News

Wed
30
Dec
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COVID-19 cases falling in state, county

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County and the State of Minnesota are winning the war against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. After very worrisome increases in cases and deaths in November, both are now falling dramatically.

However, clinics and hospitals are keeping their fingers crossed that a significant spike in cases doesn’t occur after people gathered for Christmas and do so again for New Year’s Eve.

In November, Swift County added 368 new COVID-19 cases, averaging 12.3 cases a day. Through Dec. 28, it added just 178 cases...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!

Wed
30
Dec
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Swift County passes 1% levy increase on 4-1 vote

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners voted  4 to 1 to increase the real estate tax levy by 1 percent for 2021 at their Dec. 15 meeting. With the 1 percent increase, the levy will increase by $100,000 to $11,441,623.

Those tax revenues will help support budgeted expenditures of $22,965,163. However, commissioners expect they will have to draw about $100,000 from their reserves in 2021 with total budgeted revenues of $22,860,655.

Swift County is also expecting $600,150 in County Program Aids (CPA) from the State of Minnesota. Commissioners were not certain all those state funds would be coming their way as predictions of a state budget deficit as high as $4.6 billion was thrown around earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact...

 

Wed
30
Dec
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Blizzard leaves dozens stranded on area highways

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County was lucky last Wednesday, Dec. 23. Lucky that it didn’t see several deaths and severe injuries during one of the worst blizzards to hit the area in decades.

When the sun rose last Thursday morning, the evidence of just how challenging the storm had made driving was evident on the road and in the ditches. In the 7-mile stretch between Benson and DeGraff, there were 13 vehicles, including two semi-tractor trailer trucks, abandoned along U.S. Highway 12. In the 13 miles between Benson and Murdock, there were 23 vehicles in the ditch or stranded on the road.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, they were among the more than 1,000 vehicles littering Minnesota’s highways Thursday morning...

 

Wed
23
Dec
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Nature Energy steps up research of Benson plant site

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Danish firm Nature Energy has picked up the pace on its exploration of developing a biogas operation that could create enough gas to heat between 11,000 and 12,000 homes.

It would be constructed on the former Fibrominn, or Benson Power, site just west of Benson.

At Monday noon’s Benson Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting, City Manager Rob Wolfington said he is now having frequent telephone conversations with the company and its representatives.

There was a conference call with the Minnesota Pollution Control on the kick-off of the process to obtain a permit. It involved people in Denmark, Minneapolis, Colorado and Benson, with about 20 people on the call. “It went flawlessly and lasted two-and-a-half to three hours,” he said...

 

Wed
23
Dec
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County gives over $300,000 in CARES funds to businesses

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County privided more than $424,000 from its $1.22 million CARES Act funds to help out local health providers answering the call to face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also provided nearly $303,000 to businesses in the county that lost significant income due to the coronavirus and the deadly disease it causes, COVID-19. These two categories account for nearly 70 percent spending of the funds the county received from the state through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and Economic Assistance (CARES) Act.

However, Swift County was one of 10 of the 85 Minnesota that received federal CARES Act money that sent some back. It sent $32,056 back to the state...

 

Wed
23
Dec
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COVID-19 vaccine arrives in very small amounts

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are now available in Swift County, however, at this point the number of doses are incredibly small and dedicated to frontline medical staff.

Additional doses will be coming in the next couple weeks but again, their numbers will be quite small and only given to those considered among the most essential medical staff and to vulnerable adults living in assisted living facilities.

To get a better understanding of where things stand with providing vaccinations to the public, what role each entity will play, and what facilities could be used if a mass vaccination is needed, the Benson City Council brought the key players together Monday night...

 

Wed
16
Dec
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Monday brings winter solstice, very rare astronomical event

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Monday we not only welcome winter with the solstice but also a very rare astronomical event.

“This year December belongs to Jupiter and Saturn,” Deanne Morrison writes in the University of Minnesota’s Starwatch column. “The two giant planets put on a show just before they drop over the horizon, on their way to the morning sky.

“And what a show it is. On the 21st, Jupiter and Saturn make their closest approach since 1623. Jupiter, with its higher orbital speed, glides just 0.1 degrees—about one-fifth of a moon width— below Saturn. Because this happens in early morning, when Jupiter and Saturn aren’t visible, the evening of either the 20th or the 21st will be the best time to look. The two planets will be so close that through a small telescope they, along with many of their moons, will fit into a single field of view.”

Wed
16
Dec
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City’s $1.4 million grant request moving ahead

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s application for $1,413,684 in federal Economic Development Administration disaster grant funds has been “selected for further consideration” the city was notified Monday.

“Subject to the availability of funds, your proposed project, estimated to cost $ 1,767,106, will be considered for up to $ 1,413,684 in EDA funding.” The funds would come from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration under the Economic Adjustment Assistance Program, authorized under the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965.

The federal EDA is now asking the City of Benson for additional information as the application moves to the next step in the process...

 

Wed
16
Dec
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Countryside working on vaccine distribution plan

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With the first shipment of COVID-19  vaccine doses across the United States Sunday, there is finally good news is the fight against the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Those first doses will go to the medical staffs that are fighting to save lives as COVID-19 cases overwhelm America’s emergency rooms and intensive care units.

Monday morning Minnesota received its allotted doses of the vaccine, just 183,000 for the month of December out of the nearly 3 million being disbursed around the U.S. Many more doses will be coming in the next couple months as production of the vaccine ramps up and as vaccines made by other drug makers are approved.

Friday drug makers Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine became the first to be approved the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States. Moderna’s vaccine could get emergency authorization Thursday...

 

Wed
09
Dec
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Somber board gives COVID-19 Swift County Fair report to county

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It was a somber Swift Fair board executive committee that met with the Swift County Board of Commissioners last Tuesday. For a county fair that has seen so much success in the recent past 2020 will be a year to forget.

It was a year of missed celebration for the Swift County Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the departure of a mainstay of the board, and the tragic loss of an influential and hardworking fair board member.

This summer, Swift County Fair president and long-time fair board member Jon Panzer left Appleton to take a job with WDSE/WRPT Public Television in Duluth. He had spent over 30 years with Pioneer Public TV in Appleton and then Granite Falls. He held the positions of director of engineering, station manager and interim general manager with the station.

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