News

Wed
12
May
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Shooting range poses problem for OHV Park expansion

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
As the supporters of the Appleton Area Off-Highway Park look to expanding it, there is one considerable obstacle to linking the new land they are eyeing and the current park.
The steering committee developing the master plan for the park’s expansion and improvement is well aware of the problem.
The Appleton Sportsman’s Club has a shooting range is adjacent to the western and northern parcels that are being proposed for future purchase. There are some concerns about having more people near the range, County Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, acknowledged at the county board’s May 4 meeting.

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Wed
12
May
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Plans being made to expand Appleton’s OHV Park

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
A steering committee looking to expand and improve the Appleton Area Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park presented its preliminary plans to the Swift County Board of Commissioners May 4.
It proposed four main areas of concentration to see the park become a larger, regional attraction. They are:
- Adding new convenience amenities
- Improving connections to the park and the City of Appleton
- Expanding the park with new land acquisitions
- Maintaining the park including the trails
To assist with development planning for the park, a steering committee was formed that includes two members of the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (RDC) in Appleton. The RDC provides planning services to local governments in Swift, Big Stone, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, and Lac qui Parle counties.

Wed
12
May
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Big savings with low interest rates

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
While historically low interest rates mean Swift County is getting very little for its investments, they also mean that there are opportunities to refinance its debts, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
At its meeting Tuesday, May 4, commissioners met with George Eilertson of Northland Securities of Minneapolis to consider a request to refinance the bonds they sold in 2016. The bonds were told to finance expansion of broadband internet service to eastern portions of the county by Federated Telephone.
With the county backing the sale of $7.78 million in bonds, Federated would get a much lower interest rate making expansion of the broadband service feasible.  The county would sell the bonds and back them with its general obligation bond authority. However, Federated would make the payments....

Wed
12
May
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Shared engineer contract to end

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Yellow Medicine County has voted to not renew its shared services agreement for county highway engineering services after May 31, 2022, the four-year contract’s expiration date.
Swift County Administrator Kelsey Baker informed commissioners of the decision at their May 4 meeting. “They will be advertising for their own county engineer,” she said.
Since 2005, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties have shared a highway engineer. For much of that time, Andy Sander has held that position. He is hired by Swift County, with part of his time leased to Yellow Medicine.
It means the end of what Sander told commissioners was the “longest shared engineer position in the state – ever.” Shared engineer agreements have often ended because one of the parties feels as if it is not getting a fair deal in the time it receives, he said. That wasn’t the case for Swift and Yellow Medicine counties....

Wed
12
May
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Supporters of clocks for courthouse will have to find funds for them

“I think the fundraising has to be done before we make up our minds,” Swift County Commission Chair Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, told Jim Hilleren at the board’s meeting last Tuesday.
“If you raise the money, we can do something. For me, I am not going to use any tax money on this right now. We got other problems going on right now. That is my opinion.”
Hilleren was before the county board again asking that they consider updating the non-functioning clocks in the three faces of the courthouse clocktower.
In 1897, Swift County dedicated its new limestone and brick courthouse that featured a tall clocktower...

 

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Wed
12
May
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Early planting could mean good yields

Benson sets record low at 23 degrees Tuesday morning

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Farmers have made good progress with planting their crops this spring and that could mean some very good yields during the fall harvest.
“Historically, early planting of corn usually results in higher-than-average corn yields in Minnesota,” Farm Management Analyst Kent Thiesse writes in his column on Page 7. “In six of the eight years that 50 percent or more of the state’s corn acres have been planted in April, Minnesota has set a record corn yield.”
Based on the May 2 USDA Farm Planting Progress Report, more than 60 percent of the corn crop was in. As of Sunday, 85 percent of the corn crop and 65 percent of the soybean crop were planted.
“Similar to corn planting dates, research does show that with favorable growing conditions, there is a yield advantage to planting soybeans in late April or early May,” Thiesse writes.

Wed
12
May
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Pioneerland Band Festival set for June 14

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
There will be a Pioneerland Band Festival June 14, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the District 777 Board of Education at its meeting Monday night.
That also means there will be Benson High School marching band practice ahead as students who haven’t practiced marching for more than a year learn their steps.
Some of the younger students, who should have had their first year of marching band last year along with the group now coming up, will be practicing marching for the first time.
BHS Director of Bands Brock Duncan said Tuesday morning that there are 11 bands planning on coming to Benson Monday, June 14 – Flag Day. However, he added that those attending the parade will have to be prepared for a different look due to the lack of time to practice and COVID-19 rules.

Wed
05
May
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Benson to seek $600,000 grant for Armory

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
As much as $600,000 in financial aid from the State of Minnesota through the CARES Act could be used to preserve and renovate the Benson Armory.
At Monday night’s Benson City Council meeting, the city’s Economic Development Director Hillary Tweed said that she would need to spend considerable time between now and the end of the month writing the grant application for the funds. She asked the council to approve her devoting time to the grant application. The deadline for submitting the application is June 1.
Tweed also said that if the funds are awarded, the city will be required to adhere to the Davis-Bacon federal wage scale for the project. There will be other requirements as well that could take up to four hours of her time per week to track, she said.....

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Wed
05
May
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City approves $200,000 loan for CRM expansion

Loan is part of proposed $2.5 million project

Wed
05
May
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Area's fourth Prairie Five food distribution

The fourth Prairie Five free food distribution event took place last Wednesday afternoon.  A  total of 443 households were served during the most recent food distribution.  Another food distribution event has been set for May 26.

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