News

Fri
15
Dec
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Threats cause evacuation at Benson High School during basketball game

Fri
15
Dec
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County board approves second reading of buffer law

Additional changes likely to local buffer law
 

Despite the need for wording changes in the months ahead, Swift County’s Board of Commissioners passed the second reading of its buffer law at its meeting last Wednesday.

With that second reading, the ordinance is now on a path to becoming law that will set down the rules for the installation of buffers on public waters and public ditches, the enforcement of the law, and the penalties for those who fail to comply.

While a small group of people showed up at the public hearing for the second reading Dec. 6, only Torning Township farmer Allen Saunders questioned its provisions.

Swift County Environmental Services Director Scott Collins told commissioners that he had not received any calls since the approval of the first reading of the ordinance at the Nov. 21 meeting and only a few comments from people.

Fri
15
Dec
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Safety, insurance concerns table OHV Park expansion

Appleton’s 330-acre Off-Highway Vehicle Park has proven popular with those who like four-wheeling, dirt bike racing, and off-highway vehicle challenges.

It features 10 miles of off-road vehicle trails, 5 miles of ATV and off-highway motorcycle trails, 1.5 miles of off-highway motorcycle practice tracks, and three endure bike tracks. It has jumps, a water hole, dunes, hill climbs, and rock crawls.

Now the Swift County Parks, Drainage and Wetlands office is applying for a conditional use permit to expand into the nearby pit owned by Larson Gravel.

There is one hitch to the permit’s approval to address before the gravel pit becomes part of the OHV Park. Just to the east of the OHV park is the Appleton Sportsmen’s Club, which includes a shooting range for rifles and pistols, as well as a trap range for shotguns. High school youth leagues also use the trap range.

Thu
07
Dec
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Worker dies in industrial accident at Benson Power

Fri
01
Dec
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Swift County passes first reading of buffer ordinance

Buffers protect waters from chemical runoff and sediment that accumulates due to erosion. Swift County is working on its buffer ordinance that will put it in compliance with state law.

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the first reading of a county proposed buffer ordinance at its meeting Nov. 21.

A second reading of the proposed law is set for the county board’s Tuesday, Dec. 5, meeting, which will be in the Benson City Council chambers starting at 5:30 p.m.

A new ordinance must be approved at two public meetings and then published in the county’s legal newspaper, which this year is the Appleton Press. Thirty days after publication the proposed law becomes effective unless challenged by petition.

Minnesota’s buffer law is being implemented in two stages. Buffers of at least 30 feet wide, and an average of 50 feet wide were to be installed by the state’s public streams, river, lakes, and wetlands by Nov. 1. Starting Nov. 1, 2018, 16.5-foot buffers must be installed on public ditches.

Fri
01
Dec
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Fair sees a record gate, but needs more funds for bathroom project

Swift County 4-H youth are a big part of the future of the Swift County Fair.

Swift County’s Fair has been improving every year as it becomes one of the premier county fairs in western Minnesota.

By some accounts, 2017’s fair was the best in years featuring what might have been one of the biggest crowds ever as an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 fans packed into and around the Chuck Brown building to hear country western star Marty Stuart perform.

“The fair had an awesome year as you can see,” Fair Board President Jon Panzer told Swift County commissioners at their meeting Nov. 21. “We had a record at the gate.” Attendance was over 20,500.

General fair revenues were up nearly $15,000 over last year due to an increased gate, carnival, rentals, and camping income. Fair operation expenses were up, too, but it still saw a net profit of  $784. The fair sees plus or minus $3,000 or $4,000 at the end of the fair; that is typically how the fair turns out, Panzer said.

Fri
01
Dec
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Holiday concerts will fill the air with music

Anna Samuelson (right), Riley Grube (second from right) and other members of the BHS trombone section perform during the Veteran’s Day program Nov. 13.  Members of the BHS music department will be busy this month with Holiday concerts.

The 6th-8th, and 9th-12th grade holiday band concerts are set for Monday, Dec. 4, while the Holiday Choir Concert is set for Monday, Dec. 11, and the elementary holiday programs are set for Thursday and Friday, Dec. 7-8....

 

Pictured: Anna Samuelson (right), Riley Grube (second from right) and other members of the BHS trombone section perform during the Veteran’s Day program Nov. 13.  Members of the BHS music department will be busy this month with Holiday concerts.

 

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Fri
24
Nov
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School board asked to address athletic team performance

District 777’s Board of Education listened to parent Angela Nissen outline what she feels are the challenges facing Benson High School athletic programs at its meeting Monday night. She asked the school board to take action to ensure the persistent losing records of some teams is addressed. School Board Members are, from left, Bill McGeary, Chair Chad Payne, (Supt. Dennis Laumeyer,) Paul Carruth, Mary K.W. Langan, and Gary Williams.

Nissen says accountability and leadership needed

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

 

Nearly 30 people attended Monday night’s District 777 Board of Education meeting for a discussion on the state of Benson High School athletics; only one was allowed to speak.

Angela Nissen, a 1991 BHS graduate, told the school board that she was the mother of four children, a son who is a third grader, a boy who is a ninth grader, and two daughters who have graduated, one in 2013 and one in 2017.

Nissen was one of several parents and district residents who addressed the school board at its Oct. 16 meeting with their concerns about persistent losing records. They were not on the agenda but allowed to speak under the citizens’ comments section at the start of the meeting.

Fri
24
Nov
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Future of Benson Power before PUC Nov. 30; loggers sue to stop closing

 Xcel Energy’s petition to end its power purchase agreement with Benson Power, LLC, goes before the Public Utilities Commission Nov. 30.

Minnesota’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) is scheduled to meet Thursday, Nov. 30, to decide what action it will take on Xcel Energy’s proposed termination of its power purchase agreement with Benson Power, LLC.

The PUC could approve Xcel’s petition, deny it, or delay a decision. Parties unhappy with the PUC’s action, for or against, could appeal it.

The agreement requires Xcel to buy the 55 megawatts of electricity produced by the power plant, which burns a combination of turkey litter and wood chips, through 2028.

When Benson Power, known initially as Fibrominn, was constructed back in 2005, Xcel signed the 22-year power purchase agreement obligating it to buy the plant’s power. The deal helped satisfy Xcel’s requirement to buy 125 megawatts of green energy under the state’s biomass mandate. Passed as part of an agreement under which Xcel was permitted to store spent nuclear fuel at Prairie Island, the mandate has become a financial burden.

Fri
24
Nov
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Substation testing could cause a Benson outage

While the testing should go off without anyone noticing, the City of Benson wants every business owner and resident to be aware that there is a remote possibility they could suddenly lose electric power.

Thursday, Dec. 6, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is going to be testing the substation through which power flows from Benson Power, LLC, into the region’s electric grid. The City of Benson’s electricity also comes through the substation and it is tied into some Agralite Electric Cooperative customers.

The city is meeting with GRE, NERC, Agralite and Otter Tail Power at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28, to go over the testing plan.

They are testing the relay switches at the substation through which Benson Power’s 55 megawatts of power flow. The switches are designed to detect any fault currents and open the switch to protect the grid. Fault signals are sent to the substation to see if switches react.

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