News

Fri
08
Feb
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Benson to support Brightmark at PUC

Just when the City of Benson, Brightmark Energy and Xcel Energy thought they were past all the potential roadblocks a new development has intervened over the future use of the former Benson Power, LLC, site.

The Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) and BioPro Power (BPP) filed a formal complaint with the Minnesota Utilities Commission Jan. 25 contesting the sale of the assets of the site.

Those with an interest in the site’s use, including the City of Benson, have been given until 4:30 p.m., March 1, to comment on the complaint. The topics on which it can comment are:
- Does the PUC have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint?
- Is it in the public interest for the PUC to investigate these allegations upon its own motion?
- If the PUC chooses to investigate the complaint, what procedures should be used to do so?

Fri
08
Feb
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DNR sets March 12 meeting for area aquifer discussion

In September 2017, Department of Natural Resources Region 4 Groundwater Planner Tim Gieseke and Area DNR Hydrologist Ethan Jenzen outlined a Community-based Aquifer Management Partnership (CAMP) initiative the agency was implementing in select regions of rural Minnesota.

It told the Swift County Board of Commissioners the Benson area was on its agenda for a future plan that would help identify aquifer uses, assets, limitations and potential threats.

“Once you have abundance in your head you kind of feel that you can consume it endlessly,” Gieseke told commissioners at their Sept. 18, 2017, meeting. However, the reality is that even in Minnesota water resources have a limit.

Fri
08
Feb
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Polar Vortex brings record temps as lows fall to -35

It is rare that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t deliver the mail, but with wind chills expected to be 50 to 60 below last Wednesday delivery was suspended. Postal carriers were back out Thursday despite wind chills still in the teens to 20s below zero.

Last week’s record cold left its mark not just on Minnesota, but the nation as it spread subzero temperatures to 22 states. Twenty-one deaths are attributed to the cold including two college students; hundreds of schools were closed as well as businesses; and mail delivery was suspended in 10 states.

For western Minnesota, the killer Arctic blast was part of a stretch of nine consecutive days with lows below zero with five record low temperature records broken and the all-time low temperature for Benson of a minus 35 degrees tied twice.

Benson made the CNN news when the wind chill at the National Weather Service recording station at the municipal airport recorded a minus 62-degrees. At the time, the air temperature was a minus 27 degrees with the wind blowing out of the northeast at 31 mph.

Fri
08
Feb
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Commissioners vote 3-2 to take next step on justice center

Farmer Ben Vadnais urges the Swift County Board of Commissioners to delay their vote on building a new justice center pointing out that the farm economy isn’t good and that the ag sector can only take so much additional cost on the land at this time. Nearly 90 people crowded into the county board room to hear what the board would do Tuesday morning.

After an at times contentious two-hour debate the Swift County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to proceed with studying more detailed designs and costs for a justice center.

Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, made the motion with a second by Eric Rudningen, District 5 – Kerkhoven. Commission Chair Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson and Benson Township, claimed the motion was out of order since he had not called for it.

However, Hendrickx, Commissioner Pete Peterson, District 3 - south Benson and Benson Township, Commissioner Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, and Rudningen all said any board member could make a motion without the chair’s request.

When it came to the vote, Hendrickx, Peterson, and Rudningen voted in favor of it while Fox and Pederson voted no.

Tue
29
Jan
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Delivery of the Swift County Monitor-News delayed due to weather

With windchills forecast to be a dangerous minus 55 to minus 65 degrees, Swift County Monitor-News Publisher Reed Anfinson notified carriers for delivery of the Monitor-News and Monitor Extra in Benson that delivery would be delayed.

This was the first time in the 25 years that the Monitor-News has delivered the two publications in Benson with its own carriers that it has halted distribution due to extreme and dangerous cold.

Some carriers may have chosen to deliver limited copies in Benson, however, we encouraged them to wait for warmer weather.

Counter sale deliveries will be made to stores and gas stations in Benson and the area, and subscribers can stop by the Monitor-News office to pick up their copy if they decide to venture out.

As soon as the weather improves enough not to endanger the health of the young carriers who distribute the Monitor-News and Monitor Extra in Benson, delivery will be completed.

Fri
04
Jan
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County passes 3.75 levy increase, approves budget

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners set the overall final gross levy increase at 3.75 percent for 2019 bringing the total levy to $10,788,827. That is an increase of $389,957 over the 2018 net levy of $10,398,870.

Since 2016, when the county’s net levy was $9,773,657, it has risen by just over $1 million.

The proposed 2019 budget contains revenues of $23,997,524 and expenditures of $24,710,324, for a deficit budget of $712,800.

Taxes make up 47 percent of the county’s revenues while payments from federal and state sources make up 41 percent. Another 11 percent comes from charges for services while 1 percent comes from miscellaneous sources....

Budgeting a year-long process

“Someone is going to listen to this recording and say that the county budget, the RDA budget and the HRA budget were approved with no discussion and a unanimous vote,” Rudningen said after the county levies and budgets were approved.

Fri
04
Jan
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Rural areas now have less legislative clout

Metro area dominates DFL, state House

When Minnesota Legislature convenes next Tuesday, Jan. 8, Republican District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, Prinsburg, will start his third two-term in office. District 17 Republican Sen. Andrew Lang, Olivia, will start the third year of his first four-year term.

District 17A includes all of Swift and Chippewa counties, all but two townships in Renville County, and the four southern Kandiyohi townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.

Senate District 17 includes House Districts 17A and 17B. House District 17B includes the cities of Willmar, Spicer, New London and the remaining townships of Kandiyohi County not part of 17A.

Fri
04
Jan
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2018 ends with winter snowstorm

Thursday a steady, wet snow fell in the Benson area.
Winds gusting to nearly 40 mph Thursday night into Friday created snow drifts and filled in areas that had been cleared just the day before.

13 inches of snow falls  between Wednesday and Friday

Unofficially, Benson had 13 inches of snow from last week’s three-day winter storm. It’s hard to say exactly how much is falling when winds gusting to nearly 40 mph are blowing it around.

Winter’s first real storm came with a large low-pressure system winding its way toward the northern plains with the National Weather Services warning Minnesotans of its impending arrival. By Tuesday, Dec. 24, the NWS had issued a Winter Storm Warning for all of western and southern Minnesota for Wednesday through Friday morning.

A warning is issued when severe winter weather conditions are occurring or are imminent. Most warnings are issued for heavy snow and wind, but may also be issued for ice and sleet storms.

Fri
07
Dec
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Swift County voter turnout hits 70%

In the Nov. 6 mid-term elections, Minnesota was number one in the nation for voter turnout with 64.25 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

Swift County was among the top counties in a state that is perennially near the top, or number one, in voter turnout each election cycle.

Swift County had a voter turnout of 70 percent. There were 5,615 voters registered as of 7 a.m., Nov. 6, with another 203 registering at the polls. Of those registered in the county, 4,077 voted. “Very nice turnout,” Swift County Auditor Kim Saterbak said of the county’s voter participation.

“It’s now official: For the second election in a row, Minnesota’s voter participation was the best in America,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said. The total number of voters was 2,611,365. That means 64.25 percent of eligible Minnesotans participated in the 2018 election, surpassing the next closest state, Colorado, by more than a full percentage point.

Fri
07
Dec
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Benson sends PUC letter favoring Brightmark project

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

 

Benson Mayor Terri Collins has sent a letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) restating the city’s support for Brightmark Energy’s proposed biogas facility at the former Benson Power biomass electric generation site.

The letter was sent to counter BioPro Power’s (BPP) requesting that the PUC slow the process down through which Brightmark will be purchasing the site from Xcel Energy. It wants time for a proposed project of its own, which would create steam from corn stove to be considered. However, it has come to the process very late.

Xcel Energy, which owns the Benson Power site and buildings, took bids Oct. 4 from Brightmark (BME) and BPP. Brightmark was interested in the fuel hall building, the administration building, the truck washing facilities, scale and road infrastructure.

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