News

Wed
08
Jan
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County can’t pay for Thielke fire out of sheriff’s budget

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners can’t take funds from the sheriff’s budget to pay for a fire call bill due the City of Appleton. That is the opinion of Swift County Attorney Danielle Olson.

 “As you are aware that the sheriff issued a statement on the funds being taken out of his account and I issued what I would consider a legal opinion on that. The payment can’t come out of the sheriff’s fund without his approval,” Olson told commissioners at their meeting Dec. 31.

Based on state law governing county operations, Olson recommended that the county put the funds back into the sheriff’s budget. “The funds were taken out of his budget without his authority and without even discussing it with him, she said...

 

Wed
08
Jan
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Gymnastics facility to be built east of football field

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new gymnastics facility on a site at the Benson High School.

Last month, the District 777 Board of Education voted unanimously to build a new facility for the Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg gymnasts sometime in late 2020 or early 2021. The board voted to go to voters for a levy of up to $1.5 million for the construction project April 14...

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!

Thu
02
Jan
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DU, DNR is acquiring land, water around Lake John

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Through the Minnesota Ducks Unlimited organization two wetland parcels in are being purchased and will then be donated to the Department of Natural Resources.

Representatives of Ducks Unlimited and the DNR explained the purchases at the Swift County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Dec. 17.

The first parcel covers 71.65 acres to the north and east of Lake Johnson (Lake John) north of Benson on Minnesota Highway 29. Part of the purchase also includes the north half of the slough area to the east of Lake John on the south side of Highway 29. The purchase will connect with the Henry X State Wildlife Management Area...

 

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!

Thu
02
Jan
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County still considering GROW building as new Prairie 5 space

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Bids have been received for the renovation of the GROW building in downtown Benson, however, before work takes place there is the question of who will own the building yet to be resolved.

It has been proposed that the former Clark’s Rexall and Lewis Drug building on Atlantic Avenue be the new home for Prairie 5 Community Action’s food shelf and clothing facility. Before it would move in, a good deal of remodeling work is needed. Just who will pay for that work depends on who the owner of the building is when the work is done.

If a government entity owns it, the building is not eligible for the Small Cities Development Program grant funds the City of Benson has available.

Thu
02
Jan
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City is now the owner of the Benson Power site

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

As of Dec. 19, the City of Benson is the owner of the former Benson Power (Fibrominn) site.

It paid $1,304,712 for the 77-acre site, which also includes the large fuel hall building, the administration building, the road infrastructure and the weigh scale.

The city also will be writing a $450,000 check to Missouri River Energy Services as part of a contractual agreement that was in place with the City of Benson, Benson Power and Xcel Energy.

Funds for the $1,754,712 purchase will come from the $10.5 million the City of Benson has already received from Xcel Energy as part of an agreement worked out between the city, Xcel and the Minnesota Legislature that led to the closing of the plant. Another $6.5 million payment is expected at the end of June with a final $3 million in 2021 bringing the total to $20 million.

Tue
24
Dec
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AAH expanding mental health care to area

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Imagine a young man faced with a mental health crisis being dropped off at the local hospital by law enforcement in hopes that he will receive the care and attention he so desperately needs.

After an initial assessment, the staff knows that he needs care at a facility specialized in mental health care – that’s when they start making phone calls to the facilities they know all too well around the region. If they are lucky, the first one will take him, if not they will be making more calls.

Three months ago, a 19-year-old with a mental health crisis was dropped off at an area hospital’s emergency room. The last place they were hoping to get him admitted said because he didn’t have a high school diploma, it wouldn’t take him, Sheriff John Holtz told the Swift County Board of Commissioners at their Dec. 17 meeting...

 

Tue
24
Dec
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County says ‘no’ to paying DHS reimbursement

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County will follow the lead of the Association of Minnesota Counties and say that it does not plan to pay the Minnesota Department of Human Services back for billing errors it made.

It is estimated that the errors would cost Swift County nearly $21,000.

After conducting a review of its programs through which it reimburses counties for costs incurred providing services, the DHS found that it had wrongly made over $61 million in payments to substance abuse providers, a welfare assistance program, and for child foster care services. Last May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the state’s DHS to stop making the payments immediately.

Tue
24
Dec
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Flu hitting some rural areas hard

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

So far, Benson Public Schools students have not been hit by a widespread outbreak of influenza; students in some nearby schools haven’t been so fortunate.

“Over the past couple of weeks, influenza has reached high levels in both the Dawson/Boyd and Lac qui Parle Valley school districts causing cancellation of sporting events and practices,” Dawn Bjorgan, a registered nurse with Countryside Public Health, said. Other schools in the area are also seeing increasing cases.

Countryside serves Swift, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Big Stone counties.

The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend schools close to prevent infectious disease transmission, however, schools may choose to close if there are not enough staff to function normally, she said.

Thu
19
Dec
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DeMarce Theatre will close in May unless community finds a new owner

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

In a letter to Benson’s City Council, DeMarce Theatre owner Tim Kletscher wrote that he plans on closing it May 28.

 “I have tried many different options to try to keep the theater running, but I am losing too much money,” Kletscher, who is also a Benson Elementary School teacher, wrote. “This has had a negative effect on my family, my health, and my personal retirement account. It is time for my family to cut our losses and try to regain some of the thousands we have put into it.”

Benson’s council acknowledged it had received the letter but took no action on it Monday night. However, Benson’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) met Monday morning and said it would invite Kletscher to a meeting to discuss future options.

Thu
19
Dec
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Gymnasts will get a new facility either through levy or lease levy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

There will be a new facility for the Benson-Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg gymnasts sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.

At its meeting Monday night, the District 777 Board of Education voted unanimously to go to voters for a levy of up to $1.5 million to build a new gymnastics facility on its campus. It is likely the referendum will take place April 14.

If that referendum fails, the board voted to then implement under its own authority a lease to purchase levy for construction of the gymnastics facility.

It will also pursue designing plans for a facility prior to the levy being put before the public so that it can get the project started as soon as possible once it knows how it will be financed...

 

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