News

Fri
19
May
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CNH donates $25,000 to BHS

Benson High School students and faculty pose with the staff of Case IH for a photo following the presentation of a $25,000 check. The funds will go to the machining and welding  programs.

In celebrating the 175 years of producing agricultural equipment for the nation and world this year, Case IH is making $25,000 donations to schools in the communities where they have manufacturing plants.

Benson High School was one of the schools that received a check from Case IH with the presentation ceremony taking place at the high school last Tuesday. It was attended by Benson Case staff, including Plant Manager Jason Hausauer, BHS students, and high school staff.

The $25,000 donation to BHS will go for the machining and welding classes. Case has a program through which it employs students at the high school, training them in welding and machining skills....

 

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Wed
17
May
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Hospital seeks county in-kind help with assisted living project

As Swift County-Benson Health Services tries to reduce the cost of building an assisted living/memory care facility on its campus it is looking for ways to reduce the costs of construction.

It has already reduced the price of the project to near $10 million by scaling down the size of the facility. But it is also hoping to get some help from Swift County. At the county board’s May 2 meeting, SCBHS CEO Kurt Waldbillig asked commissioners to consider providing in-kind work on site preparation this fall.

Commissioners listened to the request, but want to know more about the costs of providing the service, about potential liability, and whether helping out the hospital will interfere with other county projects that need to get done. They are also hesitant to provide services that could be done by private businesses in the county.

Wed
17
May
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County to invest $92,000 more in GIS

While Swift County personnel and departments have become active users of the Geographic Information System (GIS) pictometry data that has been collected over the past three years, the county commissioners also want the public to eventually have access to it.

The county is looking at spending another $92,000 for updated aerial pictometry photos in 2018 to give it current data. The last comprehensive photo map of the county was taken in 2015 and cost $76,000.

Through the use of pictometry, Swift County has been developing a comprehensive inventory of the land and structures that cover its 752 square miles. Starting in 2015, the county contracted to have high-resolution aerial photos taken and then entered in to a computerized geographic information system (GIS) database.

Wed
17
May
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Gail & Steve Svor selected as band festival marshals

Gail and Steve Svor are this year’s Pioneerland Band Festival grand marshals.

Steve and Gail Svor have been selected as this year’s grand marshals for the Pioneerland Band Festival set for Wednesday, June 14.

With all the road construction going on downtown Benson this spring and summer some people have been wondering how much the band festival is going to be disrupted. While there will be a lot of orange cones around, some sidewalks torn up, and street work taking place, City Manager Rob Wolfington said Monday that the construction contract specifically says that work will stop for the band festival and Kid Day.

The parade route for the band festival should be the same as in previous years. It will start on west Minnesota U.S. Highway 12 by Runnings and Do-Mat’s Family Foods, proceed east on Minnesota Avenue (U.S. 12), then turn north on 14th Street North and go to the Benson High School.

Fri
05
May
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Monday’s snow may have broken a record

Benson tied its all-time May snowfall record when at least 2.1 inches fell early Monday morning. It also snowed 2.1 inches May 3, 1954.

Officially, the city saw 2.0 inches by 7 a.m., but the snow was still falling when that measurement was taken at the city’s wastewater treatment plant by staff that provide the National Weather Service statistics. At least another tenth of an inch of snow fell after that reading.

Seeing snowflakes in May is not all that uncommon. It has happened 14 years out of the past 64 years. However, most of those years it is just a few snowflakes that briefly appear and are gone as they hit the ground. Only three times in those 64 years has snow accumulated to the point of turning the ground white – 1954, 1966 and now 2017.

What is even more rare is to see more snow fall in May than in April. This past April the area only received one-tenth of an inch of snow. Only twice now, 1954 and 2017, has May recorded more snow than April.

Fri
05
May
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Benson commits $10,000 annually toward daycare

Benson’s City Council agreed Monday night to commit up to $10,000 annually to support the daycare center for infants and toddlers being established by Benson Public Schools.

Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the council that the District 777 Board of Education voted to submit an application to the State of Minnesota requesting permission to provide daycare for 16 infants and 28 toddlers. It has also agreed to subsidize the cost of the operation by up to $10,000 annually if it experiences a loss on the operation, he said.

It is not the intent of the school board to run the daycare at a loss, Laumeyer said, but the first year of operations will have upfront capital costs for equipment that could total around $50,000. It will also have costs associated with remodeling facilities to provide for the daycare operation that it plans to locate in the basement of the Junior High School.

Wed
03
May
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NSP agrees to pay city nearly $23 million in compensation for losing power plant

Fibrominn, now Benson Power, LLC, under construction in 2006. The plant would shut in the summer of 2018 if NSP/Xcel Energy buys it from investors.

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher

Swift County Monitor-News

Monday night the Benson City Council unanimously agreed to back Northern States Power’s (NSP) efforts to buy and likely close the Benson Power, LLC, electric generation plant in exchange for compensation that could total more than $23 million.

NSP is the parent corporation of Xcel Energy.

A substantial portion of that compensation could come in the form of $20 million for economic development efforts in the city to help it replace the jobs and economic vitality it would lose if the plant were closed. There would be four payments made to the city between 2018 and 2021.

Back when it was being planned and built in the early 2000s, Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) estimated the plant would provide an annual economic boost to the area of $8 to $10 million.

Fri
28
Apr
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County hurting for STS workers

Through the years Swift County Environmental Services has used people serving time in the county’s Law Enforcement Center jail to help sort recyclables and other waste.

Working under the state’s Sentence to Service (STS) program, the inmates can work time off their jail time and earn money to pay off fines. In return, the county gets relatively cheap labor.

Offenders in the STS program can work off fines at the rate of $8 an hour for their labor and get one day off their sentence for every 16 hours worked. The fines get paid first, then the time gets reduced.

But now the recyclables are piling up and the facility is falling behind on other necessary work, Environmental Services Director Scott Collins told the county board of commissioners at their meeting April 18 due to a lack of STS workers. There hasn’t been a single STS worker at the facility so far this year, he said.

Fri
28
Apr
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County preparing for move to Lewis Drug

Swift County offices based in the courthouse will be moving to the Lewis Drug building on Atlantic Avenue downtown Benson the week of June 26-30. The move takes place ahead of a $4.5 million renovation of the courthouse that could last into early 2018.

The move will include 30 staff people working in the Swift County Land Records, Auditor, Assessor, Administrator, Emergency Management, Treasurer, Veteran Services, Extension, Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Information Technology, and Rural Development Authority’s (RDA) offices.

Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Dave Mennis and court staff will be moving to space in the basement of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center.

Fri
28
Apr
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Hospital receives $500,000 RSF grant

In what should become the first of many significant grants awarded in the community in the coming years by the Robert Sonsteng Foundation, Swift County-Benson Health Services will be receiving $500,000.

The grant, which will be given out in $50,000 increments over the next 10 years, was announced at the hospital’s governing board meeting Monday night. The grant funds will go toward the hospital’s assisted living and memory care facility with construction on the facility likely starting this summer.

Robert Sonsteng was a bachelor farmer who lived on a farm just over the Swift County line north of Benson in Pope County. He attended Benson Public Schools, and after serving in the military, returned home to farm with his brother and parents. After his parents passed away, Murien and Robert Sonsteng continued to live in the family home, neither ever having married. Upon Murien’s death, Robert Sonsteng lived on his own on the family homestead.

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