News

Wed
06
Apr
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Benson Council gets a demo on Prairie 5 Rides dispatch system

Benson Council gets a demo on Prairie 5 Rides dispatch system

Monday night Benson’s City Council got an overview of how a Prairie 5 Rides bus works with its electronic tablet that keeps track of who needs to get picked up, dropped off, where they are waiting and where they are going.

Prairie 5 Rides Manager Ted Nelson took the council aboard one of its busses to describe how the service works and answer questions. Bus driver Penny Schomaker assisted him.

Calls for pick ups and drop offs go to a central dispatching office in Montevideo and are posted to a drivers’ screen in the bus. The screen also lets the driver take care of payments from riders, keeping track of who has a punch card or pass, and who is paying in cash.

The computer-based rides program can also keep track of regularly scheduled rides, such as for those kids who use the bus to get to school every day.

Wed
06
Apr
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$12-$15 million needed for school building upkeep

Before the District 777 Board of Education sinks millions of dollars into upgrading the Junior High School, it wants to take a good look at the options as well as ways to finance those options. The auditorium, at left, will stay and get some improvements, but it is the classroom space to the right that poses the bigger issues going forward.

District 777’s Board of Education has developed a new facilities plan that is focused on maintaining and upgrading its current facilities to keep them up and running for the next 20 years.

It includes just over $5 million in architectural, mechanical and electrical work that it sees needing to take place over the next five years on the Northside Elementary, Junior High School and Senior High school buildings. There is another $7.37 million that is necessary within the next five to 10 years with $2.68 in optional work listed.

In all, the work the school board sees as necessary simply to maintain the facilities it has today over the next decade comes to $12.38 million - $15.059 million if the option work is included.

There are no new buildings planned in the facilities plan’s preliminary estimates. However, the school board does continue to discuss the possibility of an addition to the Northside Elementary to accommodate an expanded preschool program.

Wed
06
Apr
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School district will seek public input on arts, athletics, extra-curriculars

Henry Dammeyer performs a solo on the tenor saxophone during the Jazz n’ Stuff concert, Monday night in the Jr. High Auditorium.

When it conducted its comprehensive survey this past summer on what residents of District 777 thought needed to be done to improve not only facilities, but programs as well, they received a lot of feedback.

It led the school board and staff to take a deeper look at what it offers kids in the district from band and choir, to clubs like the Business Professionals of America (BPA) and National Honor Society, to girls and boys sports.

“The survey had positive and negative comments about what the district offered and about their quality,” Supt. Dennis Laumeyer said last week in an interview. Most of the comments had to do with sports, but some dealt with other activities as well. “They are all interconnected, however,” he added.

Thu
31
Mar
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Grant Herfindahl named state FSA head

New FSA Director Grant Herfindahl enjoys the solitude of his rural Swift County farm.

With Grant Herfindahl’s appointment to head the Minnesota Farm Service Agency, the two top positions in state agriculture are now headed by two men who grew up farming in Swift County. He joins Dave Frederickson, Minnesota’s commissioner of Agriculture, in St. Paul in serving the state’s agricultural community.

Frederickson, who served four years in the Minnesota Senate and whose district included Swift County, is a former president of both the Minnesota Farmer's Union and National Farmer's Union. He served on Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staff advising her on agricultural issues. He was also a fourth-generation family farmer from north of Murdock, but has sold his farm and now lives in the Twin Cities.

Thu
31
Mar
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Public hearings set for Federated Telephone broadband expansion

When Swift County agreed to aid Federated Telephone Company with the expansion of broadband services to the eastern half of the county, it committed to bonding for $7.5 million.

Overall, the project is expected to cost $12.5 million with a $4.95 million state Border-to-Border Broadband Grant covering part of the cost of the project, which is to start in the coming monthsl

The proposed tax abatement bond sale will actually be for $7.785 million, Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the board of commissioners at their meeting March 15. The additional $285,000 is for the cost of issuing the bonds.

While the county will be conducting the bond sale, Federated Telephone has agreed to make the payments to retire the debt. The county and Federated Telephone are negotiating on how much of the bond sale costs will be covered by the county and how much by the company.

Thu
31
Mar
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Committee passes prison bill; governor promises veto

Legislators tour the Prairie Correctional Facility in November.

Early last Tuesday morning a bus wove its way through western Minnesota picking up supporters of the reopening of the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton with state prisoners. It then headed for a committee hearing at the state Capitol in St. Paul.

What followed was a startling education in the highly emotional and combative politics of sentencing laws, race and prison use in Minnesota.

As the bus rolled up to the Transportation Building in the state Capitol complex, it was met by a group running up to it with coffee and donuts, but also bearing banners saying, “Don’t believe the lies of CCA! You’re better than that Appleton!” CCA stands for Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private owner of prison space, including Appleton’s 1,600-bed facility.

Thu
24
Mar
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Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

Abby Saterbak and LuLu Bach carry the Sullivan family coat of arms banner in Saturday’s parade.
Jack and Denise Lundquist, bagpipers who live near Watertown, S.D., marched in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Benson Saturday. Paul Estenson sponsored the bagpipers for the parade.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade was held in Benson on Saturday, March 19. The annual parade is sponsored by Patrick’s Pub & Grill. The parade included Jack and Denise Lundquist, bagpipers who live near Watertown, S.D. Paul Estenson sponsored the bagpipers for the parade.

More photos can be found in the March 23, 2016 edition of the Swift County Monitor-News. Subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!
 

 

Thu
24
Mar
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Public hearings set on broadband bond sale for April 19

When Swift County agreed to aid Federated Telephone Company with the expansion of broadband services to the eastern half of the county, it committed to bonding for $7.5 million.

Overall, the project is expected to cost $12.5 million with a $4.95 million state Border-to-Border Broadband Grant covering part of the cost of the project, which is to start in the coming monthsl

The proposed tax abatement bond sale will actually be for $7.785 million, Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the board of commissioners at their meeting March 15. The additional $285,000 is for the cost of issuing the bonds.

While the county will be conducting the bond sale, Federated Telephone has agreed to make the payments to retire the debt. The county and Federated Telephone are negotiating on how much of the bond sale costs will be covered by the county and how much by the company.

Thu
24
Mar
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Bill to reopen PCF gets first hearing in Legislature

Legislation has been introduced in the Minnesota House that would pave the way for reopening the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.

The bill was scheduled for its first hearing before the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee Tuesday morning. A delegation of Swift County, Appleton, and other area communities lobbying to get the Appleton prison opened with state prisoners was heading to St. Paul by bus early Tuesday morning to be on hand for the hearing.

House File 3223 is co-sponsored by more than 20 members of the state House including Republican Rep. Kurt Daudt, the Speaker of the House, and Republican Rep. Tony Cornish. Cornish chairs the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee.

District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, Republican-Prinsburg, is also a co-author. However, all the co-authors of the bill are Republicans.
 

Thu
03
Mar
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Marsh Lake gets federal funding to move ahead with restoration project

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, center, listens to DNR Regional Wildlife Manager Dave Trauba explain the $12.93 million project that will take place in 2016 and 2017 to restore Marsh Lake near Appleton, MN.
Marsh Lake has the largest pelican rookery in the nation.

A $12.9 million ecosystem renovation of Marsh Lake is moving ahead with the commitment of $7.59 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Saturday, Feb. 20, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was in Appleton to meet with Minnesota Department of  (DNR) Resources officials who will lead the project.

At one time, Marsh Lake was a prime destination for duck hunters in the fall, and fishermen in both the summer and winter. But today it lacks the habitat that encourages ducks to stop and stay for awhile and its muddy waters favor carp, not game fish like walleye and northern pike.

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

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