Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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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.
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.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn.—When residents of the Upper Minnesota River Valley are surveyed on the challenges the region faces, the number one response is "a lack of jobs.'' "Absolutely against what all the data say,'' said Luke Greiner, regional market analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
BIRD ISLAND, Minn. — Rural grocery stores do not have to go the way of the iconic red barn and disappear one by one from the Main Streets of small towns.
WILLMAR — A phone call Tuesday morning put a mother of two children in tears and brought more than 60 people to the Living Hope Church in Willmar for a prayer vigil Sunday evening. They gathered to pray and discuss ways to help Melvin Siu, who was taken into custody Tuesday morning by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A native of Guatemala, Siu has been living in the U.S. for more than 16 years; the past 10 years in Willmar where he has been employed during this time at Jennie-O Turkey Store.
RENVILLE, Minn. — There are plenty of obstacles keeping farmers from adopting the use of cover crops, but perhaps the biggest is this: "Peer pressure,'' said Brad Nere, a Renville County corn, soybean and livestock producer, when speaking last week about the challenges he faced. "You don't want to be a failure in front of your friends. You don't want to be a failure in front of your neighbors who said all along, 'well, that's not going to work.'"
SPICER — The waters of Games Lake and Lake Andrew are still clear enough for swimmers to see their toes when they wade into them, or for anglers to see the sparkle of their spinner baits as they retrieve them.
BENSON — A 33-year-old Benson man faces felony charges for allegedly attempting to solicit a child for sex over the internet. Bradley Christopher Alsaker is charged with two felony counts: soliciting for sexual conduct a child or someone believed to be a child through electronic communications and engaging in electronic communications relating or describing sexual conduct with a child. Swift County filed the charges June 8, and Alsaker was released on his personal recognizance with conditions. Alsaker made an initial court appearance June 20.
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.