Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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BREWSTER, Minn. — Never would Kathy Miller have imagined anything positive coming from her son's death 11-years ago in Iraq. But just a few weeks after the 11th anniversary of the June 29, 2006, death of Sergeant Kyle Miller, his mother could say: "There've been positive things that have happened since my son has been killed.'' She was speaking of one that will last a very long time, and in a very big way.
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.
COTTONWOOD, Minn. — Propane blow torches, herbicide, the sharp blades of mowers, hand pulling, and most important of all, the vigilant eyes of landowners. These are among the weapons the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has employed to eradicate Palmer amaranth from 30 conservation plantings in Yellow Medicine and Lyon counties. And so far, it's been working.
BENSON, Minn. — A Benson youth hockey coach facing felony charges for allegedly attempting to solicit a child for sex over the internet also now faces separate charges for weapons possession. It was also reported this week that the Benson Hockey Association, Morris Hockey Association, and Morris-Benson Hockey Association issued a joint statement terminating Bradley Alsaker's employment and said that Minnesota and USA Hockey have banned him from all Minnesota ice facilities.
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.'"
SWEDES FOREST, Minn. — Everyone came looking to meet up with some odd-named characters, and found them. It's the five-lined skink, aka "blue devil,'' that brought Katie Leuenberger to the Swedes Forest Scientific and Natural Area on land in Yellow Medicine and Redwood counties. She surprised the speedy, blue-tailed reptiles by lifting wood and tin covers she keeps scattered about the granite outcrops on this site. They love hiding underneath them.
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.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by Michael Dean Grussing, 57, for a new trial in the death of his roommate. Grussing was convicted of second-degree, intentional murder in the death of his roommate, Kevin Richardson, 44, on Sept. 8, 2015, in Montevideo. The decision released this week affirms a Chippewa County jury's guilty verdict on Feb. 24, 2016. Grussing is serving a 439-month sentence, and is currently incarcerated at the Rush City Correctional Facility.
GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — Andrew Dikken cannot withdraw his guilty pleas to murder in the 2013 shooting deaths of Kara Monson and Chris Panitzke, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled. In a ruling released Wednesday, June 21, the state's high court affirmed an earlier decision by the district court that denied Dikken's request to withdraw his guilty plea.
PAYNESVILLE, Minn. — Starry stonewort might sound like the name of some obscure, grunge band. Yet the latest aquatic invasive species to reach Minnesota has the potential to be a big time menace and as notorious as other unwanted invaders like eurasian milfoil and curly leaf pondweed. It all depends on what happens on Lake Koronis.