News

Wed
03
Feb
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Spring fieldwork may have aided bird flu outbreak

Winds gusting to 44 mph April 20, 2015, raced across fields in western Minnesota lifting soil into the air - some of that soil may have contained the avian influenza virus spreading it to turkey and chicken barns.
Workers foam a turkey barn last spring to euthanize diseased birds.

April and May saw very strong winds while farmers worked their fields

Editor’s note: Information for this story is from Minnesota Public Radio and the Swift County Monitor-News.

Farmers who actively tilled fields near turkey barns in the early days of Minnesota’s avian influenza outbreak last year may have unwittingly helped spread the virus, a new University of Minnesota study says.

Soil in those fields may have been contaminated with droppings from migrating birds believed to be a source of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI.) The virus can survive cold temperatures in soil and tilling may have created “airborne particles that could carry the virus,” the university’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety said in the report posted Thursday.

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
03
Feb
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Snow Week Coronation Monday

Pictured are the 10 Snow Week royalty candidates for Benson High School’s 2016 Snow Week celebration.

Benson High School is set to celebrate its annual Snow Week the week of Monday, Feb. 8 through Saturday, Feb. 13.  The theme of this year’s Snow Week celebration is “Love is in the Air.”
Snow Week coronation is set for 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8 in the Jr. High Auditorium, the Snow Week dance is set for Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Benson Bowler, and a pep fest will be held sometime during the week.

Pictured are the 10 Snow Week royalty candidates for Benson High School’s 2016 Snow Week celebration, set for Feb. 8-13.  The week includes the Snow Week coronation program at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8 in the Junior High Auditorium, and the Snow Week dance at 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Benson Bowler.  From left to right are Connor Staton, Mitch Koosmann, Hanna Lindblad, Josh Manzke, Kaley Fieseler, Beau Norby, Kamri Kalthoff, Max McDonald, Ashley Tolifson, and Courtney Johnson.  The junior and sophomore Snow Week attendants are pictured on Page 2.
 

Fri
22
Jan
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Despite governor’s opposition, local officials still see hope for prison

Efforts to reopen the Prairie Correctional Facility (PCF) in Appleton have run into a roadblock, of sorts, at the state Capitol.

In announcing a proposed $1.4 billion borrowing plan to address state infrastructure needs last week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton indicated he does not favor building new facilities to house large numbers of prisoners.

 

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!
 

Fri
22
Jan
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LifeLink III now using new city helipad

LifeLink III, and other air ambulances, are now using Benson’s new helipad just a couple blocks west of the Swift County-Benson Hospital.

Sunday afternoon the sound of a helicopter passing low overhead signaled a LifeLink III helicopter on its way to pick up a patient from the Swift County-Benson Hospital.

Now that the LifeLink helicopters are using a new helipad near the Benson Civic Center rather than having to travel to the Benson airport, they come over the city a little lower than before and are considerably more noticeable to the general public.
 

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!

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.

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