News

Fri
26
Mar
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COVID-19 cases rising in western Minnesota

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher 3-24-21

Just over 33 percent of Swift County’s residents had been vaccinated as of Monday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard. MDH reported 3,101 vaccinations administered, an increase of 497 over last Monday’s report.

Nearly 20 percent, 1,841 county residents, have now been fully vaccinated, having either received their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That is an increase of 246 over March 15.

While the number of people vaccinated against the deadly disease continues to grow, so do the number of new cases.

Swift County has seen 34 new COVID-19 cases in the first 22 days of March, more than double the number it saw in February. However, the number is still well short of the 73 cases recorded in January and far from the peak of 368 cases in November.

Fri
26
Mar
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Ostlie to head both county RDA and HRA starting in July

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher

3-24-21

Swift County will merge the executive positions of the Rural Development (RDA) and Housing and Redevelopment Authority under Laura Ostlie in July.

Ostlie was named the RDA executive director last October and official came on board with the county in November.

Now, under the county’s early retirement program, HRA Executive Director Vicki Syverson is leaving Aug. 26. At that time, Ostlie will assume the duties of both jobs.

County Administrator Kelsey Baker told commissioners at their March 16 meeting that Ostlie, Syverson, Human Resources Manager Amanda Ness, and herself had conducted many conversations on the duties and responsibilities of the position.

“We do feel it is in the best interests of these two departments and Swift County to recommend Ostlie to the department head position when Syverson retires,” Baker said.

Fri
26
Mar
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How should the county spend $1.8 million?

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher 3-24-21

As its share of the new American Rescue Plan funding, Swift County will receive $1,797,084 over the next two years to spend on a wide variety of needs, from its services to the public, to citizen needs, to helping pandemic stressed businesses.

It will receive half the funds, $898,542, within the next 60 days and another $898,542 in 2022.

However, Swift County’s Board of Commissioners may find it harder to decide how to spend this round of COVID-19 pandemic funding.

Last year, Swift County received $1.22 million in federal CARES Act funds. They were used to support public health services, law enforcement, emergency services, offset county COVID-19 expenses, and support businesses. In all, businesses in the county received $302,290 with small businesses receiving at least $5,000 and a maximum of $7,000. These awards went to 45 businesses in the county.

Fri
26
Mar
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Council tables action on Armory demolition

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher

3-17-21

Just over six months ago, the Benson City Council voted unanimously to move ahead with the demolition of the 1927 Armory building. But since then, the process toward its removal has progressed slowly.

Monday night the council was scheduled to discuss the bids it has received for taking the Armory down and take a tour of it for one last assessment of its viability.

However, at the start of the meeting, Mayor Terri Council announced that there would be no tour due to the now hazardous condition of the floors in the building. Asbestos tiling was recently removed leaving numerous exposed nails sticking up that could go through a shoe.

Wed
03
Mar
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The Remember Project returns to Benson this month

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Memory loss is one of the most painful afflictions suffered by families and individuals. To see a loved one’s memories slowly erased while there seems to the untrained eye and ear so little difference about them creates deep feelings of helplessness, stress and loss.

To help not only families with loved ones suffering from memory loss, but to help the community as well, the Benson Area Memory Loss Network is providing virtual performances of “In the Garden.” It is the second of three plays that make up the Remember Project.  

The plays are set for Monday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 16, at 9 a.m. and Tuesday, March 23, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite at:  https://benson-garden2021.eventbrite.com...

 

Wed
03
Mar
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Decades of clothing history is moved from the Benson Armory to new homes

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Over the past couple weeks volunteers spent hours on the second floor of the Benson Armory sorting through a room densely packed with clothing.  In some ways, it was a trip through the area’s fashion history.

A constant figure among the piles of clothes, hanging hats, and racks of dresses, was Marti Benson. Over the past decades, she had been central to the gathering and storing many of the items now being packed away to be moved.

Some of the clothing was going into storage for future Benson High School plays. Other bits and pieces of apparel history were being donated to other schools or given away...

 

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
03
Mar
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February was the fifth coldest

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It looked as if February 2021 was on its way to being the coldest on record after 15 straight days of below zero lows.

The eight days with below zero highs through the first 15 days of February also set a record. The most days with highs below zero between 1953 and 2020 was just four, recorded in both 1982 and 1988.

Four consecutive mornings where the temperature fell to between 22 and 29 below zero. The minus 29 reading Feb. 15 was the coldest low of the 2020-2021 winter season...

 

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
24
Feb
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Grand piano now on stage at BHS

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Monday afternoon senior Stacy Johnson sat the new Yamaha C6X grand piano in the Benson High School Performing Arts Center giving a taste of depth of sound provided by the new instrument.

The $50,000 grand piano was purchased through donations from individuals in the community and the Benson Area Community Foundation. Donations received prior to Jan. 1, 2021 are being recognized on a plaque to be displayed in the Performing Arts Center.

“It is wonderful!” Director of Bands Brock Duncan said of the new grand piano. “It has a very rich, full sound and will fill the PAC without a problem.  It also has 2021 technology which allows it to be used as an organ, harpsichord, strings, etc...”

 

Wed
24
Feb
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SCBHS sees increased COVID vaccine supply

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

While an estimated one-third of Americans say they won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine when their turn comes around, others anxiously await notice of an appointment.

At Swift County-Benson Health Services they have had no problem finding those who want the vaccine. However, the problem has been getting enough of it.

“We have exciting news. We can start giving first doses again this week,” Co-CEO and Chief Nursing Office Melissa McGinty-Thompson of SCBHS said at Monday evening’s governing board meeting. “We had been on pause for the first doses of the vaccine due to some distribution allocation issues. It was not unique to us. It has been somewhat statewide...”

 

Wed
24
Feb
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County board approves LEC, human services improvements

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Renovations with the primary goal of improving safety for employees of Swift County Human Services and 6W Community Corrections were approved by the board of commissioners at their Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting.

Renovations to make the entry of the human services building safer have been estimated at $124,800. Funding for the projects is coming from county reserves.

The renovations required for basement offices of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center (LEC) are far more extensive and costly. They involve not only adding office space for 6W but also replacing the aged heating, cooling and air conditioning system...

 

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!

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