Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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LITCHFIELD -- Life has a fixed starting point at the Karen and Gene Anderson household on the shores of Litchfield's Lake Ripley. "The year didn't start until dad started trapping," said their daughter, Katrina Lustfield of Sioux Falls, S.D. Now the parent of two grown children, Lustfield remembers accompanying her father as he worked his trap lines, hiking through woods and grass or canoeing into cattail-lined sloughs as the air turned brisk and the days short in late autumn.
SPICER -- It will cost more to put walleyes in the boat or pheasants and ducks in the bag, if the state Legislature approves license fee increases being requested by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The requests would raise the annual fishing license fee from $17 to $24, and the small game license fee from $19 to $22.
SPICER -- It's no secret that slot limits on the harvest of northern pike in designated lakes aren't very popular with spear fishermen and women. But spear fishermen will likely have to continue living with them on most of the lakes where the special regulations currently exist, according to Jason Moeckel, fisheries operations supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Moeckel offered a preview of recent survey work by the Minnesota DNR on its northern pike management strategy. It found that most anglers and spear fishermen were generally satisfied with it.
COSMOS -- An early morning fire Thursday destroyed the Cosmos Public Library and forced residents in a neighboring building to evacuate their second-floor apartments. "A huge loss,'' said Mayor Rich Gieser of Cosmos. "It was one of the most used facilities in town.'' A passerby reported the fire in the structure on Milkyway Street -- the town's Main Street -- shortly after 5 a.m. She had noticed smoke coming from under its eaves. Volunteer firefighters raced to the fire station located just yards from the library building, but the fire had too much of a head start.
GRANITE FALLS -- An automated flood monitoring gauge will be installed on the Minnesota River in Granite Falls after City Council members agreed to share in its costs. The new ga-uge will help improve the ac-curacy of flood forecasting for the area, and help city officials make the best decisions when flooding is a threat, according to Mayor David Smiglewski. "There is too much of a risk for us to be flying in the dark,'' he said.
MONTEVIDEO -- A district court judge has found in favor of the city of Montevideo and against the homeowner who challenged a city permit allowing an anhydrous ammonia storage facility near his home. District Judge Paul Nelson ruled in an order filed Feb. 16 in Chippewa County that the city's issuance of a conditional use permit for the facility was not "unreasonably arbitrary or capricious.'' Kim Johnson had challenged the permit issued to Farmers Union Co-op Oil Company, or Cenex, to build an expanded anhydrous ammonia storage facility.
OLIVIA -- High school students, a mother of five teenagers, and the sheriff were among those urging the Renville County Board of Commissioners to adopt a social host ordinance. The commissioners did exactly that on a unanimous vote taken a few minutes after the hearing Tuesday morning in Olivia.
WILLMAR -- On the heels of the latest storm, residents are once again being urged to make sure fire hydrants are kept clear of snow. During a fire call in December, Willmar firefighters were forces to seek assistance from Willmar police and ambulance squad members to dig out the nearby hydrant. Fire Chief Marv urges residents to keep hydrants clear, and firefighters are shoveling around hydrants when they discover a snow-covered hydrant or are informed about one. Other communities are taking similar approaches.
WILLMAR -- The funds are getting out there, but not always the message. Legacy funds generated by the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 are being distributed to projects throughout the state, very much as intended, according to a recently released report by Conservation Minnesota and the Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. An independent analysis for Legacy investments for fiscal year 2010 showed that $211 million was provided to projects across the state, without any apparent slant towards one region over another, according to Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation M
MONTEVIDEO -- Those promoting a local foods and sustainable, agricultural economy as the way to clean water and a healthy landscape in the Upper Minnesota River Valley have a partner in the urban center of Minneapolis. "We are part of two, big grassroots efforts that are about to meet in the center,'' Mayor R. T. Rybak told a crowd of nearly 300 at the annual meeting for Clean Up our River Environment in Montevideo on Feb. 12. Rybank applauded the efforts taking place in rural Minnesota. "The land is a mirror.