Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR — A major winter storm rolling into Minnesota is expected to track well south of the Willmar area, according to the National Weather Service. The city of Willmar and southern Kandiyohi County are forecast to see less than an inch of snow, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologist Joe Calderone with the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen said it's possible that Willmar will not see any snow on Monday, as the storm track appears to be staying well to the south.
WILLMAR — A 19-year-old Willmar man appeared Friday in Kandiyohi County District court on a charge that he led a sheriff's deputy on a high-speed chase Thursday night in Willmar. The suspect appeared on a felony charge of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle. He also faces misdemeanor charges of damage to property in the fourth degree, careless driving, and two petty misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The court allowed his release on personal recognizance with conditions.
Now that new regulations will be coming into play for northern pike, discussion is shifting to the possibility of new limits for walleye, panfish and catfish. Working groups that serve in advisory roles to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for each of these fish species are recommending changes in the limits. They outlined their proposals at the DNR's annual Roundtable Jan. 5 in Bloomington.
BLOOMINGTON — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be cutting back on the number of fingerling walleye it stocks, but maintain its commitment to stocking young fry. The decision comes in response to an analysis of the state's accelerated walleye stock program over the past 12 years.
BENSON — A planned, temporary power outage will affect three Agralite Electric Cooperative members in the Benson area today, including the Benson CNH Case plant. The Benson plant is suspending production activities from noon to 6 p.m. Friday due to the planned outage. The outage is needed to allow work to upgrade an electrical substation, according to Kory Johnson, general manager of the cooperative. The upgrade is being made in anticipation of the day when the Benson Power facility is shut down.
APPLETON — There are now price tags for the state of Minnesota to either purchase, upgrade and operate the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, or to lease it. A newly released architectural assessment of the facility for the state Legislature determined the total project cost for the state to purchase and upgrade the prison to meet state needs would total $139 million, representing $86,875 per bed for the 1,600-inmate facility.
MADISON — Blowing snow and sub-zero temperatures didn't stop more than 80 people from traveling the roads of western Minnesota Thursday to reach the aptly-named Frozen Farm Forum in Madison. They braved the weather to learn about the possibility of raising industrial hemp in Minnesota. Their interest came as no surprise to Margaret Wiatrowski, coordinator of the industrial hemp program for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The forum marked the fourth big event she's spoken at this year already, each with large crowds.
CLARKFIELD — The former occupants and owners of the old school buildings in Clarkfield left the country three years ago, believed to have done so literally in the middle of the night, and now one of them sits in a prison in Iceland. The tax-forfeited, 1.3-acre site of the former Clarkfield Public School is now the property of the state of Minnesota but the responsibility of Yellow Medicine County. Most of the structures are water-damaged and filled with mold, have crumbling ceilings and walls, and filled with all kinds of items that were left behind.
OLIVIA — The possibility of hiring a part-time superintendent, possibly on an interim basis, was the focus of discussions as BOLD School Board members met for a work session Monday. Board members did not come to a consensus, but agreed to put the matter back on the agenda for their regular meeting on Jan. 22. They informally agreed to take advantage of a three-hour work session offered by the Minnesota School Boards Association aimed at helping school boards in the process of selecting a superintendent.
BENSON — The long and bitter legal dispute between the Glacial Plains Cooperative and Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company has reached the state's high court. The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Jan. 3. The justices will be deciding whether to affirm or remand rulings by Swift County District Court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals that have favored Glacial Plains Cooperative. The two cooperatives located in Benson have been in litigation since 2009.