News

Fri
16
Mar
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Students airlifted after horrific crash involving van and semi, Monday

The Swift County Sheriff says there are no fatalities “as of right now” in a crash involving a school van and a semi in western Minnesota. The Swift County Sheriff’s Office says seven students and a van driver were injured in the crash at the intersection of 30th Street NW and 130th Avenue NW, about 12 miles south of Hancock.

Swift County Sheriff John Holtz said in a news conference Monday night that the Hancock Public School transport van was headed southbound and the semi was headed eastbound when they collided in a “T-bone-style crash.” He said the van may have had a yield sign, and the semi did not have a stop sign. “As of right now, there are no fatalities,” he said just before 9 p.m. Monday.

Fri
16
Mar
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Mental health drop-in site sought for county residents

Trudy and Jim are two friendly people you might run across in the community without knowing they both suffer from depression.

Rather than hide away from society as they fight the affliction, both have stepped into the public spotlight to raise awareness of a condition the affects the lives of many in the area as they seek to reduce the stigma of the diagnosis.

Both were at a recent meeting of the Swift County Board of Commissioners to tell their stories and seek county backing for a drop-in center in Benson. It would provide a safe place for people to come together to socialize where it is free, and they are free to join in and socialize, Leanna Larson, a social worker with Swift County Human Services, told commissioners.

It would be a place “where you are not going to feel judged or on the spot,” she said.

Wed
14
Mar
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Crash Involving Van/Semi Monday - UPDATE

On March 12, 2018 at 3:42 pm Swift County Sheriff office received a 911 call of a two vehicle crash at County Road 20 and County Road 63 NW, Danvers, MN.  While responding, deputies were notified that it was a crash involving a van carrying school children and a semi-truck.  The Sheriff’s Office also paged out for Appleton Ambulance & Fire, Benson Ambulance & Fire, Stevens County Medical Ambulances, Danvers First Responders and Fire, and Holloway First Responders.  MN State Patrol, Benson and Appleton police departments also responded.  Arriving at the scene, responders found there was an adult driver of the van and seven school children along with one semi-truck driver.   Fire and Ambulances transported parties involved to the Swift County-Benson Hospital and the Appleton Hospital.  Life Link also responded to the scene to assist with transports.  The incident is still under investigation by the Swift County Sheriff’s department and the MN State Patrol.

Fri
09
Mar
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The March ‘Lion’ shows up with a winter storm; closed schools

Minnesota was hit by a major winter storm Monday and into Tuesday, giving the area another big dose of snow.  Schools throughout the state were called off Monday and most also had a late start, Tuesday.

“In like a lion, out like a lamb.” It is one of the most well known of weather proverbs. We can only hope the adage is true.

Monday schools closed throughout much of Minnesota as a winter storm moved across the state. It started with rain and sleet late Sunday. Rains, sleet and snow hit the area Monday, creating treacherous driving conditions.

March started with the first two days seeing the low fall to a minus 2 degrees bringing the total number of below zero days this winter season to 41. That is more than both the past two winter seasons combined. There were only 21 in the winter of 2016-17 and just 14 in the winter of 2015-16. Our 41 days of Arctic cold this winter is seven more than the average of 34.

Neither March 2016 nor March 2017 saw a below zero day. But frigid temperatures in March are not uncommon as winter can linger. The Benson area has seen the temperature fall below zero all the way up to March 31 when it fell to a minus 3 degrees in 1969.

Fri
09
Mar
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Andy Jaeger sentenced on felony swindle charge

Andy Lynn Jaeger, 52, Benson, pled guilty to felony theft by swindle and was sentenced in Swift County 8th Judicial District Court Feb. 28 to 21 months at the state prison in St. Cloud.

He was also sentenced to 75 days in Swift County Jail and ordered to pay $63,361 in restitution to those from whom he swindled.

The sentence to prison in St. Cloud was stayed for 20 years on the following conditions:

Fri
09
Mar
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School plan aims to measure program performance

At its meeting Feb. 20, the District 777 Board of Education adopted a plan it hopes will establish a process for evaluating the performance of its arts and activities program.

It hopes the plan will give it a way to set expectations and hold those responsible for meeting those expectations accountable. It also would be a way for the district to ask what more it needs to do to help its coaches and advisors become more successful.

In 2016, the board of education authorized moving with developing a strategic plan, for its arts and activities program, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said. Activities Director Shannon Schmidt has been working with him since last November to work on the plan to reexamine the district’s efforts to improve activities and athletics.

Fri
02
Mar
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Group looks for ways to make BHS sports more competitive

Sticky notes stating good things about BHS and its challenges were sorted into categories at a Feb. 19 meeting attended by parents, grandparents, coaches, teachers, and interested District 777 residents. The primary objective of the meeting was to look for ways to improve the competitiveness of the high school’s athletic programs.

A group of 45 Benson Public Schools residents attended a two-and-a-half hour meeting Feb. 19 hoping to find solutions for improving the performance of athletic programs that have been struggling for years now.

It’s not all about winning, those at the meeting agreed, but Benson High School sports must become at least competitive in its sports. For that to happen, tthere has to be accountability from what is seen as the pyramid of authority.

It starts with citizens who are the voters. Then goes to their elected representatives on the board of education – Chair Chad Payne, Gary Williams, Bill McGeary, Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Mary Langan, Tammy Gunlogson, and Paul Carruth.  They want leadership from Supt. Dennis Laumeyer, who answers to the school board. From there it goes to the activities director and the coaches.

Fri
02
Mar
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School board reviews its safety, security measures

Locked facilities during the day, school police officer, awareness of potential problems keys

With each school shooting that happens in America, thousands of schools around the nation reexamine their active shooter drills and facility security. Benson Public Schools is no exception.

Following the killing of 14 students and three faculty Feb. 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida, District 777 Board of Education chair Chad Payne called Supt. Dennis Laumeyer.

“I don’t think either one of us slept much that night,” he told fellow school board members at their Feb. 20 regular meeting. Payne said he was looking for an update on where Benson Public Schools were as far as student safety and security.

“It isn’t right,” he said of the murder of the school children, choking up as made the statement.

Fri
02
Mar
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Financing signed for assisted living - memory care facility

With United States Department of Agriculture economic development assistance in hand, Swift County-Benson Health Services signed the financing deal with Bremer Bank of Willmar Friday that will fund construction of a new assisted living-memory care facility.

Bremer is lending $7.352 million toward a project with a total cost around $10 million. A $750,000 loan from the Sonsteng Foundation to SCBHS is helping with the project financing. The Sonsteng Foundation had also committed earlier to making a $50,000 annual donation to SCBHS for 10 years.

The SCBHS Foundation has committed around $300,000 toward the project. Past and future cash contributions from SCBHS are also counted as part of the financing package.

The financing leads the way to construction getting underway on a 46-unit assisted living facility of which 18 units will be dedicated to memory care. It is being constructed adjacent to the south side of Scofield Place and east of the SCBHS....

 

Fri
23
Feb
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Swift County GIS data is now available to the public

Swift County’s Geographic Information System (GIS) pictometry data is now on the county’s website and available to the public.

At their Feb. 6 meeting, the Swift County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to “go live” with the public-facing GIS interactive map the county has compiled.

Over the past three years, Swift County has been using aerial pictometry photos to develop a comprehensive inventory of the land and structures that cover its 752 square miles.

The high-resolution aerial photos have entered in to a computerized geographic information system (GIS) database and overlaid with a vast amount of data.

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