March 2020

Wed
18
Mar
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Deal on financing SCBHS debt near

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A deal that could save Swift County-Benson Health Services $300,000 annually in interest payments may be nearing agreement.

Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington, Swift County Administrator Kelsey Baker, and Co-CEOs of SCBHS Dan Enderson and Melissa McGinty Thompson have met 10 to 12 times recently to try come up with the right mix of city and county financial assistance.

It has been estimated that by the city and council buying down the debt of SCBHS would allow it to substantially reduce the interest it is paying saving it an estimated $5 million in the coming years. That money could be used to solidify its financial position as well as for capital improvements.

Wed
18
Mar
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GROW building closer to being new Prairie 5 site

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

After having debated what to do with the GROW building on Atlantic Avenue in Benson since September 2017, the Swift County Board of Commissioners reached a decision at its March 3 meeting.

It voted unanimously to work with Prairie 5 Community Action on moving its Swift County Outreach Office from east U.S. Highway 12 to the building on Atlantic Avenue downtown Benson. The building is the former Lewis Drug building...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!

Wed
18
Mar
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City council passes emergency declaration

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson Mayor Terri Collins signed an emergency peacetime declaration during a meeting with key city staff Sunday night at the city office to address the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

The order gives the mayor and city broad authority for three days to implement measures to address an emergency situation. After three days, for emergency powers to continue they must be approved by the full city council.

At the 5 p.m. meeting were City Manager Rob Wolfington, Director of Public Works Dan Gens, and Police Chief Ian Hodge. Director of Finance Glen Pederson joined the group by phone.

Meeting in the Benson Armory Monday night with audience chairs spaced six feet apart, and with members of the council spread out, the emergency order signed by the mayor the day before was unanimously approved by the council. It allows the order to remain in place during the emergency.

Wed
18
Mar
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Schools closed as COVID-19’s impact deepens

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With Wisconsin and South Dakota both closing their schools, absenteeism in Minnesota schools increasing, the number of COVID-19 cases rising by 14 to 35 overnight Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called for schools in the state to close for the next eight to 10 days. He made the announcement during a 10 a.m. Sunday press conference.

School administrators and teachers are to use those days to implement a local plan for continuing to provide an education for students in the coming days, and possibly weeks. Schools can close as early as Monday but must be closed by Wednesday and remained closed through Friday, March 27.

Benson Public Schools closed Monday and will remain closed until Friday, March 27.

Wed
18
Mar
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Knowledge Will Keep Our Communities Safe

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
James Madison
 Father of the U.S. Constitution
Fourth President of the United States

This is an extraordinary time in the lives of most Americans as our way of life is radically changed in just a few short weeks.

Who would have thought that as spring approached our schools would all be closed, that there would be no church services, that all sports from our high schools to the professional leagues would be cancelled, that people would be hoarding toilet paper, and that grocery stores would be seeing people buying stockpiles of food as if Armageddon were imminent?

Wed
18
Mar
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Slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities

Ashlie Johnson
Countryside Public Health
Public Information Officer

Countryside Public Health has plans in place and is actively working with area partners in response to coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Minnesota now has 54 cases of COVID-19 with the number rising quickly.

Countryside Public Health encourages you to be prepared for yourself, family, & business for a possible outbreak.

Stay home from work and school when you are sick; staying home is fundamental to “stopping the spread.”

All employees and students should stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after their fever has ended – a fever of 100 degrees or higher. Prevent, sanitize, and prepare similar to the flu for COVID-19; wash your hands, cover your cough, & stay home when you are sick!

Wed
18
Mar
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Walz temporarily closes bars, restaurants, gyms

The governor also announced a measure to help hospitality, entertainment and restaurant workers whose jobs will be affected

MPR News Staff
Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that the state will temporarily close bars, restaurants and other venues that serve dine-in guests — and introduced a measure to help employees of those businesses — in the state’s ongoing effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The governor’s latest executive order requires bars, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops, bowling alleys,breweries and other venues to close to dine-in guests as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. It extends until Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m. — but Walz said it’s likely that this is just the beginning.
“I don’t see a situation … where there wouldn’t be an extension on these dates,” he said.

The measure allows businesses to continue takeout and delivery services. It does not cover grocery stores, convenience stores or pharmacies, the governor said.

Tue
17
Mar
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Swift County Government Offices

BENSON, M.N.  During this Health Pandemic, the Swift County Government is asking residents with non-essential services to postpone any visits to county offices. For those of you who need assistance or who need to conduct business, please contact us via email at in

Tue
17
Mar
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Visiting limited at Scandi Haven and SCBHS

Swift County-Benson Health Services, managed by CentraCare and Carris Health, is no longer allowing visitors at the hospital or Scandi Haven Village. Scandi Haven provides senior housing and has a memory care unit.

 “After careful consideration, we made this difficult choice because our top priority must be the safety of our patients, staff and communities,” CentraCare Health of St. Cloud stated in a press release.

“To protect our patients, families and health care workers during the outbreak of COVID-19, CentraCare and Carris Health will be implementing temporary visitor restrictions to all CentraCare and Carris Health facilities.”

SCBHS is asking that anyone with a fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms of COVID-19, call ahead to the clinic or hospital to let them know they are coming in. They do not want a potentially infected person walking into the emergency room or clinic where the virus could spread to medical staff and other patients.

Tue
17
Mar
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MDH issues updated guidance on COVID-19 testing criteria

Limited supply of testing materials means testing must be focused more tightly

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