News

Wed
27
Nov
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Swift County to take care of Thielkes’ Appleton fire bill

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Escaping with their three grandchildren and the clothes they were wearing the afternoon of Oct. 5, Randy and LuJean Thielke watched their home and a lifetime of memories go up in flames. It was heartbreaking.

Then the bills started coming in from the fire departments that had been called to fight the blaze. In all, they totaled over $21,000 with none more stunning that the $15,500 bill from the Appleton Fire Department.

Last Tuesday the Thielkes showed up at the Swift County Board of Commissioners meeting along with members of the Fairfield Township board of supervisors to challenge the bill. Also, at the meeting was George Duckwitz, a Fairfield Township farmer who lost a barn to a fire Nov. 12.

What Duckwitz had in common with the Thielkes is the confusion surrounding the 911 calls they made and who the responding fire department should have been.

Wed
27
Nov
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Commissioners want confusion over 911 calls fixed

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just over a month after dispatching confusion left Randy and LuJean Thielke of Fairfield Township with a $15,500 Appleton Fire Department bill another fire call in the western Swift County township pointed to continuing problems.

George and Diane Duckwitz’s farm sits two miles west of U.S Highway 59 in Section 20 of Fairfield Township. November 12 one of Duckwtiz’s barns caught fire and burned to the ground.

 “When the fire erupted, I yelled to my brother and wife, ‘Somebody call 911!’” Duckwitz told Swift County’s Board of Commissioners at the Nov. 19 meeting. His wife ran to their house and called 911, contacting Swift County dispatch and giving it their address. The dispatcher told her that the Morris Fire Department was to be called. “As far as I know, that was the end of the discussion. I don’t know if the Swift County dispatch called the Morris Fire Department, or not.”

Wed
27
Nov
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DHS mistakes to cost Swift County thousands

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“DHS made the top of the front page again,” Swift County Human Services Director Catie Lee told the board of commissioners at their meeting Nov. 19. “It’s like the tenth week in a row.”

Minnesota’s Department of Human Services isn’t getting front page headlines because of good things happening at the state agency. Rather, those headlines are about substantial financial errors that are going to cost counties a lot of money.

 “Counties will pay for some of growing financial failures at Minnesota DHS’ Lee said, quoting the headline in last week’s Star Tribune. “I think we are seeing the tip of the iceberg...”

 

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
20
Nov
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Armory remodeling cost could be between $2.2 and $2.8 million

Reed Anfinson; Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s City Council received an updated estimate of the cost to renovate the Benson Amory into a new city hall with the prices ranging from $2.2 million to $2.8 million.

The cost estimate was provided by Widseth, Smith and Nolting (WSN) of Alexandria and presented to the council at its meeting Monday night. The plan is basically the same one presented two years ago to the council with some modifications. No action was taken and WSN letter with the projected cost only briefly discussed.

Built in 1927, the Armory has unused office space on the main floor at the front of the building with a large gymnasium behind it. At some point after its construction, a garage space was added on the north side of the building. There is an upper floor at the front of the building that once served as the mess hall for the National Guard...

 

Wed
20
Nov
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Benson proposes $400,000 civic center renovation plan

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

A new proposal that would substantially reduce the cost of renovating the north end of the civic center for use by the Benson High School gymnastics program was presented to the Benson City Council Monday night.

By eliminating a viewing area and bathroom project, the cost of the renovation would be reduced from just over $500,000 to closer to $400,000. Removing the two parts of the project will not compromise the functionality of the north end of the civic center for its proposed uses, City Manager Rob Wolfington said.

 The city would also extend the period for the school district to pay off the renovation costs to seven years from five. That seven-year amortization of the debt would not include balloon payments as did the earlier $500,000 agreement. The $400,000 city loan would be at zero percent interest and be paid off through the annual payments over the seven years.

Wed
20
Nov
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Lions pull offer to place drinking fountain in Benson’s Roosevelt Park

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There will be no bright yellowish lion drinking fountain on the southwest corner of the Roosevelt Park in Benson.

Monday night the Benson City Council sided with its park board’s recommendation that the drinking fountain be placed in the middle of the park. Its recommendation was based on concerns about snow removal if it was installed at the corner site.

Lions President Mick Boone told the council that the club wasn’t interested in investing $4,000 in purchasing and installing the lion drinking fountain if it was not placed in a very visible, high traffic area.

Wed
13
Nov
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Honoring America’s Veterans

Major Donald C. Brehmer was the main speaker at the Community Veterans Day program, Monday.  Brehmer’s military career started in March of 1977.  He retired from teaching and coaching last year after serving BHS for 24 years.

Wed
13
Nov
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Eric Holtan’s True Concord releases Christmas CD

True Concord Voices & Orchestra, under the direction of Benson High School graduate Eric Holtan, has produced a new Christmas CD that was released Friday.

“True Concord: Carols in the American Voice” is inspired by True Concord’s annual Lessons & Carols by Candlelight concerts performed in the Tucson, AZ, area. It contains familiar carols in musical settings by American composers that are new or not widely known.

In 2015, True Concord released Far in the Heavens: Choral Music of Stephen Paulus, for which it received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance.

 “The focus is on sacred Christmas carols,” Holtan, a 1989 Benson High School graduate, said.  “Even in their simplest form, carols evoke emotionally powerful memories of personal and family experiences that enrich and enliven annual holiday celebrations.

Wed
13
Nov
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Record cold as winter strikes early

Monday the Benson area broke the record for the coldest high temperature for Nov. 11 when it only reached 12 degrees. By long-term weather standards you could say it shattered the record, besting it by 9 degrees. The old record was 21 degrees from 2014.

Monday also saw windchills remain below zero for the entire day. Windchills ranged from a minus 3 degrees to a minus 13 degrees from the early morning into the evening. Winter’s bite this late fall is a reminder the children need to be properly dressed if they are walking to and from school, or from where a bus picks them up and drops them off...

 

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
13
Nov
admin's picture

Garbage tipping fees to see first increase since 1982

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County will raise its garbage tipping fee from $80 per ton to $100 per ton effective Jan. 1. The 25 percent increase is the first raise in rates since 1982.

 “We were at $68 a ton and we went to $80,” Environmental Services Director Scott Collins told the board of commissioners at the Nov. 5 meeting. “Now it is 2020. I think it is time to increase our tipping fee to $100 a ton.”

Chippewa County is at $80, Stevens and Pope counties are at $80.04, and Kandiyohi County is $95. Kandiyohi County’s rate is for out-of-county garbage. There is a lower rate for in-county residents and business, he said.

Collins is hoping that the increase in rates will handle the increased costs of handling garbage, the significant loss of recycling income, and, perhaps, deter some out-of-county garbage from being hauled into his facility...

 

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