News

Wed
04
Mar
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Blood drive has large turnout

The BHS National Honor Society hosted a Red Cross blood drive last Wednesday in the auxiliary gym.  Over 100 units of blood were collected during the blood drive.  BHS has annually hosted a blood drive in the fall (sponsored by Student Council) and one in the spring (hosted by NHS).

Photo:  Teachers, students and the public gave blood at the school blood drive hosted by the National Honor Society.

Wed
04
Mar
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City budgets $32,000 for next phase of rail crossing project

The City of Benson is taking the next step in developing a plan to address public safety concerns and traffic congestion issues caused by trains traveling through the city, especially when those trains block the three downtown railroad crossings for extended periods.
To give it a professional assessment of the options for addressing the problems, the city council last year retained Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., a Twin Cities engineering firm. In February, Stantec presented its findings outlining a series of steps Benson could take to improve traffic flow as well as address pedestrian and vehicle traffic safety. The bill for those measures could cost up to $2 million to implement.

Wed
04
Mar
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Area residents air concerns about property taxes

Nearly 40 people showed up at the Swift County Law Enforcement Center meeting room Saturday afternoon to tell legislators what they thought about local property taxes.
Clearly most of those at the meeting with questions for the legislators were farmers who have seen their property taxes soar along with the value of their land. Some asked if the Legislature could look more at valuing land based on the value of what it produced rather than on what it sold for.
Legislators had no definitive answers for farmers concerned about property taxes. They did say a piece of legislation has been introduced that would help lower real estate taxes for businesses.

Swift County Ag Land’s Share of Taxes

Mon
02
Mar
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Cool temps will give way to a warm end of week

This afternoon it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 10. Wind chill values will be as low as -11.   It will remain blustery, with a northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Tonight mostly clear, with a low around -15. Wind chill values as low as -27. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Thursday sunny, with a high near 18. Wind chill values as low as -27. South southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Thursday night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight.

Friday mostly sunny, with a high near 36. West wind around 10 mph.

 

Tue
24
Feb
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Police calls, charges filed; both are going up

Benson’s police force has seen a significant increase in the number of calls it is receiving annually and in the number of charges that are being filed.
The Benson Police Department provides 24-hour service to the community with the six officers who serve under Chief Ian Hodge.
Over the past five years, the total number of charges filed annually has more than doubled from 614 to 1,254. Meanwhile, the total number of calls has increased by nearly 70 percent, going from 2,687 in 2010 to 4,542 in 2014.
In 2010, Benson police filed an average 1.7 charges a day. That number has gone up to 3.4 per day. The number of calls the department received averaged 7.4 in 2010, but is at 12.4 today.
And 2015 is proving to be even busier. While the police force may have averaged 60 incident complaint reports (ICRs) a week in 2014, it has not seen fewer than 80 a week so far in 2015.

Thu
19
Feb
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Farmers filing suits against Syngenta

Farmers in the area are likely to be invited to a meeting in the near future and asked to join a lawsuit against one of the giants in the agricultural business – Syngenta.
Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have now filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge organizes the complex case so they can move forward.
The dispute centers around Syngenta’s sale of a corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved it in 2010, and Syngenta first sold it to farmers in 2011.
China, a growing importer of U.S. corn that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn’t tested, had not approved Viptera when Syngenta began selling it. In November 2013, China discovered the Viptera corn trait in several U.S. shipments.

Thu
19
Feb
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Amazing Race show premiere in Benson

Bergen Olson can’t tell you yet if he won the $1 million prize offered to the winning couple of the 26th episode of CBS’s Emmy Award winning television show The Amazing Race.
But the 2009 Benson High School graduate can tell you about the unforgettable experience of participating with 10 other couples as they raced more than 35,000 miles around the world visiting eight countries on five continents. Among the countries they competed in were Japan, Namibia, Monaco, Germany and Thailand.
“The Amazing Race 26 Will Be The Most Extreme Blind Date Ever,” the CBS promotional material about this year’s season says. “How would you feel to be set up on a blind date? What about if you and your blind date were about to travel across the globe together on an amazing adventure? Ten singles are about to find out!”

Tue
10
Feb
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As corn prices fall, Minnesota farms worry

By Mark Steil
Minnesota Public Radio

Corn is Minnesota’s biggest cash crop, and in recent years it has delivered big returns to the state’s farmers.
But this year, most corn farmers are expected to lose money. That’s causing a lot of concern among farmers as they negotiate spring planting loans with lenders.
“It’s a bad situation here this year,” said Duane Ommodt, who farms in Watonwan County southwest of Mankato. “Virtually everybody is going to lose money. It’s a bad deal.”
Ommodt said some farmers could lose as much as $300 on each acre of corn they plant. If that happens, even medium-sized Minnesota farms could see the revenue they earn from selling the crop fall more than $100,000 short of what it cost to plant the corn.
The problem is unprofitable crop prices. Several years ago, corn prices were as high as $8 a bushel, and soybeans nearly $18 a bushel.

Tue
10
Feb
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First farm program deadline Feb. 27

The deadline to finalize decisions on base acre reallocation and updating payment yields at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices is Feb. 27. The deadline for producers to complete the farm program choice on each farm unit, and potentially on each eligible crop, is March 31.
There have literally been hundreds of farm program information meetings held in the Upper Midwest in recent months, as well as print and on-line articles, spreadsheets, etc., on enrollment in the new farm program. However, even with all that information available to farm operators and landowners, there is still some confusion and misinformation regarding the various farm program decisions.

Tue
10
Feb
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School to seek voter approval for $18.2 million bond

District 777’s Board of Education unanimously voted to seek voter approval May 12 for an $18.2 million facilities improvement project. The board has sent the bond levy referendum proposal to the Commissioner of Education for approval.  
After months of discussion and meetings, the school board finally approved the bond levy amount, which it hopes will solve many of the educational needs facing the school district as it heads into another decade of education for District 777 students.
The board plans to meet again at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 17 and at that time, if the state commissioner approves the bond levy, the school board hopes to formally approve the bond levy amount, along with outlining the voting dates, places, and times.
That gives the school board almost three months to conduct several public hearings, intended to give district voters more information about the project, along with time to answer any questions.

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