News

Fri
01
Jun
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May ending with record heat; six days in the 90s

With temperatures reaching into the 90s throughout the Memorial Day weekend, the Benson Swimming Pool was a popular place to cool off for kids, and adults.

Are we looking at a repeat of 1988?

 

Only one other time since the City of Benson started recording daily temperature records in 1953 has there been a May with more than three high temperatures in the 90s.

It was 1988, which saw six days in May with highs ranging from 90 to 94 degrees. They were the first of what would be 48 days of 90 or higher temperatures, including 11 days with highs reaching between 100 to 104 degrees that summer.

May 2018 has nearly equaled 1988’s mark with five consecutive days reaching into the 90 degrees – May 24 to May 28. The forecast for Tuesday was a high near 90, which would make it six, tying 1988. Whether or not this month was an anomaly, or if it signals a repeat of 1988 is a story that will play out in the coming months.

Fri
01
Jun
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County backs Appleton OHV Park

Swift County is backing the purchase of land for the Appleton Off-Highway Vehicle Park (OHV) with a $50,000 commitment. The action was approved by the board of commissioners at its meeting, Tuesday, May 15.

While the county has approved the funding, the motion was simply to indicate an “intent to buy” the additional land on the part county at this time.

Appleton’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) has committed $20,000 toward facilitating the purchase of the land and the Appleton Project $30,000. However, their commitment was dependent on Swift County reimbursing the Appleton Project and the EDA at a future date.

Fri
01
Jun
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Three file for Benson council

Three people have filed for the remaining 16 months in an open seat on the Benson City Council. Lynn Jacobson and Don Lenz are filing for the council for the first time. Larry Smith sought election to the council in 2015, in a special council election in 2016, and the city’s 2017 election, but lost each time.

The open seat was vacated Jan. 2 when Terri Collins was sworn in as Benson’s new mayor. The council chose to leave the seat open, filling it with a special election rather than appoint someone to fill the vacancy.

The special election will take place Tuesday, Aug. 14, which is also the date of the state’s primary election and the date set for the District 777 building levy referendum. The state’s general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5. Whoever is elected to the city council will join Mayor Collins and Council Members Mark Schreck, Lucas Olson and Jack Evenson. The person will serve from late August to Dec. 31, 2019.

Fri
01
Jun
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Benson-KMS competes at sub-section track meet

Claire Ricard earned the only title at the sub-section meet for the boys and girls teams, winning the 300 meter hurdles.

Minnewaska Area and Morris Area-CA claimed team titles at the Sub-section 6A-21 Track and Field Meet at Minnewaska Area High School, Thursday morning.

The Lakers won the girls title by 37 points over runner-up Osakis, while the Tigers won the 8-team boys title by 19.5 points over Minnewaska Area.

The Benson-KMS girls finish sixth with 30 points, while the Benson-KMS boys were also sixth with 34.5 points.

Winning the only title for the Fighting Braves was Claire Ricard in the 300 meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 49.41, while placing second was the boys 3200 meter relay, Jon Tostenson in the 800 meter run, and Brady Ascheman in the 3200 meter run.

The top place finishers will be back on the track this Thursday (tomorrow) for the Section 6A Track Meet at Fergus Falls.

The State Track and Field Meet is set for June 8-9 at Hamline University....

 

Fri
01
Jun
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Arbor Day tree planting at Park View Manor

Fifth-grade students at Benson Public Schools planted trees near Park View Manor in Benson during Arbor Da

Fifth-grade students at Benson Public Schools planted trees near Park View Manor in Benson during Arbor Day.



They planted six trees this year: three Triumph Elms, and three Sugar Maples, with some help from City of Benson staff. The students took part in the entire process, from digging the hole to putting the tree in the hole to putting the dirt back in the hole to staking the tree and then giving it water.



This was the 23rd year the Benson 5th graders have planted trees during the annual Arbor Day observance.
 

For more stories like this, and to keep up on all the latest news, 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!
 

Fri
25
May
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Legislature done with Benson’s $20 million in place

Truckers, loggers and other suppliers of Benson Power, LLC, could be getting $40 million in compensation as Xcel Energy looks to shut down the biomass power plant.

$40 million for Benson Power suppliers on governor’s desk

Minnesota’s 2018 Legislature adjourned late Sunday night leaving the $20 million in payments scheduled to come to City of Benson over the next four years to compensate for the loss of Benson Power, LLC, in place.

The first $4 million payment is scheduled to come by June 30. After that, $6.5 million payments are scheduled to be made by June 30, 2019, and June 30, 2020. A final $3 million payment is due by June 30, 2021.

City officials were concerned that efforts to compensate truckers and suppliers of Benson power for lost income would cause changes to the City of Benson’s legislation affecting the payment amounts or timing of the payments.

Fri
25
May
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Illegal immigration arrests open possibilties for PCF

CoreCivic’s Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is putting itself in line to get illegal immigrants arrested by ICE and being held for deportation. Photo by Leslie Ehrenberg.

Editor’s note: Some of the information for this story is from a story written by Associated Press reporter Adam Geller.

With the Trump Administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration, there is a growing demand for prison space around the country including the Upper Midwest.

It has given renewed hope for those who are pushing for the reopening of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton that it could once again become an economic boost to the area’s economy.

At one time, the 1,640-bed Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) employed 350 people from 24 surrounding counties and generated an estimated $15.2 million in economic vitality for the region. However, owner CoreCivic closed the facility in February 2010. Though it has sat empty, the private prison company has kept a minimal maintenance staff in place and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in its upkeep.

Fri
25
May
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Benson airport getting $820,000 in upgrades

With considerable financial assistance from the federal and state governments, the Benson City Council agreed at its meeting Monday night to pursue more than $820,000 in improvements to the municipal airport.

It has contracted with TKDA Professional Services of St. Paul for work on a new aviation dual-fuel storage tank at the airport and the removal of the old tank. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has ordered the city to replace the old tank.

The cost of the new fuel tanks is $320,000, but the federal government is paying 90 percent of the cost, or $288,000. The state government is paying $16,000 as is the City of Benson....

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest news, 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!
 

Fri
25
May
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County board votes to replace windows in the Courthouse

When it approved the bid of Sussner Construction for the $3.6 million renovation of the Swift County Courthouse, the board of commissioners left out the replacing of the building’s windows.

They knew the windows were not energy efficient and that people feel a “breeze” through some of them on cold days. Concerned with the cost of the project, commissioners decided to leave the window replacement for another time.

They did, however, vote to go ahead with a repair of the windows, which by itself was estimated to cost around $180,000.

But at its meeting last Tuesday, May 15, the board of commissioners decided with Sussner still working on the courthouse renovation, now was most cost effective time to put new windows in the building.

Fri
18
May
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School to seek approval of $26.3 million building bond

Levy request to be on August 14 ballot

With a unanimous vote Monday night, the District 777 Board of Education approved going to the voters Aug. 14 for a $26.3 million building bond levy.

Key features of the proposed project include construction of new classrooms at the Northside Elementary School to house a centralize day care and pre-kindergarten program, the construction of a new performing arts center, and renovating the Senior High School to meet 21st Century collaborative education design needs.

Another key aspect of the proposed facilities is that they would give Benson Public Schools the ability to compete with neighboring school districts for students, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said. Currently, Benson loses kids to surrounding school districts with the condition of the school’s aged facilities among the reasons for students leaving.

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