News

Wed
17
Jul
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Value of county townships falls with lower ag land prices

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

When Swift County farmland was reaching its peak value in 2015 15 of its 21 townships had assessed market values of over $100 million and one, Dublin, had reached the $200 million mark. Swift County’s total assessed value had reached $2.665 billion.

In 2012, only six townships had a market value of $100 million or more with Dublin Township leading the way at a value of $130.5 million. The other five were Pillsbury, Torning, Cashel, Swenoda and Tara. By the next year, Dublin saw a 52.2 percent increase in its valueto $199.9 million and the number of townships with a value over $100 million had jumped to 11 with Fairfield, Kildare, Marysland, Hayes and West Bank added to the $100 million-plus club.

Wed
10
Jul
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Farmers looking for warm days and nights

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Growing Degree Units are going to be important to farmers this year as they hope crops can mature before the first frost of the fall.

Growing degree-days (GDDs) are a measure of heat accumulation during a growing season and an indicator of crop progress. Warm days speed growth along while cool temperatures can cause development to slow down.

 

Those cool temperatures can have an impact on yield. When growing degrees days are behind average, farmers generally look for a late frost to allow their crops to reach full maturity...

 

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
10
Jul
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County agrees to help finance demolition of DeGraff house

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There is a price to be paid for keeping Swift County, its cities and its townships safe, clean and presentable to potential residents and busiensses. Sometimes that price is paid by taxpayers when fellow citizens fail to care for their properties, letting them deteriorate, then not paying their real estate taxes.

Eventually, the properties are forfeited to the county for non-payment of taxes.

That is the case with a home in DeGraff that the city is trying to get rid of with the county’s help. However, in this case it needs more than the standard financial assistance in taking care of the property...

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
10
Jul
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PrimeWest selected to provide human services health plan

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County Human Services will go with PrimeWest Health for its medical insurance provider for low-income residents. It’s not a cheap option with an upfront cost between $925,000 and $950,000.

Human Services Director Catie Lee asked the county board of commissioners to approve the contract with PrimeWest at their meeting July 2. She said her staff had gone through the thousands of pages of proposals represented by the plans from PrimeWest, Medica, UCare, and Blue Plus.

After reading them, the one that understood rural health care the best was PrimeWest, Lee said. They understand the barriers and obstacles rural health care providers face out in rural Minnesota, she said. Further, PrimeWest is owned by a group of rural Minnesota counties with each county having representation on its board...

Wed
03
Jul
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Demolition of 1928 auditorium underway

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Spectators drifted in and out of the parking lot Monday as they watched the gradual demolition of Benson High School’s 1928 auditorium, and what served as band and choir rooms for generations of area students.

It is expected that the gradual demolition of the building will take three days. When they reach the front of the auditorium, the demolition crew will be working to preserve the decorative features including the “19 – Benson High School – 28” limestone piece at the top of the building.

Frattalone Companies of Little Canada got the bid for the demolition for $511,522.

While the auditorium and band room come down this summer to make room for the new performing arts center, the junior high classroom area attached to the east will stay until the new classrooms are constructed...

 

Wed
03
Jul
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Agricultural land values in Swift County starting to fall

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“This was the first year in a number of years that we did lower our ag values in the county,” retiring Swift County Assessor Wayne Knutson told the Swift County Board of Commissioners at their June 18 meeting.

“It amounted to about 5 percent,” he said of the overall lowering of agricultural land values. “I didn’t lower every township the same. There were four townships that I didn’t make any changes to. There were 12 townships that were lowered about 5 percent on the tillable value. And there were four townships that I lowered about 7 percent on their tillable value.”

Seven years of strong commodity prices pushed agricultural land sales recorded levels by 2013 with the sales values reflected in ever-higher market values for local taxes. Despite falling prices, sales of farmland remained strong in some areas for several more years.

Wed
03
Jul
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Dr. Isabelle Eid joins H&H vet clinic

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Dr. Isabelle “Issi” Eid has joined the team at H&H Veterinary Service in Benson bringing not only her skills as a small and large animal veterinarian to the community, but also a background in public health.

Eid earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, she attended the U’s College of Veterinary Medicine where she earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. At the same time, she completed a Master’s in Public Health at the U of M. She got her undergraduate degree in 2015 and her graduated from veterinary school in May.

A native of rural Montevideo, Eid has been at H&H just over a month now.

Eid grew up on a crop farm and hobby farm with goats, horses, and rabbits. When she was in middle school, she started raising alpacas. She says she is also a big “4-H’er.” She still works with the goats and alpacas in her spare time.

Wed
26
Jun
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City asked to develop more detailed flood plan, costs

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Residents of northwest Benson would like to see the Benson City Council develop an updated flood protection plan to give them a better idea of what it might look like and what it would cost them.

The council conducted a special meeting at the Benson Golf Club last Wednesday night with 28 residents of the area. City Manager Rob Wolfington gave a brief history of past flood threats and efforts to address them, talked about the flood this spring, and outlined the flood control plan that was rejected by area residents in 2013.

He also explained the background on how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood plain maps in force today were developed and the number of homes that potentially would be affected by a 100-year flood event.

Wed
26
Jun
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Farmers set to see bigger savings on school building levy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In their recent legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers continued efforts to help out farmers who are burdened with an inordinate amount of property when school districts pass building levies.

They have also helped rural school districts that find it increasingly difficult to pass much-needed building levies to upgrade their schools, but face stiff opposition because of the burden farmland owners and a poor agricultural economy.

Benson Public School’s $26.3 million building bond levy that passed last August was helped by a law passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2017. The law provided for the state to pick up $4 of every $10 in additional property tax on farmland when a school district passed a building levy.

Wed
26
Jun
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SCBHS board approves ‘dyad’ for new administrators

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County-Benson Health Services voted Monday night to name Chief Nursing Officer Mellissa McGinty-Thompson and Chief Financial Officer Dan Enderson as co-CEOs effective July 1.

They will take over for Interim CEO Mary Ellen Wells, though Wells will continue working with SCBHS in the coming months as a consultant as it moves toward affiliation with CentraCare Health of St. Cloud, or Carris Health of Willmar. CentraCare owns Carris.

Wells was hired last September to replace Kurt Waldbillig, who had taken a job in Litchfield. Part of her job was to guide the governing board through the process of deciding to remain independent or affiliated with another health care provider.

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