News

Tue
24
Dec
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Flu hitting some rural areas hard

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

So far, Benson Public Schools students have not been hit by a widespread outbreak of influenza; students in some nearby schools haven’t been so fortunate.

“Over the past couple of weeks, influenza has reached high levels in both the Dawson/Boyd and Lac qui Parle Valley school districts causing cancellation of sporting events and practices,” Dawn Bjorgan, a registered nurse with Countryside Public Health, said. Other schools in the area are also seeing increasing cases.

Countryside serves Swift, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Big Stone counties.

The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend schools close to prevent infectious disease transmission, however, schools may choose to close if there are not enough staff to function normally, she said.

Thu
19
Dec
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DeMarce Theatre will close in May unless community finds a new owner

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In a letter to Benson’s City Council, DeMarce Theatre owner Tim Kletscher wrote that he plans on closing it May 28.

 “I have tried many different options to try to keep the theater running, but I am losing too much money,” Kletscher, who is also a Benson Elementary School teacher, wrote. “This has had a negative effect on my family, my health, and my personal retirement account. It is time for my family to cut our losses and try to regain some of the thousands we have put into it.”

Benson’s council acknowledged it had received the letter but took no action on it Monday night. However, Benson’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) met Monday morning and said it would invite Kletscher to a meeting to discuss future options.

Thu
19
Dec
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Gymnasts will get a new facility either through levy or lease levy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There will be a new facility for the Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg gymnasts sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.

At its meeting Monday night, the District 777 Board of Education voted unanimously to go to voters for a levy of up to $1.5 million to build a new gymnastics facility on its campus. It is likely the referendum will take place April 14.

If that referendum fails, the board voted to then implement under its own authority a lease to purchase levy for construction of the gymnastics facility.

It will also pursue designing plans for a facility prior to the levy being put before the public so that it can get the project started as soon as possible once it knows how it will be financed...

 

Thu
19
Dec
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CentraCare operating agreement for SCBHS on hold

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It appeared to be a done deal until last Thursday night’s Swift County-Benson Health Services meeting where CentraCare / Carris Health announced it would be putting its proposed operating lease of the facility on hold.

There were two phases to the proposed lease agreement. The initial phase was to take place Jan. 1 with SCBHS branded as Carris Health-Benson. It would continue to operate with a local board and as a financially independent facility through October. November 1, 2020, Carris Health-Benson, would have transferred all its assets with the exception of its buildings to CentraCare.

Governing board members had expected to approve the operating lease at its Dec. 12 meeting, setting up the eventual transfer of assets and operations to CentraCare/Carris in November.

Tue
10
Dec
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SCBHS, CentraCare are nearing completion of a lease agreement

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Negotiations on a lease agreement that would make Swift County-Benson Health Services part of CentraCare Health of St. Cloud and its subsidiary Carris Health are moving steadily forward.

Carris Health is based in Willmar. CentraCare sees Carris becoming a southern hub for its outreach to rural community hospitals. It would serve central and west central Minnesota hospitals.

While SCBHS would be branded as Carris Health-Benson as of Jan. 1 if the lease agreement is signed, it will be under the umbrella of CentraCare...

 

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!

Tue
10
Dec
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School board studying gymnastics financing options

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A decision on where the Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg (BKMS) gymnastics program home will be could be decided at the Monday night District 777 Board of Education meeting.

At that meeting, the school board should have costs estimates for constructing a building that is currently estimated at $1.5 million. Several school board members have said that cost could be closer to $1.2 million. The cost would be financed over 10 or 15 years.

At its Dec. 2 meeting, the school board voted 6-1 to not sign a 10-year lease agreement with the City of Benson for the north end of the civic center.

Tue
10
Dec
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County still looking at building options

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

No plans are yet being developed to address what the Swift County Board of Commissioners know are pressing space needs in some of its buildings and security issues for employees.

At the Tuesday, Dec. 3, board meeting Commission Chair Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, said that the building committee had met seeking input from department heads.

Based on discussions with its staff and the input of the Citizens Perspective Committee, the county board is focusing on the basement of the Law Enforcement Center...

 

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
04
Dec
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Commissioner Peterson wants to see more elected official reports

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

At the start of each Swift County Board of Commissioners meeting, each of the five commissioners gives a report about their service on the other boards and commissions they serve on.

Those reports can deal with Swift County-Benson Health Services, 6W Community Corrections, Swift County Human Services, Countryside Public Health, watershed and joint ditch meetings, and other boards with which the county has a working relationship. Those boards representing services the county gets, programs it supports, and water issues that can span multiple counties.

 “It is only right for us to do that to communicate to the public, so they hopefully learn something,” Commissioner Pete Peterson, District 3-South Benson and Torning Township, said of the reports. Peterson also pointed out that Administrator Kelsey Baker gives her report as well at each county board meeting...

 

Wed
04
Dec
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New parking laws are now on the books

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Is your car parked across a sidewalk forcing people to walk around it? That inconsideration will now get you a ticket.

Is your vehicle parked on the grass, or now snow, in the front yard? Don’t be surprised if you get a ticket, or a call from the Benson Police Department telling you to move it.

Parking on your boulevard will also get you a ticket.

Amendments to the City of Benson’s parking laws that were adopted in late October are now law. The amendments were published in the city’s legal newspaper, the Swift County Monitor-News Oct. 28, and 30 days later became law...

 

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
04
Dec
admin's picture

School board votes no to civic center lease

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A motion to have the Benson Public Schools sign a 10-year lease agreement with the City of Benson for the north end of the civic center was defeated Monday night on a 6 to 1 vote.

Going into Monday night’s meeting the board of education was faced with a Dec. 16 deadline set by the city to make a decision on whether or not it would agree to lease the civic center as a new home for Benson High School gymnastics.

Council Member Jack Evenson cited the interest of a couple of businesses in paying to rent the 13,000-square-foot space as the reasoning for setting the deadline. The area is basically a metal shell with a concrete floor at this point.

School board members who voted against the motion wanted to know more about the costs of putting up a new building on the east side of the Benson High Schools’ new east gym. Estimates of costs have ranged from $1.2 million to $1.9 million...

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