Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR -- Ever since the state's electronic licensing system went dark with the shut down of state services, there has been no way to buy a fishing license. It may be impossible to measure what kind of impact this has on the local economy, but there is no question about the frustration it is already causing. "Everybody is upset,'' said Brad Foshaug, of Brad's '71 Bait and Sports, Willmar. Foshaug said he fields inquiries every day from people looking for some way to buy a fishing license. Many are visitors from out of state who were caught unawares by the state shutdown.
DANUBE -- For 32 years, Keith Anderson has answered the call after every major storm to help restore power as an employee with Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power and Light. Not this time. "It hit me when they told me not to come,'' said Anderson. Keith and Pat Anderson lost their home to the Friday storm that knocked out power to many. They are now six days into the arduous work of cleaning up the debris that still lies about their home site north of Danube. "We're so tired out it isn't even funny,'' said Pat on Wednesday. The Andersons had fled to their basement and listened as what the
OLIVIA -- Matthew Thomas Fahey, 26, will serve a life sentence for the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 14-year-old newspaper carrier in May 2010 in Fairfax. He will not be eligible for parole until he serves a minimum of 404 months in prison -- more than 33 years -- under terms of the sentence issued Tuesday by District Judge Randall Slieter. Fahey had no comments to make before hearing the sentence on convictions for kidnapping, criminal sexual predatory conduct, and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree - causing injury or by force or coercion.
COSMOS -- Not since sod buster days has the start of a new farm generated this much interest in Meeker County. In this case, it's two farms. More than 500 people are estimated to have attended an open house on June 22 to celebrate the Adams Wind and Danielson Wind farms near Cosmos and Grove City, respectively. "It's the energy resource we have in Minnesota,'' said Doug Adams, who along with his wife Karen launched Adams Wind. Each of the wind farms consists of 12 turbines. Each unit stands 404-feet tall from base to tip of the blade.
OLIVIA -- A summer camping trip is forever a tragedy for the parents who lost their infant son when a cousin to the victim -- still intoxicated from a night of drinking and marijuana use -- backed over their tent in a van as they were waking up to a new day. Can the death of 3½-month-old Whyatt Sander in a Renville County park on July 5, 2009, serve to keep others from knowing the lifetime of hurt that's become the burden of those who loved him most? That's the hope that led Whyatt Sander's grandmother to author "Where the White Dove Flies, The True Story of the Homicide of Whyatt James Sand
GRANITE FALLS -- As contractors work to complete the final leg of more than $10 million in improvements before the start of school, litigation over how the Yellow Medicine East School District is financing nearly one-third of the project is headed to trial. District Judge Randall Slieter issued an order this week that will put the matter to trial at a date yet to be set. The judge ruled that the district had acted within the law in how it financed $7,220,276 of the $10,068,977 in health and safety improvements.
GRANITE FALLS -- Yellow Medicine County will pursue discussions aimed at the possible transfer of the Minnesota Falls dam from Xcel Energy to public ownership. Board Chair Dick Wambeke, Granite Falls, urged the commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday to support discussions that could lead to the transfer of the dam to public ownership.
GRANITE FALLS -- Child care that helps low-income parents re-enter the work force, treatment programs for juvenile offenders in custody, and chemical dependency treatment are among the areas where human service cuts are most likely to be made first by Yellow Medicine County. The Yellow Medicine County board of commissioners discussed the implications for the delivery of family service programs in the county in the event of a state shutdown at their meeting on Tuesday. The commissioners took no formal action, and said they would take a "wait and see'' approach.
GRANITE FALLS -- City council members in Granite Falls have awarded a $2,427,449 bid to Quam Construction in Willmar for sanitary sewer improvements. It represents one of the largest utility projects every undertaken by the city, according to City Manager Bill Lavin. Quam Construction offered the low bid for the project, which will replace deteriorating sanitary sewer lines.
OLIVIA -- Frost boils and all of the problems associated with a harsh winter and prolonged wet period have focused attention on gravel road needs in Renville County. The county has 315 miles of gravel roadway it is responsible for, and at least 10 percent of those miles are in need of re-grading, Public Works Director Marlin Larson told the Renville County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. It would "easily'' cost $3.5 million to re-grade those miles, according to the director's rough estimate. The public works director is also proposing that the county considers installing tile drainage at