News

Mon
02
Mar
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Cool temps will give way to a warm end of week

This afternoon it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 10. Wind chill values will be as low as -11.   It will remain blustery, with a northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Tonight mostly clear, with a low around -15. Wind chill values as low as -27. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Thursday sunny, with a high near 18. Wind chill values as low as -27. South southwest wind 5 to 15 mph.

Thursday night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. South wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west after midnight.

Friday mostly sunny, with a high near 36. West wind around 10 mph.

 

Tue
24
Feb
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Police calls, charges filed; both are going up

Benson’s police force has seen a significant increase in the number of calls it is receiving annually and in the number of charges that are being filed.
The Benson Police Department provides 24-hour service to the community with the six officers who serve under Chief Ian Hodge.
Over the past five years, the total number of charges filed annually has more than doubled from 614 to 1,254. Meanwhile, the total number of calls has increased by nearly 70 percent, going from 2,687 in 2010 to 4,542 in 2014.
In 2010, Benson police filed an average 1.7 charges a day. That number has gone up to 3.4 per day. The number of calls the department received averaged 7.4 in 2010, but is at 12.4 today.
And 2015 is proving to be even busier. While the police force may have averaged 60 incident complaint reports (ICRs) a week in 2014, it has not seen fewer than 80 a week so far in 2015.

Thu
19
Feb
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Farmers filing suits against Syngenta

Farmers in the area are likely to be invited to a meeting in the near future and asked to join a lawsuit against one of the giants in the agricultural business – Syngenta.
Farmers and farm businesses in 20 states have now filed more than 360 lawsuits against agricultural chemicals-maker Syngenta, and hundreds more may be coming as a federal judge organizes the complex case so they can move forward.
The dispute centers around Syngenta’s sale of a corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved it in 2010, and Syngenta first sold it to farmers in 2011.
China, a growing importer of U.S. corn that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn’t tested, had not approved Viptera when Syngenta began selling it. In November 2013, China discovered the Viptera corn trait in several U.S. shipments.

Thu
19
Feb
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Amazing Race show premiere in Benson

Bergen Olson can’t tell you yet if he won the $1 million prize offered to the winning couple of the 26th episode of CBS’s Emmy Award winning television show The Amazing Race.
But the 2009 Benson High School graduate can tell you about the unforgettable experience of participating with 10 other couples as they raced more than 35,000 miles around the world visiting eight countries on five continents. Among the countries they competed in were Japan, Namibia, Monaco, Germany and Thailand.
“The Amazing Race 26 Will Be The Most Extreme Blind Date Ever,” the CBS promotional material about this year’s season says. “How would you feel to be set up on a blind date? What about if you and your blind date were about to travel across the globe together on an amazing adventure? Ten singles are about to find out!”

Tue
10
Feb
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As corn prices fall, Minnesota farms worry

By Mark Steil
Minnesota Public Radio

Corn is Minnesota’s biggest cash crop, and in recent years it has delivered big returns to the state’s farmers.
But this year, most corn farmers are expected to lose money. That’s causing a lot of concern among farmers as they negotiate spring planting loans with lenders.
“It’s a bad situation here this year,” said Duane Ommodt, who farms in Watonwan County southwest of Mankato. “Virtually everybody is going to lose money. It’s a bad deal.”
Ommodt said some farmers could lose as much as $300 on each acre of corn they plant. If that happens, even medium-sized Minnesota farms could see the revenue they earn from selling the crop fall more than $100,000 short of what it cost to plant the corn.
The problem is unprofitable crop prices. Several years ago, corn prices were as high as $8 a bushel, and soybeans nearly $18 a bushel.

Tue
10
Feb
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First farm program deadline Feb. 27

The deadline to finalize decisions on base acre reallocation and updating payment yields at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices is Feb. 27. The deadline for producers to complete the farm program choice on each farm unit, and potentially on each eligible crop, is March 31.
There have literally been hundreds of farm program information meetings held in the Upper Midwest in recent months, as well as print and on-line articles, spreadsheets, etc., on enrollment in the new farm program. However, even with all that information available to farm operators and landowners, there is still some confusion and misinformation regarding the various farm program decisions.

Tue
10
Feb
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School to seek voter approval for $18.2 million bond

District 777’s Board of Education unanimously voted to seek voter approval May 12 for an $18.2 million facilities improvement project. The board has sent the bond levy referendum proposal to the Commissioner of Education for approval.  
After months of discussion and meetings, the school board finally approved the bond levy amount, which it hopes will solve many of the educational needs facing the school district as it heads into another decade of education for District 777 students.
The board plans to meet again at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 17 and at that time, if the state commissioner approves the bond levy, the school board hopes to formally approve the bond levy amount, along with outlining the voting dates, places, and times.
That gives the school board almost three months to conduct several public hearings, intended to give district voters more information about the project, along with time to answer any questions.

Tue
10
Feb
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Icy roads cause two-hour delay for Benson students

Benson schools started two hours later Tuesday morning due to icy roads throughout western Minnesota. A freezing rain in the early morning hours coated streets, sidewalks, trees and power lines with ice as the temperatures hovered in the upper 20s.
After a very cold start to February, temperatures warmed into the upper 20s and lower 30s over the weekend and into the start of the week. However, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for western Minnesota late Monday as a low pressure system moved in across the Dakotas, bringing rain, snow and ice along with strong winds.
Tuesday’s early morning freezing rain was supposed to be replaced by snow. Wednesday could see winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts of 35 mph or more whipping the newly fallen snow around and reducing visibility on highways.
As the system moves through, temperatures are expected to drop to a minus 8 degrees by Wednesday night.

Wed
04
Feb
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USDA creating more bird habitat areas on irrigated farmland

The Conservation Reserve Program now will encourage more bird habitats to be established in irrigated farmland regions, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini announced last week.
Declines in upland bird populations, such as the northern bobwhite, pheasant, and prairie chicken, led to the creation of new Conservation Reserve Program features to help restore habitats for these species in these agricultural areas. Since the program’s creation in 2004, more than 240,000 acres of marginal cropland has been converted to native grasslands, spurring an increase in upland bird populations.

Wed
04
Feb
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Prairie 5 has rejected a request by the City of Benson

Prairie 5 Community Action Council has rejected a request by the City of Benson to consider taking over dispatching services for its bus system.
“The agency has had many discussions on this, both recently and in the past, and at this time we feel that it would not be in our best interest to do a contract for dispatching services,” Program Manager Ted Nelson said in a letter to City Manager Rob Wolfington.
At Monday night’s council meeting, Wolfington said that he was “not surprised” by the response.
Benson’s City Council had reached out to Prairie 5 to provide dispatching services out of a concern that its bus drivers were being potentially dangerously distracted as they performed their jobs.

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