News

Wed
26
Jun
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Partial agriculture, English jobs are added back at high school

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

When Benson High School’s Board of Education cut its agriculture teacher position as it worked to balance its budget this spring, it received criticism from the farming community.

It also got input from people who were upset that cutting the ag position could also mean the loss of The National FFA Organization program at BHS. FFA stands for Future Farmers of America.

At its meeting June 17, the board of education voted to add back a 0.1 ag teacher position at a cost of $7,000 with the position offered to teacher Nancy Loen. Thirty-two students have signed up for the class.

In order for students to join FFA they have to take an agriculture class, Secondary Principal Mike Knutson said. “The kids who are already in, can take the class if they want, those who want to get into FFA have to take the class,” he said.

Wed
19
Jun
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Litchfield takes top honors at Pioneerland Band Festival

Benson High School’s marching band leads off the 32nd annual Pioneerland Band Festival last Friday despite a little rain delaying the start of the parade.
Litchfield’s marching band earned grand champion honors in the 32nd annual Pioneerland Band Festival last Friday.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

The Litchfield High School marching band placed first at the 2019 Benson Pioneerland Band Festival Parade, Friday, earning 77.7 points to edge Dassel-Cokato (74.4 points) and Champlin Park (71.7) for the overall title.

Thirteen bands took part in this year’s Band Festival parade, including Benson, which performed for exhibition only and led off the competition. The parade started a half-hour late due to thunder, lightning and light rain that fell in the late afternoon and early evening.

Litchfield also won the awards for Best Wind Section, Best Color Guard, and People’s Choice, while Dassel-Cokato earned the award for the Top Percussion.

Although it fell short of the Grand Championship, Dassel-Cokato did win the Class A title with 74.4 points, followed by Fergus Falls (65.8) and Foley (62.7).

Wed
19
Jun
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Wastewater plant needs a $1.4 to $2.1 million upgrade

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s Wastewater Treatment Facility needs $1.4 to $2.1 million in upgrades or it is in serious risk of failure.

The two effluent filters at the plant need replacement, an issue that has been pending for some time, according to Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., of Minneapolis. The company provides the city with engineering services on a wide range of municipal infrastructure projects.

“The filters are 37 years old and have required multiple repairs,” a letter from Stantec to the city says. “Now the staff worries that the filters will fail with little warning due to their age and current condition.” Failure of the filters would seriously jeopardize the ability of the plant to meet discharge limits on treated water entering the Chippewa River, Stantec told the city the letter dated June 12.

Wed
19
Jun
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Foundations approve $38,000 in local grants

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Local Foundation Announces Grant Awards

More than $38,000 in grant funds were awarded last week to area organizations from three local foundations. The funds came from the Benson Area Community Foundation, the Galen Hanson Donor Advised Fund and the Robert Sonsteng Donor Advised Fund.

At their joint June 12 meeting, the boards approved funding to 13 applicants who had applied for financial assistance.

 “Typically, the foundation limits its awards to no more than 50 percent of an organization’s total project estimated costs,” Chuck Koenigs secretary-treasurer of the Benson Area Community Foundation said. “In the present round of grant awards, we received requests totaling $59,680 but we only had about $38,195 to give.”

Those receiving funds and the awards were:

Receiving funding this cycle were the following organizations:

Wed
12
Jun
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Citizens committee gets tour of county LEC; provided with jail study details and finances

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Members of the Community Perspective Committee are getting deeper into their assignment of learning as much as they can about the building and jail needs of Swift County.

They were recently given a tour of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center, including the jail cells and deputy office spaces, Administrator Kelsey Baker said at the county board’s June 4 meeting.  A five-year budget detailing jailing and transport costs was given to committee members.

Wed
12
Jun
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Permanent flood protection? Citizen input sought by council

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Residents of northwest Benson will have a chance to give the city council input next Wednesday on future flood control efforts during a special meeting set for 6:30 a.m. at the golf club.

As waters crept up to the Benson Golf Course service road that separates the course from the Hawleywood Subdivision and homes on Meadow Lane March 24, volunteer firemen, city staff, and council members helped construct a flood barrier on the road.

At the same time, three large trackhoes were working to clear ice floes and logs from the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge spanning the Chippewa River adjacent to the Minnesota Highway 9 bridge at Benson’s western edge.

Wed
12
Jun
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County required to pay $24,414 back to CRWP

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County will be writing a $24,414 check to the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) as its share of grant funds for which there was a lack of adequate accounting.

The funds came from grants given through to BWSR for work in the Chippewa River Watershed Project area.

There are eight counties in the watershed: Swift, Grant, Stevens, Douglas, Pope, Chippewa, and Kandiyohi. It stretches from the southern end of Otter Tail County west to include Norway Lake and Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County, west to include the Hancock area, and south where it enters the Minnesota River at Montevideo. Swift County accounts for 29 percent of the watershed, second only to Pope County’s 30 percent.

Wed
05
Jun
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A Benson hero’s remains confirmed on eve of D-Day

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
And Paul Stouffer
Bill McGowan nephew

Seventy-five years after allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, France, by air and sea, the family of Lt. Bill McGowan finally knows for certain that he died D-Day, June 6, 1944.

 “Last week I was advised that remains recovered in Normandy during the summer of 2018 have been confirmed as those of Lt. McGowan,” his nephew Paul Stouffer of Montana wrote the Monitor-News May 28. “We finally have closure on this – and something for almost 75 years my grandparents, his then wife Suzanne, my mother (Mary Jo McGowan Stouffer) and Aunt Pat McGowan, now deceased, never heard confirmed.”

Near the small village of Moon Sur Elle in France, not far from the beaches of Normandy, there is a monument recognizing Lt. McGowan’s sacrifice. It reads:

Wed
05
Jun
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Pioneerland Band Festival set for Friday, June 14

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s 32nd annual Pioneerland Band Festival is scheduled for Friday, June 14.

President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation May 30, 1916 establishing a national Flag Day to be celebrated each June 14. It honors the American flag, which was adopted June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress when it passed the Flag Resolution stating: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

While the stripes have remained the same, the flag now has 50 stars representing the 50 U.S. states.

Wed
05
Jun
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‘Better late than never’, maybe, as farmers get crops in the ground

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

For the first time since late March the Benson area went seven straight days without measurable precipitation. Thunderstorms rolling through western Minnesota late Friday evening provided a spectacular lightening show and thunder that rattled windows in the area, but just 7 hundredths of an inch of rain.

The dry weather has allowed farmers to rush to get in crops where the soil is still not too wet to work.

Soil temperatures have also been warming, though it wasn’t until the last day of May, Friday, that they warmed to 60 degrees at both the 2- and 4-inch depths at the Swan Lake Research Farm near Morris. The high of 84 Thursday and a high of 88 Friday, with sunny skies both days, help warm soil temperatures.

Soil temperatures reached 50 degrees May 14, but slipped back into the 40s May 18 to May 20 before finally starting a steady rise through the 50s.

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