News

Tue
03
Nov
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Landmark, Collins, Pogge-Weaver win election to city council

Gary Lanmark won the mayoral election by 8 votes.

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 386.

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
22
Oct
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Golf club, city face tough decisions

Members of the Benson City Council and the Benson Golf Club Board of Directors discussed the golf club’s financial, equipment and clubhouse needs at a special council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 14. Above, course Superintendent Sally Jones explains how a newly installed irrigation system works.

Benson’s Golf Club is at a pivotal point in its 90-year history.
Decisions that will be made in the coming months by the City of Benson and the Golf Club Board will determine who will operate it, how it will be financed, the quality of its facilities, and what role the taxpayers’ of the community will play.
This tipping point has arrived gradually. It has been brought on by a loss of membership and the accompanying loss of revenues. Ever increasing costs of operations and equipment have also played a role.
Last Wednesday evening, the Benson City Council and the golf club’s board of directors sat down at the clubhouse to talk about what comes next.
 

Thu
22
Oct
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Fire damages Case quad-trac tractor

Benson firemen put out the flames that engulf a Case quad-trac tractor. It is suspected that cornstalks became lodged in one of the tracks and caught fire.

Very dry conditions are making the fall harvest a little more risky as the threat of fire grows with farmers finishing the corn harvest and completing fall tillage.
Around noon Monday the Benson Fire Department was called to a tractor fire in a harvested cornfield just south of the city on the east side of Minnesota Highway 29. When the firemen arrived at the scene, the large quad-track Case tractor was already engulfed in flames.
“Field conditions are quite dry, which greatly increases fire danger to remaining cornfields, as well as to farm equipment,” Kent Thiesse writes in his column this week on Page 7. “Extreme caution is advised during harvesting, especially on windy days.”
The dry conditions are showing up on the U.S. Drought Monitor map, which now shows a growing number of western Minnesota counties “exceptionally dry.” Much of both Pope and Stevens counties are now in this area, though Swift County so far has no townships in the affected area.

Wed
14
Oct
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A generous gift for Johnny Johnson

Johnny Johnson’s new motorized scooter, courtesy of the Benson Lions and the entire community, has allowed him to get around the town with ease and allows him to venture much farther away from his home than he was accustomed to.  Despite being very independent and wanting to do things for himself, Johnny was very appreciative to everyone for the generous gift.

Cost of an off-road, motorized scooter?  About $3,500.  Cost to build a shed to house the scooter?  About $1,500.  The never-ending smile that was on Johnny Johnson’s face from the moment he saw his new scooter?  Priceless!
Yes, the Benson Lions Club, as well as other civic organizations in the community, have done a lot of great things over the years, but the most-recent project by the Lions Club to buy a new off-road motorized scooter for Johnny Johnson not only helped someone in need, it will change his life.
Johnny, a 1980 graduate of Benson High School, who has been challenged since birth, has never had it easy getting around town.  Many people in the community can picture Johnny trying to get his lawnmower around town so he could mow the post office lawn, or trying to get around with his three-wheel bike using one of his hands to propel the wheels forward.

Wed
14
Oct
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County broadband application 1 of 44

Swift County’s application for broadband funding is one of 44 that were submitted to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) by the Sept. 23 deadline.

In all, the 44 grant applications submitted are seeking $29.06 million to expand broadband coverage for their areas. However, just $10.58 million was made available by the Legislature for this year’s funding round.

Last year, DEED received 40 applications seeking $44.2 million, but had $20 million available in its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program.

In July, Swift County pledged $7.5 to $8 million in bond funds to help Federated Telephone expand broadband fiber optic cable to unserved areas in the eastern half of the county. County backing was essential to the broadband grant application Federated was submitting to DEED.

Wed
14
Oct
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Farmers taking in a record crop

Nearly perfect growing conditions this crop season is leading to record yields throughout Minnesota.

Former University of Minnesota Extension Agent Kent Thiesse writes in this week’s column on Page 7A that the USDA is estimating the 2015 Minnesota corn yield at a record level of 184 bushels per acre.

The 2015 Minnesota anticipated corn yield is well above the final 2014 average state corn yield of 156 bushels per acre, and 160 bushels per acre in 2013. The previous record corn yield was 177 bushels per acre in 2010.

The USDA Report estimated the 2015 Minnesota soybean yield at a record level of 48 bushels per acre, which compares to 41.5 bushels per acre in 2014 and 42.0 bushels per acre in 2013, Thiesse, who is now a vice president with MinnStar Bank in Lake Crystal, writes. The previous state record average yield was 45 bushels per acre in 2010.

Wed
14
Oct
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Record high set Oct. 11

When the high hit 91 degrees Sunday afternoon it set a record for Oct. 11 and became the latest date on which Benson has recorded a temperature of 90 degrees or higher. The old record for Oct. 11 was 84 degrees set in 1995.

Prior to Sunday, the latest in the year on which Benson had seen a 90-degree plus temperature was Oct. 5. In 1963, the city recorded a 93-degree high on that date.

Saturday was also an unusually warm day with the high reaching 81 degrees, but that was 4 degrees shy of the record for Oct. 10 of 85 degrees set in 1955.

Tue
22
Sep
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Soybean harvest underway in Minnesota

Minnesota farmers took advantage of an average 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Sunday with crop harvest progressing well ahead of last year for most crops, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Harvest advanced for dry edible beans, corn for silage, potatoes, and sugarbeets; and started for corn for grain and soybeans. Farmers also harvested sweet corn.

Forty-one percent of Minnesota’s corn acreage was mature, 7 days ahead of last year but equal to the five-year average. Corn condition rated 88 percent good to excellent. Thirty percent of the state’s corn for silage crop was harvested during the week, reaching 67 percent.

Seventy-two percent of the soybean acreage was dropping leaves or beyond, 8 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of normal. Soybean harvest reached 12 percent. Soybean condition rated 78 percent good to excellent.

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.

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