News

Fri
28
Jul
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County approves $5.105 million bond sale, levy

Sussner $3.573 million bid accepted for courthouse work

 

On a 4-1 vote, Swift County’s Board of Commissioners approved a $5.105 million general obligation capital improvement plan bond sale to pay for renovations to the courthouse and the Countryside Public Health building last Tuesday.

It also approved the $3.573 million bid of Sussner Construction of Marshall for the courthouse renovations. That bid includes $24,000 for removing the awnings over courthouse windows and replacing them with shades in the windows to restore the original, historic look of the building.

In the motion, commissioners approved levying a tax on Swift County property to pay for the bond issue over the next 20 years.

Fri
28
Jul
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Landmark, Heinzig won’t seek re-election; city filings open Aug. 1

Benson Mayor Gary Landmark said Monday night that he would not file for a second two-year term. City Council Member Stephanie Heinzig also said she will not seek re-election to a second four-year term on the council.

Filings for mayor and council open Tuesday, Aug. 1, and close Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 5 p.m. Candidates can file at the Benson City offices.

Jack Evenson, who is also finishing his first term as a council member, said that he would be seeking a second term.

In the 2013 council election, Heinzig and Evenson finished first and second in a three-way race for two seats. Finishing third that year was Landmark who had served 24 years on the council prior to this defeat four years ago. He lost by only four votes to Evenson 499 to 495. Heinzig received 570 votes.

Landmark then ran for mayor in 2015 and narrowly defeated challenger Tara Ulmaniec by just eight votes, 394 to 386....

 

Fri
21
Jul
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Benson Celebrates 87th Kid Day

Pictured, middle:  Doll buggies used to be one of the most popular, and competitive, categories during the Benson Kid Day celebration. In the past few years, the number of doll buggies has dropped to as low as one, but this year saw the numbers increase - a promising sign for the future. See our special photo section on Kid Day inside.

Pictured, bottom:  Emily Reich, the daughter of Jon and Sara Reich of Benson, is the new Kid Day Queen, while Josiah Lindley, son of Nicole Lindley of Benson, and Michael Lindley, is the new Kid Day King. They were crowned during ceremonies in Roosevelt Park Saturday.
 

 

For more photos from Kid Day, pick up this week's edition of the Swift County Monitor-News with a special 4-page Kids Day section!

Fri
21
Jul
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97 degrees hottest temp since July 2012

When the temperature hit 97 degrees in Benson Monday, it was the hottest day the area has seen since July 16, 2012, when it reached 99 degrees.

Monday’s high fell 3 degrees short of the 100-degree mark. Benson hasn’t seen a triple digit high since July 31, 2006, when it hit 104 degrees tying the all-time temperature recorded in Benson. It also reached 104 degrees June 24, 1988.

A couple times this summer the 15-day National Weather Service forecast has included a 100-degree day in our near future. But each time as that forecasted hot day approached, it dropped the high into the 90s.

We’ve come close to 100 three times since 2006 with the high hitting 99 degrees. It hit 99 degrees twice in July 2012, July 4 and July 16. It also hit 99 degrees July 7, 2007. But it has now been nearly 11 years without a 100-degree high.

Fri
21
Jul
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School board to dicuss leasing Civic Center with city

At its July 17 meeting, the District 17 Board of Education is to get a report on what it could cost to renovate the north end of the Benson Civic Center to be used for high school sports.

Members of the school board and Paul Youngquist, of Architects Rego + Youngquist of St. Louis Park went through the north end of the Civic Center last week to assess it possibilities for the school district.

“It is a nice sized space, 116 by 120, that makes it very useable,” Youngquist told the school board at its June 19 meeting. “That is nearly 14,000 square feet. The runway for the gymnastics fits in there. It is a nice-sized space for gymnastics, volleyball, tennis or batting cages…the dimensions are very workable and the height is very, very helpful.

“So now it is just a matter of how fancy you want to make it, meaning we could put in all new wood floor in there and be ready for basketball and volleyball,” he said.

Fri
14
Jul
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Xcel officials explain how planned closing of biomass plant to proceed

District 17 State Sen. Andrew Lang, red shirt, and District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, center, met with the Benson City Council Monday night discussing their role in helping the city get compensation from the Legislature and Xcel Energy for the planned purchase and demolition of Benson Power, LLC. The city is scheduled to get $20 million for economic development over four years between 2018 and 2021.

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With Xcel Energy’s filing with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission June 30 for approval to purchase the Benson Power, LLC, biomass power plant the next phase that could lead to its shutdown and demolition is underway.

The request also asks that the Power Purchase Agreement obligating Xcel to buy Benson Power’s electricity for the next 10 years be terminated. In addition, Xcel made four other filings with the PUC related to ending the state’s biomass mandate requiring it to buy power produced from wood chips, turkey litter and other biomass.

“The overall goal of all of these filings is the same: to lower customer costs while continuing to provide safe, reliable service,” it states in its PUC filing. “If approved by the Commission, these initiatives together will achieve over $531 million in total cost savings (nominally) for our customers over the next 10 years.”

Mon
10
Jul
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Practicing safety

Benson Police Officer Paula Wilson (right) speaks with the local Girl Scouts about the importance of bike safety.  The Girl Scouts worked on their Cadette Safety, Junior Safety, or Daisy Safety pins (depending upon their age level) with the help of area adults and troop leaders.


Benson Firemen Dave Vollan (left) and Eric Tolifson watch as the young Girl Scouts practice the “drop and roll” technique in case they ever caught fire.

Pictured, top:  Benson Police Officer Paula Wilson (right) speaks with the local Girl Scouts about the importance of bike safety.  The Girl Scouts worked on their Cadette Safety, Junior Safety, or Daisy Safety pins (depending upon their age level) with the help of area adults and troop leaders.



 

Pictured, bottom:  Benson Firemen Dave Vollan (left) and Eric Tolifson watch as the young Girl Scouts practice the “drop and roll” technique in case they ever caught fire.

Fri
07
Jul
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Swift County won’t raise wheelage tax

With an August deadline to decide whether or not it wants to increase its wheelage tax, the Swift County Board of Commissioners discussed raising it only briefly last month.

Commissioners implemented the $10 wheelage tax for 2014 and renewed each year since collecting about $115,000 annually from the surcharge on vehicle license renewals. They have already approved collecting the $10 tax again in 2018.

Next year state law allows counties to implement an annual wheelage tax in $1 increments from $1 up to $20. Between 2014 and 2017, the wheelage tax was a fixed $10. A $20 wheelage tax would give the county the ability to collect up to $230,000 for county road projects; but that won’t be happening. Commissioners will be leaving the wheelage tax at $10.

Fri
07
Jul
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Benson awarded $638,250 HUD Small Cities grant

Benson has been awarded a $638,250 Minnesota Small Cities Development Program grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fix up business and residential properties in the downtown area of the city.

Before the grant funds will be available through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the funds have to be made available to the state by HUD.

In all, the project was budgeted at $854,000, which includes administrative costs and the City of Benson’s matching funds that will go into the program.

The grant funds will help fix up 20 homes near the city’s central business district and six businesses. Applications from those interested in participating in the program were taken earlier this year. The city will be notifying the public if there are funds available for additional applications.

Fri
30
Jun
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School board to get cost estimate on renovating Civic Center

At its July 17 meeting, the District 17 Board of Education is to get a report on what it could cost to renovate the north end of the Benson Civic Center to be used for high school sports.

Members of the school board and Paul Youngquist, of Architects Rego + Youngquist of St. Louis Park went through the north end of the Civic Center last week to assess it possibilities for the school district.

“It is a nice sized space, 116 by 120, that makes it very useable,” Youngquist told the school board at its June 19 meeting. “That is nearly 14,000 square feet. The runway for the gymnastics fits in there. It is a nice-sized space for gymnastics, volleyball, tennis or batting cages…the dimensions are very workable and the height is very, very helpful.

“So now it is just a matter of how fancy you want to make it, meaning we could put in all new wood floor in there and be ready for basketball and volleyball,” he said.

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