News

Wed
23
Apr
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Swift County without an official coroner

Swift County is currently without an official coroner. Dr. Matt Dammeyer, who left his practice with Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Benson earlier this month, submitted his resignation as the county coroner April 9.
Swift County Administrator Mike Pogge-Weaver told the county board of commissioners at their meeting April 15 that he had been in contact with the other doctors in the county and that at this time none wanted to be the primary coroner.
“We hope to have someone in place by the next meeting,” he said. “We may have to look outside the county for the primary corner.”

Wed
23
Apr
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Winter makes brief return last week

With the 4.5 inches snow that fell last Wednesday, April has now seen 5.4 inches, 2.5 more than the average of 2.9. That snowfall put April 2013 in the top 10 in total inches of snow, but the total isn’t anywhere close to what the area saw in 2013.
Last April, the area saw a record cold month as well as 20.4 inches of snow. That snowfall shattered April’s old record for snow of 13.5 inches set in 1996.
So far this snow season that area has recorded 42.4 inches of snow, which is 1.3 inches more than the average of 41.1. Last year we received 65.2 inches of snow.
With temperatures warming in the days after the snow fell, with a high of 75 degrees reached in Benson Sunday, the snow disappeared quickly. However, soil temperatures still remain below 50 degrees, causing farmers to hold off on planting corn.

Fri
18
Apr
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Federated seeks to expand its fiber cable in area

Swift County is backing Federated Telephone’s application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that would enable it to expand fiber optic cable to every home and business in the Benson telephone exchange area.
That exchange includes the cities of Benson, Swift Falls, DeGraff, and Clontarf, as well as the rural areas around those communities. However, the cities of Benson and Clontarf could be excluded as the FCC reviews the Federated application since both may be considered to already have a sufficient level of broadband service.
Federated came to the Swift County Board of Commissioners seeking its financial backing for its proposal, backing that could come in the form of $1 million over 10 years. The county would pay approximately $100,000 annually for 10 years, but then Federated would pay the money back over the following decade at zero percent interest.

Fri
18
Apr
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Charter going to all digital signal in September

Charter Communications is planning on changing the City of Benson’s television and internet service to an all-digital service in September, eliminating the analog signal.
It says the conversion from analog to digital signals will allow it to increase the quality of the picture its customers receive as well as offer more than 200 high definition television channels.
Further, with the change Charter says it will also be able to almost double internet speeds to customers in the city.
Changing the signal from analog to digital does involve changing Charter’s cable lines from copper to fiber optic. Fiber allows a much larger and faster flow of information.

Wed
16
Apr
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Snow should taper off by evening

Periods of heavy snow Wednesday are falling across much of central and southwest Minnesota.   Snowfall reports of up to 8 inches of snow have been received.  The snow is between South Dakota and the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and as far north as Duluth Superior and into western Wisconsin.  The snow should taper off in Western Minnesota by suppertime.

Estimates of snow in Benson are between 4 and 6 inches.  Winds are gusting to 23 miles per hour and the current temperature at 3:30 was 28 degrees.

Hancock schools closed at 1 today, however most area schools remained in session.   Some activities were called off.

 

Photo:  Students leaving school were greeted by a flurry of snow and wind.  Photo by Reed Anfinson.

 

 

 

Fri
04
Apr
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For the love of basketball and the Food Shelf; fun event raises funds

Lincoln Pahl (31) and other members of the “Seniors” team celebrate a 29-24 halftime lead during the basketball fundraiser game last Tuesday night in the senior high gym.

Benson High School students in the "Me to We" program organized the event. 

Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that offers socially conscious and environmentally friendly products and life-changing experiences.

Along with the entertaining game, there were also chances to win prizes.  A total of 762 pounds of food and $1,741 in cash was raised during the first annual event.

 

Fri
04
Apr
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SCBH board votes to reinstate obstetric services

Babies will once again be delivered at the Swift County-Benson Hospital when all the necessary pieces fall into place to ensure a safe environment for obstetric services.
At their meeting Monday night, the SCBH governing board voted 8 to 1 to proceed with the steps necessary to allow for deliveries.
While the equipment purchases and facility renovations necessary for obstetric services can be in place in a relatively short time, it could take as long as eight to nine months to have the hospital staff trained to the level required.
SCBH Director of Nursing Mellissa McGinty Thompson told the board that the nursing staff at the hospital needs to be trained in the skills that will allow them to assist with deliveries, care for mothers and newborns.
Over the next several months, eight nurses at SCBH will do four-week rotations at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar working in OB services.

Fri
04
Apr
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Fabric shelters need to be gone by May 1

Last October, the Benson City Council voted to give property owners in the city who have erected fabric shelters until May 1 to remove the shelters. That deadline is now less than a month away.
At its October meeting, the council voted to send the following letter to city residents with the fabric structures on their property:
“In an effort to improve the conditions of our city, the city council has decided to step up enforcement of its zoning ordinance.
“This letter is being sent to make sure you are aware of one of the provisions of the zoning ordinance, section 154.025 subdivision G(2), which states, “Accessory buildings constructed primarily of canvas, plastic fabric, or other similar non –permanent building materials shall be prohibited.”

Fri
04
Apr
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BNSF challenges city right to issue tickets

As parents living south of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) tracks were getting ready to pick their children up at the Northside Elementary School, a slow moving train came to a full stop on the tracks.  
It is about 2:40 in the afternoon Thursday.  A heavy wet snow was falling, creating slushy conditions on roads and sidewalks.
The Northside students, children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, get out of school at 2:57 p.m. Students at the middle school and high school get out at 3:01 p.m.
As the students grabbed their backpacks and coats, heading for the doors and a ride home, the train still sat blocking the three downtown Benson crossings. The line of cars and trucks backed up on either side of the tracks were now a several blocks long. That line on the north side of the tracks grew longer as departing high school students added their vehicles to it.

Wed
26
Mar
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Miller gets Republican endorsement; will challenge Falk in District 17A

Republican Tim Miller will get another chance to unseat incumbent Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Andrew Falk in Minnesota House District 17A this fall.
Miller, a resident of Prinsburg, was endorsed by Republicans Saturday at their district convention in Benson. He won the endorsement over retired MACCRAY High School teacher and coach Gary Nelson receiving 66 percent of the vote on the first ballot.
District 17A is made up of Swift and Chippewa counties, most of Renville County, and the four southwestern Kandiyohi County townships of Edwards, Holland, Roseland and Lake Lillian.
Falk, of rural Murdock, won a third term in the Minnesota House defeating challenger Miller in the November 2012 race. It was the first election in the newly-drawn state House districts based on the 2010 Census. Falk won two elections in the old District 20A House district.

Photo:  Tim Miller will challenge Rep. Andrew Falk.
 

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