News

Wed
07
Jul
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Rains ease drought conditions

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Through the first 26 days of June only 6 tenths of an inch of rain fell. The month was well on its way to being the driest on record. Then the area saw 2.21 inches of rain fall June 27-28.

Tuesday brought more rain as storms rumbled through in the early morning hours dropping as much as an inch or more in some areas. More rain was forecast throughout the day Tuesday as well as for Thursday and Friday. July averages 3.69 inches of rain.

The driest June on record was 1973 when only 65 hundredths of an inch of rain fell. June 1959 saw only 73 hundredths of an inch of rain and is the second driest on record...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, 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!

Wed
07
Jul
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City of Benson considering going to even year elections starting in 2022

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Since 1965, City of Benson elections for the council and mayor have taken place in odd numbered years. That has often meant low turnout since few other, if any, candidates or issues were on the ballot.

General elections for president, governor, members of U.S. Congress, members of the Minnesota Legislature, and constitutional amendments are all conducted in even numbered years. These elections, particularly the presidential elections every four years, draw large numbers of local citizens to the polls.

Being out of sync with the general election of other offices has also meant additional cost in programming voting machines and hiring election judges.

Now the Benson City Council is looking at moving its election day to align with national and state elections...

 

Wed
07
Jul
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Lake Hazel church celebrates 150 years

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Editor’s note: Richard Gomer, a member of Lake Hazel Lutheran Church, wrote the first part of this story on the celebration that took place June 27.

What a perfect morning for going to church in the country! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the setting was ideal.

The congregation was founded in 1871, making this year its 150th anniversary. After 96 years of serving this rural community north of Benson, it was closed in 1967. Every year since then a reunion service has been held each summer...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, 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!

Wed
30
Jun
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90th annual Kid Day set for July 15-18

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

After taking a year off in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Benson community is set to celebrate its 90th annual Kid Day, Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18 with a number of activities also taking place in the days leading up to Kid Day weekend.  The theme of this year’s Kid Day is “Hometown Fun” and the featured event of Kid Day, the Kid Day Parade, is set for 10 a.m., Saturday, July 17.

•  The Kid Day Medallion Hunt is set to begin Monday, July 12 and continue each day through Friday, July 16, or until the Medallion is found.  The clues will be available daily on the front door of the Library, on KSCR from 7-9 a.m. each day, and on the Benson Kid Day Facebook page.  The top prize for the youth who finds the Kid Day Medallion is $100.

Wed
30
Jun
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COVID-19 cases plummet in western Minnesota

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County hasn’t seen a new COVID-19 case since June 10 and has only recorded four cases in June. That is significant improvement from the 38 cases in May and the 88 in April. And it is a long way from the dark days of the pandemic when the county registered 368 cases in November.

Stevens County has seen just one COVID-19 case in June, Big Stone County two cases, Pope County four cases and Chippewa County four cases.

While these numbers are encouraging, the vaccination rates of rural Minnesota counties doesn’t hold as encouraging news.

“Looking back to April, there has been a continual decline in positive tests,” SCBHS Co-CEO and Chief Nursing Officer Melissa McGinty-Thompson told the facility’s governing board at its meeting Monday night. “That is very exciting for us. There have been two weeks without a positive test...”

 

Wed
23
Jun
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COVID-19 cases fall dramatically in area

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Three weeks into June and Swift County has only seen three cases of COVID-19 confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health. There hasn’t been a new case since June 9.

Stevens County hasn’t seen a new case of COVID-19 since May 30. Pope County has registered four new cases in June and Big Stone County just one. Chippewa County has seen only four cases in June and Lac qui Parle zero.

After seeing 1,560 cases in November and 1,073 in December, Countryside Public Health’s five counties have seen a total of 12 cases in June. Swift, Chippewa, Big Stone, Lac qui Parle, and Yellow Medicine counties are part of Countryside...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, 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!

Wed
23
Jun
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Refinancing of Federated bonds moves forward

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County Commission Chair Joe Fox and Administrator Kelsey Baker were authorized to lock in the interest rate for the refinancing of the 2016 tax abatement bonds sold for Federated Telephone’s broadband project.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the “parameter resolution” was presented to the county board. It is called a parameter resolution because it gives Fox and Baker some leeway on when to sign the agreement.

There are a few restrictions, however, George Eilertson of Northland Securities of Minneapolis told commissioners. To lock in the interest rate, the principal amount of the bonds can’t exceed $6.15 million, he said. It also says that the savings on the refinancing county must be at least a net 3%...

Wed
23
Jun
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Expanding street project means taking out trees

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Taking down mature trees is always a controversial call unless they pose a direct safety threat.

Despite knowing they would get some input on the decision, the Benson City Council Monday night agreed that 11 ash trees on the boulevard should come down as part of a larger project.

Meeting at the same time as the council, the District 777 Board of Education also agreed to go along with the expanded project...

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, 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!

Wed
16
Jun
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June’s heat sets records as drought deepens in Minnesota

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

For eight straight days, from June 3 to June 10, the Benson area saw temperatures range from 91 to over 100 degrees.

It was the second longest stretch of days over 90 degrees in June on record for the area. Benson’s daily weather records go back to 1952.

In 1976, there were nine straight days of temperatures of 90 degrees or higher, stretching from June 5 to June 13 that year.

Benson’s string of 90-plus days ended June 11 when the high only hit 81 degrees Thursday, June 1o.  During the stretch as the sun baked the parched ground three record high temperatures were broken and three record high low temperatures were tied or broken. Highs during the eight days averaged 96 degrees and lows 66 degrees...

 

Wed
16
Jun
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COVID-19 cases drop dramatically in Swift County

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County has seen only three new cases of COVID-19 through the first two weeks of June, based on Monday’s Minnesota Department of Health report. Stevens County has not added a case of COVID-19 so far in June. Big Stone County has had one case in June. Pope and Chippewa counties three.

Outdoor activities, a rising percentage of people who are vaccinated and immunity conveyed to those who have had COVID-19 but not been vaccinated are likely the reasons for the new cases of the deadly disease at a near standstill.

As of Monday, 1,069, or 9.4%, of the county’s population had been confirmed to have contracted the disease. However, it is estimated that the real number of cases is as many as three times the number of confirmed cases. There have been 18 deaths in Swift County attributed to COVID-19. The last death was back on Jan. 16...

 

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