News

Wed
03
Jun
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EPA proposes reduced ethanol blends

The Obama administration is proposing to reduce the overall amount of ethanol blended in the nation’s gasoline in coming years, a potential blow to renewable fuel companies that have pushed to keep high volumes of their product flowing into drivers’ gas tanks.
The move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is unlikely to mean much for consumers or prices at the pump, but the ethanol policy has been popular in farm states like Minnesota that have profited over the years from higher corn prices linked to the use of corn-based ethanol.
But the added value that ethanol has given to corn prices also provides important additional revenues for farmers during downturns in commodity prices, the case for the past couple years now. Revenue earned from their investment in ethanol plants has further provided an important source of income at times as well.

Wed
03
Jun
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Farmers caught illegally pumping water face stiff fines

Editor’s note:
In a map put together by MPR last year, there are 26 irrigation wells in an area bounded by Benson, Appleton, Morris and Starbuck. In that same area, only eight of the wells had permits from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Most of those wells were along Minnesota Highway 9 west of Benson between Clontarf and Hancock. East of Benson and north of Minnesota Highway 9, there were four wells with only one permitted well.
Those who have yet to get their wells permitted could be facing stiff fines this summer.
Mark Steil
Minnesota Public Radio
Hoping to protect Minnesota’s groundwater supplies amid an irrigation boom, state officials this season will have new power to levy heavy fines on farmers pumping water illegally.

Wed
03
Jun
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New group has the Pioneerland Band Festival ready to go

When the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce announced last summer that it would no longer be sponsoring or working on community events, it left many in the community wondering what the future held for the Pioneerland Band Festival and Kid Day.
It now appears the future is bright for the first event that lies ahead for the community this year.
Benson’s 28th annual Pioneerland Band Festival is set for Sunday, June 14, starting at 6:30 p.m., with 11 bands coming to compete. Benson High School’s Marching Band will be the 12th band in the parade.
There is also a volunteer group working on the community’s 84th Kid Day coming up in July.
Heading up the effort to organize the Pioneerland Band Festival this year have been Benson High School Band Instructor Brock Duncan and vocal music teacher Shelly Mikkelson. Heather (Staton) Lehr has played a key role in handling the event’s finances.

Thu
28
May
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Community garden gets underway for the season

The Garden’s Growing Wild for Our Community project is in its fourth season. The project is always looking for volunteers from any club, church, or community member that would be willing to help with the upkeep of the vegetable garden.  If you help with the upkeep of the garden, you are also able to harvest from the garden as well during the Summer.  The project is planning the implementation of the flower gardens for the months of June, July, and August.  Anyone with garden, landscaping, or horticulture, etc. background and would like to share your expertise; please get ahold of Clint Schiller, it would be greatly appreciated.  This project is also looking for perennials that you would be willing to donate either from your own garden (that needs to be thinned out) or purchased.  

Thu
28
May
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BHS to graduate 74 students Sunday

The 125th commencement for Benson High School is set for 2 p.m., Sunday, May 31 in the senior high gymnasium.  
The Class of 2015 has 74 students and has selected Taylor Laumeyer, daughter of Dennis and Jennifer Laumeyer of Benson, and Bradley Berens, son of Brent and Linette Berens of Benson, as the student speakers for this year’s graduation program.
The last day of school for students at Benson Schools is Wednesday, May 27.  This is a half day for students.  
A complete class list for the BHS Class of 2015 can be found on page 5B of this week’s Monitor-News.  The Special Graduation Section will be in the June 3 newspaper.

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
 

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