News

Wed
26
Apr
admin's picture

Benson Power could be closing by summer of 2018

Employees of Benson Power have been told employees they plan to sell to Xcel Energy and that the plant could be closed by the summer of 2018.

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher

Swift County Monitor-News

Employees of Benson Power, LLC, were notified Tuesday that the company owners are in negotiations with Xcel Energy for sale of the plant.

With that announcement a process is being put in place that could lead to the power plant shutting down by the summer of 2018. Its shutdown would mean the loss of 45 jobs at the plant as well as up to another 100 jobs at businesses that support the operation of the biomass facility.

Benson Power generates 55 megawatts of power by burning turkey litter and wood chips to generate steam that powers the plant’s turbines.

Benson Power is currently owned by a group of East Coast investors including major insurance companies Prudential, Hartford, John Hancock, Nationwide, Beneficial, and CRT Capitol Group.

Fri
21
Apr
admin's picture

Large city roads project gets underway in May

Starting in May and lasting into the late summer the City of Benson will see significant street and sidewalk work affecting vehicle traffic flow, pedestrian walkways, and parking availability – especially in the north half of the city’s downtown.

A comprehensive road and sidewalk project will affect all three highways that go through the community – Minnesota Highway 29, Minnesota Highway 9 and U.S. Highway 12.

Construction on Benson’s roads and sidewalks will take place in two phases. First, starting in the first half of May, work will begin on the sidewalk upgrades to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)

Fri
21
Apr
admin's picture

Benson’s assessed value increases by nearly $1.5 million

Each April the City of Benson’s Board of Equalization (the city council) conducts a public hearing at which property owners in Benson can come and talk about their taxes.

Swift County Assessor Wayne Knutson and Swift County Appraiser Darla Schwendemann spent the good part of the afternoon and early evening in the city council chambers prepared to go over assessments with homeowners and business owners. The city council sets aside an hour to hear complaints or appeals along with recommendations on any changes from Knutson and Schwendemann.

But at Monday night’s meeting no one showed up. With a light agenda, the council meeting got underway with the opening of the public hearing and then proceeded on to other business. That took just over 20 minutes. So for the next 40 minutes the council was required to stick around until the published time of 6:30 p.m. for end of the public hearing arrived.

Fri
21
Apr
admin's picture

They’re back . . . BHS choir students return from 6-day trip to New York City

Pictured are members of the Benson High School choir, who took part in last week’s six-day choir trip to New York City.

Pictured are members of the Benson High School choir, who took part in last week’s six-day choir trip to New York City.  Immediately after waving goodbye in the picture above, the students boarded buses at about noon, Friday, April 7.  They didn’t return again until 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 12.  Over 70 students, and nine adult chaperones took part in the trip.  “The entire trip was a success and so people many contributed to its success; the students, the chaperones, the tour guides, and the bus drivers,” BHS choir director Shelly Mikkelson said.  “Highlights included the Empire State Building, Central Park, a Broadway workshop and Broadway musical, “Come From Away”, the 911 Memorial, Radio City Music Hall, and the Spirit Dinner Cruise.”

 

Did you know the Swift County Monitor-News prints photos like this one?

Give us the date, page and subject of the photo and we will print it on archival quality photo paper. Makes a great gift!


Fri
14
Apr
admin's picture

A mild winter means ice goes off Minnesota’s lakes early

Warmer than average temperatures throughout the month of March meant some early ice-out dates on area lakes. The ice on Lake Minnewaska officially was off March 30, 16 days ahead of the average ice off date of April 15.

Artichoke Lake at Swift County’s western border went off April 1, seven days ahead of the average ice off date of April 8. Norway Lake in Kandiyohi County saw the ice go off March 24, 15 days earlier than the average of April 8.

Early ice out dates in the state are the result of a very mild winter. The January to March period saw temperatures 7.5 degrees above average.

February 2017 went down as the second warmest on record for the Benson area and one of the warmest in the history of the State of Minnesota. Five record high temperatures were broken during the month and three high low temperatures were either tied or broken....

 

Fri
14
Apr
admin's picture

More options made available to buffer strip state requirements

More Buffer Law Options Available for Minnesota Landowners

Six alternative practices offer flexibility for landowners to meet water quality improvement goals
 

Implementation of Minnesota’s buffer law is well underway, and landowners around the state are making good progress ahead of the first compliance date set for Nov. 1.

To help landowners figure out the most effective way to comply with the buffer law, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) released another set of tools last week to help soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) and landowners identify alternative options. 

The Common Alternative Practices guidance provides water quality solutions for common situations where practices other than buffers may make sense.

Fri
14
Apr
admin's picture

Miller enters race for 7th District congressional seat

Less than six months after winning his second two-year term in the Minnesota House of Representatives, District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, has announced that he will seek his party’s endorsement to run for Congress in 2018.

Miller, 51, said last week that he will see the 7th District U.S. House seat held by conservative Democratic Collin Peterson since 1991. Peterson, 72, who is from Detroit Lakes, has not yet said whether he will seek a 15th term in Congress or retire.

If Miller gets the Republican endorsement to run for the 7th District seat next year, he would be giving up his state House seat. District 17A is made up of Swift and Chippewa counties, most of Renville County, and the four southwestern Kandiyohi County townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.

Fri
14
Apr
admin's picture

House approves bill for lease or purchase of Appleton prison

Before going on its Easter break, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill that calls for the state to either buy or lease the 1,600-bed Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.

However, passage of the bill in the Republican-controlled House doesn’t mean it will eventually be approved. It now goes to a conference committee between members of the House and state Senate – which is also controlled by Republicans.

However, even if the bill comes out of the Legislature it still has to get signed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. So far, Dayton has not favored the state’s purchase or lease of the privately-owned prison.

CoreCivic, formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America, is the owner of the prison. It has sat empty since February 2010. CoreCivic does keep a maintenance staff at the prison to keep it ready to use and has made significant investments in improvements over the past seven years.

Fri
31
Mar
admin's picture

County to start working on law to govern solar arrays

Solar power is rapidly growing in Minnesota and now Swift County is seeing some land owners expressing an interest in putting up the panels.

While the current proposal is small, there are some very large solar arrays coming on line around the state. In a rural area north of the Twin Cities an array covering more than 1,000 acres of land that once was planted to corn and soybeans is now producing electricity.

The Chisago County solar panel farm is producing enough power to energize more than 20,000 homes, Minnesota Public Radio reported in a story last fall.

Back in 1996, Minnesota was only producing enough solar energy to power 16 homes. By 2015, 35 megawatts of capacity was generated, or enough to power more than 39,000 homes, MPR’s story said. And last year, that capacity jumped to 250 megawatts.

The North Star project in Chisago County has the capacity to produce 100 megawatts of electricity, which it sells to Xcel Energy.

Fri
31
Mar
admin's picture

City leaders fight to protect Benson Power’s future

Xcel Energy seeks to undo state’s biomass mandate

The City of Benson has been pitted in a David versus Goliath showdown at the Minnesota Legislature this week as it works to prevent Xcel Energy from pushing through a bill that could potentially lead to Benson Power, LLC, closing down.

If the proposed legislation passes, it would undo the state’s biomass mandate that is at the heart of the financing agreement that allowed the poultry-fired power plant to be built.

It would allow Excel Energy to renegotiate the rate it pays for power from Benson Power, and if it couldn’t, to offer to buyout the power purchase agreement. A buyout could lead to Xcel closing down the plant city officials fear.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News