Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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MONTEVIDEO — The Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital is making progress in efforts to rework its relationship with the county and city, as well as its nearly 300 employees. "We're really focused on becoming the employer of choice in the region," Brian Lovdahl, the hospital's chief executive officer, told the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners this week.
OLIVIA — Decisions on how to upgrade security at the Renville County Courthouse will be delayed until early March, the County Board of Commissioners informally agreed Monday. Board members had hoped to begin paring a list of recommended security upgrades this month. The list carries an estimated price tag of $667,938, well above what had been anticipated.
BENSON — A district court judge has ordered Bradley Christopher Alsaker to serve 120 days in jail and five years of probation, but stayed prison sentences of up to five years for the former Benson hockey coach. Alsaker, 34, was sentenced Monday in Swift County District Court in Benson for a felony charge of soliciting a child through electronic media, three felony charges of possessing pornographic materials, and a felony charge of possessing a firearm. He appeared before District Judge David Mennis for sentencing.
MONTEVIDEO — Police Chief Adam Christopher has resigned his post with the city of Montevideo effective Jan. 15. Members of the Montevideo Police Commission accepted the resignation at a special meeting Monday evening. They appointed Montevideo Police Capt. Ken Schule to serve as interim police chief.
GRANITE FALLS — Two telling examples of Minnesota's changing energy landscape could be seen in the Granite Falls area this autumn. Crews working for Xcel Energy removed the exterior coal loading system at the shuttered Minnesota Valley electric generation plant on the edge of Granite Falls. The former coal-fired plant has not produced electricity since 2004. It is scheduled to be dismantled in 2023, according to Randy Fordice, senior media representative with Xcel Energy.
WILLMAR - A 35-year-old man is in custody after allegedly walking into a care center in Willmar on Thursday evening and choking an elderly woman and rushing at police officers when they confronted him on the street moments later. He is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail with a felony charge of third degree assault and a gross misdemeanor charge of obstructing the legal process with force or violence pending against him, according to Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt.
SACRED HEART — Just days before it was to go up for sale as a tax-forfeited property and almost certainly razed, the former Hotel Sacred Heart was purchased by the Sacred Heart Historical Society. Four years later, the gamble the local volunteers took in hopes of saving the town's landmark is being rewarded. The Minnesota Historical Society announced in December that the Sacred Heart Historical Society is being awarded $199,150 toward the first phase of a project to restore the long-vacant building, originally opened in May of 1914.
OLIVIA - Laurence Stratton, an assistant county attorney in Renville County, will succeed Randall Slieter as the district judge chambered in Renville County. Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of Stratton to fill the eighth judicial district vacancy on Wednesday.
GRANITE FALLS — Like many counties, Yellow Medicine County accepted responsibility for enforcing the state's new buffer law with an eye to keeping as much local control as possible. Members of the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners believe the choice will set them up for some difficult decisions this year when it comes to carrying out that responsibility.
OLIVIA — Costs to repair Renville County Ditch 66 are proving higher than expected and have now topped $1 million, according to information presented Wednesday to the Renville County Board of Commissioners acting as the ditch authority. The commissioners will be meeting in January with the project engineers and contractor to consider additional work. The ditch runs from Bird Island to Olivia and connects to the East Fork of Beaver Falls Creek. It was upgraded and rerouted as part of a $2.2 million project in 1998.