Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
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.