Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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OLIVIA -- While a number of counties are discontinuing their practice of issuing passports, Renville County has committed to continue the service. The County Board of Commissioners informally agreed Tuesday to set a $10 fee for passport photographs.
OLIVIA -- Under increasing scrutiny for past environmental violations, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative reported Tuesday that it completed the 2010-11 beet slicing campaign with a much improved record. Louis Knieper, environmental manager of the cooperative, told the Renville County Board of Commissioners that many of the issues that had troubled its operations one year earlier have been successfully managed. That's despite facing many of the same challenges.
CHOKIO -- Two rural telephone cooperatives are asking their patrons for a second time to approve their merger. Patrons with the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company of Bellingham and Federated Telephone of Chokio will cast ballots Thursday on whether or not to create a merged cooperative known as Advanced Communications in Rural America. The two cooperatives primarily serve farm customers in an area of western Minnesota that covers 1,100 square miles, including portions of Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Swift and Stevens counties. Federated offers service in Morris, where Qwest is the incumbent provi
News accounts of the tornado that ravaged Joplin, Missouri, were so jarring that Catherine Miller felt compelled to do something immediately. "I can't be sitting here watching this, I have to go,'' said Miller.
WILLMAR -- The next bike outing of the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 11. Participants will ride from Freeport to Sauk Centre and back along the Lake Wobegon Trail, about 30 miles, with stops for birds and wildflowers. For information about trailheads and times, as well as to receive notification in case of inclement weather, contact Kay Slama at 320-796-5871 or email@example.com . The Lake Wobegon Trail runs past lakes and through prairies, marshes, and woodlands, so participants will see a variety of birds and seasonal wildflowers.
WILLMAR -- A harsh winter has taken its toll on the Glacial Lakes State Trail, making it a bumpy ride for the many bicyclists who ply the scenic route that follows an abandoned railbed from Willmar to Paynesville. Tight budgets are making it difficult too for those who want to see more trails developed and existing routes improved. None the matter: Interest in discovering and enjoying the outdoors via human propulsion only continues to grow. "There's lots of energy for trails,'' said Gregg Soupir, natural resource supervisor with parks and trails for the Minnesota Department of Natural Reso
NEW LONDON - Once common, the oak savanna is now among the most endangered ecosystems in the world. It is also the defining characteristic of Sibley State Park, located west of New London on the glacial moraine topography of west central Minnesota. And now, the state park has the opportunity to inform visitors about this environment as never before. "This is what this is all about, understanding the natural resources in the park,'' said Dick Clayton, park naturalist. He spoke while leading the way into the newly developed oak savanna exhibit.
RENVILLE -- Nobody beats the carriers at the Meadows on Main independent living center in Renville when it comes to being the first to deliver the news. Six days a week, the bundle of West Central Tribunes arrives at the apartment building sometime between 3:30 and 4 a.m. A carrier is usually waiting like a sprinter ready to take the baton.
Some of the most valuable real estate in Kandiyohi County has taken a real beating. High water, saturated soils and a winter that produced big sheets of ice all added up to what Rick Reimer of the Kandiyohi County Soil and Water Conservation District calls the perfect storm for causing damage to shoreline along lakes in the county. It is the worst he's ever seen in the county.
WATSON -- It's getting noticeably quieter on the prairie each spring, much to the disappointment of Dave Trauba. Since 1999, he's been part of an effort to re-introduce prairie chickens to the grasslands of the Lac qui Parle wildlife management area and protected prairie areas, including the Chippewa and Plover. During the early morning hours of late April and early May, he makes regular stops at remote sites to listen for the whoos, cackles and occasional whoops of the prairie chickens.