News

Wed
19
Jan
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Miller preparing for his last legislative session

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
While District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, has announced he is not running for re-election in November, he will still play a role in 2022 legislative session that begins Jan. 31.
Miller’s district includes all of Swift and Chippewa counties, most of Renville County, and the four southwestern Kandiyohi County townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland, and Lake Lillian.
When the Minnesota Legislature convenes the elephant in the room for state lawmakers will be the size of the state budget surplus and what to do with it.
Minnesota is looking at a record $7.7 billion surplus for the current two-year budget. That is based on expected revenues against what the approved expenditures are in the budget. Last week, the size of the surplus increased by another $362 million.

Wed
19
Jan
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Ariella Mast is finally home with her family

By Reed Anfinson
Co-Publisher
Joe and Michelle Mast’s daughter Ariella is finally home in Hancock.
While it was hoped Ariella could be home for Christmas, she stayed at St. Cloud’s CentraCare Health hospital as she gained strength, size, and the ability to take consistent feedings. She also had to be able to safely travel in a car seat for the 93-mile drive home.
“Thank you everyone for your prayers, support and words of wisdom,” Joe and Michelle wrote on their Facebook page Saturday. “We appreciate all doctors and nurses involved at CentraCare hospital for their hard work and care. We thank Lord God for bringing us home and the miracles we’ve been blessed with. This is what we’ve been praying for. Thank you, Lord. There aren’t enough words to describe today. We are on our way home finally.”

Wed
19
Jan
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SCBHS requiring medical grade masks at clinic, hospital

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
 Due to the current surge of COVID-19 cases, and the need to strengthen protection against the highly contagious omicron variant, SCBHS will be implementing visitor restrictions and will require medical-grade masking.
Cloth masks, gaiters, and bandanas do not comply with the new rules. Visitors will have to wear surgical masks, or N-95, or KN-95 masks. Masks will be required for all visitors ages 2 and older. Those entering the facility without a medical grade mask will be provided one.
“Several studies have shown that some cloth masks may not provide enough protection against the virus, and specifically the now-surging omicron variant. Patients and visitors use a wide range of face coverings, making standardization necessary for the health and safety of all,” SCBHS stated in implementing the policy.

Wed
19
Jan
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Winter storm brings 7 inches of snow to area

With too many winters lately not providing a deep snow cover that lasts, snowmobile owners have been a little frustrated as their sleds sat mostly unused. That’s not the case this winter.
Last Friday’s snowstorm brought 7 inches of snow to the area bringing the 2021-2022 winter season total to 27.10 inches through Jan. 17. That is more than 5.5 inches over the average of 21.56 inches for the October through January period.
Unlike some years, where above freezing temperatures quickly shrink the snowpack, this year’s snowfall has been sticking around as temperatures remain quite cold. December saw 13.6 inches of snow with highs for the month averaging 27.1 degrees and lows 8.5 degrees.
So far this January, highs have averaged 15.4 degrees and lows a minus 6.4 degrees. Even on the few days when the temperature rose above 32 degrees, it only stayed there briefly with little melting taking place.

Wed
12
Jan
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A winter blizzard came through the area early last week.

The picture above was taken last Wednesday morning when temperatures dipped below zero and winds gusted up to 30-40 miles per hour.

Wed
12
Jan
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Miller not seeking reelection

Ry Reed Anfinson
Publisher
District 17A Minnesota House New Republican Rep. Tim Miller is not seeking reelection to a fifth two-year term in the Minnesota House, he announced in a statement Monday.
Miller’s district includes all of Swift and Chippewa counties, most of Renville County, and the four southwestern Kandiyohi County townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland, and Lake Lillian.
While Miller said he couldn’t be specific about what he will be doing after he leaves the Legislature, he did hint that it would be tied to the issue about which he has been the most passionate in his life – the right to life. He made the comment while attending the District 777 Board of Education meeting Monday night.
With the potential for the U.S. Supreme Court undoing the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision, there could be more opportunity for Minnesota to pass laws that limit abortion, he said. He would be working for that cause, Miller said.

Wed
12
Jan
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Performing arts series starts next month

The newly-formed Benson Arts Council is in the early stages of promoting Benson Public Schools’ new Performing Arts Center.
The effort features a yearly concert series, offering a wide variety of entertainment. With two performances now lined up, the arts council says it is well on its  way to achieving that goal in 2022.
“We strongly believe the performing arts are an important part of the community,” Shelly Mikkelson, a member of the council, said.
Sunday, Feb. 20, Matt Vee and the Killer Vees will be performing an “I Am, He Said.” It is a celebration of the music of Neil Diamond with the concert set to start at 7 p.m. 

Wed
12
Jan
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County waits on Supreme Court for vaccine policy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Before implementing a vaccine, mask and testing policy, for its 140 employees, Swift County will wait to see what action the U.S. Supreme Court takes on the federal rule.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) back in November requiring employers with 100 or more employees to implement its rule. However, it has been working its way through the courts due challenges by business organizations and Republican attorneys general across the country.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Friday on the authority of OSHA to implement what is seen as a vaccine mandate by employers and some employees.
Conservative justices, who are a majority on the Supreme Court, seemed inclined to hold that the OSHA rule was overly broad and that health issues for employers were better handled at the state level.

Wed
12
Jan
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Dangerously cold temps threaten a child’s safety

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Where are the parents?
It is a question asked by outraged parents as they take their children to school in the morning, or head to work, and see a child walking to school in dangerously cold weather with no hat, or gloves, and wearing a thin coat.
Children have been reported walking to and from the Northside Elementary School in the early morning hours with wind chills as low as a minus 40 degrees. At times, they walked unnecessarily early due to school starting two hours late. Apparently, the child’s parent wasn’t aware of the late starting time even though the school district sends out a message to all parents by cellphone notice.
Children boarding buses in the country have to also take precautions to stay warm should their bus get stuck on a dangerously cold day.

Thu
06
Jan
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County Conservation farmer of the year

By Andy Albertson
Swift County SWCD
District Manager
Matt Mesenbrink isn’t your typical farmer. Mesenbrink grew up on his parents’ home farm north of Holloway and was a normal farm kid living a normal farm life.
He helped with all the farm chores to make sure the family farming operation was chugging right along. He always made sure to get all his chores done and find time for some hunting and fishing opportunities around the Pomme de Terre River.
As Mesenbrink grew older, he moved off the farm and ended up meeting his wife, Kristi, and having three boys Gavin, 12, Teyton, 9, and Ryker, 4. Mesenbrink now works for Winfield as a district sales manager where he works to bridge the gap between farmers and ag retailers.
As Mesenbrink grew into his new job, he began itching at the opportunity to get involved with the family farm again. This reinvigoration all started back in 2018.

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