News

Fri
04
May
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Benson Power suppliers still hoping for help

While a bill in the Minnesota Legislature to provide financial compensation to fuel suppliers and haulers of Benson Power, LLC, has made it through committee hearings and now awaits approval on the Senate floor, a similar bill in the House is making little headway.

Sponsored by District 17 Sen. Andrew Lang, R-Olivia, the Senate bill sets aside $40 million for companies that have invested in supplying the Benson-based biomass power plant with turkey litter and wood chips.

However, after introduction by Rep. Tim Miller, District 17A-Prinsburg, March 21 the House version of the bill has failed to get a hearing. There was an informational meeting in the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee Monday, but no action was taken on the bill.

Fri
20
Apr
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Bensons looks to annex 240 acres of Torning Township

The City of Benson has reached a preliminary agreement with Torning Township for the annexation of 240 acres of land south of town and on the east side of Minnesota Highway 29.

While discussions have taken place with Torning Township about the annexation, its board has yet to approve the agreement. It could be taking action in the next two weeks.

The land, owned by Alyn and Diane Sylte, has been discussed for the site of a cheese plant should that economic development project become a reality. There has been no word from any sources on whether or not the cheese plant is being discussed for the area. However, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic development has been working with an entity that is looking for a site for a cheese plant in the state.

Fri
20
Apr
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Conferences give Benson business development leads

For the past eight years representatives of the City of Benson have attended the annul International Biomass Conference & Expo conducted at cities around the United States. This year the conference is in Atlanta.

Benson’s council saw attending the event, where it shared a booth with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), as a way to potentially capitalize on the Benson Power, LLC, biomass electric generation plant through attracting additional biomass industries to the community.

However, with Benson Power now shutting down and the possibility of a cheese plant coming to the community, City Manager Rob Wolfington suggested that the city instead focus its efforts on attending this year’s American Dairy Products Institute and American Butter Institute’s 2018 Annual Conference April 29 to May 1 in Chicago.

Fri
20
Apr
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First half of April coldest on record

Benson plows were clearing city streets Sunday.
With more than 7 inches of snow and ice over the weekend, and 17 inches of snow this month, Benson High School spring sports are on hold.

For a while Friday evening it appeared the area had missed the big snowfall that was predicted to come with the weekend blizzard. After some freezing rain, ice pellets and snow late Friday afternoon the precipitation stopped. But the spring snowstorm was just getting started.

“A significant winter storm will develop this afternoon and continue through Saturday night. All precipitation types, strong winds, and blizzard conditions will occur in this winter storm,” the National Weather Service forecast.  “A Blizzard Warning is in effect tonight through Saturday evening for west central and south central Minnesota.”

The NWS forecast was showing a 75 percent of the area getting between 9 to 11 inches of snow.

Though Friday night’s accumulation was small, Saturday it snowed all day with the Benson area getting close to 7 inches. However, the area missed the worst of the storm as it slid south.

Fri
20
Apr
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Jazz n’ Stuff Concert

Pictured are members of the Jazz I group, which closed out the Jazz n’ Stuff concert with five selections.

Pictured are members of the Jazz I group, which closed out the Jazz n’ Stuff concert with five selections.  Also performing during the concert last Monday night in the senior high gym were the senior and junior high percussion ensembles, and the Jazz II group. The next concert scheduled for BHS is the 5th-6th grade music program, Friday, May 4.

 

For more great photos from the concert, pick up a copy of the April 18, 2018 edition of the Swift County Monitor-News.

To keep up on all the latest in area 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
13
Apr
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Construction of Scandi Haven Village now underway

Dan Enderson, Kory Johnson, Ben Wilcox, Terri Collins, Jerry Peterson, Ron Laycock, Kurt Waldbillig, Donna Force, Tom Anderson, Marlys Boone, Mark Frank, and Bob Hoberg help break ground for Scandi Haven Village last Wednesday. They represented hospital staff, board of governors, the City of Benson, Scofield Place, and the Sonsteng Foundation.

Assisted living-memory care facility already has more people interested than beds available

Ground was broken last Wednesday afternoon for Scandi Haven Village, a 46-unit assisted living facility with 18 units dedicated to memory care. It will be constructed south of Scofield Place and east of Swift County-Benson Health Services. All three will be connected.

SCBHS CEO Kurt Waldbillig and Foundation President Jerry Peterson addressed a crowd gathered in Scofield Place thanking those who played a key role in making Scandi Haven Village a reality.

Fri
13
Apr
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County offices to open in courthouse Monday, April 23

Swift County employees will start moving back into the remodeled courthouse Sunday, April 22, with offices open to the public starting Monday, April 23.

The county asks for patience from the public considering everything might not go smoothly as the transition from the downtown temporary offices to the courthouse takes place, Administrator Kelsey Baker said. All the computers staff uses to access data won’t be set up by 8 a.m. Monday, April 23, she said. It might also take a little longer to answer the phone as staff works to get setup.

The move will include the 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.

Fri
13
Apr
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First week of April was coldest on record

Two record lows set
 

“Skating on April ice.” The proverb is a warning to people that their actions could lead to bad consequences. If our recent weather keeps up, the phrase just might have to substitute May for April.

This past week we have seen temperatures low enough for ice to thicken on area lakes. Two record lows were set last week.

When the temperature fell to zero Wednesday morning, it shattered the previous low temperature record for April 4 of 6 degrees above zero set in 1995. It also became the latest in the spring that the area has seen a zero degree reading. The previous latest date was April 1.

It was also the lowest temperature the area has seen since it fell to a minus 2 degrees March 2. The zero-degree low April 4 was 29 degrees below the average. There were reports in the area of temperatures that fell to a minus 3 degrees.

Fri
13
Apr
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County looks at building multi-facility office space

Built in 1984-85, the Swift County Law Enforcement Center and Jail closely matches the historic courthouse. The LEC would be torn down with a two-story, 35,000-square-foot building replacing it.
An architect’s drawing of how the new facility would be placed.

Jail, sheriff, county attorney, 6W Corrections, human services under one roof

If the Swift County Board of Commissioners goes ahead with building a new multi-agency building on the west side of the courthouse, there are several ways in which it can pay for it. All of its options call for selling bonds that would be paid for by taxpayers.

Last week commissioners voted 4-1 to retain Wold Architects & Engineers of St. Paul to conduct a $20,000 study to develop a more detailed layout, design and cost analysis for building.

It would be a two-story, 35,000-square-foot building, housing a new 25-bed jail, the sheriff’s office, human services, 6W Community Corrections, the county attorney, and the Restorative Practices program. It is estimated that the new building would cost $15.6 million.

Fri
06
Apr
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Path is cleared for Xcel to purchase Benson Power

Two potential roadblocks to Xcel Energy purchasing Benson Power, LLC, were overcome in the past week clearing the way for its eventual shutdown.

A Cass County lawsuit brought by the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota seeking a temporary injunction on the closure of Benson Power was dismissed. Second, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission published its order allowing Xcel to end the power purchase agreement with Benson Power, buy the plant, and close it.

Loggers and truckers had filed for the injunction stating that Xcel Energy knew that biomass was a more expensive source of power than other sources when it signed the contract to buy about 125 megawatts of green power in exchange for storing nuclear waste casks on Prairie Island. The “biomass mandate” deal was reached with the Legislature in 1994 and amended in 1996.

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