Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — Four siblings have filed a civil lawsuit demanding that their father and a brother return the gravestone they had been charged with stealing from their mother's burial plot to the gravesite. John Wendell Albrecht, 75, and John Darron Albrecht, 48, entered Alford pleas in district court in July to theft charges for removing a gravestone that other family members had placed at the burial site of Sandra Albrecht, who died July 24, 2016, at age 74.
OLIVIA, Minn. — Renville County is turning to an eye in the sky to help it enforce Minnesota's new buffer law. Pictometry of Rochester, N.Y., will be providing the county with enhanced aerial images of the entire county. The company's computer software will layer the images with LiDAR, or Light, Detection and Range survey data. With a few clicks of a computer mouse, county staff will be able to accurately assess whether individual properties are in compliance with the law. "It should be a massive time saver,'' said Larry Zupke, county drainage inspector.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — When attorney Janice Nelson of Montevideo emceed a conference in September looking at the region's workforce challenges, she announced at the start just how familiar she was with one of them. Her administrative assistant had just quit. She was unable to find child care for her first child. A "quiet crisis'' is what the Center for Rural Policy in Minnesota calls the growing shortage of child care providers in Minnesota.
HANLEY FALLS, Minn. — Two central Minnesota cooperatives are among the first in the state to make group health insurance policies available for farmers. Glacial Plains Cooperative, based in Murdock, and the Hanley Falls Farmers Cooperative Elevator are offering group health insurance for their members through Land O'Lakes cooperative.
BIRD ISLAND, Minn. — When solar panel installers told Glen Jacobsen that his utility bill looked different than others they have seen, he began investigating. Now Jacobsen, and many others who produce some of their own electricity with solar panels or wind turbines, are entitled to refunds on some of the state sales tax they have paid.
WALKER, Minn. – The man charged with raping, kidnapping and murdering 5-year-old Alayna Ertl of Watkins has pleaded not guilty to 19 charges. Zachary Todd Anderson, 26, formerly of Monticello, entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in Cass County District Court in Walker to all of the charges he faces, according to court records. The case is scheduled for trial in April. Anderson is accused of kidnapping Ertl from her family home in Watkins in Meeker County on Aug. 20, 2016.
APPLETON, Minn. — In a span of 16 days last month, workers removed and replaced all of the shelving, restocked them all, and poured 102 yards of concrete to build a new floor while keeping the doors of Don's Food Pride open for all but six and a half hours of its regular schedule. "Looking good, Tim,'' said a customer pushing a cart down the newly polished floor in Appleton's grocery store last week.
WEGDAHL, Minn.—The last time the tiny, Minnesota River community of Wegdahl could be called a destination dates to the days when a dance hall and speakeasy known as Skunk Hollow sold bootleg whiskey, and there were stories galore about fights and shady card games. The crowd that showed up Thursday, Sept. 28, found a much different environment. Chippewa County hosted an open house to introduce people to the park it has developed on this site along the Minnesota River roughly halfway between Montevideo and Granite Falls.