News

Tue
22
Sep
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Saterbak meets with Secretary of State Simon

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon was in Benson last week to meet with County Auditor Saterbak on election issues. Saterbak oversees elections conducted in the county.

Among the topics they discussed were developing a contingency plan for voting should an election day see bad weather that makes it difficult for people to get to the polls or an emergency situation that makes voting difficult; future funding for computerized election machines; and absentee and early voting options.

Tue
22
Sep
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County passes preliminary levy

A 4.5 percent preliminary increase in Swift County’s tax levy for 2016 was unanimously passed by the county board of commissioners at its meeting Sept. 15.

The increase would raise county taxes for next year’s net levy to $9,930,278, an increase of $423,313. The increase will go to cover added personnel costs, technology improvements, and increased costs of operations.

Commissioners were required by state law to adopt a preliminary levy prior to Sept. 15. While the final levy adopted in December can’t be increased over what was adopted last week, commissioners can vote to reduce the amount.

It took three motions, with the first two failing, before the county board could come to an agreement on how much to raise taxes for next year. The final amount was a compromise with some commissioners feeling it was too high and at least one thinking it was too low to meet the county’s needs.

Tue
08
Sep
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Train, tractor with disk collide near DeGraff Thursday

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train and a John Deere tractor pulling a disk collided at a crossing just west of DeGraff last Thursday. The train struck the disk, breaking it into pieces, and dragging part of it with it down the tracks.
However, while the disk was mangled, Dan Kottshade, 28, New London, the driver of the John Deere 9560 R, escaped injury. He was headed north on Swift County Road 14 as the BNSF train approached from the east at approximately 40 mph. There is only a short distance between the crossing and Swift County Road 14’s intersection with U.S. Highway 12. Drivers approaching U.S. 12 have a stop sign.

Photo:  Part of the disk was dragged beneath the train.

Tue
08
Sep
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County board updated on prison potential use

Swift County’s two members of the Minnesota Legislature are cautiously optimistic that it will give serious consideration to using the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton rather than building a new facility in Rush City.
District 17 Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and District 17A Rep. Tim Miller, Republican-Prinsburg, met with the Swift County Board of Commissioners at their meeting last Tuesday to discuss what 2016 may bring for rural counties.
At the top of the list of issues for Swift County is the possible reopening of the prison in Appleton.
It is estimated that the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) has about 550 state prisoners in county jails throughout the state that it believes should be housed in state-run facilities. Further, it is projected that in less than three years there could be 900 to 1,000 inmates in facilities outside their system, County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the board of commissioners last month.

Fri
28
Aug
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12-county Southern Prairie off to good start

Medicaid costs lowered; care improving

Fri
28
Aug
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Hulberg honored for participating in federal CRP

It’s not often you get to mark two momentous occasions on one day. Last week, longtime Pope County farmer Art Hulberg was surrounded by family, friends, neighbors and a special guest from Washington, D.C. as he celebrated his 100th birthday and the 30th anniversary of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)—a program he’s been a part of since its early years.
Val Dolcini, national administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), made the trek from his office in Washington, D.C. to personally shake Hulberg’s hand, wish him a happy birthday, and thank him for his participation in the CRP program.

Tue
18
Aug
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Swift County Fair this week; fundraising for new restroom facilities underway

Swift County’s 118th annual fair gets underway Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Swift County Fairgrounds in Appleton.
The fair features quality, free entertainment each day, 4-H competitions, a Ranch Rodeo, and a carnival with games and rides. See the full schedule of events at the end of this article.
The campaign for construction of new bathrooms and a shower facility at the Swift County Fair will be launched this week, fair President Jon Panzer said Monday. The current bathrooms at the fair are from around the 1940s.
The fair board is trying to raise $200,000 to replace the aging bathroom facilities and add bathroom and shower facilities at the campgrounds.

PHOTO:  Because of the devastating spread of the avian influenza this spring, there will be no poultry at the 2015 fair.  Jonathan Ilstrup of the Lake Hazel Eager Beavers last year waited to have his chickens judged at the 2014 Swift County Fair.

Fri
14
Aug
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Inspection of Milan Bridge starts Aug. 18 on Highway 40

A bridge inspection project is set to start Tuesday, Aug. 18 on Minnesota Highway 40 from Milan to the junction of Highway 119. The bridge will be closed.
A detour will go into effect on Aug. 18 at 6:30 a.m.  The detour route is listed below.
- Traveling west on Highway 40:  in Milan take Highway 7 north to Appleton, in Appleton take Highway 119 south to Highway 40
- Traveling east on Highway 40:  take Highway 119 north to Appleton, in Appleton take Highway 7 south to Milan
The project is scheduled to be complete on August 18th at 5:00 p.m.
MnDOT asks motorists to slow down and pay attention while driving through work zones. Motorists who speed through a work zone or who disobey work zone flaggers’ traffic directions face a $300 fine.

 

Thu
13
Aug
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County votes 4-1 to hire PR firm for prison effort

Swift County’s Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 1 to hire Goff Public, a Twin Cities public relations and lobbying company, to help it persuade state legislators to house prisoners at the Prairie Correctional Facility in Appleton.
Only Commissioner Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, voted against allocating $10,000 from the County Board Discretionary Funds to retain Goff Public. Commissioners Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton; Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson; Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson; and Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township voted in favor of the expenditure.

Thu
13
Aug
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Thunderstorms and possible strong storms Thursday (today)

A severe thunderstorm with possible hail is moving into the central Minnesota area this morning. 
Strong winds and possible hail are forecast. 
In addition the pollen alert is moderate today and will be high Friday through Sunday.
 
Today
Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 84. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Tonight

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