News

Wed
15
May
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County appoints Community Perspective Committee

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With the naming of 10 Swift County residents to the newly formed Community Perspective Committee, May 7 the county board has taken the next step in deciding how the county should address its building needs is underway.

The committee is scheduled to conduct its first meeting May 20 where it will get an overview of the project ahead of them, get an introduction the people working on plans for a new justice center, and elect a chair who will communicate its progress to the board of commissioners.

Commissioners created the committee at their April 2 meeting in response to persistent public expression at their meetings in opposition to the proposed $17.5 million justice center. Citizen ire had been raised when the county board voted 3-2 to proceed with a $162,000 study of a justice center schematic design to get a more detailed design and cost for the project...

Wed
15
May
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School board looks at new gymnastics option

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

At a special meeting Monday morning, the District 777 Board of Education agreed to consider an agreement with the Benson Civic Center Board that could lead to the gymnastics program having a larger place to practice and perform in for the next five years.

Board Chair Brian Samuelson proposed that the civic center board consider a five-year lease from the school board for use of the north end of the Benson Civic Center. During that time, the school board would be able to see how the costs of its $26.3 million building project came in over the next couple years.

If there were substantial savings over the projected costs, some of those savings might be able to go toward a new gymnastics area while also reducing the costs of a levy for $2.1 million in heating, cooling, and air conditioning improvements needed at the Senior High School.

Wed
15
May
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School project bids for first phase come in low

Benson’s Junior High School’s 1928 auditorium will be torn down this summer. Bids for the first phase of a $28.6 school building project came in more than $360,000 below budget.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Bids for the first major phase on the Benson High School work has come in substantially lower than budgeted.

The budget estimate for the work was $1,874,000, but the bids came in at $1,512,077, $361,923 lower.

“Considering the bid climate, I am very happy with this,” Construction Manager Ryan Breitbach of Breitbach Construction Co., of Elrosa, told the school board during a special meeting Monday morning. “It is a good start.”

Among the bids was the demolition of the Junior High School Auditorium and the attached band room. That work will likely start in June in hopes that the work will be done before school starts in mid-August.

Five contractors expressed interest in the demolition portion of the project, but in the end only one ended up bidding it, Breitbach said...

Wed
15
May
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CNH, Ridgewater partner to train welders to meet area job demand

Welding students spent four weekends at CNH learning welding methods and safety.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just over a month ago a group of people looking to learn a new skill and improve their chances to earn a good income began taking welding classes at CNH in Benson. Sunday they graduated after having their skills and knowledge tested.

The welding course was sponsored by CNH and Ridgewater College in Willmar. It was free to people from 18 years old and up. It was training that could lead some of the participants to a starting pay of $21.62 an hour along with full benefits.

It was also sponsored through the Swift County Rural Development Authority with a grant from the Blandin Foundation. Basically, the only thing students had to provide was steel-toed boots.

Wed
08
May
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Spring Concert

From left to right Jonas Habben, Taylor Duncan, Devon Liles, and Kyle Reese perform “Lydia, The Tatooed Lady” during the Spring Concert, Monday night in the senior high gym.  The Junior High concert took place at 5 p.m. followed by the 9th-12th grade concert at 7 p.m.  More pictures next week.

From left to right Jonas Habben, Taylor Duncan, Devon Liles, and Kyle Reese perform “Lydia, The Tatooed Lady” during the Spring Concert, Monday night in the senior high gym.  The Junior High concert took place at 5 p.m. followed by the 9th-12th grade concert at 7 p.m.  More pictures next week.

For more stories like this, and to keep up on all the latest 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!

Wed
08
May
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School board reduces potential HVAC levy to $2.2-$2.5 million

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Almost since the $26.3 million building levy referendum passed last August the District 777 Board of Education has been struggling with figuring out just how it can create enough space within the funds to address HVAC needs not included in the levy.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning were not included in the levy, but represents more than $5 million in potential work at the senior high school.

Some of the work is needed to replace systems and equipment that are more than 50 years old. Some of it is needed to ensure the comfort and health of students. And other work should be done as new construction takes place or the school district would be faced with tearing into newly remodeled spaces when it does eventually get to the work.

Wed
08
May
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For 40 years Sheryl Madden has served the same bank’s customers

Barely a year out of Benson High School, Riverwood Bank Branch Manager Sheryl Madden started her banking career.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Next Tuesday RiverWood Bank in Benson will be honoring its Benson Branch Manager Sheryl Madden for her 40 years of dedication to the company.

An open house is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. at the bank.

“When you think about it, how many people could actually work for the same company in the same place?” Riverwood Branch President Doug Ehlers said of Madden. “She’s a peach. There just aren’t a whole lot of people like her around,” he said of her dedication to her job and her community through the years. “They don’t make them anymore.”

After graduating from Benson High School in 1978, Madden went to Alexandria Vocational Technical College to study business office management. The courses were a continuation of what she had been studying in high school, she said...

Wed
08
May
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Small town theaters face bleak future without help

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

At its late April meeting, the Benson Economic Development Commission (EDA) approved a $5,000 loan for Tim Kletscher, owner of the DeMarce Theatre, for operating and other expenses.

The loan will be combined with a $3,000 EDA note balance on an earlier loan, bringing the total to $8,000. The note is to be financed over five years at a 4 percent interest rate.

At the meeting, Kletscher told the EDA that he has put $4,500 of his own income earned as a Benson elementary school teacher into the business recently. Further, his tax return will be going to pay bills at the theatre. Meanwhile, he is taking nothing out of the business...

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
01
May
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Player piano again making the music admirers can sing to

Steve Misener explains the insides of a player piano.

When Francis and Doris Halvorson donated their Farrand player piano to the Swift County Historical Society & Museum, it looked fine on the outside, but its playing mechanism had stopped working.

Hoping to hear it once again playing songs for people to sing along with, the staff and board at the museum contacted well-known piano and player piano restoration expert Steve Misener of Stockholm, S.D.  Saturday afternoon a small crowd gathered at the museum to hear the results of Misener’s work, for which $5,000 was raised.

“I came, I took it apart, and I left,” Misener told the expectant crowd. “And, one more thing, you wrote me a check. I took the money and the piano and I left – with a promise of coming back. It was a promise I gave and a promise I kept.”...

Wed
01
May
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Free trade is crucial to America ag

CNH Plant Manager Jason Hausauer explains why North American free trade is so important to his company. He was speaking to Angela Marshall Hofmann and Carrie Clark Phillips of Farmers for Free Trade, an organization traveling the country to promote the United States Mexico Canada Agreement. They are joined by Minnesota Farm Bureau Board Member and area farmer Nathan Collins.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As the summer nears America’s farmers, manufacturers of agricultural equipment and commodity groups are urging Congress to sign the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

It is essential to the health of the American farm economy and the country, they say.

To gather congressional support for the USMCA a group called the Farmers for Free Trade has been traveling the country raising awareness of its importance. Last Friday they stopped in Benson.

Farmers for Free Trade says it is a bipartisan coalition supported by agriculture commodity groups from across the agricultural industry. Its tour is meant to highlight American farmers’ reliance on trade with Canada and Mexico, which they say “supports millions of jobs and nearly $40 billion in American exports each year.”

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