Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BLOOMINGTON — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be cutting back on the number of fingerling walleye it stocks, but maintain its commitment to stocking young fry. The decision comes in response to an analysis of the state's accelerated walleye stock program over the past 12 years.
APPLETON, Minn. — There are now price tags for the state of Minnesota to either purchase, upgrade and operate the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, or to lease it. A newly released architectural assessment of the facility in far west-central Minnesota for the state Legislature determined the total project cost for the state to purchase and upgrade the prison to meet state needs would total $139 million, representing $86,875 per bed for the 1,600-inmate facility.
MADISON, Minn. — Blowing snow and sub-zero temperatures didn't stop more than 80 people from traveling the roads of western Minnesota Thursday, Jan. 11, to reach the aptly-named Frozen Farm Forum in Madison. They braved the weather to learn about the possibility of raising industrial hemp in Minnesota. Their interest came as no surprise to Margaret Wiatrowski, coordinator of the industrial hemp program for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The forum marked the fourth big event she's spoken at this year, each with large crowds.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. - The latest frontier in the solar power industry's growth in Minnesota is found in Chippewa County, where workers are completing the third of three solar garden projects undertaken in the past year. Berkshire Hathaway Energy, working with Geronimo Energy, is developing the solar gardens as part of Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards Community Program. Legislation approved in 2013 requires Xcel Energy to provide community solar gardens in its service territory. Workers are completing the Taurus Community Solar Garden on the east side of Montevideo.
ATWATER, Minn. - The community of Atwater is mourning the loss of a man who was very much the quintessential small-town police chief. Reed Schmidt is remembered for how much he loved his work and community, and helping others. Schmidt, former chief of police in Atwater, died Dec. 27 at his home in Atwater at the age of 67. He had been diagnosed with a brain cancer in March 2017. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan.
GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Two burglary suspects are in custody after a homeowner's home security system alerted him Wednesday, Dec. 27, that a vehicle was in the driveway of his rural home while his 12-year-old son was home alone.
LITCHFIELD, Minn. — A version of the national debate over public lands has recently played itself out in Meeker County, where conservationists were surprised when the county board initially denied the transfer of land by willing sellers to the state. The Meeker County Board of Commissioners on Dec. 7 voted 3-2 to deny a request by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to purchase 150 acres for a wildlife management area.
BENSON, Minn. - A former Benson High School student is charged with a felony count of terroristic threats for allegedly posting statements and video on social media that led law officers to evacuate the west-central Minnesota town's high school gymnasium during a basketball tournament on Friday. Alexander Forsberg, 22, of Moorhead, was arraigned in district court in Benson on the charge Monday. He was released on his own recognizance on conditions that he not consume alcohol or drugs, have no contact with those he allegedly threatened, and not possess any firearms.
SPICER, Minn. — Tullibee numbers continue to decline in Green and Koronis Lakes. The cold water fish are an important forage fish for the walleye that attract anglers to these lakes. Tullibees, also known as cisco, are considered canaries in the coal mine in terms of what they may be telling us about climate change. Peter Jacobsen, a researcher with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Brad Carlson, with the DNR fisheries staff in Spicer, co-authored a paper a few years ago documenting the decline of tullibees in the two lakes.
SPICER — New regulations for northern pike will be in effect when the 2018 fishing season opens in May. The new regulations divide the state into three zones. Kandiyohi County is part of the north central zone, where the regulations are designed to improve the size of northern pike in lakes where too many "hammer handles'' frustrate anglers. Anglers in the zone will be able to keep 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches, and all from 22 to 26 inches must be released, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.