Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BUFFALO LAKE -- This is the day that trucks are expected to rumble out of the gate carrying the first ethanol produced at the former Minnesota Energy plant in Buffalo Lake since early 2010. Business partners Steve Walker and Patrick Riggs created Purified Renewable Energy LLC and raised the capital to acquire and upgrade the 1997-vintage facility that some feared might be scrapped.
OLIVIA -- A lawsuit filed against Renville County by Duininck Inc., of Prinsburg, could have statewide implications for determining when environmental assessment worksheets must be completed for the expansion of gravel pits. The Renville County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday with their attorney for environmental issues, Scott Anderson of Minneapolis, to develop the county's response to the lawsuit now before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Duininck Inc.
OLIVIA -- Some of the earliest soybean and corn harvesting will likely take place along a three-mile stretch of Renville County Road 11. The Renville County Board of Commissioners learned Tuesday that the Court of Appeals has ruled against the low bidder for a project to rebuild the roadway from County Road 16 to Minnesota Highway 4. With the court's ruling issued, the County Board of Commissioners indicated that they intend to award the bid to the second low bidder on the project so that work can get under way yet this year.
APPLETON -- The courts are not mandated to issue a consecutive sentence to prisoners who commit crimes while confined to a private correctional facility, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a case involving the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton. A Minnesota state statute requires that a prisoner who commits a crime in a "state correctional facility" receive a consecutive sentence - meaning additional time is served after the original time - rather than a concurrent sentence when sentences are served at the same time. District Judge David Mennis relied on the statue when se
What lies ahead quickly became the topic as the Minnesota Department of Transportation hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of the Trunk Highway 23 bypass at Paynesville on Thursday. "The work is not done. It is just beginning,'' said State Senator Joe Gimse, R, Willmar, to a crowd gathered at the American Legion Post in Paynesville for the event. He was speaking in reference to calls from the Highway 23 coalition that lobbied for the bypass "to fill the gaps'' and develop the remaining two-lane segments between Willmar and St. Cloud into a four-lane road.
ATWATER -- Ethanol producers in west central Minnesota are coping with corn prices that are squeezing margins and have no plans to reduce production. "We've certainly seen throughout this year different challenges, pressures on that margin,'' said Mike Jerke, general manager of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson. But he also expressed views shared by his colleagues at Bushmills Ethanol, of Atwater, and Granite Falls Energy, of Granite Falls.
GRANITE FALLS -- Supporters of Steven Jon Lynn Horton, 22, of Montevideo, held picket signs Tuesday outside the Yellow Medicine County courthouse in Granite Falls to protest his recent convictions on first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. They came also to show their support for motions filed that morning by Horton's attorney, Aaron Walton of Olivia, asking for an acquittal or a new trial.
MONTEVIDEO -- A trial date has not been set in the first-degree murder case against Darek Jon Nelson, 24, of Montevideo pending a second evaluation requested by the defense. Nelson faces a first-degree murder charge in the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Vinessa Lozano on Jan. 13 in Montevideo. He also faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. He remains in the Chippewa County Jail on $1 million bail. Nelson had undergone a mental health evaluation following his arrest.
GRANITE FALLS -- Entrepreneur Sunny Ruthchild of Walnut Grove wants to open a community kitchen where local food producers can process their foods and realize value-added earnings. Brian Schulz, director of the Yellow Medicine County Historical Society, believes that we are waiting too long to instill in our children a sense of place and identity. He wants to develop curriculum that would allow teachers to begin introducing the unique history and landscape of southwestern Minnesota to children in first, second and third grades, rather than waiting until they reach the sixth grade. Ruthchild