News

Former Benson City Council Member Gary Landmark won a very narrow victory over attorney Tara Ulmaniec in Tuesday’s election for mayor.
Landmark won by just eight votes, 394 to 286.
Terri Collins and Jonathon Pogge-Weaver were the top two voter getters in the race for two open seats on the Benson council among the six candidates in the field.
 
Terri Collins                           479
Jonathon Pogge-Weaver             359
Mike Fugleberg                        296
Dennis Minor                          190
Larry Smith                             123
Don Krumwiede                       94

Fri
11
Dec
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Broadband bonding may be expanded to add projects

Now that Swift County and Federated Telephone Company have been awarded a $4.95 million state grant to expand broadband services in the eastern areas of the county, a bond sale is needed to help finance the remainder of the $12.5 million project.

“This is a reminder of what are our next steps, what did we commit to, and what am I working on to get us there?”  County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the board of commissioners at their meeting Dec. 1. “It is coming together pretty quickly.”

However, Swift County may need to consider bonding for more than just Federated Telephone’s broadband project. Pogge-Weaver suggested the board also consider whether or not it wants to bond for other projects as well....

For more subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 get all the local news and sports.

Fri
11
Dec
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Swift County looks to raise taxes 4.5 percent for 2016

Swift County’s net levy has been set at $9,830,278, an increase of $423,313 or 4.5 percent over 2015’s levy.

That increase reflects a continuing reduction in County Program Aid from the state, increasing employment to meet state mandates, and additional projects the county is taking on in 2016.

Swift County’s total revenues are expected to be $20.66 million in 2016 with expenses budgeted at $21.103 million, for a deficit of $444,458.

However, the county will be receiving a $121,412 loan payment for the Swift County-Benson Hospital in 2016 and a $311,739 loan payment from CNHi for a total of  $433,151. That will help keep the cash position of the county steady, County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver said at the annual Truth in Taxation hearing last Tuesday.

Fri
11
Dec
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SCBH redesign plans moving ahead

Big Stone Therapies Site Manager Holly Kolander, Lab Manager Kelly Carlson, Radiologist Mike Heinzig, Environmental Services Manager Jim Moeding, and Dietician Arthur Valentine participate in the HGA-led Lean discussion last week at the Swift County-Benson Hospital.

As the Swift County-Benson Hospital governing board moves forward with redesigning the facility to offer a broad range of healthcare services, including memory care, it has retained national leader in medical facility design and planning HGA of Minneapolis.

Last week, HGA staff were in Benson working with SCBH personnel to get their input on what they saw as the best way to design a facility to meet the needs of those coming through the door. That person might need to be hospitalized, need physical therapy, need radiology services, be visiting someone who is hospitalized, need counseling, chemotherapy, or another of the broad range of services SCBH offers....

For more subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF edition.

Wed
09
Dec
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December 10 sees record temperature set

Benson set a record temperature Thursday when the low only fell to 36 degrees. The previous high low temperature was 29 degrees set Dec. 10, 1979. The average low for Dec. 10 is 10 degrees and the record low for the date is a minus 22 degrees set in 1955.

Thursday’s high was 48 degrees, but that was 3 degrees short of the record high temperature for Dec. 10 of 51 degrees set in 2001. The average high for the date is 26 degrees.

The day dawned with rain, mild winds gusting to 16 mph out of the northwest and the temperature at 39 degrees. But the skies cleared around noon and the temperatures began to warm. Friday's forecast was for a high of 36 degrees, which was hit shortly after midnight, and a low of 29 degrees.

Wed
02
Dec
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Prison Population Task Force tours Appleton Prison

The Legislature’s Prison Population Task Force toured the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton Tuesday, Nov. 24, to see first-hand what it had to offer. The task force is studying options to address the state’s growing prison population problem. Leasing the prison in Appleton is one of the options being discussed. Above, Co-Chair Rep. Tony Cornish talks with Prairie Correcitonal Facility Warden Tom Kessler.

Fri
27
Nov
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Annual Turkey Trot raises food, funds for Food Shelf

The Blue Stem Dental (formerly Benson Family Dental) annual Turkey Trot took off at 8 a.m. Thursday morning with runners,and walkers, donating funds and food for the Swift County Food Shelf.

Sat
21
Nov
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Swift County wins $4.95 million state broadband grant

Minnesota’s Lt. Governor Tina Smith (in red), presented Swift County and Federated Telephone Cooperative with a broadband grant check for $4.95 million Friday. Above are, from left, Mike Pogge-Weaver, Swift County Administrator; Erick Rudningen, Swift County Commissioner, District 5-Kerkhoven; Jennifer Frost, Swift County Rural Development Authority director; Lt. Gov. Smith; Kevin Beyer, General Manager of Federated Telephone; and Gary Hendrickx, Swift County Commissioner, District 1-Appleton.

Swift County and Federated Telephone Cooperative have received the highest award in this year’s latest round of funding for expansion of broadband services in Minnesota.

Friday the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that Federated and Swift County had been awarded $4.95 million.

The project will deliver high-speed Internet service to 600 households, 425 businesses and 75 community institutions, DEED said.  The project affects 13 of the county’s 21 townships concentrated on area just east of the Benson city limits.

The area in Swift County included in the project is most of each of the following townships in the eastern half of the county: Kerkhoven, Hayes, Pillsbury, Dublin, Kildare, Camp Lake, Benson, Torning, Cashel, Swenoda, Six Mile Grove and Clontarf.

Thu
19
Nov
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City cemetery adding a columbarium

Benson’s City Council approved spending $34,770 to purchase a columbarium for the city cemetery. It will have to spend another $7,000 or more for sidewalks, a crane to unload the columbarium and other work around it when it is installed.

A columbarium, most of which are constructed of granite, is designed to hold the ashes of people who have been cremated.

Last year, the council set aside $40,000 in its 2015 budget for the purchase of a columbarium and associated work. It then tasked its cemetery committee to study columbariums and possible sites in the city cemetery where one could be located. Monday night the committee brought its recommendation to the council....

Thu
19
Nov
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Robert Grussing dies in accident Tuesday

 

At approximately 3:28 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Swift County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call of a vehicle in the ditch south of DeGraff on 70th St SE. 

The driver of vehicle, identified as Robert Grussing, 59, of DeGraff, had apparently died at the scene. 

It appeared from the investigation that the pickup was traveling northbound on Swift County Road 31.  His vehicle then apparently went into the southbound lane and into the ditch hitting 70th St. SE coming to a rest in a drainage ditch on the north side the road.  The cause of death is still under investigation. 

There were no other vehicles involved or any other people in the vehicle. Grussing was transported to the Ramsey Medical Examiners for an autopsy.  Responding agencies were Swift County Sheriff's Office, Murdock Fire, Murdock First Responders, Kerkhoven Fire and Rescue and Kerkhoven Ambulance. 

 

Thu
19
Nov
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Les Heitke joins Heartland Girls' Ranch

Les Heitke

As Benson-based Heartland Girls’ Ranch expands its operation focusing even more on helping young girls who have been sexually trafficked, it is making changes to its management team.

A significant step in that change took place Oct. 26 when it brought on Les Heitke to serve as the new executive officer and clinical director.

Heitke is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience in private practice and has served with both Woodland Centers in Willmar and Project Turnabout in Granite Falls.  He was Willmar’s mayor for 16 years.      

The addition of Heitke as CEO and clinical director finalizes a restructuring period aimed at increasing the availability of mental health services on the HGR campus, Donita Ascheman, chair of the HGR board of directors, said.

“We are excited about the additional mental health services we can provide to our girls with Les heading up the leadership team,” she said....

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