News

Tue
09
Sep
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Benson schools’ enrollment expected to be just over 800

Benson Schools’ enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year is just over 800 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.  That number does not include the students in Heartland Girls Ranch, the Chippewa River Day Program, and the Area Learning Center, which has another 50 students enrolled to start the school year.
The Benson schools’ total includes 372 students in grades 7-12 for an average of 62 students per grade, while the enrollment in kindergarten through 6th grade is 431 students, or an average of just over 61.5 students per grade.
Grade 9 has the lowest enrollment number with 53 students, but 2nd grade (54), 4th grade (55), 8th grade (56), 5th grade (57), 3rd grade (59), and 11th grade (59) are also all in the 50s.
The 6th grade class leads the way in enrollment with 76 students for the 2014-2015 school year, while the 12th grade (72) and 10th grade (71) also have over 70 students.  

Tue
09
Sep
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Council adopts blighted properties ordinance

With a unanimous vote Monday night the Benson City Council approved the second reading of an amendment to city code addressing blighted and dilapidated residential properties.
The amendment will now be published in the city’s legal newspaper, the Swift County Monitor-News. Thirty days after publication it becomes law unless citizens challenge it by petition, forcing it to a vote.
A valid petition must have enough city resident signatures to represent 15 percent of the people who voted in the 2013 city election. There were 830 votes cast, so a petition would have to have a minimum of 125. The names must be people who are currently eligible voters in the city. The referendum is conducted at the next general election, which would likely be Nov. 4.
Though the vote was unanimous, some members of the council were hesitant to adopt it as worded.

Wed
03
Sep
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DU receives major gift in memory of Mike Commerford

Four Corners WMA Dedicated by Conservation Partners
Ducks Unlimited Major Sponsors Honored
The Four Corners state Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was dedicated by Ducks Unlimited with a ceremony and bronze plaque Aug. 23. It is near Sherburn in Martin County in far south central Minnesota.
Establishment of the WMA was made possible in part by a major gift to Ducks Unlimited made in the memory of Mike Commerford of Danvers. He died April 19, 2013, at the Swift County-Benson Hospital at the age of 49. He was the son of Norm and Marie Commerford of Danvers.
Project partners attending included the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Fox Lake Conservation League, the Martin County Conservation Club, and Ducks Unlimited.  They celebrated the acquisition of the 309-acre WMA and Ducks Unlimited’s subsequent restoration to a native prairie pothole complex. 

READ MORE ABOUT THIS BY SUBSCRIBING TO THE SWIFT COUNTY MONITOR NEWS.

Wed
03
Sep
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Toxic ‘blue-green’ algae found in Lac qui Parle Lake

Blue-green algae, which can be toxic to humans and pets, appears to be in bloom in backwaters of Lac qui Parle Lake west of Milan. The bloom was noticed this past weekend by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staff travelling along Minnesota Highway 40.
The MPCA advises pet owners to check water conditions when dogs are playing near lakes or slow-flowing streams. Blue-green algae “blooms” have a thick, cloudy appearance that can look like green paint, pea soup or floating mats of scum.
Some, but not all, species of blue-green algae contain potent toxins that can be deadly to dogs, livestock and other animals within hours of contact.

If possible, dog owners should keep their pets away from algae-laden water entirely.

Wed
03
Sep
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6W seeks to maintain supervision levels

Editor’s note: As 6W Community Corrections looks to balance its budget it has been studying its options in reducing staff and the number of people on probation and parole that it supervises. However, no easy fixes have appeared. Instead, 6W has gone to the counties that it serves requesting an increase in funding.
6W provides parole and probation services for Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties. Two commissioners from each of the counties serve on its board along with a judge.
It is expected that the agency will have a $117,000 deficit this year, requiring it to draw from its reserves to make ends meet. It is proposing a balanced budget for 2015, but that will depend on the four counties increasing their contributions by 16 percent.

Fri
22
Aug
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Crop sprayer escapes injury

Crop sprayer escapes injury when plane crashes
Shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Swift County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an airplane crash, south of U.S. Highway 12 near Swift County Road 39 outside Kerkhoven. The airplane was being flown by the owner, Douglas Jackson, of Benson.  He was not injured in the accident.
The initial investigation shows that Jackson, 54, was spraying a soybean field when it hit a guide wire for a power pole causing the motor of the plane to shut off.  Jackson told officials that he did not see the guide wire.  When the engine stopped, he attempted to land on the road, but ended up crash landing in a cornfield.

Wed
20
Aug
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Sportman’s Club seeks to create shooting range

Benson’s City Council has given the go-ahead for the development of plans for a shooting range at the site of the old city dump. The site, on the north side of Minnesota Highway 9 a couple miles east of Benson, is also used by the city for storing concrete and for disposing of trees and brush.
The request came for the newly formed Benson Sportsman’s Club and was present to the council by Chief of Police Ian Hodge. He is a founding member of organization, which says its top priority is to create shooting facility. The choice of the old dumpsite came after studying possible sites around the city, he said.
The Sportsman’s Club is in its initial stages of growth, a memo given to the council says, and has established a printed set of goals.

Photo:  Chief Ian Hodge at a training exercise in Benson.

Wed
20
Aug
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US farmers forecast to hit new corn production record

By Kent Thiesse
Farm Management Analyst & Vice President MinnStar Bank Lake Crystal

Wed
20
Aug
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Residents near Benson Ready Mix plant seek help from city to solve problems

Blowing concrete dust, small bits of concrete shot across the street imbedded in fences and house siding, loud truck and business operation noise early in the morning, and potentially dangerous pools of water are degrading the quality of life for residents around the Benson Ready Mix plant.
That is what a group of residents who live near the concrete operation told the Benson City Council at its meeting Monday night.
The plant sits between 13th Street North (Minnesota 9 north) and 12th Street North. While it is zoned for business, residential homes sit to its immediate east across 12th Street. Just to the northwest across 13th Street is the multi-unit housing complex of Northview Court Townhomes.
Benson Ready Mix is owned by Duininck Concrete, a division of Duininck, Inc., of Prinsburg. No representative of the company was at the meeting.

Wed
20
Aug
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Deere to lay off 600 employees in Midwest

Agricultural equipment maker Deere is announcing it will indefinitely lay off more than 600 employees at four of its factories in the Midwest as demand slumps.
The affected sites are in the cities of East Moline and Moline in Illinois, as well as Ankeny, Iowa, and Coffeyville, Kansas.
Deere & Co. said in a news release Friday that “to remain globally competitive, the company must align the size of its manufacturing workforce with market demands for products.”
Deere is the world’s biggest farm equipment supplier.

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