News

Fri
30
Dec
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Promotion of Appleton prison to continue in 2017

Republican Rep. Tony Cornish, in black sweatshirt, chairs the Minnesota House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee. He will play a key role in the discussions about the state’s possible use of the Appleton prison.

Swift County is already gearing up to make another effort to get the State of Minnesota to lease or buy the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.

At the county board’s meeting Dec. 19, Commissioner Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, reported that he and Commission Chair Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson, had attended a meeting of representatives of lobbying firm Goff Public and CoreCivic, the owner of the prison.

CoreCivic is the new name of Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest owner of private prison facilities. It changed its name this past fall.

Fri
23
Dec
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A visit from the Santa Truck

With all the kids patiently waiting, the Santa Truck rounds the corner and heads toward the Benson Fire Hall.
Mrs. Claus (Shirley Manska) and Santa (Karl Manska) pose with a young child during the Santa Truck’s visit to the Benson Fire Hall, Monday.  All the kids had a great time visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and each received a bag of treats.

Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their friends visited the Benson Fire Hall to meet with all the kids in Benson.  They were originally set to visit the community Saturday night, but that visit was postponed to Monday due to weather.  The Santa Truck made stops at Danvers, Clontarf, the Golden Living Center-Meadow Lane, and DeGraff before arriving at the Benson Fire Hall.

 

Pictured, top: With all the kids patiently waiting, the Santa Truck rounds the corner and heads toward the Benson Fire Hall.

Pictured, bottom: Mrs. Claus (Shirley Manska) and Santa (Karl Manska) pose with a young child during the Santa Truck’s visit to the Benson Fire Hall, Monday.  All the kids had a great time visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and each received a bag of treats.
 

Fri
23
Dec
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NW Benson loses power durng Sunday’s frigid cold

On the coldest morning in nearly seven years the power in northwest Benson went out. It would stay out from around 8:30 Sunday morning until nearly 6 that night.

At the time the power went out, the temperature in Benson was near a minus 25 degrees after hitting a low of 28 below zero. The wind chill was a dangerous 40 and 45 below. While temperatures “warmed” through the morning to a minus 8 degrees by noon, the temperature never got above zero as city electric crews worked into the late afternoon to find out what was causing the outage.

As soon as the power went out, the city’s on-call electric crew responded, City Manager Rob Wolfington told the Benson City Council Monday night. As the crew tried to fix what it thought was causing the problem things continued to go wrong. A burned out transformer was replaced, but there were other problems down the line that caused fuses, some the size of a baseball bat, to blow, he said.

Fri
23
Dec
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Area sees coldest temps in seven years

When the temperature fell to a minus 28 degrees in Benson early Sunday morning it was the coldest temperature the area has seen in nearly seven years. Back in January 2010 it fell to 35 below zero Jan. 2 and 31 below Jan. 3.

The National Weather Service had issued a winter storm warning for western central Minnesota Friday with 3 to 6 inches of snow forecasted. But as the snow moved eastward, the NWS issued a wind chill warning as temperatures fell below zero Saturday and winds picked up gusting to 25 mph. Wind chills Saturday night fell as low as a minus 37 degrees.

Through the night the temperature continued to fall Saturday reaching a minus 24 degrees before midnight.

Fri
23
Dec
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Study says renovate Armory and build new city hall

A study of Benson’s 1927 Armory building recommends tearing off the two-story office space, adding a new entry and bathrooms, and building a new city hall/police department.

Armory main floor, gymnasium safe for public use
 

A structural and environmental study of the Benson Armory building shows that for the most part it is safe for the public to use.

However, it also says that the two-story front office space on the 1927 building should be removed and replaced. Engineering and architectural firm Widseth, Smith and Nolting (WSN) of Alexandria, did the study, with architect Reed Becker overseeing it.

Benson’s City Council had been exploring the possibility of remodeling the Armory for use as a new city hall, police department, or possibly both. However, during a tour of the building in October, it found mold growing in the basement, paint peeling off the walls, and pipes wrapped with a material that likely contained asbestos.

It led the council to order the environmental study to ensure the building was safe for the Benson High School gymnastics program use, for roller skating, walkers, and for events.

Fri
16
Dec
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Santa Truck rescheduled to Monday

The Santa Truck’s annual visit to the area has been rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 19.  The Santa Truck is scheduled to make stops at Clontarf, Danvers, DeGraff and at the Fire Hall and Golden Living Center-Meadow Lane in Benson.
All area kids are invited to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and everyone attending the event will receive a bag of treats.
This year again, Karl Manska and Shirley Manska will help out in the roles of Santa and Mrs. Claus, while Scott Huston is providing the use of his truck for Santa’s visit, and many other volunteers are also helping out with the project in each town.
The event is sponsored by area businesses and volunteers, taking over for the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, which had sponsored the visit in previous years.

Fri
09
Dec
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Benson High School Pep Band

Members of the Benson High School Pep Band perform prior to the start of the Benson and NLS boys basketball game, Thursday night in the senior high gym.  The band students have been busy with playing at games and performing at holiday concerts.

 

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Fri
09
Dec
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Search for county administrator is starting to narrow

Swift County’s search for a new administrator continues with the board of commissioners ready to view video interviews with up to eight candidates so that it can narrow its search to finalists who will be interviewed in person.

Former Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver resigned his position in October to take the job of city manager in Carroll, Iowa. With his announcement that he was leaving, the county started an immediate search for a new administrator with the assistance of Twin Cities executive search firm Springsted. However, it isn’t expecting to have a new administrator on board until sometime in January.

It has hired Jan Fransen to be its interim county administrator. She has worked with county government for 24 years and served 18 years as the Jackson County coordinator retiring from the position last year.

Wed
07
Dec
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Fire east of Kerkhoven results in total loss of barn, 1500 pigs

From the Swift County Sheriff's Office:

On December 6 at 1421 Swift County Dispatch received a 911 car of a barn fire located on Hwy 12 east of Kerkhoven. Kerkhoven Fire, Murdock fire, Degraff fire, Sunburg fire and Pennock fire responded along with Wilmar rescue and Ambulance and Kerkhoven ambulance and Swift County Sheriff's Office and Kandiyohi Sheriffs Office.

There were 1500 pigs in the barn which was a total loss. The Minnesota Fire Marshall has been contacted and the fire is is under investigation at this time.

 

Fri
02
Dec
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Turkey Trot raises food, funds for Food Shelf

Sponsored by Bluestem Dental, the annual Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning raises money and food that is donated to the Food Shelf.

Sponsored by Bluestem Dental, the annual Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning raises money and food that is donated to the Food Shelf. Runners, walkers and bikers enjoyed a little warmer weather this year with temperatures in the 30s, with foggy but relatively warm conditions.

Turkey Trot was started by now retired Benson dentist Dr.  Dean Erickson and continued by Drs. Tony Hilleren and Marissa Goplen.
 

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