News

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

Ehtanol 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.

Fri
03
Nov
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SCBHS continues to work on assisted living financing

Swift County-Benson Health Services continues to wait to hear whether or not the United States Department of Agriculture economic development division will back its loan with Bremer Bank of Willmar.

That $7.352 million loan would provide the majority of financing needed to build an assisted living-memory care facility adjacent to SCBHS. If approved, the USDA would back 70 percent of the project financing. Its backing is essential to closing the loan with Bremer.

Bremer is only financing 80 percent of the appraised value of the project and the SCBHS assets pledged towards it. The gap between the bank loan and the project cost has to come from other sources.

The gap funding would come from Swift County, the City of Benson, equity SCBHS has invested in the project, land equity, grants from the Sonsteng Foundation and cash on its balance sheet. These sources total $2.33 million, bringing the total project cost to $9.682 million.

Fri
03
Nov
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Mayor, two council seats to be on ballot

Next Tuesday City of Benson voters will go to the polls to elect a new mayor and two members to the council.

Current Mayor Gary Landmark, who served 24 years as a member of the city council and is completing his first two-year term as mayor, is not seeking re-election. Also not seeking re-election is Council Member Stephanie Heinzig who was elected to her first four-year term in November 2013.

Council Member Terri Collins is running for mayor and is being challenged by Anita Flodstrom.

Five candidates seeking election to the council: Incumbent Jack Evenson, Mark Schreck, Brad Johnson, Terry Flodstrom and Larry Smith.

Fri
03
Nov
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Harvest nearly two weeks behind average

Minnesota’s corn harvest is 15 days behind the five-year average and 12 days behind last year. Just 38 percent of the crop has been taken in, though with each passing day farmers are making considerable progress.

Farmers were in the fields as snowflakes cruised through the air driven by winds gusting to 43 mph Monday. Cornhusks raced across country roads and drifted through the air.

With high temperatures in the low 30s, it looked and felt much more like late November than the last days of October.

Farmers have been working to catch up with the fall harvest that has been delayed by heavy fall rains.

Despite the weather, farmers were able to harvest nearly one-quarter of the corn for grain acreage this past week, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Still, farmers are bar behind the five-year with the corn harvest.

Fri
27
Oct
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SCBHS working with county, city on assisted living financial package

As Swift County-Benson Health Services works to close the deal on financing that will allow it to build an assisted living and memory care facility, it is seeking backing from the City of Benson and Swift County.

It has been negotiating with Bremer Bank in Willmar to provide the majority of financing for the $10.32 million project.  Bremer’s $7.352 million loan would have to be secured by the assets of the proposed facility along with other SCBHS assets. However, an appraisal has left it about $750,000 short.

To help it cover that shortfall, SCBHS is asking for help in two ways:

First, it is asking that the City of Benson secure the $750,000 asset shortfall with its taxing authority. This would mean that if the assisted facility and memory care facility went broke, the city’s taxpayers would have to come up with the money to pay off any balance on the note.

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