News

Wed
28
Oct
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County approves $150,000 in CARES business grants

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners approved $150,000 in loans for 30 businesses through its CARES Act funds at its meeting Oct. 20. Those 30 businesses were eligible for up to $5,000 each. The county board anticipates that it could be approving another group of business loans at its Nov. 3 meeting.

In all, Swift County set aside $250,000 from the $1,221,134 it received in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund and Economic Assistance (CARES) Act funds for small businesses. The funds were allocated to its Rural Development Authority (RDA,) which reviewed applications and then made recommendations to the county board on who was to get funding.

Wed
28
Oct
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SCBHS is seeing fewer positive COVID-19 tests

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

SCBHS saw its all-time high of testing with 100 to 125 administered over a two-week period back in early September, Co-Administrator and Chief Nursing Office Melissa McGinty-Thompson told the Swift County-Benson Health Services (SCBHS) governing board at its meeting Monday night.

There was a big spike in people getting tested back then, however, with SCBHS seeing a 34.7 percent positive rate, which was pretty significant at the time, McGinty-Thompson said.

Now even while COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing in western Minnesota, with Swift County also seeing a steep increase, the positivity rate has dropped 8.5 percent of the tests...

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
28
Oct
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Record cold, snow dominate October

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

October 2020 will go in the record books for both cold and snow, even though there are still three days left in the month. Already more than a dozen cold temperature records have been broken this month.

The 7.0 inches of wet snow that fell Oct. 20 broke the month’s record snowfall by itself. That previous record snowfall came during the Halloween Blizzard of 1991, which brought 6.6 inches of snow to the Benson area.

Another one inch of dry snow fell Sunday, bringing the month’s total to 8 inches. Since daily local records started being kept in 1953, there have only been four years now with more than 4 inches of snow in October. Only 10 Octobers since 1953 have seen more than 2 inches of snow. Most Octobers see no snow at all or just a trace.

In the past week, the National Weather Service issued two Winter Storm Watches. Winter is officially 55 days away.

Wed
21
Oct
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James A. Johnson, political, financial power, dies at 76

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

James A. Johnson, a 1961 Benson High School graduate who rose to the pinnacle of political and financial power in Washington, died Sunday morning at his D.C. home.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Heather Muir Johnson, a managing director at Deutsche Bank in New York. He is also survived by his son Alfred Isaacs Johnson, his wife Emily, and their son Ray Arthur Johnson. Alfred Johnson is his son from his marriage to Maxine Isaacs. Isaacs was Mondale’s press secretary when he was vice president. He is also survived by his sister Marilyn Johnson LaMourea and her husband, Andre, of Duluth.

When it is safe to conduct an in-person memorial for Johnson, the Kennedy Center has offered to host it. In the meantime, the family is planning a virtual memorial for friends and family...

 

Wed
21
Oct
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Benson to hire CEDA for economic development

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson’s City Council voted unanimously Monday night to go with the non-profit Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) of Chatfield to coordinate its fulltime economic development efforts.

CEDA Senior Vice President Cris Gastner and Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Joya Stetson spent the day in Benson Monday. They toured the community, met with the Benson Economic Development Authority, and the Benson Industrial Development Corporation prior to the council meeting.

More than 50 communities in Minnesota are now using CEDA for their economic development efforts including Montevideo. Most of the communities are in the southeastern part of the state, but CEDA’s services have been expanding over 30 years. They now extend assistance to communities in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota...

 

Wed
21
Oct
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Benson, KMS at impasse on sports collaboration

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

While there is a desire to continue the high school sports cooperative built over the past more than three decades with Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Schools, District 777’s Board of Education says a more equitable sharing of expenses is required.
Benson and KMS boys and girls’ sports pair in tennis, track, and cross country. They also pair in gymnastics.

Representatives of the Benson and KMS school districts have been meeting to try reach an agreement that would facilitate continuing with the cooperative sports agreement. However, so far, the two sides appear significantly at odds over what a fair sharing of expenses would involve. Those differences now threaten the future of the cooperative agreement.

At the heart of the differences, is the Benson Public School’s request that KMS begin picking up some of the long-term maintenance costs of facilities in Benson...

 

Wed
21
Oct
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City to pursue taking down elevator

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Benson will seek legal and engineering advice on how to best proceed with the demolition of the large concrete unused grain elevator at the western edge of its downtown.

“We need to do something to get rid of that elevator,” Council Member Jack Evenson said at Monday night’s Benson City Council meeting. The city can’t wait until someone falls off the building, intentionally or accidently, to take it down.

Graffiti on the metal structure at the top of the elevator is a sign that people have made it to the top of the building despite the city’s effort to secure the structure. This past week, the Benson Police Department and a teacher from Benson High School helped talk a young person off the edge of the top of the building...

 

Wed
14
Oct
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Swift County hires Laura Ostlie as new RDA director

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Laura Ostlie has been hired as the new Swift County Rural Development Authority executive director.

Ostlie has been employed as a community development specialist with the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (RDC). She started with the RDC as a loan officer for its revolving loan fund in 2015.

“She brings experience in grant writing, administering grants, collaborating with economic development partners at the state and local levels,” Administrator Kelsey Baker said of Ostlie. Based in Appleton, the RDC provides services to local units of government from townships to cities, to counties in Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Big Stone and Yellow Medicine counties...

Wed
14
Oct
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New tobacco ordinance has stiffer penalties

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Penalties for vendors violating Swift County’s new tobacco ordinance will go up substantially under a new ordinance approved by the board of commissioners Oct. 6.

Swift County’s ordinance will govern tobacco sales in Appleton, DeGraff, Clontarf, Swift Falls, Holloway, and the county’s rural areas. Murdock, Benson, and Danvers have their own ordinances, which take precedence over the county law.

In May, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law raising the legal age for buying tobacco products to 21. Its action came five months after Congress passed a law raising the legal age signed by President Trump. The federal law made it illegal for retailers to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. It included products for e-cigarettes...

Wed
14
Oct
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City takes next step to demo Armory

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With a unanimous vote at its Oct. 5 meeting, the Benson City Council agreed to move ahead with the demolition of the Armory building.

At the meeting, it accepted the project demolition documents submitted by Widseth, an engineering and architectural firm out of Alexandria.

Based on the current schedule, there would be a pre-demolition meeting Jan. 23 with bids for the demolition taken in March. The demolition would take place in May. The city has already submitted its application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for work that would affect traffic on joint Minnesota Highway 29 and U.S. Highway 12. The highway is on the west side of the Armory...

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