News

Fri
25
May
admin's picture

Legislature done with Benson’s $20 million in place

Truckers, loggers and other suppliers of Benson Power, LLC, could be getting $40 million in compensation as Xcel Energy looks to shut down the biomass power plant.

$40 million for Benson Power suppliers on governor’s desk

Minnesota’s 2018 Legislature adjourned late Sunday night leaving the $20 million in payments scheduled to come to City of Benson over the next four years to compensate for the loss of Benson Power, LLC, in place.

The first $4 million payment is scheduled to come by June 30. After that, $6.5 million payments are scheduled to be made by June 30, 2019, and June 30, 2020. A final $3 million payment is due by June 30, 2021.

City officials were concerned that efforts to compensate truckers and suppliers of Benson power for lost income would cause changes to the City of Benson’s legislation affecting the payment amounts or timing of the payments.

Fri
25
May
admin's picture

Illegal immigration arrests open possibilties for PCF

CoreCivic’s Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton is putting itself in line to get illegal immigrants arrested by ICE and being held for deportation. Photo by Leslie Ehrenberg.

Editor’s note: Some of the information for this story is from a story written by Associated Press reporter Adam Geller.

With the Trump Administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration, there is a growing demand for prison space around the country including the Upper Midwest.

It has given renewed hope for those who are pushing for the reopening of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton that it could once again become an economic boost to the area’s economy.

At one time, the 1,640-bed Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) employed 350 people from 24 surrounding counties and generated an estimated $15.2 million in economic vitality for the region. However, owner CoreCivic closed the facility in February 2010. Though it has sat empty, the private prison company has kept a minimal maintenance staff in place and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in its upkeep.

Fri
25
May
admin's picture

Benson airport getting $820,000 in upgrades

With considerable financial assistance from the federal and state governments, the Benson City Council agreed at its meeting Monday night to pursue more than $820,000 in improvements to the municipal airport.

It has contracted with TKDA Professional Services of St. Paul for work on a new aviation dual-fuel storage tank at the airport and the removal of the old tank. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has ordered the city to replace the old tank.

The cost of the new fuel tanks is $320,000, but the federal government is paying 90 percent of the cost, or $288,000. The state government is paying $16,000 as is the City of Benson....

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest news, 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!
 

Fri
25
May
admin's picture

County board votes to replace windows in the Courthouse

When it approved the bid of Sussner Construction for the $3.6 million renovation of the Swift County Courthouse, the board of commissioners left out the replacing of the building’s windows.

They knew the windows were not energy efficient and that people feel a “breeze” through some of them on cold days. Concerned with the cost of the project, commissioners decided to leave the window replacement for another time.

They did, however, vote to go ahead with a repair of the windows, which by itself was estimated to cost around $180,000.

But at its meeting last Tuesday, May 15, the board of commissioners decided with Sussner still working on the courthouse renovation, now was most cost effective time to put new windows in the building.

Fri
18
May
admin's picture

School to seek approval of $26.3 million building bond

Levy request to be on August 14 ballot

With a unanimous vote Monday night, the District 777 Board of Education approved going to the voters Aug. 14 for a $26.3 million building bond levy.

Key features of the proposed project include construction of new classrooms at the Northside Elementary School to house a centralize day care and pre-kindergarten program, the construction of a new performing arts center, and renovating the Senior High School to meet 21st Century collaborative education design needs.

Another key aspect of the proposed facilities is that they would give Benson Public Schools the ability to compete with neighboring school districts for students, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said. Currently, Benson loses kids to surrounding school districts with the condition of the school’s aged facilities among the reasons for students leaving.

Fri
18
May
admin's picture

City keeps wary on Minnesota Legislature

In the last days of its 2017 session, Minnesota’s Legislature passed the Omnibus Jobs & Energy bill including language that would see the City of Benson paid $20 million for economic development to compensate for the loss of Benson Power, LLC.

Though the payments were written into legislation passed by the Republican-controlled state House and Senate, and signed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, nothing is written in stone and can be undone by succeeding Legislatures.

That is the reason Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington has been making frequent trips to St. Paul to monitor legislation that could have an impact on the city’s promised compensation. Benson’s first $4 million payment is scheduled to come by June 30 this year with $6 million payments coming in both June 2019 and June 2020. A final $3 million payment is to be made in June 2021.

Fri
18
May
admin's picture

Public office filings open next Tuesday

Tuesday filings open for those interested in seeking election to local, state and federal offices in Minnesota.

Filings for one Benson City Council seat, four District 777 Board of Education seats, two Swift County Board of Commissioners seats, the county treasurer, sheriff and attorney, all open Tuesday, May 22 and close at the end of the business day Tuesday, June 5.

Filings for state and federal offices also open May 22....

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest news, 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!
 

Fri
18
May
admin's picture

Farmers pushing to get crops planted

At 40-percent complete Sunday, corn planting in Minnesota was eight days behind the five-year average. However, farmers were making rapid progress prior to Monday afternoon’s rainfall and will be back in the fields as clear skies dry out the fields.

Despite it seeming like there wasn’t a lot of farm equipment in area fields over the past few days, farmers were making progress after delays caused by lingering frost, wet fields and cold soils.

Corn planting was 40 percent completed, five days behind last year and eight days behind average, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service report released Monday.  There were a few reports of corn emerging in the southern half of the state.

Last year at this time, 77 percent of the corn crop was planted with the five-year average for corn planting progress for May 13 65 percent.

Soybeans were 11 percent planted, four days behind last year and nine days behind average. As of May 13 last year, 41 percent of the soybean crop was planted. The five-year average for the date is 37 percent.

Fri
04
May
admin's picture

Wet fields continue to delay planting

April ended with the warmest high of the spring when it hit 80 degrees, but the month’s legacy of very cold temperatures and near record snowfall has farmers waiting to get into their fields.

“Cool temperatures, muddy fields, and frost in the ground have delayed planting of spring crops,” according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service report released Monday.

“Snow has melted in most fields with frost still working its way out of the ground. Farmers that were able to work in the fields were busy with field preparation, spreading fertilizer, rock picking and planting,” the service reported.

April 2018 went down in the record books as the coldest for the area with a mean temperature of 34.6 degrees – nearly 11 degrees below average. Low temperatures for the month averaged 23.6 degrees, 10.5 degrees below their average of 34.1 degrees, ensuring the frost was very slow to leave the ground.

Fri
04
May
admin's picture

Sonsteng gift paying dividends throughout community

Robert Sonsteng

Applications being sought for $26,000 in grants

When Robert C. Sonsteng left an estate worth nearly $10 million to the community his gift was called “transformational.” It is already living up to that billing through foundation grants awarded in the past year.

Sonsteng, a bachelor farmer who lived northeast of Benson in Langhei Township, died Sept. 21, 2014, at the age of 81. From the cash assets of his estate, $2 million was used to establish the Robert C. Sonsteng Foundation.

Another $1 million was given to the Southwest Minnesota Initiative Fund with investment earnings to come back to the Benson Area Community Foundation. An additional $500,000 was invested with Thrivent.

Last month, the Sonsteng Foundation donated $25,000 to the Benson Public School’s Discovery Kids program. It provides day care for children 33 months to sixth grade.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News