News

Wed
01
Jul
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From drought to an abundance of rain

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With 3.2 inches of rain in the area Monday morning, June’s total rainfall is now at 6.5 inches – 2.15 inches above the average of 4.35 inches.

Monday’s rainfall broke a stretch of four straight months with below average precipitation. Despite June’s heavy rainfall, the area is still 2.3 inches below the January to June average with 10.85 inches of precipitation compared to the average of 13.15 inches.

The Chippewa River near Benson had fallen to 7.61 feet, the lowest level in a couple years. Tuesday morning it peaked at 9.14, up more than 1.5 feet.

Prior to Monday’s rainfall, drought conditions continued to spread through western Minnesota.

Wed
01
Jul
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Historic DeGraff house has new home

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It appeared to be like any other home in DeGraff but this one was unique. Sitting on the north side of U.S. Highway 12 and just east of the Country Pet Store it spent the last few months sitting on blocks waiting to be transported to its new home in Tracy where its place in history would be preserved.

Last week, the 136-year-old railroad foreman’s house was moved from DeGraff to the  Wheels Across the Prairie Museum in the southwestern Minnesota community...

 

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
01
Jul
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SCBHS seeing gradual return to ‘normal’

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As the Minnesota economy gradually opens up, Swift County-Benson Health Services is seeing an increase in patient traffic. At Monday night’s SCBHS meeting, Co-CEO and Chief Nursing Officer Melissa McGinty-Thompson said levels are returning to near 70 percent of normal.

Screening of people entering the facility continues as does the requirement to wear a mask. There are still limits on visiting patients in the facility. However, she added, SCBHS is considering easing its visitation policy if case numbers remain low.

Swift County has seen only two cases of COVID-19 in June, one June 1 and the other reported June 15. The county’s number of COVID-19 cases is 20 with 17 in May and one in April. There has been one death reported, a person in their 90s.

Elective surgeries are again being performed and outpatient services are gearing up, McGinty-Thompson said.

 

Wed
24
Jun
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Prairie 5 COVID-19 Food Assistance Program draws large crowd

A long line of cars formed as people came to the Praire 5 site on east U.S 12 last Wednesday to pick up food given away as part of the COVID-19 Food Assistance Program. There were an estimated 450 food packages given away.

Wed
24
Jun
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Small Business Relief Grant Program taking applications

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

More help is on the way for businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the business shutdowns and slowdowns it has caused in the form of $10,000 grants.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced late last week that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program would begin accepting applications as of Tuesday, June 23. The application process will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 2 to fulfill the 10-day period required by the law.

A randomized, computer-generated lottery process will be used to select eligible businesses that will receive awards.

The program was funded by $60 million from the federal CARES Act, and $2.5 million from DEED’s Emergency Loan Program.

Wed
24
Jun
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2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain brings drought relief

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain in the area Thursday through Sunday, farmers got exactly what they badly needed – a few days of soaking rains.

Thursday’s thunderstorms brought 2.5 to 3 inches of rain to the Benson area with additional rain falling Saturday and Sunday. Prior to this past week’s rainfall, drought conditions were spreading throughout western Minnesota.

When the U.S. Drought Monitor’s new map came out last Thursday morning, it showed all of Swift, Chippewa, Stevens and Pope counties in a moderate drought. It also stretched into Big Stone, Kandiyohi, Grant and Douglas counties and to the northeast across the state.

 

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
Jun
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Schools creating three plans for starting classes

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Editor’s note: The following story was written with information from the Associated Press, Minnesota Department of Health, and the Swift County Monitor-News.

Minnesota health and education officials on Thursday asked school administrators to plan for three scenarios on reopening in the fall under the cloud of the coronavirus and promised a decision by the last week of July on whether students can return for in-person classes.

The state health and education departments asked K-12 school administrators to prepare for: in-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with social distancing and capacity limits; and distance learning only. They said their decisions may change toward fall as officials determine which contingency plan will best serve health and safety and conceded that distance learning didn’t work well for all students or their families.

Wed
17
Jun
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Benson swimming pool is opening very soon

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s Family Aquatic Center now has water in it and should be opening soon.

However, its operation this  summer will be following safety guidelines required by the Minnesota Department of Health under an executive order by Gov. Tim Walz as the state tries to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, has caused more than 1,300 deaths in the state since March 21.

These are different times, Benson Mayor Terri Collins said at Monday night’s council meeting where steps being taken to open the pool were discussed.

Collins pointed to the flyer that the Benson Public Schools Community Education Program has produced and said it was “awesome. It answered all the questions I had,” she told Shelly Vergin and Shelly Mikkelson. Vergin is the director of community education and works with Mikkelson in managing the pool...

Wed
17
Jun
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Benson needs citizen help to reduce water use

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Throughout this past winter, the City of Benson was working on an upgrade of the filter system for its drinking water plant. It meant taking down about half the capacity to produce drinking water but during the winter months when demand is low it wasn’t a problem.

While it was expected that the work would get done by the spring, it has taken longer than expected.

Now the area is in the second stage of a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And it has been hot. June has seen the high reach into the 90s three times with a record high of 99 degrees for June 7. Tuesday and Wednesday were each forecast to see highs in the 90s...

 

Wed
17
Jun
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County looks at renovation costs of LEC, offices for 6W

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As Swift County’s Board of Commissioners moves forward with addressing building needs it is taking a cautious approach on spending and how extensive the projects it is willing to undertake.

One renovation plan before the county board from Wold Architects & Engineers projects a budget of $960,000 for renovations to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) plus $76,000 in architect fees for a total of $1.036 million.

A separate cost projection for a new entry to the LEC was estimated at $1.236 million.

Back in February 2019, the Swift County board voted 3-2 to proceed with a study for construction of a $17.5 million justice center that would have housed a new jail and sheriff’s office, human services, 6W Community Corrections, the county attorney’s office and the Restorative Practices office...

 

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