News

Thu
28
May
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Swift County, Pillsbury township debate ownership of old U.S. 12 bridge

Swift County is trying to determine just who owns the old U.S. Highway 12 bridge 1.2 miles southeast of Kerkhoven because it will have an impact on who is responsible for its upkeep and potential replacement.
The bridge is one of the oldest in the county and has been flagged as the most deficient as well. A 100 rating is a perfect mark for a bridge while anything under 50 or 60 is deficient, Swift County Highway Engineer Andy Sander told the county board of commissioners at their meeting May19. The old U.S. 12 bridge has a rating of 34. It was last inspected more than six years go.
While its rating is very poor, the bridge is not used by the general public. When the new railroad tracks overpass was built in the 1980s, the old section of U.S. 12 and the bridge were by-passed. Today, it is used by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad to fill up a propane tank.

Thu
21
May
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Henderson charged in robbery near hospital

Melinda Amelia Henderson, 23, Benson, has been charged with felony simple robbery and misdemeanor fifth degree assault-bodily harm in Swift County 8th Judicial District Court.
Henderson made her first appearance in court May 8 with an omnibus hearing set for June 2.
According to the complaint filed by Swift County Attorney Danielle Olson, Henderson assaulted Donna Ascheman near the emergency entrance of the Swift County-Benson Hospital and stole her purse shortly before midnight May 6.
Ascheman had come to the hospital to meet her brothers, Gerald and Steve Wersinger, and to see their mother who had been admitted earlier that evening.
After parking her car, Ascheman started walking toward the ER entry. The complaint states that as she crossed Wisconsin Avenue from the parking lot and was walking toward the entry, two women started coming toward her. As they approached, she told them she was at the hospital to see her mother, the complaint states.

Thu
21
May
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School board votes to conduct follow-up survey after bond referendum is defeated

Minutes after approving the results of the defeated bond referendum, the District 777 Board of Education agreed to conduct a follow-up survey with School Perceptions to find out why the bond referendum was defeated.  
In addition, it will help give the school district the information it needs to conduct its next step, whether that be a scaled-down version of the referendum, or no referendum at all.
During the Monday night meeting, attended by about 30 community members in addition to BHS administration representatives, the board also approved the 2015-2016 calendar, which is set to begin Sept. 8.

Tue
19
May
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Bear seen northeast of Benson Tuesday

The Swift County Sheriff has just released this news to the general public near Benson.

Attention Benson Area Residents.

We have an unconfirmed spotting of a larger black bear north and east of Benson about 1 mile. Obviously we ask that you use caution if you spot a bear for a number of reasons. Many people underestimate the speed with which a bear can move. The Department of Natural Resources has been notified and advises to leave the bear alone, do not approach it and use caution.

If you spot the bear, please call the Sheriff’s Department at 320-843-3133 or 911.

Residents of the Spicer area reported a bear last Monday and Tuesday foraging for food by bird feeders.

 

Wed
13
May
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Voters resoundingly defeated an $18.7 million school bond levy

District 777 voters resoundingly defeated an $18.7 million bond building bond levy in voting Tuesday, May 12. There were 1,354 votes cast against the referendum (67.5 percent) to 651 in favor (32.5 percent.)
The margin of the defeat showed a widespread dissatisfaction with the plan. Those voting against it did so for a variety of reason including: the current poor farm economy, an increase in taxes, moving the fourth grade to the high school, and a plan that seemed to change too often.
Voter turnout was very high with 2,005 ballots cast. That is 833 more votes than were cast in the 2013 levy referendum for funding school operations and 912 more than were cast in the 2011 operating levy referendum.
District 777’s Board of Education is planning on meeting Monday night to discuss how it will move forward following the building levy defeat.
 
 
District 777   Building Levy Referendum
 

Wed
13
May
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Officials study rail crossing and traffic safety issues in Benson

Benson took another step last Friday toward resolving rail safety concerns as well as persistent delays caused when trains block the city’s downtown crossings for extended periods.
Federal and state rail officials, along with representatives of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Benson, Swift County and Torning Township, met to review what could be done to improve the local crossings.
Also at the meeting were representatives of Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., a Twin Cities engineering firm, the city retained to develop a comprehensive plan on how the city’s rail problems could be mitigated.

Wed
13
May
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Second reading of zoning change approved for assisted living facility

At a special meeting Monday night, the Benson City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance to change the zoning for land on which a proposed assisted living and memory care facility would be built.
The land is currently zoned for residential one and two family housing, but is being rezoned to a high-density residential district to accommodate the facility, which would have 16 memory units and 22 assisted living apartments. It is estimated that the facility could cost between $8 and $9 million.
The land sits immediately to the west of Minnesota Highway 29 and across from the Northside Recreation Area’s baseball fields. Pat and Jon Hawley of Hawley Properties are donating the land to the City of Benson for the project.

Wed
06
May
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Focus on AG: Crop planting progresses rapidly across the state

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

Tue
05
May
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Voters decide NO on $18.7 school levy

District 777 voters went to the polls yesterday and decided that a $18.7 million building project will NOT move forward. The vote was roughly 2 to 1 against the plan.

Thu
30
Apr
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New law to allow ATVs on county roads

An ordinance allowing the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs,) utility vehicles, and golf carts on Swift County roads was unanimously passed by the board of commissioners at their meeting April 21.
This new law only applies to county roads, not state or federal highways, city streets, or township roads unless those jurisdictions have also passed laws allowing their use.
When it first considered the ordinance, the board had looked at limiting the use of these vehicles to specific county roads.
“A revision that was made was to take out any mention of designated roads and just make it available on all county roads under our jurisdiction,” Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told commissioners.
Commissioners conducted a public hearing at the April 21 meeting.

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