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Fri
24
Mar
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Redhead Creamery - Unique gem

Alise Sjostrom started the Redhead Creamery and runs it along with her sister Maggie Jennissen.

I can’t wait to go back! The Redhead Creamery near Brooten is warm and welcoming. When you meet Alise, you will remember meeting her: Huge smile, red hair and a warm laugh.

It was Alise who had the vision for the Redhead creamery. After three years they are still growing and developing. She grew up on the dairy farm, in which the creamery now stands.

What is so interesting is that everything happens on the farm. They grow there own alfalfa and corn, make silage, feed their cows, harvest their own milk and within 24 hours the cheese is made. Her family, including her parents and sisters, have help her achieve her dreams!

Fri
24
Mar
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Spring here, but March can bring fickle weather

Spring arrived Monday with nearly all the snow in the area gone and the high temperature reaching 55 degrees – 14 degrees above the March 20 average high of 41 degrees. Sunday was even warmer with the high hitting 64 degrees.

But it is spring in Minnesota. While we can see a high of 73 degrees (March 6) early in the month, we could still see some cold temperatures and snow in the weeks ahead.

Last year the Benson area saw its third warmest March on record with highs reaching into the 70 both March 11 and March 12. The Benson Golf Course even saw one of its earliest openings ever with golfers teeing off March 12.

But one month after those same golfers would have had to go a long ways south of Benson to find temperatures warm enough for golf. The low in Benson fell to a record low of 12 degrees March 12, 2016. While temperatures warmed considerably after that, the area still saw low fall to 27 degrees May 15.

Fri
24
Mar
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Courthouse offices may move into Lewis Drug building

RDA purchasing building with eye toward future economic development

As plans for a $4.1 million renovation of the Swift County Courthouse proceed, courthouse staff is planning to move to a temporary location for at least six months later this year.

That move will include nearly 30 staff, their record files, computers, and other equipment that are currently spread round the three-story courthouse. Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Dave Mennis will be moving to space in the basement of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center.

If plans proceed as scheduled, bids for the renovation project will be let in June with work starting in July and lasting into January.

It is looking like the temporary location for county staff will be the former Lewis Drug building on Atlantic Avenue downtown Benson.

Fri
24
Mar
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New police station moves step closer to reality

Chief Ian Hodge described how the Loen building would be laid out during a tour Monday night.

Marcus to oversee work on Loen building

Converting the Loen Electric building in southwest Benson to become the new Benson Police Department headquarters moved a step closer Monday night with the approval of a construction management agreement with Marcus Construction of Willmar.

Marcus presented an estimated cost for the renovation of the 3,602 square-foot Loen building along with a 1,755-square-foot addition of $381,925. That is slightly less than the $388,000 city estimate. Marcus will also act as the construction manager.

Rather than hirer an architect to develop detailed plans and specifications for the work on the new police department, with the contract going to a single general contractor, the city is hiring Marcus to break the work down into smaller packages, City Manager Rob Wolfington said.

Fri
24
Mar
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Hydrologists solve mystery of Devil’s Kettle waterfall

Hydrologists have solved the mystery of the Devil’s Kettle waterfall, proving that the “missing water” actually re-enters the river from underground.

A waterfall that famously “disappears” into a hole at Judge C.R. Magney State Park near Grand Marais actually soon re-enters the river from underground, according to new research.

In fall 2016, hydrologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found nearly identical volumes of water flowing both above the Devil’s Kettle waterfall and below it. Above the waterfall, stream gauges measured the flow of the Brule River at 123 cubic feet per second. Below the waterfall, gauges detected 121 feet per second.

“In the world of stream gauging, those two numbers are essentially the same and are within the tolerances of the equipment,” explained DNR springshed mapping hydrologist Jeff Green. “The readings show no loss of water below the kettle, so it confirms the water is resurging in the stream below it.”

Fri
10
Mar
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Indoor pool supporters seek to see facility open again

Group offers financial help, but school board says it needs to study building options further

Though a group of area residents said they were willing to raise funds to pay for some of the cost of keeping the Benson High School indoor swimming pool open, the board of education was reluctant to give them any encouragement.

The group also told the board at its meeting last Tuesday that they would be willing to boost the number of people who use the pool.

With a 5-2 vote last May, the school board voted to close the indoor swimming pool by June 1. It cited low utilization of the pool along with an annual cost of $37,210 to maintain in justifying its closing. The district was also looking at spending another $5,000 to $25,000 on work that included replacing the pool’s lighting.

Fri
10
Mar
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Wastewater plant, water tower need upgrading soon

Benson’s wastewater treatment plant is facing an estimated $2.9 million in major renovations to upgrade equipment that is operating well beyond its expected lifetime. Those repairs will need to take place in the next couple years.

The city’s 500,000-gallon water tower also needs work that includes painting both the inside and outside of the tank. But this isn’t any simple paint job. Painting of the water tower is an integral part of its integrity and upkeep, Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington told the city council at its meeting Monday night.

It could cost between $500,000 and $600,000 to have the water tower painted.

When it is being painted it will be out of service, which means the city’s drinking water system will have to provide the pressure needed for the homes and businesses in the community without the water tower.

Fri
10
Mar
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February second warmest on record

Ice went off the small lakes in the area this week and could set records for going out early on larger lakes.
When the high hit 73 degrees Monday afternoon it broke the record high tempeature for March 6. The day also saw tornadoes form in Minnesota, the earliest date for a tornado in state history. The previous record was March 18, 1968. How different Tuesday morning was with 2.5 inches of snow on the ground  and the temp falling to 25 degrees.

March 6 sees record high of 73 degrees

Monday the Benson area broke its sixth high temperature record of the year when the high hit 73 degrees. It broke the old record high for March 6 of 71 degrees set back in 2000.

Prior to Monday, the earliest the Benson area had seen the temperature hit 73 degrees was March 15 (2015 and 1968.)

Sunday’s high hit 66 degrees, and though it was 32 degrees above the average temperature for March 5 of 34 degrees, it fell 5 degrees short of the record high for the date. That record was set in 2000 when it reached 71 degrees.

In 2000, there were six consecutive days with record highs between March 3 and March 8 with three of those record highs at 71 degrees.

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.

Fri
10
Mar
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Appleton prison bill waiting to be heard in state Legislature

A bill that could put the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton in a better position to house prisoners at some point in the future has been introduced in the Minnesota House by District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg. In the Senate, District 17 Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, is carrying the bill.

However, the bill has yet to have a hearing and with the deadlines rapidly approaching in the Minnesota Legislature for bills to be heard, time is running out for it to move forward this year.

The bill deadlines are:
  By March 10 committees must act favorably on bills in the house of origin;
  By March 17 committees must act favorably on bills, or companion bills, that met the first deadline in the other house; and,
  By March 31 committees must act favorably on major appropriation and finance bills.

Fri
03
Mar
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Benson man charged with swindling over $63,000 from friend

Andy Lynn Jaeger, 51, Benson, has been charged with one felony count of theft by swindle for allegedly taking a local friend for more than $63,000.

According to the complaint filed in 8th Judicial District Court in Benson, Jaeger played upon the emotions of his friend in claiming he had cancer, couldn’t afford the treatments, and would be cut off if he couldn’t come up with the money to pay his bills.

Jaeger was in court last Wednesday for an omnibus hearing on the charges with his next court date set for April 26. The maximum penalty for the crime is a $100,000 fine and 20 years in jail.

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