Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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KERKHOVEN, Minn. — The propeller was spinning and the plane's engine was running when an experienced pilot from Kerkhoven crashed his single-engine aircraft on July 28, 2016, into a cornfield northeast of the La Crosse, Wisconsin, airport. That's based on the analysis of wreckage found at the crash site where pilot Loren Larson, 55, of Kerkhoven, died, according to the final factual report on the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar woman who has been urging city officials to adopt a welcoming city resolution offered her voice in support of a statewide coalition calling on people of faith to fight Islamophobia. Hamdi Kosar of Willmar joined Muslim and Christian faith leaders Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington for a rally also aimed at encouraging people to attend their precinct caucuses. The effort was sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, ISAIAH, and the ISAIAH Muslim Coalition.
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.
WILLMAR, Minn.—Now that new regulations will be coming into play for northern pike, discussion is shifting to the possibility of new limits for walleye, panfish and catfish. Working groups that serve in advisory roles to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for each of these fish species are recommending changes in the limits. They outlined their proposals at the DNR's annual Roundtable Jan. 5 in Bloomington.
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.