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Former Benson City Council Member Gary Landmark won a very narrow victory over attorney Tara Ulmaniec in Tuesday’s election for mayor.
Landmark won by just eight votes, 394 to 286.
Terri Collins and Jonathon Pogge-Weaver were the top two voter getters in the race for two open seats on the Benson council among the six candidates in the field.
 
Terri Collins                           479
Jonathon Pogge-Weaver             359
Mike Fugleberg                        296
Dennis Minor                          190
Larry Smith                             123
Don Krumwiede                       94

Thu
23
Jul
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Storm brings heavy rain; 61 mph wind gusts

Friday night a line of severe thunderstorms swept through western Minnesota bringing damaging winds, hail and heavy rain. At 9:40 p.m. lightening arched across the western sky as the storm rolled in with winds still relatively calm out of the east at just 7 mph.
Ten minutes later winds were out of the northwest gusting to 46 mph. By 10:15 gusts at the Benson Airport had reached 61 mph as non-stop lightening lit up the landscape, giving glimpse of the driving rain and trees bent over in the wind.
As the storms passed over the community, the city’s sirens went off warning people to take cover. No tornados were sighted in the area and there were no radar-indicated funnel clouds in the immediate area. However, the siren was sounded because straight-line winds were expected to reach 70 mph, Chief of Police Ian Hodge said.

Thu
23
Jul
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City drinking water tests high for copper

Copper levels in Benson’s water supply have tested at a level requiring action by the city to notify its citizens at multiple locations around the community.
Under the federal Clean Drinking Water Act, the city is required to test for copper and lead at sites around the community regularly. The water samples are generally taken at curb stops, the Benson City Council was told at its meeting Monday night.
In tests run a couple months ago, the levels of copper exceeded federal standards at more than a dozen sample sites. Lead levels were within the federal limits.
 Public Works Director Dan Gens told the council that elevated levels of copper had first been discovered eight months ago.  He explained the city had determined the cause to be a new formula base for polyphosphate that is put into the water pipes to main water quality and reduce copper and lead levels.

Mon
13
Jul
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UPDATE: Three county turkey farms cleared of quarantine status

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has lifted its quarantine of the final three of seven Swift County turkey farms that had been infected by the deadly avian flu virus this past spring.
However, only one farm has been received a restocking agreement so far.   In all, 33 of 107 turkey and chicken facilities in the state that were infected by the virus now have the restocking agreements. No new cases of avian influenza have been reported in Minnesota since June 5.

Mon
06
Jul
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MPCA again issues an air pollution health alert for our area

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health alert for the northern two-thirds of Minnesota due to smoke blowing in from forest fires in Canada. While air quality briefly improved following rain showers on Sunday and Monday, heavy smoke is returning to Minnesota behind the storm system. As of 9:00 a.m. Monday, air quality across the northern two-thirds of Minnesota had reached unhealthy levels. Air quality is expected to remain poor throughout the day on Monday.

While air quality is currently good across southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, smoke may return to the area later today. For current air quality conditions visit the Air Quality Index page.

Tue
30
Jun
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Benson woman dies in accident

Two women in their 80s have died after their 2014 Buick LaCrosse collided with a 1984 Ford recreational vehicle at a rural intersection in western Minnesota.
The 87-year-old driver of the car, Jeanette Saunders, and her 84-year-old passenger Delores Olen, Long Lake, were both dead at the scene.
The Minnesota State Patrol says the crash happened about 9:20 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Minnesota Highways 40 and 29, about 15 miles south of Benson.

Tue
30
Jun
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SCBH taking steps to turn around financial slide

Monday night’s presentation of the Swift County-Benson Hospital audit for 2014 confirmed what governing board members already knew – the local hospital is in an unsustainable financial slide. And the slope of that fall is getting steeper in 2015.
The principle reason for the fall off in revenues can be tied directly to fewer doctors working out of the Affiliated Community Medical Centers (ACMC) clinic in Benson, people seeking care outside the community, and the resulting loss in use of ancillary services at the hospital.
Though May proved to be a better month than expected, the hospital has lost more than $654,000 through the first five months of 2015.

Mon
29
Jun
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National Weather Service explains smoky sky

If you've wondered why the sky is such a strange color today, the National Weather Service in Grand Forks has an explanation:

"Smoke from fires in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan are filtering sunshine today. Temperatures will be held down into the upper 70s to near 80 for most areas. There will also be a few showers and storms mainly in the eastern part of Minnesota this afternoon."

(Please visit http://weather.gov/fgf for more information.)

Wed
17
Jun
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Enrollment for ARC and PLC safety-net programs underway

Eligible producers may now formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2014 and 2015. The enrollment starts June 17 and ends Sept. 30.
 “The extensive outreach campaign conducted by USDA since the 2014 farm bill was enacted, along with extending deadlines, is central to achieving an expected high level of participation,” U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
“We worked with universities to simplify these complex programs by providing online tools so producers could explore how program election options would affect their operation in different market conditions; these tools were presented to almost 3,000 organizations across the country,” he said.

Tue
16
Jun
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Programs give farmers incentive to create bee habitat

Dan Gunderson
Minnesota Public Radio

On the edge of a narrow gravel road near Mahnomen, Fred Specht jumped from his truck and pointed out the site where he planted a patch of prairie four years ago.
“As you can see, it’s kind of low through there,” Specht said, “so you were always waiting on that low spot, and occasionally getting stuck.”
Specht said farming that small, oddly shaped corner of the field was inefficient because it took time to maneuver large farm equipment into it.
So it made sense to turn the land into pollinator habitat. Various U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs pay farmers to plant a mix of perennial native flowers and grasses to help support the bee population.
Scientists are trying to understand what’s killing bees, and one factor might be poor nutrition. In response, there’s a big push to provide more food for bees and other insects.

Tue
16
Jun
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Avian flu outbreaks slow, but impact still being felt

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

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