News

Fri
19
Dec
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District 777 continues to discuss facilities project

The District 777 Board of Education met again last week to disucss the proposed facilities improvement project that could approach a price tag of close to $15-$16 million and could be put in front of school district voters in the form of a bond referendum sometime this spring.
Before that time though, there is a lot more work that needs to be done, including several public meetings to hear from the community and answer questions about the upcoming project.
Last week’s meeting also included a truth-in-taxation public hearing, along with presentations by the first grade teachers as well as the phy ed/health, science, and music departments.
The board was also set to meet Monday, but that meeting was postponed to 5 p.m., Monday, Dec. 22 due to the snowstorm that hit the area yesterday.

Fri
19
Dec
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City approves 2.2% increase in tax levy

The Benson City Council approved a 2.2 percent property tax increase Monday night. It calls for $1,348,020 in taxes for 2015 compared to $1,321,981 this year, an increase of $26,039.
The city’s total revenues are expected to increase $78,105 to $3,623,892. Expenditures are increasing $134,909 over 2014 to $3,630,642. Whereas the city had budgeted for a surplus of just over $50,000 last year, it is budgeting for a $6,750 deficit this coming year.
One of the reasons the city is looking at a deficit is that it included a $3,500 payment out of the Tourism Board funds for the Pioneerland Band Festival.
City property owners also will be paying $75,705 in taxes to pay down the general obligations bonds approved by voters to pay for the Benson outdoor swimming pool renovation. That is an increase of $4,809 over last year.

Mon
15
Dec
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Four day outlook before holiday, hazardous driving later Sunday

Cloudy Saturday and Saturday night, with a high near 30. South winds 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday a chance of freezing drizzle and sleet before 11pm, then a chance of snow and sleet between 11pm and 1am, then a chance of snow after 1am. Cloudy, with a low around 30. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday snow is likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain before 10am, then rain likely, possibly mixed with snow between 10am and 4pm, then snow likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 34. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Tuesday a 40 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a high near 29. Northwest wind around 15 mph.

Wed
10
Dec
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Santa Truck delights scores of youth

Thanks to a community effort led by the Benson Women of Today, the Santa truck was able to visit several communities in the Benson area.  Mrs. Claus and Santa visit with a young girl at the Santa Truck event, Saturday night at the Benson Fire Hall.  Santa visited with over 100 area youth in Benson alone, listening to their Christmas wishes and giving each a bag full of treats.  The Santa Truck also visited GLC-Meadow Lane, Clontarf, Danvers, and DeGraff.

Wed
10
Dec
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County approves funds for helipad

Swift County will contribute $13,333 toward the cost of constructing a helipad two blocks west of the Swift County-Benson Hospital.
The site is a vacant lot just to the east of the Civic Center and north of Swift County Human Services building. It is projected that constructing the helipad will cost $20,000, but planning costs will also be another $20,000. The City of Benson is picking up one-third of the  $40,000 cost with SCBH paying for the other one-third.
The city will also have to bury power lines at a cost of $75,000 to $80,000. Benson owns the land the helipad is to be constructed on and is donating for the project.
The helipad will include a 42-square foot concrete landing pad, lighting and a windsock. The city has engaged Landteam, Inc., of Alexandria to do the engineering for the site.

Wed
10
Dec
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Alliance receives loan from Agralite

Work to convert the former Kinder-Morgan propane tank facility from one that once supplied by pipeline to one supplied by rail has received critical funding through Agralite Electric Cooperative of Benson.
Alliance Midstream LLC, which was developed to keep the terminal operational, has received a $500,000 loan through Agralite to facilitate the acquisition of the longtime propane delivery terminal just west of Benson along U.S. Highway 12. Funds will also help with construction of the rail car offloading facility.
“We’re extremely pleased to be able to help Alliance Midstream keep what has long been an extremely critical propane terminal operating in our area,” Agralite Electric General Manager Kory Johnson said. “Agralite Electric members depend on this resource and it’s been an important piece of our community for decades.”

Thu
04
Dec
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Lady Storm fall twice at Willmar Invitational

The Lady Storm ran into some tough teams at the Willmar Invitational, Friday and Saturday as MBA fell to Long Prairie-Grey Eagle-WDC in the first game, Friday, 5-0, and then lost to Austin in the third place game, Saturday, 9-1.
Willmar went on to win the four-team title, beating Austin in the semifinals and LPGE-WDC in the championship game.
MBA fell to 1-4 overall with the two losses and is 1-0 in the Southwest Conference after a 5-2 win over Worthington the previous weekend.
MBA is set to host Park Rapids, Thursday, Dec. 4 in Morris before hosting Litchfield-DC, Tuesday, Dec. 9 in Benson.  After that, the Lady Storm will play LPGE-WDC for the third time this season when they travel up north, Thursday, Dec. 11.

Photo:  Lady Storm in action.

Thu
04
Dec
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Benson High School awarded $25,000 from State Farm contest

Benson High School was awarded $25,000 from State Farm through the “Celebrate My Drive” contest.  In the picture above Mark Frank (back row, third from left) presented a check for $25,000 to BHS.  Ten percent of the money is designated toward safe driving, but the rest of the money will be divided among many different BHS organizations.  In the front row of the picture from left to right are Adam Foslien, Jonas Grossman, Trevor Berreau, Kathy Ahrndt, Shannon Schmidt, Kali Geyer, and Nicole Berens.  In back are Andrew Falk, Mayor Paul Kittelson, Mark Frank, Roger Ebnet, Scott Gonnerman, Brock Duncan, Barb Schwarz, Kendra Razink and Roger Lindahl.

Thu
04
Dec
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International snowmobile race to pass through county

February will see an international snowmobile race pass through northwestern Swift County as participants near the end of a 500-mile trek that takes them from Winnipeg, Canada, to Willmar.
Racers in the 2015 Seven Clans I-500 will enter the U.S. at Pembina, ND, crossing into Minnesota in the far northwestern corner of the state near Humbolt. They then travel southeast toward Karlstad, Thief River Falls, and Bemidji. From Bemidji racers head south and a little west toward Alexandria.
From Alexandria they go by Lowry, Starbuck and Swift Falls, where there will be a fuel stop for racers as they head to the finish line in Willmar at Robins Island.
Northern Lights Trail Snowmobile Club President Brent Hill, of Benson, said that the local club will be working with the race organizers and racers to ensure their trek through Swift County goes well.

Fri
07
Nov
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School board asks Benson to consider funding walking track

As part of an extensive renovation and expansion project at Benson Public Schools, the board of education is proposing to construct a new gymnasium on the north side of the school.
That new gym will be needed as the district turns what was the old junior high auditorium into a facility dedicated to the arts. There would no longer be any sports played on the raised floor in the building.
Further, the district is looking at eliminating the indoor swimming pool and repurposing it to house the school’s gymnastics program. The room could also be used for indoor tennis, batting practice with cages for both softball and baseball, and golf practice.
The Monitor-News will publish a more detailed story on the full scope of the project that the school board is contemplating in next week’s newspaper.

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