News

Wed
29
May
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SCBHS board votes to pursue affiliation

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County-Benson Health Services has voted unanimously to pursue affiliation with CentraCare Health of St. Cloud, or Carris Health of Willmar. CentraCare owns Carris at its meeting last Thursday. Carris also has a relationship with CentraCare.

Its vote came after months of study, public input, and research into the option of continuing to exist as a stand-alone operation.

Prior to last Thursday’s meeting, the health service’s Strategic Planning Committee met to go over the steps necessary to move SCBHS toward affiliation.

It discussed the possibility of affiliating and what that might look like with Bryan Lydick of Carris Health of Redwood Falls. Redwood Falls was an independent operation prior to going with Carris.

Wed
22
May
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Benson’s 129th annual commencement exercises were Sunday afternoon.

Benson’s 129th annual commencement exercises, Sunday afternoon.  More pictures and the BHS Graduation Special can be found inside.

Benson’s 129th annual commencement exercises were Sunday afternoon. 
 

Wed
22
May
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Wagon Parade set for Friday

The 28th annual Northside School Wagon Parade is scheduled for 11:15 a.m., Friday at the Northside Elementary.

The K-4 classrooms will pick their favorite books, dress up as the characters in the books, and decorate a wagon to showcase their selection.  This has become a favorite last-day tradition at Northside.

Leading the parade this year will be retiring staff members, Jon Ahrndt (4th grade teacher), Shelly Mickelson and Nathan Pederson (music teachers), and Patty Schreck (school nurse).
 
“It is our chance to honor them, recognize their contributions to our students over the years, and say a big ‘thank you!’,” school staff said.

Parents may pick up their child following the parade at their child’s classroom.

Wed
22
May
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Corn, soybean planting well behind five-year average

Soybean planting as of Sunday was 11 days behind the five-year average in Minnesota and four days behind last year.

Area farmers made good progress with planting early last week, where the soils weren’t too wet to work or plant, but still remain far behind where they should be by the third week in May.

Planting stopped as more rain fell on already saturated soils Saturday and Sunday. Benson officially had 1.82 inches of rain over the weekend bringing the month’s total to 4.35 – 1.20 inches above the average of 3.15 inches. More rain was forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

April saw 3.77 inches of precipitation, 1.27 inches above the average of 2.5 inches.

Minnesota farmers took advantage of the 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 19, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Planting progress was made for all crops in Minnesota...

Wed
22
May
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Airport building bid double the estimate

With the bid for the new Benson Municipal Airport arrival-departure building coming in at nearly double what they were estimated at, the Benson City Council voted Monday night to reject it and seek new ones.

The estimated construction cost was $450,000, but the lone bid the city received from Gopher State Contracting came in at $859,547.

City Manager Rob Wolfington told the council that he thinks the bid may reflect that contractors have all the business they want and that they are throwing out bids that are quite high as a result...

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
22
May
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Second Xcel check set to come in June

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Two Minnesota legislative sessions over and, so far, there has been no concerted effort to undo the 2017 agreement that has the City of Benson being paid $20 million over four years for the loss of the Benson Power, LLC, power plant.

The city received its first $4 million payment last July. It is scheduled to receive another $6.5 million payment at the end of next month. A second $6.5 million payment is scheduled for payment June 30, 2020, and a final $3 million payment June 30, 2021.

Minnesota’s Legislature doesn’t officially adjourn until Thursday and no one who knows government ever assumes anything is set until the final gavels sound in both chambers.

Wed
15
May
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County appoints Community Perspective Committee

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With the naming of 10 Swift County residents to the newly formed Community Perspective Committee, May 7 the county board has taken the next step in deciding how the county should address its building needs is underway.

The committee is scheduled to conduct its first meeting May 20 where it will get an overview of the project ahead of them, get an introduction the people working on plans for a new justice center, and elect a chair who will communicate its progress to the board of commissioners.

Commissioners created the committee at their April 2 meeting in response to persistent public expression at their meetings in opposition to the proposed $17.5 million justice center. Citizen ire had been raised when the county board voted 3-2 to proceed with a $162,000 study of a justice center schematic design to get a more detailed design and cost for the project...

Wed
15
May
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School board looks at new gymnastics option

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

At a special meeting Monday morning, the District 777 Board of Education agreed to consider an agreement with the Benson Civic Center Board that could lead to the gymnastics program having a larger place to practice and perform in for the next five years.

Board Chair Brian Samuelson proposed that the civic center board consider a five-year lease from the school board for use of the north end of the Benson Civic Center. During that time, the school board would be able to see how the costs of its $26.3 million building project came in over the next couple years.

If there were substantial savings over the projected costs, some of those savings might be able to go toward a new gymnastics area while also reducing the costs of a levy for $2.1 million in heating, cooling, and air conditioning improvements needed at the Senior High School.

Wed
15
May
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School project bids for first phase come in low

Benson’s Junior High School’s 1928 auditorium will be torn down this summer. Bids for the first phase of a $28.6 school building project came in more than $360,000 below budget.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Bids for the first major phase on the Benson High School work has come in substantially lower than budgeted.

The budget estimate for the work was $1,874,000, but the bids came in at $1,512,077, $361,923 lower.

“Considering the bid climate, I am very happy with this,” Construction Manager Ryan Breitbach of Breitbach Construction Co., of Elrosa, told the school board during a special meeting Monday morning. “It is a good start.”

Among the bids was the demolition of the Junior High School Auditorium and the attached band room. That work will likely start in June in hopes that the work will be done before school starts in mid-August.

Five contractors expressed interest in the demolition portion of the project, but in the end only one ended up bidding it, Breitbach said...

Wed
15
May
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CNH, Ridgewater partner to train welders to meet area job demand

Welding students spent four weekends at CNH learning welding methods and safety.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just over a month ago a group of people looking to learn a new skill and improve their chances to earn a good income began taking welding classes at CNH in Benson. Sunday they graduated after having their skills and knowledge tested.

The welding course was sponsored by CNH and Ridgewater College in Willmar. It was free to people from 18 years old and up. It was training that could lead some of the participants to a starting pay of $21.62 an hour along with full benefits.

It was also sponsored through the Swift County Rural Development Authority with a grant from the Blandin Foundation. Basically, the only thing students had to provide was steel-toed boots.

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