Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
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.
GRANITE FALLS -- Xcel Energy remains on track to remove the 107-year-old Minnesota Falls dam yet this year. A contractor is lined up for the project, but Xcel Energy is waiting for a final permit now under review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before work can begin. If the permit is approved as expected, the dam could be removed by the end of November, Jim Bodensteiner, Xcel senior environmental analyst and scientist, told more than 80 people who toured the site Thursday night. The tour and a discussion about the project were sponsored by Clean Up our River Environment.
MONTEVIDEO -- Uruguay is lauded as the most democratic nation in South America, and its people pride themselves on their involvement in politics in peaceful and respectful ways. That's from Mariel Doyenhart, who arrived in Montevideo, Minn., from her home in Montevideo, Uruguay, exactly as the U.S. presidential campaign began to heat up and grainy, political attack ads began to take over our television sets. Her only surprise has been how tame the campaigning seems to be, in particular on the local level.
GRANITE FALLS -- Citing concerns about security and maintaining the integrity of the judicial process, Eighth Judicial District staff urged the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to make major improvements to the court services area of the courthouse in Granite Falls. "If you look at the facilities now, it's not adequate,'' Yellow Medicine County Attorney Keith Helgeson told the commissioners Tuesday during their meeting in Granite Falls.
For 80 years the Johannessen family has made no secret of the Benson Bakery's most important recipe. Its recipe for business success is on always on display in the very front of its downtown store.
GRANITE FALLS -- Yellow Medicine County Administrator Ryan Krosch is one of three finalists for the administrator position in Nicollet County. Krosch said he enjoys working for Yellow Medicine County but considers the Nicollet County position a great opportunity to advance his career.