News

Fri
01
Sep
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BHS trades class to build house this year

Though no one has committed to buying the Benson High School Trades and Industrial Carpentry class house this year, the class will be building one after taking a year off in 2016-17.

Without a buyer last year, the school board agreed not to spend the $70,000 to $75,000 it costs to build the home opting to have the class build a new press box at the football field. It also built sheds and garages.

No bids have been received for the trades house, nor has anyone new expressed interest in buying it, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the school board at its Aug. 21 meeting. He did contact a person who has expressed interest earlier, but that person has not received authorization to make the purchase, he said.

Fri
01
Sep
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Cool, wet weather dominates August

Kathy Ruppe combines wheat west of Danvers last Friday while son-in-law Dalton Staton drives the grain cart. Riding with Kathy in the combine was her infant grandson Mason Staton.

Western Minnesota received more rain over the weekend with totals ranging form eight-tenths to nearly 2 inches.

With another eight tenths in Benson August’s total rainfall is now 6.85 inches – 3.43 inches above the average for the month of 3.42 inches. However, there are locations around the area that have seen more than 9 inches of rain this month.

Ten days during the month have seen measurable precipitation, delaying the small grain and sugar beet harvest. However, dry conditions toward the end of last week allowed farmers to get into their fields to get their wheat and oat crops outs.

Temperatures remained cooler than average this past week with August now averaging about 4.8 degrees below its mean temperature of 69.7 degrees. August’s average high is 80.8 degrees through the 27th, but this year it has been 76.0 degrees. Lows that should average 60.3 degrees have averaged 54.2 degrees – 6.1 degrees below average.

Fri
01
Sep
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Madden resigns school board seat leaving vacancy

District 777 Board of Education Member Jason Madden has resigned from the school board because he has accepted a position with the school district.

He will be a full-time study hall monitor for grades seven through 12. By state law a school board member can’t earn more than $8,000 a year working for that school district, Supt. Dennis Laumeyer told the board of education at its Aug. 21 meeting.

With Madden’s term not running out until Dec. 31, 2018, the seven-member school board has a couple options for addressing the vacancy, he told the board.

Because it is less than 90 days until the next general election date of Nov. 7, a special election is not possible due to deadlines that have already passed.
The board has a “reasonable amount of time” to fill the vacancy by appointment, Laumeyer said. Once a person is appointed, the person has to wait 30 days to be seated.

Fri
01
Sep
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SCBHS exploring home health options

Swift County-Benson Health Services is exploring options for restructuring its home health services operation or having it taken over by another organization.

At its meeting Monday night, the hospital governing board was told the home health sees a loss of between $450,000 to $500,000 annually.  Those losses are caused by union-scale wages, benefits and rules that add substantially to the cost of operations.

For example, CEO Kurt Waldbillig pointed out, if an employee calls in sick and another employee has to come in that employee is paid overtime though he or she may only have 20 hours in that week. Further, a home health employee gets 80 percent of his or her health insurance paid even if working only 20 hours a week. Public Employee Retirement Account (PERA) benefits also add to the costs of employees.

Those overtime and health insurance costs can build up quickly putting the financial operations of home health in a deep hole.

Thu
24
Aug
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Mae Gades never runs out of ideas for her new quilts

Mae Gades sits by her yellow quilt that won a grand championship ribbon at the Swift County Fair. She makes all kinds of quilts for all kinds of seasons and events.

Photos and Story by Peggy Cameron

 

In 35 years she’s created 43 full size quilts, 58 crib quilts and 16 wall hangings.

“I’ve added to that number recently, but haven’t kept track,” says Mae Gades of Benson.

The assessment of her heart-felt work was tallied in 2014 and her quilting has continued at a steady rate.  

“I never run out of ideas,”  she claims.

This year Mae took a “basket” design quilt to the Swift County Fair, one which she says was a real challenge because the design was on a diagonal.  It also featured her first try at machine designs….the flowers you see in the corners of the quilt design.  Daughter-in-law Amy Jobgen helped her download the floral designs into her sewing machine and she’s proud of that accomplishment for an 85 year old woman in a computer-savy world.

Recent estimates put Mae among the 21 million quilters in the U.S., most of whom are female.  The average age is 62....

 

Thu
24
Aug
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Upgrading courthouse windows will add to cost

When Swift County’s Board of Commissioners approved the $3.573 million bid of Sussner Construction of Marshall for extensive renovations to the courthouse, it was assumed that work on the windows was included.

But at a recent construction meeting on the work that is being done, County Board Chairman Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, learned that the windows weren’t included.

“We can’t spend $3 million on the courthouse and not have the windows…” done, Rudningen said at the county board’s Aug. 15 meeting at the Benson City Hall. Commissioners will be meeting at the city hall at least through the end of the year as work progresses on the courthouse.

As the county was looking at the renovation of the historic courthouse, it applied for a $170,000 grant for window replacement from the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS.) However, it was denied earlier this year.

Thu
24
Aug
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Benson schools seek lease of north civic center

Benson Public Schools is moving ahead with plans for leasing the north end of the Benson Civic Center.

Benson’s CNH Industrial has leased the space for years, but this past spring notified the city that it would be moving out. That opened the possibility for the school district to use the 14,000-square-foot area for its gymnastics program as well as other events. The gymnastics program would need about half the space.

Currently, gymnastics is housed in the Benson Armory. However, the space is barely adequate for competitive events and there are safety concerns with the cramped quarters.

Wed
16
Aug
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4-Hers take part in Clothing and Presentation Day

From left to right are performing arts participants, Arianna Nagler, Noah Collins, Brianna Collins, Ericka Collins, and Abbigail Johannes.

4-Hers take part in Clothing and Presentation Day

by Alyssa Wittnebel, Swift County 4-H Summer Intern

Swift County 4-H had a full day of creative projects, entertaining demonstrations, and life performances at the annual Presentation Judging Day, Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the First Evangelical Free Church in Benson. 

In the Cloverbud Non Garment division, there were a total of three participants. Three Cloverbuds participated in the Cloverbud Clothes You Buy, Clothes You Make, and fashion revue divisions. Two Cloverbuds participated in the Cloverbud quilting division as well. One Cloverbud participated in Performing Arts, Food Review, and Demonstrations.

Fri
11
Aug
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Swift County's 120th fair set to begin Wednesday

http://www.swiftcountyfair.org/

Swift County’s 120th annual fair gets underway next Wednesday, Aug. 16, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 20, at the Swift County Fairgrounds in Appleton.

Admission to the Swift County Fair is $2 per person, $2 per car, or $10 for one person and one car for all five days.

Midwest Rides and Concessions is back to handle the midway games and attractions, which opens at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16.  Riders can take advantage of a special $1 per ride offering from 6-9 p.m. the first night.

While these prices are very low for a great evening of entertaiment, the main music events are high quality and free. The free entertainment starts with Wednesday, Aug. 16 with The White Sidewalls in the Chuck Brown Building at 7 p.m.  

Fri
11
Aug
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County will move ahead with second phase of CIP

Commissioners want to devise best plan for 6W, sheriff’s office renovations

Work will start immediately on developing the second phase of the five-year Swift County Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which is focused on renovation or new construction of facilities used by the sheriff’s office, 6W Community Corrections, county attorney’s office, and highway department.

It will also seek up to a two-year lease on the office space it is temporarily using for 6W Community Corrections.

The county’s building committee and staff will begin discussions on how to proceed with phase two as phase one work is just getting underway on the courthouse and Countryside Public Health’s building.

This second phase is expected to cost over $5.4 million with work to take place between 2018 and 2020.

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