News

Fri
24
Nov
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Future of Benson Power before PUC Nov. 30; loggers sue to stop closing

 Xcel Energy’s petition to end its power purchase agreement with Benson Power, LLC, goes before the Public Utilities Commission Nov. 30.

Minnesota’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) is scheduled to meet Thursday, Nov. 30, to decide what action it will take on Xcel Energy’s proposed termination of its power purchase agreement with Benson Power, LLC.

The PUC could approve Xcel’s petition, deny it, or delay a decision. Parties unhappy with the PUC’s action, for or against, could appeal it.

The agreement requires Xcel to buy the 55 megawatts of electricity produced by the power plant, which burns a combination of turkey litter and wood chips, through 2028.

When Benson Power, known initially as Fibrominn, was constructed back in 2005, Xcel signed the 22-year power purchase agreement obligating it to buy the plant’s power. The deal helped satisfy Xcel’s requirement to buy 125 megawatts of green energy under the state’s biomass mandate. Passed as part of an agreement under which Xcel was permitted to store spent nuclear fuel at Prairie Island, the mandate has become a financial burden.

Fri
24
Nov
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Substation testing could cause a Benson outage

While the testing should go off without anyone noticing, the City of Benson wants every business owner and resident to be aware that there is a remote possibility they could suddenly lose electric power.

Thursday, Dec. 6, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is going to be testing the substation through which power flows from Benson Power, LLC, into the region’s electric grid. The City of Benson’s electricity also comes through the substation and it is tied into some Agralite Electric Cooperative customers.

The city is meeting with GRE, NERC, Agralite and Otter Tail Power at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28, to go over the testing plan.

They are testing the relay switches at the substation through which Benson Power’s 55 megawatts of power flow. The switches are designed to detect any fault currents and open the switch to protect the grid. Fault signals are sent to the substation to see if switches react.

Fri
24
Nov
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Farmers still working on corn harvest

Sunday and Monday’s warm temperatures were blown away by winds gusting to 40 mph out of the north Monday night.

Sunday’s high of 50 degrees was the first 50-degree high in November. Monday’s high of 52 degrees was the warmest November temperature. But the strong north winds had temperatures sinking to 19 degrees Tuesday morning with the high forecast to only reach 28.

During the third week in November, highs average 35 and lows 19. By the end of the month, the high average falls to 30 degrees and the low average to 14.

Minnesota farmers took advantage of the 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork and harvested 11 percent of the state’s corn acreage during the week ending November 19, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. While some farmers were putting away equipment for the season, others were harvesting, baling corn stalks, spreading fertilizer, and working on fall tillage.

Fri
24
Nov
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BHS celebrates National Honor Society induction

Pictured are members of the BHS National Honor Society.  Front row, left to right: Katelyn Tolifson, Maranda Wieber, Erin Dubbels, Courtney McNeill, Madison Wieber, Gracie Lenz, and Brenna Knutson.  Second row: Matilyn Short, Jacquelyn Hanson, Madison Gelhar, Paige Cain, Grace Lee, Abbey Hoffman, Emily Miller, Elizabeth Staton, Brooke Norby, and Sophia Curriel.  Back row: Matt Ebnet, Riley Grube, Adam Forsberg, Jonas Habben, Matt Goossen, Sam Lundebrek, Matt Connolly, Emma Heinzig, and Anna Samuelson.

The Benson High School chapter of the National Honor Society held its annual reception and induction ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the senior high cafeteria.

During the induction ceremony, 15 juniors and two seniors became the newest members of the NHS at Benson High School.  These juniors and seniors were elected for their exemplary standards of leadership, character, service, and academic performance.

The new members of the Benson High School NHS are:  seniors Grace Lee and Madisen Wieber; and juniors Gracie Lenz, Matilyn Short, Matthew Ebnet, Paige Cain, Brenna Knutson, Jacquelyn Hanson, Jonas Habben, Riley Grube, Madison Gelhar, Matthew Goossen, Anna Samuelson, Maranda Wieber, Adam Forsberg, Katelyn Tolifson (junior representative), and Sophia Curriel.

Fri
17
Nov
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Lightning protection essential to protect county courthouse

Can you guess what space this is in the Swift County courthouse? It is the gutted area that once housed the north and south courtrooms, the hallway, and judge’s chambers.  All the walls are gone now and the ceiling is opened up. But this view will soon be gone as the renovation project installs new walls and a new ceiling.

Sussner Construction, the company doing the $3.573 million renovation work at the Swift County courthouse, has recommended that it not install the lightning protection system saving the county $31,815.

However, Jonathon Loose of Wold Architects & Engineers says the county should reject that recommendation. Wold has worked with the county board on the redesign of the courthouse interior to improve its energy efficiency, safety for employees of the courts, and for its functionality in serving county residents.

“We recommend rejecting that offer being it is a critical building of a historic nature, it is taller than most other buildings around, knowing there have been lightning strikes to the building and it is a wood framed roof and attic structure,” Loose told commissioners at their Nov. 7 meeting. “We think it is a small investment to channel those potential lightning strikes down to the ground and not affect the building,” he said.

Fri
17
Nov
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Parents seek answers on poor athletic team records

Persistent losing records affect not just the school but the whole community, school board told
 

Concerned about the persistent losing records of several of Benson High School’s major varsity sports, a group of parents came to the Oct. 16 Board of Education meeting looking for answers.

They told the board of education that the losing records were having a negative impact not just on athlete and student morale, but were also having an impact on the ability of businesses to bring employees to the community.

It has been leading some parents to consider leaving the Benson area to give their children a chance to play for schools with winning programs.

Fri
17
Nov
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CVEC named Ag Innovator of 2017 by state’s AURI

Ethanol plant recognized for energy innovation and contribution to Minnesota’s rural economy
 

The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) of Benson, was named the 2017 Ag Innovator of the Year by the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI).

The award, which has been given annually for the past 15 years, will be accepted by CVEC Board Chair, David Thompson and General Manager Chad Friese at the company’s board meeting next Monday in Benson.

AURI was created and funded by the Minnesota Legislature with three primary goals in mind:

Fri
17
Nov
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BHS presents SHREK, The Musical

Grace Lee, playing the role of Fiona, wonders when, if ever, her Prince Charming will come rescue her from the  castle tower.

BHS presented SHREK, The Musical.

Pictured: Grace Lee, playing the role of Fiona, wonders when, if ever, her Prince Charming will come rescue her from the  castle tower.
 

Performances took place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the senior high gym.

 

For more on this story, 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!
 

Tue
07
Nov
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Collins, Schreck, Evenson elected to council; District 777 operating levy gets broad support

Terri Collins

Terri Collins was elected Benson’s next mayor in a landslide getting 626 votes to challenger Anita Flodstrom’s 76. Collins currently serves as a member of the city council.

Mark Schreck received the most votes in the race for two seats on the council with incumbent Jack Evenson finishing second with 450 votes.

Collins, Schreck and Evenson will be sworn into office Jan. 2.

District 777’s operating levy won decisively with 827 votes in favor and 150 votes against. In the City of Benson, the vote was 598 to 116 while among district voters not living in the city it was 229 to 34.

Residents of the city had a separate ballot since they were also voting for a major and two council members.

 

 

 

 

Benson Mayoral Race

 

Candidate         Precinct 1      Precinct 2          Total

Collins              338               288                   626

Fri
03
Nov
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Benson man surrenders after several hour standoff

Thursday evening Benson police, with support from agents of the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force and Swift County Sheriff’s deputies, attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Ryan Aust at a home on 18th Street North in Benson. Aust was wanted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

When officers entered the home, Aust barricaded himself in a locked bedroom and said he had a firearm.

Officers backed out of the residence, a report from the Benson Police Department released Friday said, and set up a perimeter around the house. A call was then made to the West Central SWAT team. It is made up of five area county and city law enforcement officers who receive additional training.

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