Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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WILLMAR, Minn. — A Willmar man faces a third-degree murder charge for allegedly selling the fentanyl that led to the overdose death of John Schlegel of Blomkest at age 24 on Nov. 4. Richard Michael Carl Houske, 29, was arraigned on the charge Thursday, March 15, in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar. The charge carries a potential sentence of 25 years in prison. District Judge David Mennis ordered bail set at $750,000 for release without conditions, or $200,000 for release with conditions.
LITCHFIELD — Meeker County authorities are investigating the death of a 40-year-old man after his body was found other than where he was believed to have died. Shawn Jacob Medley, of Waverly, was found at a rural Ellsworth Township location at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, according to Meeker County Sheriff Brian Cruze. The sheriff reported that officers found the man's body after acting on a report of an unresponsive male at the location, which is withheld at this time due to the ongoing investigation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MONTEVIDEO, Minn. — Tremaine Michael Bucholz, 20, of Minneapolis, made his first appearance Tuesday in Chippewa County District Court in Montevideo on felony charges that he accelerated his car and struck his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend on their bicycles while in Montevideo. He is charged with felony assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon, a felony charge of criminal damage to property, and a gross misdemeanor charge of failure to stop for collision, injury or death.
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.
GLENWOOD, Minn. — Starry stonewort has been confirmed in Lake Minnewaska in Pope County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Monday. This is the second new confirmation of starry stonewort in a Minnesota lake in 2017. It was originally discovered in Lake Koronis in 2015. DNR invasive species specialists confirmed an abundant growth of starry stonewort among native aquatic plants in the narrow Lake Minnewaska marina off the main body of the lake. Additional searches are being conducted to determine whether it is anywhere beyond the marina.