Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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APPLETON - Legislation calling on the state to purchase or lease-to-own the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton did not make it through the 2017 session, but the state is now obligated to take a serious look at the possibility of utilizing the facility. Legislation approved and signed by Gov. Mark Dayton requires the Department of Corrections to hire an independent contractor to assess the facility and determine what, if any improvements would be required if the state were to house its inmates there. The assessment must be completed by January 15, 2018.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — A group of residents in a west-central Minnesota town wants to work with the Minnesota Immigration Freedom Network to make the community immigrant friendly. "We wanted to see if Montevideo can take the next step,'' said Amy Bacigalupo as she welcomed a small gathering May 16 at the United Church of Christ Congregational in Montevideo.
GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Matthew Kahler gave his life leading one of the most decorated units in the Afghanistan conflict. Sgt. 1st Class Kahler, a 1997 graduate of Yellow Medicine East in Granite Falls, was among 16 troops in "Chosen Company" — C Company of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade — to sacrifice life for country during the 15-month deployment in 2007-08.
DASSEL, Minn. - Four of the 14 white-tailed deer previously euthanized at an east-central Minnesota deer farm near Dassel have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health reported this week. Testing confirmed the four as CWD positive last weekend. The Meeker County herd about 50 miles west of Minneapolis was part of an investigation initiated after a CWD infected deer farm herd was found in Crow Wing County in northern Minnesota late last year.
NEW ULM, Minn.—Two southern Minnesota counties are working with the Department of Natural Resources to create a plan for more outdoors activities, whether it be for hiking, horse riding, fishing, paddling or sight-seeing. Those assets can help companies recruit new workers to the region. These are among the benefits that Dennis Frederickson, southern regional supervisor with the the DNR in New Ulm, foresees as Renville and Redwood counties adopt a master plan for the Minnesota River Valley corridor they share.
MADISON — Lac qui Parle County Sheriff Lou Sager has tendered his resignation 11 months after having moved from the East Coast to take the job. "It's time," Sager said. "At the end of the day I was hoping this to be a long-term, future thing. The citizens and everybody made it clear that is not going to happen." His resignation is effective Monday, May 15. He took the oath of office June 13, 2016, after responding to a "help wanted'' ad posted by the county when Sheriff Rick Halvorson resigned with about two and a half years remaining in the term.
WILLMAR — Five days after his son was born, Souen "Posy" Chheng was placed on a flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with seven other deportees from the United States. Chheng is now over 8,000 miles away from the son he has not met, Jakobie, and the child's mother and his wife of less than a year, Allison Chheng. "It's been hard,'' said Steve Peppin of Willmar, his friend and employer in Willmar. Peppin said the deportation of his friend on Tuesday, May 2, feels like a death. He is not optimistic that Posy Chheng will ever be allowed to return to the United States.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — A father and son in Montevideo are charged with felony theft for allegedly removing the gravestone from the burial plot of the wife and mother of the two. John Wendell Albrecht, 74, and John Darron Albrecht, 47, will make their first appearances May 1 in district court. They were arrested April 17 at John Albrecht Sr.'s farm property northwest of Montevideo and were released from custody on their personal recognizance on April 19.
WILLMAR, Minn. — For as long as many can remember, winter winds and blowing snow have made a curve on Minnesota Highway 67 west of Granite Falls a problem area for motorists. Those days may be over — and feature a first in North America. Two local landowners have teamed up with the the Minnesota Department of Transportation in District 8 to improve safety on the notorious stretch by building a permanent snow fence.
BENSON, Minn. — Here's how far and wide the fame of the Benson Bakery reaches. When Toby Johannessen's neighbor returned from a camping trip to Alaska, he reported that the ranger who handled his registration took one look at his address and told him matter-of-factly: "There's a good bakery there in Benson.''