News

Thu
22
Jan
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Miller wants local school boards to be given more power

As one of his first actions as a new member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, is authoring legislation that would give local school boards the authority to decide when school starts or how many days a week there will be.
Currently, the Minnesota Commissioner of Education decides what day the school year starts as well as whether or not a district can go to a four-day week.
Miller’s interest in the issue is homegrown. The combined school district of MACCRAY is made of the cities of Maynard, Clara City and Raymond, all three of which are in his District 17A. The 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.

Thu
22
Jan
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BHS indoor pool stays as facilities project takes shape

Benson High School’s indoor swimming pool will stay.
That decision was made by the District 777 Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 13, as it considered a comprehensive facilities improvement project that will cost in the range of $15 million to $16 million.
During the meeting, architect Paul Youngquist answered questions and helped the board develop a timeline for the project as it narrows down its plan to put in front of district voters in mid-May. Youngquist is with the Archtects Rego + Youngquist, Inc., of Minneapolis.
Last Tuesday the board also decided to look into building a two-story classroom wing north of the high school auxiliary gym, which would house not only classrooms for the 4th thorugh 6th grades and support offices, as well as new classrooms for the Area Learning Center, Heartland Girls Ranch, and Chippewa River Day Program.

Thu
15
Jan
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SFA meeting set for Milan Saturday

The Western Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association has set its annual meeting for Saturday at the Milan Community Center Meeting Room (the old elementary school), in Milan from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s much more than a meeting,” said SFA board member Richard Handeen.  “It’s a chance to gather with others interested in sustainable farming to find out what SFA is about and what’s
The event includes a tour of the Garden Goddess passive solar winter greenhouse in Milan as well as a potluck and interest group discussions on topics including deep winter greenhouse production and grazing systems for livestock.
The evening concludes with a music jam featuring local musican farmers.

Thu
15
Jan
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Revisions to the blighted property ordinance

As it moves toward trying to adopt an ordinance to address blighted properties in the community, the Benson City Council continues to look at revisions to the original proposal.
The first attempt to pass the blighted properties ordinance was dropped Oct. 6 after a petition by 127 Benson residents opposed to it was submitted to the council in an effort to force its approval to a vote of Benson citizens.
Though the petition wasn’t submitted correctly, and the council could have proceeded with its adoption, it opted to withdraw it.
Those opposed to it thought its language gave the city far too much authority to dictate what people had to do to keep up their properties.
Some also believed it gave the city authority to come into their homes to inspect for possible violations.
The city vigorously denied this saying it had no intention of going into homes.

Photo:  General file photo.

Thu
15
Jan
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Board of Education conducts public meetings for proposed facilities improvement project

The District 777 Board of Education held a pair of public meetings last week to discuss the proposed facilities improvement project. About 40 members of the community were in attendance during last Tuesday night’s meeting in the Junior High Auditorium, and a little more than that were there the next night.
The board has met several times already as it tries to narrow down options for the facilities improvement project, which will come before the district voters in the form of a bond referendum sometime this spring.
“No decisions have been made yet regarding facilities,” Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said many times at the meetings. “The school board is taking its time to look at all possibilities for facilities improvements and come up with a solid plan to present to the public.”

Thu
15
Jan
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Humane Society of Kandiyohi/Meeker and Swift Counties

Ring in the New Year with a new pet!  Meet Malcom, Malcom is a neutered male, adult, Siberian Husky. Here is his Petfinder bio:
Do you want to build a snowman?? Malcom would love to help you, and romp around outside while building snow forts, snowmen, snowball wars, and any other activity! He can’t get enough of the snow and needs something to occupy his time. Malcom came to us as a stray and it seems he has spent a fair amount of time outside, the tips of both of his ears are frostbit. Malcom will need an owner who has experience with his breed and knows what his needs require.
Bonnie is a beautiful blue cream calico kitty. She is spayed and front declawed. Her family sadly had to surrender her to the shelter as they developed allergies. She is a quiet kitty, but very affectionate. She loves to play with toys and unroll the toilet paper. She gets along with the family dog.

Thu
08
Jan
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Below zero night gives way to sunny warmup

Despite a below zero night the next six days in our area will be blessed with a constant warmup.

There is a slight chance of precipitation (20%) Tuesday, then above zero temps both night and day through the weekend.

Sunday again brings a chance of snow.

Photo:  Winds are blowing around Benson despite the occasional sun.

Tue
06
Jan
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City’s rail crossings ranked high for potential danger

Benson’s 14th Street crossing with the Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks was ranked first on the recently released study looking at crossing safety concerns in relation to the transportation of Bakken crude oil by rail.
But that first place ranking in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s “Improvements to Highway-Rail Grade Crossings and Rail Safety” study did not put it in line for any of the $2 million the 2014 Legislature set aside for crossing improvements.
To fully fund the recommendations in the study would take more than $280 million.
Out of the 683 at-grade crossings included in the MnDOT study, Benson’s three downtown crossings ranked first, eighth and 15th among those considered a high priority in addressing safety concerns. The 13th Street crossing ranked number eight while the 12th street crossing was number 15.

Fri
19
Dec
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Public Meetings January 6 and 7

The District 777 Board of Education has scheduled a pair of public meetings for Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 6-7 to gather input from the public on a proposed facilities improvement project.
“The board will share a proposed draft of the project and seek public input; it is a simple as that,” Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said Tuesday morning.
The board has met several times already as it tries to narrow down options for the facilities improvement project, which will come before the district voters in the form of a bond referendum sometime this spring.
The board is seeking comments and ideas from members of the community before it finalizes plans for the multi-million dollar project.
Both meetings are set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the junior high auditorium.

Fri
19
Dec
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City approves 2.2% increase in tax levy

The Benson City Council approved a 2.2 percent property tax increase Monday night. It calls for $1,348,020 in taxes for 2015 compared to $1,321,981 this year, an increase of $26,039.
The city’s total revenues are expected to increase $78,105 to $3,623,892. Expenditures are increasing $134,909 over 2014 to $3,630,642. Whereas the city had budgeted for a surplus of just over $50,000 last year, it is budgeting for a $6,750 deficit this coming year.
One of the reasons the city is looking at a deficit is that it included a $3,500 payment out of the Tourism Board funds for the Pioneerland Band Festival.
City property owners also will be paying $75,705 in taxes to pay down the general obligations bonds approved by voters to pay for the Benson outdoor swimming pool renovation. That is an increase of $4,809 over last year.

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