Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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RENVILLE — There are plenty of obstacles keeping farmers from adopting the use of cover crops, but perhaps the biggest is this: "Peer pressure,'' said Brad Nere, a Renville County corn, soybean and livestock producer, when speaking last week about the challenges he faced. "You don't want to be a failure in front of your friends. You don't want to be a failure in front of your neighbors who said all along, 'well, that's not going to work.'"
BENSON — A Benson man facing felony charges for allegedly attempting to solicit a child for sex over the internet also faces separate charges for weapons possession. On the day he was charged in Swift County District Court in the internet case, agents with the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Benson police officers executed a search warrant at the Benson home of Bradley Christopher Alsaker, 33.
By Minnesota DNR COTTONWOOD - An unusual catch turned up in a Lyon County lake, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. DNR fisheries workers conducting a lake survey on Cottonwood Lake captured an American eel in their trapnet on June 23. The female eel was 37.4 inches.
SPICER — A sunny, summer day with a cooling breeze from Green Lake provided the setting as Spicer's population grew nearly tenfold Tuesday as people gathered to celebrate the Fourth of July. It's estimated as many as 10,000 people celebrate the nation's birthday in Spicer, and by all accounts the biggest draw is the annual parade. This year's parade didn't disappoint, as large crowds lined Lake Avenue mid-morning for the chance to see the pageantry and catch the candy and goodies tossed from float.
OLIVIA — State Sen. Andrew Lang will have a voice at the table as millions of dollars are awarded for projects benefitting Minnesota's outdoors. The first-term, Republican senator from Olivia was recently appointed to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. He succeeds State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who stepped down from the seat he's held on the council since its start nine years ago.
WILLMAR — A longer detour is in store for motorists using state Highway 7 as work gets underway to resurface the 16.4 miles from Clara City to the intersection with U.S. Highway 71 near Blomkest. The extended detour begins Wednesday and is expected to remain in effect through Sept. 1, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced in a news release Friday. A shorter detour has been in effect since June 12 for Highway 7 from the intersection with Kandiyohi County Road 5 to just east of Blomkest. It will remain in place until July 17.
SWEDES FOREST — Everyone came looking to meet up with some odd-named characters, and found them. It's the five-lined skink, aka "blue devil,'' that brought Katie Leuenberger to the Swedes Forest Scientific and Natural Area on land in Yellow Medicine and Redwood counties. She surprised the speedy, blue-tailed reptiles by lifting wood and tin covers she keeps scattered about the granite outcrops on this site. They love hiding underneath them.
MILAN — The iconic Milan Bridge will be replaced in 2019 with a "plain and simple" concrete span structure. Representatives of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's district office in Willmar this week outlined early plans for replacing, rather than rehabilitating, the 1938 bridge to about two dozen Milan area residents. The open house meeting Wednesday was the first to gather public input as designs for the new bridge are developed, according to Teal Spellman, project manager with MnDOT.
MONTEVIDEO — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Michael Dean Grussing, 57, for a new trial in the death of his roommate. Grussing was convicted of second-degree, intentional murder in the death of his roommate, Kevin Richardson, 44, on Sept. 8, 2015, in Montevideo. The decision released Monday affirms a Chippewa County jury's guilty verdict on Feb. 24, 2016. Grussing is serving a 439-month sentence, and is currently incarcerated at the Rush City Correctional Facility.
SPICER — The waters of Games Lake and Lake Andrew are still clear enough for swimmers to see their toes when they wade into them, or for anglers to see the sparkle of their spinner baits as they retrieve them.