the 44.6-megawatt wind farm to Administrative Law Judge Barbara Case at a public hearing Monday evening in Montevideo. The Public Utilities Commission has developed a draft permit for the project, and is expected to act on the permit by year's end.
GRANITE FALLS — The Yellow Medicine Sheriff's Office is seeking information on the person or persons responsible for attempting to sink a large, older-model ski boat in the Minnesota River. The Chrysler model, fiberglass boat was found partially submerged in the river about three miles upstream of Granite Falls. Authorities found three, perfectly round holes drilled into its hull. It had been snagged by debris in the river. Once freed of the snag, the waterlogged boat floated and was brought to a location where it was possible to remove it from the river.
LITCHFIELD — Rural electric cooperatives in the region are sending help to restore power in storm-damaged areas of Florida. Two linemen from Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association, Pete Wyffels and Logan Josephson, met up Sunday in Albert Lea with linemen from five other electric cooperatives, according to a news release from Meeker Cooperative.
BIRD ISLAND — A rural, small town upbringing has led Jean Tersteeg to offer her medical skills during disaster after disaster. The last was Hurricane Harvey, where she served in a disaster center in the heart of Houston as thousands of people fled their flooded homes.