News

Fri
02
Dec
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New buffer maps reflect input from state’s land owners

Updated Minnesota buffer maps have been released by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as it moves to implement a law passed by the Minnesota Legislature last year.

The original maps were released last July, but have were updated to include new data and changes that have occurred with land and water use over the years. Another update is planned before the maps are finalized.

The map shows public waters and public ditches requiring permanent vegetative buffers or alternative water quality practices to help reduce nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment runoff.

The update is also based on comments and change requests from landowners and drainage authorities to ensure the map accurately shows where buffers are needed, the DNR says. The update includes 645 changes.

Fri
02
Dec
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November 2016 is on pace to become one of the warmest

Late Sunday night the temperature began a steady rise as a low pressure system moved up from the south bringing heavy rain to western Minnesota.

By shortly after 3 a.m. Monday the high had reached 48 degrees. Then it gradually fell into the upper-30s as the rain began to tapper off. But out to the west the lower pressure system was drawing down cold Canadian air to mix with another wave of moisture headed this way, turning it to snow and ice.

The relatively warm rain melted what snow was on the ground from the nearly 6 inches received Nov. 18. Most lawns were green and free of snow Monday afternoon.

So far this November the area has received 1.73 inches of precipitation. That is 51 hundreds of an inch above the average for the month of 1.22 inches. It also brings the year’s total precipitation to 30.41 inches – 3.11 inches more than the annual average for the Benson area of 27.3 inches.

Fri
02
Dec
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Rural employers stress need for providing adequate day care facilities

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part story on a joint meeting of the District 777 Board of Education and Benson City Council on areas in which the two could possibly cooperate to serve the community.
The first story dealt with the reason for the meeting as well as the financial challenges the two public bodies face. This story addresses what became the primary foc us of the discussion – the pressing need for day care facilities in not just Benson, but Swift County.

Next week the Monitor-News will report on options for day care facilities.

As they discussed common challenges in search of ways the City of Benson and the Benson Public Schools could work together, sharing financial resources, members of the two governing bodies focused in on the lack of day care available locally.

Fri
25
Nov
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School, city meet on ways they can work together

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part story on a joint meeting of the District 777 Board of Education and Benson City Council on areas in which the two could possibly cooperate to serve the community.
This first story deals with the reason for the meeting as well as the financial challenges the two public bodies face. Next week’s story will address what became the primary focus of the discussion – the pressing need for day care facilities in not just Benson, but Swift County.

By Reed Anfinson

Both faced with potentially millions of dollars in facility upgrades as well as possible new construction, the City of Benson and District 777 Board of Education last week conducted a joint meeting to see where they might work together.

Fri
25
Nov
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Benson to annex Heartland Girls’ Ranch property

Benson’s City Council moved to annex the Heartland Girls’ Ranch northeast of the city Monday night. The annexation includes the ranch’s buildings and land on the 83.44-acre site.

The annexation was requested by Heartland through a petition to the city. Heartland Girls’ Ranch is currently in Torning Township. At its meeting Monday night, the township board also approved the annexation.

It is a not-for-profit operation and currently does not pay property taxes to the township, so that it loses nothing and the city gains nothing financially with the annexation, City Manager Rob Wolfington said. The annexation is not being contested, he added.

While the land surrounds the St. Francis Catholic Cemetery on three sides, the annexation does not include the cemetery....

Fri
25
Nov
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Four candidates file for Benson council

Four people have filed for the three years remaining in the Benson City Council seat from which Jonathon Pogge-Weaver resigned last month. A special election for the seat is set for Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Mike Fugleberg, Brad Johnson, Larry D. Smith and Lucas Olson filed for the council.

Pogge-Weaver was elected to a four-year term last November, but resigned from the council in October when his partner, Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver, was hired by the City of Carroll, Iowa, as its new city manager.

The person elected to the seat will serve through Jan. 5, 2020, when a council member elected Nov. 5, 2019, will take office.

After accepting Pogge-Weaver’s resignation in October, the council named former City Council Member Sue Fitz to fill the seat until the Jan. 10 election. Fitz served on the council from 1995 to 2015 before retiring.

Fri
18
Nov
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Blizzard shuts down western Minnesota

The Benson area recorded 6 to 8 inches of slushy snow during last Friday's blizzard. As the low pressure system that brought the storm moved through Minnesota, tempeatures fell into the low teens. The heavy, wet snow was responsible for power outages in the area Friday and numerous broken branches on trees.

Fri
11
Nov
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City of Benson continues to work to reduce copper levels

Joint city-school board meeting set for Nov. 15

Over the past two years, the Minnesota Department of Health has been closely monitoring the City of Benson’s drinking water for levels of lead and copper.

While lead levels have never been a problem, copper content in the water continues to exceed levels at which the state requires corrective action. In late October, the department of health again notified the city that its copper levels were too high at 13 sites it tested in the community.

Just where those sites are is not made public under a state law that was passed back in 2004. However, law also requires that the homeowners at sites that test high for copper levels to be notified by mail or hand-delivered letter within 30 days of the test results coming back. The city must also provide information on the possible side effects of drinking water with higher levels of copper in it.

Fri
11
Nov
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$18.5 million in county highway work set for next five years with federal help

Swift County has nearly $18.5 million in roadwork planned for the next five years with one project set for next year accounting for one-third of that cost.

Swift County Highway Engineer Andy Sander presented the county board of commissioners with a five-year highway plan at their meeting Nov. 1.

The big project for 2017 is Swift County Highway 6 from Minnesota Highway 29 to Kerkhoven, which is just over 13 miles. It is a $6.8 million project with $4.5 million coming from state aid, $2.1 million from federal funds and $200,000 from municipal aid.

The roadway will be paved with concrete. Once it is paved, there will be no traffic on Swift County Road 6 for seven days as strength tests are conducted on the roadway, Sander said.

Fri
11
Nov
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Near record warmth through first week of November

Jase Messenbrink runs gleefully through a cloud of leaves tossed by his grandmother Susan Casey.  He is the son of Lindsey Erickson and Jake Messenbrink of Benson. Jim Maus watches with a smile.

Western Minnesota enjoyed a glorious first week of November with well above average temperatures and sunny skies dominating.

For the first times since weather records started being kept for the City of Benson in 1952, three consecutive days of temperatures reaching 70 degrees or higher were recorded in November.

When the high hit 73 degrees Friday it tied the record high for Nov. 4 set back in 1975. The high reached 72 degrees both Nov. 5 and Nov. 6, but both highs fell short of the records, which were 76 degrees in 1975 and 75 degrees in 2001 respectively.

Through the first seven days of November high temperatures averaged 66.4 degrees. That was 20.3 degrees above the average high for the first week of the month of 46.1 degrees and the highest average in city records. Lows averaged 37.4 degrees, which was 9.7 degrees above the average of 27.7 degrees.

There hasn’t been a temperature below 32 degrees since Oct. 24.

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