News

Fri
08
Sep
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CeCe Terlouw fighting to break the bondages of sex trafficked women

For nearly 25 years CeCe Terlouw worked with young women at the Heartland Girls Ranch. Now she has started a new program in the St.Cloud area working with girls who have been sexually trafficked.

Modern Day Slavery

CeCe Terlouw fighting to break the bondages of sex trafficked women

By Jordan Almen
 

If you were confronted with slavery today, would you be aware of it? Could you tell the difference between someone who is unhappy with their job and someone who being forced to work? Slavery still exists in many forms worldwide, and a large part of that cruel industry is sex trafficking. Millions of people are trafficked around the world, but most people would probably be shocked to learn how close to home the problem is occurring.

Fri
08
Sep
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August third coolest, wettest on record

August 2017 was the third coldest on record for the Benson area with a mean temperature of 65.3 degrees, 4.5 degrees below average mean of 69.7 degrees.

For just the 13th time in the past 65 years there wasn’t a 90-degree temperature in August. August averages 3.3 days of 90 degrees or more and has seen the high reach 100 to 104 degrees nine times.

This year the August high was 88 degrees back on Aug. 1. Highs during the month should average 80.4 degrees, but only registered 76.3 degrees. Lows averaged 54.2 degrees, 4.9 degrees below average of 59.1 degrees.

The coldest August was recorded in 2004 when the mean temperature was 64.7 degrees and with August 2007 the second coldest with a mean temperature of 64.8 degrees.

During August, Benson set a record low high temperature when it only reached 66 degrees Aug. 3. The previous record for the date was 67 degrees set in 1998.

Fri
01
Sep
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BHS trades class to build house this year

Though no one has committed to buying the Benson High School Trades and Industrial Carpentry class house this year, the class will be building one after taking a year off in 2016-17.

Without a buyer last year, the school board agreed not to spend the $70,000 to $75,000 it costs to build the home opting to have the class build a new press box at the football field. It also built sheds and garages.

No bids have been received for the trades house, nor has anyone new expressed interest in buying it, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the school board at its Aug. 21 meeting. He did contact a person who has expressed interest earlier, but that person has not received authorization to make the purchase, he said.

Fri
01
Sep
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Cool, wet weather dominates August

Kathy Ruppe combines wheat west of Danvers last Friday while son-in-law Dalton Staton drives the grain cart. Riding with Kathy in the combine was her infant grandson Mason Staton.

Western Minnesota received more rain over the weekend with totals ranging form eight-tenths to nearly 2 inches.

With another eight tenths in Benson August’s total rainfall is now 6.85 inches – 3.43 inches above the average for the month of 3.42 inches. However, there are locations around the area that have seen more than 9 inches of rain this month.

Ten days during the month have seen measurable precipitation, delaying the small grain and sugar beet harvest. However, dry conditions toward the end of last week allowed farmers to get into their fields to get their wheat and oat crops outs.

Temperatures remained cooler than average this past week with August now averaging about 4.8 degrees below its mean temperature of 69.7 degrees. August’s average high is 80.8 degrees through the 27th, but this year it has been 76.0 degrees. Lows that should average 60.3 degrees have averaged 54.2 degrees – 6.1 degrees below average.

Fri
01
Sep
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Madden resigns school board seat leaving vacancy

District 777 Board of Education Member Jason Madden has resigned from the school board because he has accepted a position with the school district.

He will be a full-time study hall monitor for grades seven through 12. By state law a school board member can’t earn more than $8,000 a year working for that school district, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the board of education at its Aug. 21 meeting.

With Madden’s term not running out until Dec. 31, 2018, the seven-member school board has a couple options for addressing the vacancy, he told the board.

Because it is less than 90 days until the next general election date of Nov. 7, a special election is not possible due to deadlines that have already passed.
The board has a “reasonable amount of time” to fill the vacancy by appointment, Laumeyer said. Once a person is appointed, the person has to wait 30 days to be seated.

Fri
01
Sep
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SCBHS exploring home health options

Swift County-Benson Health Services is exploring options for restructuring its home health services operation or having it taken over by another organization.

At its meeting Monday night, the hospital governing board was told the home health sees a loss of between $450,000 to $500,000 annually.  Those losses are caused by union-scale wages, benefits and rules that add substantially to the cost of operations.

For example, CEO Kurt Waldbillig pointed out, if an employee calls in sick and another employee has to come in that employee is paid overtime though he or she may only have 20 hours in that week. Further, a home health employee gets 80 percent of his or her health insurance paid even if working only 20 hours a week. Public Employee Retirement Account (PERA) benefits also add to the costs of employees.

Those overtime and health insurance costs can build up quickly putting the financial operations of home health in a deep hole.

Thu
24
Aug
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Mae Gades never runs out of ideas for her new quilts

Mae Gades sits by her yellow quilt that won a grand championship ribbon at the Swift County Fair. She makes all kinds of quilts for all kinds of seasons and events.

Photos and Story by Peggy Cameron

 

In 35 years she’s created 43 full size quilts, 58 crib quilts and 16 wall hangings.

“I’ve added to that number recently, but haven’t kept track,” says Mae Gades of Benson.

The assessment of her heart-felt work was tallied in 2014 and her quilting has continued at a steady rate.  

“I never run out of ideas,”  she claims.

This year Mae took a “basket” design quilt to the Swift County Fair, one which she says was a real challenge because the design was on a diagonal.  It also featured her first try at machine designs….the flowers you see in the corners of the quilt design.  Daughter-in-law Amy Jobgen helped her download the floral designs into her sewing machine and she’s proud of that accomplishment for an 85 year old woman in a computer-savy world.

Recent estimates put Mae among the 21 million quilters in the U.S., most of whom are female.  The average age is 62....

 

Thu
24
Aug
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Upgrading courthouse windows will add to cost

When Swift County’s Board of Commissioners approved the $3.573 million bid of Sussner Construction of Marshall for extensive renovations to the courthouse, it was assumed that work on the windows was included.

But at a recent construction meeting on the work that is being done, County Board Chairman Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, learned that the windows weren’t included.

“We can’t spend $3 million on the courthouse and not have the windows…” done, Rudningen said at the county board’s Aug. 15 meeting at the Benson City Hall. Commissioners will be meeting at the city hall at least through the end of the year as work progresses on the courthouse.

As the county was looking at the renovation of the historic courthouse, it applied for a $170,000 grant for window replacement from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS.) However, it was denied earlier this year.

Thu
24
Aug
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Benson schools seek lease of north civic center

Benson Public Schools is moving ahead with plans for leasing the north end of the Benson Civic Center.

Benson’s CNH Industrial has leased the space for years, but this past spring notified the city that it would be moving out. That opened the possibility for the school district to use the 14,000-square-foot area for its gymnastics program as well as other events. The gymnastics program would need about half the space.

Currently, gymnastics is housed in the Benson Armory. However, the space is barely adequate for competitive events and there are safety concerns with the cramped quarters.

Wed
16
Aug
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4-Hers take part in Clothing and Presentation Day

From left to right are performing arts participants, Arianna Nagler, Noah Collins, Brianna Collins, Ericka Collins, and Abbigail Johannes.

4-Hers take part in Clothing and Presentation Day

by Alyssa Wittnebel, Swift County 4-H Summer Intern

Swift County 4-H had a full day of creative projects, entertaining demonstrations, and life performances at the annual Presentation Judging Day, Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the First Evangelical Free Church in Benson. 

In the Cloverbud Non Garment division, there were a total of three participants. Three Cloverbuds participated in the Cloverbud Clothes You Buy, Clothes You Make, and fashion revue divisions. Two Cloverbuds participated in the Cloverbud quilting division as well. One Cloverbud participated in Performing Arts, Food Review, and Demonstrations.

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