News

Wed
03
Jun
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New group has the Pioneerland Band Festival ready to go

When the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce announced last summer that it would no longer be sponsoring or working on community events, it left many in the community wondering what the future held for the Pioneerland Band Festival and Kid Day.
It now appears the future is bright for the first event that lies ahead for the community this year.
Benson’s 28th annual Pioneerland Band Festival is set for Sunday, June 14, starting at 6:30 p.m., with 11 bands coming to compete. Benson High School’s Marching Band will be the 12th band in the parade.
There is also a volunteer group working on the community’s 84th Kid Day coming up in July.
Heading up the effort to organize the Pioneerland Band Festival this year have been Benson High School Band Instructor Brock Duncan and vocal music teacher Shelly Mikkelson. Heather (Staton) Lehr has played a key role in handling the event’s finances.

Thu
28
May
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Community garden gets underway for the season

The Garden’s Growing Wild for Our Community project is in its fourth season. The project is always looking for volunteers from any club, church, or community member that would be willing to help with the upkeep of the vegetable garden.  If you help with the upkeep of the garden, you are also able to harvest from the garden as well during the Summer.  The project is planning the implementation of the flower gardens for the months of June, July, and August.  Anyone with garden, landscaping, or horticulture, etc. background and would like to share your expertise; please get ahold of Clint Schiller, it would be greatly appreciated.  This project is also looking for perennials that you would be willing to donate either from your own garden (that needs to be thinned out) or purchased.  

Thu
28
May
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BHS to graduate 74 students Sunday

The 125th commencement for Benson High School is set for 2 p.m., Sunday, May 31 in the senior high gymnasium.  
The Class of 2015 has 74 students and has selected Taylor Laumeyer, daughter of Dennis and Jennifer Laumeyer of Benson, and Bradley Berens, son of Brent and Linette Berens of Benson, as the student speakers for this year’s graduation program.
The last day of school for students at Benson Schools is Wednesday, May 27.  This is a half day for students.  
A complete class list for the BHS Class of 2015 can be found on page 5B of this week’s Monitor-News.  The Special Graduation Section will be in the June 3 newspaper.

Thu
28
May
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Swift County, Pillsbury township debate ownership of old U.S. 12 bridge

Swift County is trying to determine just who owns the old U.S. Highway 12 bridge 1.2 miles southeast of Kerkhoven because it will have an impact on who is responsible for its upkeep and potential replacement.
The bridge is one of the oldest in the county and has been flagged as the most deficient as well. A 100 rating is a perfect mark for a bridge while anything under 50 or 60 is deficient, Swift County Highway Engineer Andy Sander told the county board of commissioners at their meeting May19. The old U.S. 12 bridge has a rating of 34. It was last inspected more than six years go.
While its rating is very poor, the bridge is not used by the general public. When the new railroad tracks overpass was built in the 1980s, the old section of U.S. 12 and the bridge were by-passed. Today, it is used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad to fill up a propane tank.

Thu
21
May
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Henderson charged in robbery near hospital

Melinda Amelia Henderson, 23, Benson, has been charged with felony simple robbery and misdemeanor fifth degree assault-bodily harm in Swift County 8th Judicial District Court.
Henderson made her first appearance in court May 8 with an omnibus hearing set for June 2.
According to the complaint filed by Swift County Attorney Danielle Olson, Henderson assaulted Donna Ascheman near the emergency entrance of the Swift County-Benson Hospital and stole her purse shortly before midnight May 6.
Ascheman had come to the hospital to meet her brothers, Gerald and Steve Wersinger, and to see their mother who had been admitted earlier that evening.
After parking her car, Ascheman started walking toward the ER entry. The complaint states that as she crossed Wisconsin Avenue from the parking lot and was walking toward the entry, two women started coming toward her. As they approached, she told them she was at the hospital to see her mother, the complaint states.

Thu
21
May
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School board votes to conduct follow-up survey after bond referendum is defeated

Minutes after approving the results of the defeated bond referendum, the District 777 Board of Education agreed to conduct a follow-up survey with School Perceptions to find out why the bond referendum was defeated.  
In addition, it will help give the school district the information it needs to conduct its next step, whether that be a scaled-down version of the referendum, or no referendum at all.
During the Monday night meeting, attended by about 30 community members in addition to BHS administration representatives, the board also approved the 2015-2016 calendar, which is set to begin Sept. 8.

Tue
19
May
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Bear seen northeast of Benson Tuesday

The Swift County Sheriff has just released this news to the general public near Benson.

Attention Benson Area Residents.

We have an unconfirmed spotting of a larger black bear north and east of Benson about 1 mile. Obviously we ask that you use caution if you spot a bear for a number of reasons. Many people underestimate the speed with which a bear can move. The Department of Natural Resources has been notified and advises to leave the bear alone, do not approach it and use caution.

If you spot the bear, please call the Sheriff’s Department at 320-843-3133 or 911.

Residents of the Spicer area reported a bear last Monday and Tuesday foraging for food by bird feeders.

 

Wed
13
May
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Voters resoundingly defeated an $18.7 million school bond levy

District 777 voters resoundingly defeated an $18.7 million bond building bond levy in voting Tuesday, May 12. There were 1,354 votes cast against the referendum (67.5 percent) to 651 in favor (32.5 percent.)
The margin of the defeat showed a widespread dissatisfaction with the plan. Those voting against it did so for a variety of reason including: the current poor farm economy, an increase in taxes, moving the fourth grade to the high school, and a plan that seemed to change too often.
Voter turnout was very high with 2,005 ballots cast. That is 833 more votes than were cast in the 2013 levy referendum for funding school operations and 912 more than were cast in the 2011 operating levy referendum.
District 777’s Board of Education is planning on meeting Monday night to discuss how it will move forward following the building levy defeat.
 
 
District 777   Building Levy Referendum
 

Wed
13
May
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Officials study rail crossing and traffic safety issues in Benson

Benson took another step last Friday toward resolving rail safety concerns as well as persistent delays caused when trains block the city’s downtown crossings for extended periods.
Federal and state rail officials, along with representatives of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Benson, Swift County and Torning Township, met to review what could be done to improve the local crossings.
Also at the meeting were representatives of Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., a Twin Cities engineering firm, the city retained to develop a comprehensive plan on how the city’s rail problems could be mitigated.

Wed
13
May
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Second reading of zoning change approved for assisted living facility

At a special meeting Monday night, the Benson City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance to change the zoning for land on which a proposed assisted living and memory care facility would be built.
The land is currently zoned for residential one and two family housing, but is being rezoned to a high-density residential district to accommodate the facility, which would have 16 memory units and 22 assisted living apartments. It is estimated that the facility could cost between $8 and $9 million.
The land sits immediately to the west of Minnesota Highway 29 and across from the Northside Recreation Area’s baseball fields. Pat and Jon Hawley of Hawley Properties are donating the land to the City of Benson for the project.

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