Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO — Voters in Chippewa County will narrow the races in Tuesday's primary for sheriff and county attorney, where long-time incumbents are not seeking re-election. Voters in Lac qui Parle County will also be narrowing the race for sheriff, where three candidates are vying for the position. In Chippewa County, Brian Hanson, Shawn Joyce and Derek Olson are vying for the sheriff's position currently held by Stacy Tufto. Matthew Haugen, Douglas Kluver and Krystal Lynne are seeking the Chippewa County attorney position currently held by David Gilbertson.
MONTEVIDEO — Like running in a marathon, supporters of a veterans nursing home in Montevideo kept a steady campaign alive for 11 years, rallying volunteers and making numerous trips to the State Capitol to testify. The final sprint to the finish line isn't so easy either, but the ribbon is definitely in site.
WILLMAR — A suspect in the armed robbery of three people who were manhandled and threatened with a knife to the neck while in their home in the city of Kandiyohi was arraigned Friday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Lateef Deondra Mahaffey, 21, of Willmar, made his first appearance in court on 10 felony charges including two counts of robbery in the first degree, three counts of burglary in the first degree, two counts of second degree assault, and theft, along with a misdemeanor charge of damage to property in the fourth degree.
MONTEVIDEO — David Dale Schwartz parked his pickup truck on Main Street in Montevideo, and walked a couple of blocks to the home of Angela Marie Haugerud. He was waiting inside when she got home. As she attempted to run out the front door, he shot her twice in the back before turning the gun on himself. The confrontation took place over the course of just a minute or two on July 10, with no chance for Haugerud to get help or for anyone to intervene, according to Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher.
OLIVIA — Schools, townships and the other taxing entities in Renville County have paid over $800,000 in collected taxes back to the owners of pipelines and utilities in the county, and they have paid 4 percent interest on that money for the privilege of returning it. In one year, the BOLD School District returned the equivalent of a teacher's salary. It had no way to anticipate it would be required to do so, Marc Iverson, auditor/treasurer for Renville County, told state Reps. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, and Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, and Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls.
WILLMAR — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a District Court decision that revoked the probation for a longtime offender in Kandiyohi County and sent him to prison. The Court of Appeals ruling released Monday means that David Lawrence Pillatzki Jr., 43, will serve the remaining time on a 60 month-sentence after pleading guilty in 2013 to charges including being a felon in possession of a firearm, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, driving after cancellation and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance.
MONTEVIDEO — Job openings continue to rise in the five counties comprising the Upper Minnesota River Valley, but increasingly they are in low wage positions. The Jobs Now Coalition, which supports a higher minimum wage and worker bargaining rights, cited the five counties for a rise in job openings that is accompanied by what it called a decline in quality. "You don't have a jobs crisis out there, but you do have a 'good jobs' crisis,'' said Kevin Ristau, education coordinator with the St. Paul-based Jobs Now Coalition.
WILLMAR — Legal issues continue to compound for Gregory Allen Scheel, 34, the Paynesville man accused of killing his grandparents in March. Kandiyohi County prosecutors on Wednesday filed a felony theft charge against Scheel. He is expected to make his first appearance on the charge Aug. 16.
GRANITE FALLS — Unsuccessful in their request for state help, Yellow Medicine County and the city of Clarkfield are looking at splitting the costs for demolishing the former public school in Clarkfield. The Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding. It calls on the county and city of just over 800 people to evenly split the costs for the eventual demolition, which has been estimated at $1.4 million.
CLARA CITY — There's a lot of speculation about the future of small towns these days. Residents in Clara City will provide their answer Saturday, when they are expected to join in force as volunteers to build two new parks. Beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, residents will gather at what will be known as Legacy Park North, located next to the Prairie Park Place assisted living facility on Chippewa County Road 2, and at Legacy Park South, in the residential area near the Cenex station.