Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR --District 17 senate and 17B house legislative candidates found plenty to spar about, a few things to agree on, but always differed on whether the Legislature is working as it should. That issue separated incumbents State Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, and State Rep. Bruce Vogel, R-Willmar, as they debated with their challengers, State Sen.
NEW LONDON -- Hunters are looking forward to the opening of the deer firearm season on Saturday with lots of optimism, and they should. Anecdotal evidence indicates that deer numbers are up, and one of the earliest corn harvests on record means deer have few places to hide, noted Jeff Miller, assistant wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in New London. A mild winter has helped the deer herd rebound in the area, said Miller.
WILLMAR -- The Independence Party once occupied the governor's office, but now has its sights on building grassroots support by winning seats in the Legislature. It believes it has the right combination to re-emerge as a force in Minnesota politics in District 17B, where Zack Liebl, 23, of Atwater, is challenging Republican incumbent Bruce Vogel and his DFL-endorsed opponent Mary Sawatzky. Liebl insists he is not looking to play the role of spoiler.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota needs to work together again, says Mary Sawatzky, 51, of Willmar, the DFL-endorsed candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives District 17B. She said voters want an end to partisanship and are looking for a candidate who can hear and represent their interests above those of the party. Sawatzky is making her first bid for office by challenging first-term incumbent Bruce Vogel, R, Willmar, and Independence Party candidate Zack Liebl, of Atwater. The middle class has been hit hard under Republican leadership, according to Sawatzky.
WILLMAR -- With only limited support from the state party in 2010, Bruce Vogel of rural Willmar upset a heavily favored incumbent to become the first Republican to represent Kandiyohi County in the state House of Representatives in 14 years. Two years later, Vogel, 53, faces two upset-minded challengers for the House District 17B seat, which includes most of Kandiyohi County with the exception of the southwest corner. Vogel said the Republican-controlled Legislature has the state "heading in the right direction.'' "Why change direction when we're seeing success with the things we're doing r
Two-term, DFL incumbent Andrew Falk of Murdock and Tim Miller, his Republican opponent from Prinsburg making his first bid for state office, offer voters in State House District 17A a fundamental choice. They see different roles for state government. Falk believes that good public policy and government can improve people's lives, and that is very much the motivation for his desire to serve. "Together we can do things as a society that we cannot do effectively or efficiently as individuals,'' said Falk.
SACRED HEART -- Landowner opposition should be considered when state funds are being sought to acquire property to develop an off-highway vehicle park, say opponents of a proposed project in Renville County. The landowners told Gregg Soupir, district trails and park supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Spicer, and Sen.
MONTEVIDEO -- Court proceedings are moving forward again in the first-degree murder case against Darek Jon Nelson, 25, of Montevideo. On Oct. 12, District Judge Dwayne Knutsen confirmed an order finding that Nelson was mentally competent to stand trial in the fatal stabbing of his co-worker, Vinessa Lozano, 18. Lozano was killed on Jan. 13 at the Pizza Ranch in Montevideo. The original co-mpetency order was issued April 2 after review of a mental health evaluation performed at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center by a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robin Ballina.
MILAN -- More than a century ago, immigrant farmers on the Chippewa County prairie organized some of the state's earliest cooperatives to improve their economic prospects. It's the same economic model that Milan's present-day Micronesian community is turning to for similar reasons. Members of the community held the first organizational meeting this week for what they hope will become the Anach Cooperative. In Micronesia, "anach" means "our food.'' One of the goals is for the cooperative to raise, process and market ethnic foods. But the cooperative is only in the formative stage.