News

Fri
15
Jan
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City gets input on crossing plans

Benson City Manager Rob Wolfington and Stantec’s Peggy Harder talk with area citizens about options for improving safey and traffic flow through Benson’s three downtown crossings. The plan also looks at crossings to the east and west of the city.
The city will use input from Monday’s public meetings to choose an option to pursue in the coming months.

To keep updated on the progress of this and other stories, 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!

Fri
15
Jan
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BHS graduate Eric Holtan’s musical group up for two Grammy Awards

Far in the Heavens By True Concord Voices & Orchestra CD cover
Eric Holtan, BHS 1989 Graduate

1989 Benson High School graduate Eric Holtan will be headed to Los Angeles, CA, in February for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards where his classical music group True Concord Voices & Orchestra is nominated in two categories.

The group is competing in the Best Choral Performance category for Paulus: Far In The Heavens and Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Paulus: Prayers & Remembrances.

“It is the ultimate validation to have a body of your peers, the 12,000 voting members of the Recording Academy, vote you as one of the top five in your category,” Holton said in a phone interview from Tucson, AZ, Monday. “It is very affirming and exciting.”
 

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!

Wed
06
Jan
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County saw 7 tornadoes in 2015

A very warm November and warm start to December meant that lakes and rivers were late in freezing over. The Chippewa River was still open in places Monday morning.

In looking back at the weather highlights of 2015, there was one statistic that jumped out – Swift County saw more tornadoes than any other county in the state.

Other highlights included one of the best growing seasons for farmers in years, the smoky haze of Canadian wild fires, the latest 90-degree reading on record, the fourth warmest November on record and an extraordinarily long golf season that extended from March 15 to Nov. 24....

 

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

 

Tue
29
Dec
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Public meeting on railroad crossings Monday, Jan. 11

A Benson fire truck heads east to the 20th Avenue SE crossing as it responds to a call on the north side of the tracks. A stopped train blocked the three downtown crossings.

Monday, Jan. 11, the City of Benson is conducting an open house in the council chambers from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to take input on options for addressing railroad crossing problems in the downtown area.

At noon, 3 p.m., and 5:30 p.m., there will be presentations of the plans by city staff and engineers from Stantec Consulting Services. Stantec has put together the options along with the projected costs of implementing each one.

The city and Stantec will use the input they receive at the meeting to help make a decision on which option to pursue.

Developing plans for a solution to persistent delays caused when trains block the city’s three downtown crossings for extended periods, as well as to improve railroad safety, has been seriously pursued for more than a year now....

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

Tue
22
Dec
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Robert Sonsteng leaves Benson area 'transformational" gift

By Reed Anfinson

If you would have driven by Robert C. Sonsteng’s rural southern Pope County home you would have seen an old white 1930’s farm house with a well used pickup in the yard.  The farm buildings looked run down.

If you had seen him on the street, in the grocery store or at the Benson VFW playing pull-tabs, you wouldn’t have been impressed by the way he dressed.

But very quietly Sonsteng was a very wealthy man and he has left the community the largest charitable gift it has ever received.

Fri
11
Dec
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Broadband bonding may be expanded to add projects

Now that Swift County and Federated Telephone Company have been awarded a $4.95 million state grant to expand broadband services in the eastern areas of the county, a bond sale is needed to help finance the remainder of the $12.5 million project.

“This is a reminder of what are our next steps, what did we commit to, and what am I working on to get us there?”  County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the board of commissioners at their meeting Dec. 1. “It is coming together pretty quickly.”

However, Swift County may need to consider bonding for more than just Federated Telephone’s broadband project. Pogge-Weaver suggested the board also consider whether or not it wants to bond for other projects as well....

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

Fri
11
Dec
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Swift County looks to raise taxes 4.5 percent for 2016

Swift County’s net levy has been set at $9,830,278, an increase of $423,313 or 4.5 percent over 2015’s levy.

That increase reflects a continuing reduction in County Program Aid from the state, increasing employment to meet state mandates, and additional projects the county is taking on in 2016.

Swift County’s total revenues are expected to be $20.66 million in 2016 with expenses budgeted at $21.103 million, for a deficit of $444,458.

However, the county will be receiving a $121,412 loan payment for the Swift County-Benson Hospital in 2016 and a $311,739 loan payment from CNHi for a total of  $433,151. That will help keep the cash position of the county steady, County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver said at the annual Truth in Taxation hearing last Tuesday.

Fri
11
Dec
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SCBH redesign plans moving ahead

Big Stone Therapies Site Manager Holly Kolander, Lab Manager Kelly Carlson, Radiologist Mike Heinzig, Environmental Services Manager Jim Moeding, and Dietician Arthur Valentine participate in the HGA-led Lean discussion last week at the Swift County-Benson Hospital.

As the Swift County-Benson Hospital governing board moves forward with redesigning the facility to offer a broad range of healthcare services, including memory care, it has retained national leader in medical facility design and planning HGA of Minneapolis.

Last week, HGA staff were in Benson working with SCBH personnel to get their input on what they saw as the best way to design a facility to meet the needs of those coming through the door. That person might need to be hospitalized, need physical therapy, need radiology services, be visiting someone who is hospitalized, need counseling, chemotherapy, or another of the broad range of services SCBH offers....

For more subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF edition.

Wed
09
Dec
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December 10 sees record temperature set

Benson set a record temperature Thursday when the low only fell to 36 degrees. The previous high low temperature was 29 degrees set Dec. 10, 1979. The average low for Dec. 10 is 10 degrees and the record low for the date is a minus 22 degrees set in 1955.

Thursday’s high was 48 degrees, but that was 3 degrees short of the record high temperature for Dec. 10 of 51 degrees set in 2001. The average high for the date is 26 degrees.

The day dawned with rain, mild winds gusting to 16 mph out of the northwest and the temperature at 39 degrees. But the skies cleared around noon and the temperatures began to warm. Friday's forecast was for a high of 36 degrees, which was hit shortly after midnight, and a low of 29 degrees.

Wed
02
Dec
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Prison Population Task Force tours Appleton Prison

The Legislature’s Prison Population Task Force toured the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton Tuesday, Nov. 24, to see first-hand what it had to offer. The task force is studying options to address the state’s growing prison population problem. Leasing the prison in Appleton is one of the options being discussed. Above, Co-Chair Rep. Tony Cornish talks with Prairie Correcitonal Facility Warden Tom Kessler.

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