News

Tue
18
Aug
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Swift County Fair this week; fundraising for new restroom facilities underway

Swift County’s 118th annual fair gets underway Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Swift County Fairgrounds in Appleton.
The fair features quality, free entertainment each day, 4-H competitions, a Ranch Rodeo, and a carnival with games and rides. See the full schedule of events at the end of this article.
The campaign for construction of new bathrooms and a shower facility at the Swift County Fair will be launched this week, fair President Jon Panzer said Monday. The current bathrooms at the fair are from around the 1940s.
The fair board is trying to raise $200,000 to replace the aging bathroom facilities and add bathroom and shower facilities at the campgrounds.

PHOTO:  Because of the devastating spread of the avian influenza this spring, there will be no poultry at the 2015 fair.  Jonathan Ilstrup of the Lake Hazel Eager Beavers last year waited to have his chickens judged at the 2014 Swift County Fair.

Fri
14
Aug
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Inspection of Milan Bridge starts Aug. 18 on Highway 40

A bridge inspection project is set to start Tuesday, Aug. 18 on Minnesota Highway 40 from Milan to the junction of Highway 119. The bridge will be closed.
A detour will go into effect on Aug. 18 at 6:30 a.m.  The detour route is listed below.
- Traveling west on Highway 40:  in Milan take Highway 7 north to Appleton, in Appleton take Highway 119 south to Highway 40
- Traveling east on Highway 40:  take Highway 119 north to Appleton, in Appleton take Highway 7 south to Milan
The project is scheduled to be complete on August 18th at 5:00 p.m.
MnDOT asks motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving through work zones. Motorists who speed through a work zone or who disobey work zone flaggers’ traffic directions face a $300 fine.

 

Thu
13
Aug
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County votes 4-1 to hire PR firm for prison effort

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to hire Goff Public, a Twin Cities public relations and lobbying company, to help it persuade state legislators to house prisoners at the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.
Only Commissioner Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, voted against allocating $10,000 from the County Board Discretionary Funds to retain Goff Public. Commissioners Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton; Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson; Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson; and Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township voted in favor of the expenditure.

Thu
13
Aug
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Thunderstorms and possible strong storms Thursday (today)

A severe thunderstorm with possible hail is moving into the central Minnesota area this morning. 
Strong winds and possible hail are forecast. 
In addition the pollen alert is moderate today and will be high Friday through Sunday.
 
Today
Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight
Tue
04
Aug
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Repeat texting and driving offenders face stiffer penalties

REPEAT OFFENDERS OF STATE TEXTING LAW FACE HIGHER FINES THIS MONTH
Drivers who repeatedly choose texting over safety while behind the wheel risk a higher fine for violating the law as of Saturday. Under the enhanced law, drivers face a $225 fine for second and subsequent violations of the texting while driving law, in addition to the current $50 fine, bringing the total to $275.
In Minnesota, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, and access the web while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. That includes sitting at a stoplight or stop sign. It is also illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional driver’s license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911.

Tue
04
Aug
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SCBH considers contracting for eEmergency room services

Later this fall if you have to make a trip to the Swift County-Benson Hospital emergency room there is a good chance an experienced ER doctor is going to be monitoring your case.
SCBH is in the process of signing an agreement with Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center’s eCare services based in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Avera has become the nation’s leader in providing tele-medicine services to community hospitals. Though it is primarily focused on the upper Midwest states now, it services are spreading across the country.
eEmergency service provides two-way video equipment in local rural emergency rooms linked to emergency room trained physicians and specialists at a central hub in Sioux Falls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Glenwood, Appleton, Madison and Dawson are all using eEmergency services.

Wed
29
Jul
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SCBH approves purchase of new security cameras

Swift County-Benson Hospital is spending $17,336 for the purchase of a video security system for outside its building as well as an upgrade of interior cameras.
At its meeting Monday night, the hospital governing board unanimously approved the purchase and installation of cameras that will monitor all four sides of its building.
There will be four cameras each with a 180-degree view. They will cover not only the hospital, but the Affiliated Community Medical Centers as well.
It will also take the security system off of the hospital’s computer network. Security systems linked to computers are one of the openings through which hackers can gain access to a hospital’s medical records, CEO Kurt Waldbillig told the governing board. “So we are taking it off of that network,” he said.
The system also will allow the hospital to give the Benson Police Department access to its cameras.

 

Wed
29
Jul
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County to back Federated’s broadband grant application

Swift County again has pledged bond funds to help Federated Telephone expand broadband fiber optic cable to unerved areas in the eastern half of the county. However, the costs have gone up substantially.
Last October, the county approved bonding for up to $5 million with the funds going to Federated as part of a $10 million project. Federated had agreed to make the bond payments over a 20-year period. It also agreed to pay the bonding issuing costs.
County backing was essential to the broadband grant application Federated was submitting to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for a $5 million grant.
Federated’s grant application to the state lost out in stiff competition for limited funds. Last year DEED received funding requests for $44.2 million for 40 projects around the state, but there was only $20 million in funds available.

Wed
29
Jul
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County developing strategy for state to use Appleton prison

Minnesota’s Department of Corrections (DOC) will be seeking state approval for $85 to $100 million in bonding to add 500 beds to its Rush City prison facility in the coming year. The facility currently houses 1,000 adult males.
Before the state Legislature considers approving building new prison beds, it should consider first using the 1,600-bed Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton, Swift County and Appleton officials believe.
 “Obviously with a closed prison facility in Appleton, we think there is a better alternative,” Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver said at the board of commissioner’s meeting July 20. “So we made a request with CCA to discuss this. They are going to be out here in Swift County in early August so that we can kind of strategize together to tell our story. One of the things that we should look at doing is hiring a PR (public relations) and lobbying firm to help us craft that message.”

Wed
29
Jul
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‘Red Bull’ Band to conclude summer concert series

The 34th Infantry Division “Red Bull” Band will conclude the 2015 Summer Concert Series at the bandstand at Riverview Park in Appleton, with a patriotic concert Tuesday, August 4. Their concert begins at 7 p.m.
The 34th Red Bull Band is a Minnesota Army National Guard element stationed in Rosemount. The Red Bull Band provides music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad.
Officially organized April 30, 1900, the 34th Infantry Division Band has seen service in WW I, WW II, and the Global War on Terrorism, among other conflicts.

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