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    Hastings Students Eagle Bluff Challeng

    Eighth graders at Hastings Middle School are finishing up their annual trip to Eagle Bluff which is located near Lanseboro in South Eastern Minnesota. The multi-overnight adventure is a highlight for HMS 8th graders with dorm style bunks, rustic dining hall meals with a clean plate award as a goal, environmental exercises and team building educational opportunities such as nighttime star mapping, animal tracking and the high ropes course, which has defined the courage factor for many a Hastings student.

    The trip is designed to connect students with their natural environment, provide a shared adventure and build on communication, leadership and collaboration for those involved. The coach busses roll in before school concludes on Friday with their cargo of enlightened but tired youngsters who have been known to remember the trip as a distinct highlight of their years at Hastings Schools.

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    City Prepares For Snow Season

    A common question, according to City of Hastings Communication Coordinator Lee Stoffel, happens when a snow emergency is declared- after 2 inches or more has accumulated, with some residents having no access to off street parking. Stoffel has a solution.

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    She also provides a two step test for street parking after a snowfall.

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    The city notification system, NIXLE, can also help to alert anyone, anywhere, about snow emergency conditions.

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    Tune in Thanksgiving Thursday, to hear the complete In Depth program with valuable information on how to keep ahead of the plow this winter.

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    Community Funding For Prescott K9

    The intention of the Prescott Police Department to secure a k9 unit for their city raised some questions at Monday night's city council meeting on how service work animals factor into the job of protecting a community. Adding this type of tool to a law enforcement department is based on the value both in detection and as a deterrant to additional crime. Officer Jesse Neely provided some of the background for the request.

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    He also stated there are several uses for the animal.

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    Alderperson Maureen Otwell also asked current Office Chief Doug Ducklow about the drug detection challenges if Wisconsin votes to leagalize recreational use of marijuana. Office Chief Doug Ducklow shares his view.

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    Alderperson Bailey Ruona offered an observation that supported the move.

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    City Administrator Janyne Brand confirmed Tuesday that the new police chief would be the one to decide how a k9 team would be used and how much access might be provided to other departments through the mutual aid agreement with Pierce and Washington Counties. Prescott has utillized the services of k9's for investigative work, with Neeley acknowledging that there is only one k9 in Pierce County with availability limited due to the number of departments requesting such services.

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    Rollover Injures RF Driver

    On Tuesday November 13 at approximately 4:26 AM the Pierce County Sheriffs Office responded to the area of Cty Rd M and 1160th St in Clifton Township for a one vehicle rollover with injury. Scene investigation determined a 2004 Honda Civic, operated by Dylan W. Wittek, 18, of River Falls, was traveling westbound on Cty Rd M near 1160th St. when the vehicle entered the south ditch and overturned. Wittek was transported from the scene to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN with undetermined injuries. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was assisted on scene by River Falls Fire and EMS. The crash remains under investigation.

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    Pierce Co Sets Budget

    The Pierce County Budget for 2019 has been approved by the County Board of Supervisors at a meeting on Tuesday morning. One highlight of the budget includes a partnership with Pepin County's University of Wisconsin Extension agent to provide Extension services to Pierce County farmers. Pierce County will contribute 20 percent of the costs. Also at the meeting, the board unanimously hired Deputy Sheriff Jason Matthys as the new county administrator.

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    Newport School Excells

    Newport Elementary School has been recognized for its improved scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment test, and has been named on the Star Tribune's annual "Beating the Odds" list in September. According to an article in the South Washington County Bulletin, Newport is one of only 19 "high poverty" schools in the Twin Cities Metro that made the list, by exceeding its predicted proficiency scores in math, reading or both. Based on their poverty level, Newport students in third through fifth grade were expected to score 49 percent proficiency in math, according to the report. Instead, they scored 67 percent. Over the past four years, Newport has raised its MCA reading scores nearly 18 points, from 40 percent proficiency in 2014 to 57.9 percent in 2017. This year, it scored 61 percent, exceeding its predicted score of 53 percent.

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    Dak Co Residents Test Well Water

    Approximately 110 residents from all over Dakota County traveled to the Vermillion City Hall to bring in well water samples for free testing on November 14th. The samples were taken from private wells to detect the concentration of nitrates. Contamination occurs where sources of nitrate such as fertilizers, animal wastes or human sewage are concentrated near the ground's surface which then seep down and contaminates the groundwater. Graphs of most of rural Dakota County shows that the concentration of nitrate continues to increase and has continued to reach deeper into the earth over the past quarter century, with some areas now registering elevated levels at 280 feet. Depending on the level drilled for area wells, those contaminents are likely to have permeated the water sources and will be found in any well that uses that resource. One resident, Sarah Hagen, brought a small covered container to find out the nitrate concentration in her well water. She has small children and told us why she wanted to know the results.

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    While nitrate levels at 10 micrograms or less per milliliter is the accepted health threashhold, Hagen's results showed her water tested at 9.1. She plans to find out about reverse osmosis systems. Coming up tomorrow, we'll have more of the information gathered during this targeted testing and hear what impact the results might have.

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    In Depth Preview Schedule

    Tuesday , November 20th, on In Depth, The 2018 Keynote speech by RETIRED BRIGADIER GENERAL GREG. A. HAASE given on November 10th at the Hastings American Legion Post 47. Introduction by Master of Ceremonies GORDON GATHRIGHT then Its time to Get Your Gobble On at the 21st Annual Gobble Gait Thanksgiving Day race! Founders MARY FASBENDER and JAY KOCHENDORFER talks about whats new for this year. and if you are looking for a perfect opportunity to enjoy community theater with family and friends Why not take in Black Dirt Theaters production of "It's a Wonderful Life" playing Nov 24-25 and Dec 1-2 at Hastings High School. Co-director MOLLY McELROY is our guest. Tune in to your community on In Depth.

    On Wednesday, November 21st, In depth programs, CATHY SEEHUETTER fills in as host for this months GRIEF CHAT and is joined by guests DEBBIE and MARK RAMBIS of the Compassionate Friends organization. In Part 2, Cathy discusses the difficulties faced by those grieving during the Holidays.

    Then our second year of In the Garden with host CHAR SCHAAR concludes with a list of great gift ideas for your favorite gardener, even if that person is YOU! Tune in as we bring another great season of gardening to a close with our wishes for next Spring. Tune in to your community with In Depth.

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    Thanksgiving day In Depth programs include our conversation with A 20 year member of the Augustana Healthcare Hastings team, Occupational Therapist and Rehabilitation Director STEVE HETT. He has a helpful perspective on his abilities to assist short or long term care patients with the physical tools they need to recover from injury or to preserve mobility. Then, Did you know the average person gains almost 10 pounds from Halloween to January? In our conversation with Anytime Fitnesss KATE TORBORG and CORTNEY CADWELL we find out some tips to help you stay healthy this Holiday season

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    Alleyway Rehab Nears Finish

    Crews completing the concrete work in the alley near the Legion are enduring finger freezing temperatures in their effort to pour the final areas on the eastern end near the garbage enclosures. The project has kept businesses and residents on the outskirts of the area since late spring with a multitude of improvements and updates to utility services which have been contained under the street level with the wire spaghetti mounted on wooden poles a thing of the past. Cleaning up the utility aesthetics was just one part of the massive project, the last under the Rivertown Renaissance framework. The alleyway was also reconfigured to upgrade the power grid, allow for better traffic flow and easier access for oversized delivery vehicles. Final segments should be concluded before the first of December, weather permitting.

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    Give To Max Day Arrives

    Today is Give to the Max Day, allowing Minnesota residents to donate to verified non-profit organizations through a listing on the givemn.org website. With incentives and matching gifts, each charity can benefit even more during this single day of support to Minnesota causes. To donate, go to givemn.org and select your favorite nonprofit. If it is not listed, individual charities suggest that you contact them directly to make your donation. Many vie for a coveted Golden Ticket, which are provided in each of the seven state districts. Each cause uses the day to boost the financial support that will make it possible to continue serving.If you have any questions for a charity you favor, contact them directly to assure they are connected to the promotion.

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    Webinar Thursday On Groundwater

    Dakota County has announced that a free webinar will be offered today to inform the public how everyday products that we use in our homes can get into our groundwater, drinking water, lakes, rivers and streams. Things like cleaning products, over-the-counter medicines, and pharmaceuticals are more likely to end up in our drinking water if we do not have good septic and drinking water systems so its important to keep these chemicals out of our drinking water, as they can pose a health risk.

    When drinking water and septic systems are properly constructed and maintained, they can provide decades of safe drinking water and wastewater treatment.

    The online presentation will take place from 1:30-3:30 pm. The link is : https://septic.umn.edu/septic-system-owners/trainingevents

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    Prescott council PEDC Support

    The Prescott City Council took up the issue of continued membership in the Pierce Economic Development Corporation during the City Council meeting Monday Night. City Administrator Jayne Brand gave a brief recap of the EDC's mission.

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    City Staff recommended a continued membership at the $1,500 level, representing $500 from each Tax Incremental Finance area in Prescott. The motion to approve the membership passed with a majority of support and one vote of Nay by Council Member Bailey Ruona.

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    Arrest Log Dakota County Sheriff

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, a traffic stop by Rosemount police resulted in the arrest of 32-year-old St. Paul resident Amber Ann Miller on misdemeanor charges of driving with a revoked license, failing to have properly working turn signals and not having proper registration for the vehicle. Miller remains in custody as the charges are processed. Hastings police detained 38-year-old Faribault resident Jennifer Justin Tuma on misdemeanor charges of theft, driving on a revoked license, and providing false identification to police. Combined bail for Tuma is set at $1,000 as the charges are investigated.

    Rosemount police also arrested 40-year-old Minnetonka resident Michelle Lynn Palmer on three misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence and a felony charge of child endangerment. Palmer remains in custody pending an initial appearance in court on the 14th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Cranky Ape Signs Skating Ambassadors

    The Red Bull Crashed Ice extreme skating event continues a direct tie to Hastings, as skaters Max Dunne and 2018 Women's Crashed Ice World Champion Amanda Trunzo have signed as brand ambassadors for Cranky Ape during the 2019 Crashed Ice series. According to a post on social media by Cranky Ape co-founder Jay Adams, the organization is extremely grateful that Dunne and Trunzo have chosen Cranky Ape as a sponsor. Dunne has been sponsored by Cranky Ape for the past few seasons, and this is the first year of sponsorship for Trunzo. The race does not have a stop in St. Paul this year.

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    (Photo Source: pexels.com)

    Hastings Prepares To Hoopla

    Many activites and shopping local opportunities will take place During the Holiday Hoopla that will take place in Downtown Hastings on Saturday, November 24th. Holiday specials, displays and activities for young and old with a Lighted parade beginning at 5:30 . A partial list of all the events and locations for each are featured below. Hastings businesses will be open for Small Town Saturday Business.

    *Pictures with Santa 9am-3pm (Rachel Marthaler)

    *Upstairs of The Onion Grille

    Kids Coloring Contest (Spiral Brewery) 11am

    Christmas Carols sing along (Spiral Brewery) 11:30am

    Craft/Vendor Fair (American Legion) 11-4pm

    Reindeer Sleigh Rides 12-4pm (Under Bridge)

    Horse Wagon Rides 1-5pm (Oliver's Grove & Under Bridge)

    Medallion Hunt with a cash prize for the winner

    Ice Carvings

    Gourmet Smores' 1-5pm (Under Bridge)

    Who Hair / Crazy Hair (Hastings Beauty School) 1-5pm

    Face Painting (Hastings Beauty School) 1-5pm

       

    Dakota County Jail Booking Nov 12

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, officers in Hastings arrested 42-year-old Hastings resident Gregory Brannon on a felony charge of 2nd degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Brannon is being held without bail as the charge is processed. Burnsville police arrested 18-year-old Prescott WI resident Domenico Nicolai Newton on felony charges of kidnapping and making terroristic threats and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Newton is being held without bail as the charges are investigated. And Hastings police arrested Joseph Robert Olson on misdemeanor charges of 4th degree damage to property, disorderly conduct and fleeing police. Olson remains in custody pending the investigation. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    Prescott Council Reconsiders K9 Support

    During the Prescott City Council meeting, another presentation was offered on procurring a police K9 unit for the department. Officer Jessie Neeley and two members of the K9 fundraising group spoke about the funding and their intentions for the project. Officer Neeley offered that he has done a majority of the investigation into what is needed for funding and other elements with those from K9 departments such as Washington, Dakota and Pierce Counties as well as a K9 school located in St. Paul.

    An estimation of $27,000 for a k9 squad plus about $3800 to outfit that vehicle for the k9 containment would be added to approximately $15,000 for the purchase of the animal and the cost of school and training for the officer. The council quizzed Neeley on additional costs, receiving the reply that food can be provided by sponsorships from manufacturers, veterinary costs average about 60 dollars per year for shots and membership in various trial associations added another 200 per year.

    Fundraising stands at aproximately $6700 currently with the goal being to have all costs, including the startup of nearly $50,000 for vehicle, training and animal to be provided solely through contributitions from the public. Alderperson Gergen asked how many years of service might be expected. Neely replied that the dog may work up to 7or as many as 10 years, with that answer not able to be completely known.

    Members of the council also asked if the liability of a k9 would add to the cost for the department, with Administrator Brand responding that it would not. Alderperson Siepel questioned city liability in case the k9 bit someone. Alderperson Otwell and Mayor Hovel had additional questions including how this might affect the contract of the officer, whoever is deemed to be paired with the k9, Office Chief Doug Ducklow confirmed that union negotiations would need to be made for that officer's contract as a k9 officer.

    Ducklow, who is only contracted with the city until early 2019, and also has extensive experience with the use of k9's was then asked directly by council if he recommended the purchase of a k9. He stated that with the correct officer and the correct training, a dog can be a valuable law enforcement tool, stopping short of a full endorsement. He also noted the presence of a k9 unit serves as an effective deterrent. Neeley, who currently lives 33 miles from Prescott, stated that his family would move closer if he was paired with the dog that would likely be called for mutual aid, such as Prescott's requests of other k9s from nearby departments.

    The Mayor acknowleged that some overtime might be involved if Officer Neeley was requested by other departments. Neely also acknowledged that despite his advance work, he might not be the one chosen. It was not made clear who would make that decision and how that would impact the department which has stated they intend to name a new police chief before the end of this year. The council approved supporting the group's desire to continue fundraising, but did not endorse inclusion into the 2019 budget. More questions on this decision have been posed to the City Administrator and to the Mayor. We'll bring those to you as soon as they have been received.

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    Zoo Safari Funded by Flint Hills

    More than 2,100 third grade students from 18 elementary schools in School District 196 are learning to think like scientists and wildlife conservationists by participating in the Zoo Safari program at the Minnesota Zoo, made possible by a partnership with Flint Hills Resources that began in 1989. STEM learning outside the classroom brings science to life, engages kids in new and creative ways, and fulfills curriculum requirements. During Zoo Safari field trips, the zoo's pathways are filled with eager students as they get up-close and personal with the zoo's residents. District 196 students experience hands-on animal encounters from a friendly hedgehog or curious armadillo. They learn about the animal habitats, food habits, and environmental impacts as zoo naturalists help bring textbook concepts to life. Students from Parkview and Shannon Park elementary schools in Rosemount will visit the Zoo under the program during November.

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    Prescott Police Incidents Nov 12

    From the Prescott Police blotter, officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of Campbell Street in response to a single vehicle crash. A vehicle operated by 57-year-old Prescott resident Craig Robert Johnson struck a utility pole. The report does not indicate any injuries in the accident and authorities notified Excel Energy regarding damage to the pole. A traffic stop for a damaged windshield near the intersection of Highway 10 and Locust Street resulted in the arrest of 36-year-old Prescott resident Ryan Michael Hanson on charges of possession of amphetamines with intent to distribute, and possession of a non-narcotic controlled substance.

    And officers were called to the Dairy Queen to investigate a recurring incident of an unknown male walking up to the drive through window, knocking on the window and leaving. The person was gone when officers arrived, and employees were instructed to report any future similar incidents. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    KC Charity Auction Nov 23rd

    The 57th Annual Knights of Columbus Charity Auction is coming up. Joe Kummer has the details.

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    Vang Pleads Not Guilty

    Following up on the bust of an apparent animal fighting operation in Western Wisconsin in August, a Pierce County woman pleaded not guilty to animal fighting and drug charges Friday, Nov. 9, after her lawyers unsuccessfully tried getting her drug charges tossed. Senyen Vang is facing 43 felony counts related to animal fighting, a felony drug charge, and several misdemeanors. Vang's charges stem from an Aug. 30th raid, when U.S. marshals arrested her partner Houa Dia Yang, when a search of the property allegedly found evidence of extensive animal fighting and drug operations. A pre-trial conference for Vangs charges is set for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 22.

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    Prescott Police Seek Stolen Trailer

    The Prescott Police Department has asked for the public's assistance regarding the theft of a black utility trailer with a plywood deck that was reported stolen from the North Gibbs Street area in Prescott. In a post on social media, the Department indicates the theft likely occurred sometime on Friday, November 9th, and there is no suspect information available at this time. Prescott Police ask anyone with any knowledge or information about this incident to call the department at 715-262-5514.

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    Hastings Remembers Veterans

    The Veterans Day Celebration that took place at Hastings High School on Monday morning welcomed the community to gather in tribute to the men, women and service families who have sacrificed to protect and defend our country. From the stirring performances of the High School band and orchestra as well as Select Chorale, the music and words paid tribute to those who have stood in the gap to defend the liberties we all hold dear. Speakers David Russell Larson began by reminding those assembled on the bleachers and court of the Field House that not only do soldiers serve, so do their families

    and Sgt. Maj (ret.) Edwin Adricula voiced their

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    Keynote speaker Sgt Major Edwin Adricula came to Hastings and knew that it was a community that appreciated those who serve.

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    The Veterans Day Celebration takes place every 4 years so that all students experience the tribute during their time at the High school. Photos and video from the day are featured on the KDWA Facebook and webpage.

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    Concert Delayed For Veterans Audience

    The concert that was held at the Hastings Middle School on Saturday featured the River Valley Community Band and the Red Bull 34th Infantry Band in a first ever combined concert co-sponsored by the Hastings VFW, Hastings American Legion and their auxiliary units. Nearly 300 gathered to hear patriotic selections, stirring marches and even some American Jazz. About 20 minutes into the program however, flashing lights and warning alarms rang out from the auditorium prompting an abrupt end to the music and the eventual evacuation of musicians and guests out into the frigid afternoon air.

    Members of the Hastings Fire Department responded to check the reason for the unwarrented alarm that was silenced several times, then reactivated, sending many to retreat to their vehicles and depart. After nearly 25 minutes of uncertainty, the concert resumed for an abreviated performance by the Red Bull ensemble which concluded with a rousing rendition of Stars and Stripes Forever. There has not been a formal statement from Chief Schutt on the cause of the false alarms.

    The directors and musicians thank everyone who attended and also to those who remained through the unusual disruption.

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    Tim Collins Show Replays Monday

    During Friday's Tim Collins Show. Superintendent Collins discussed some of the fees that come with extracurricular activities in the District.

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    Hear a rebroadcast of the Tim Collins Show on Mondays, only on KDWA.

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    Pierce County Internet Upgrade

    High speed WiFi is expanding into more areas of Pierce County, thanks to a land lease agreement between the City of Clifton and Northfield WiFi. The five-year agreement gives Northfield WiFi, a Minnesota based high-speed internet services company, land in town to build a tower which will bring faster internet speeds to residents, capping efforts taking over a year to bring the services to Clifton. The vote also provides Northfield WiFi its recommendation to Pierce County's Land Management Committee to receive a land-use permit to build the tower. Once they receive the land-use permit, they will need to get a building permit from the town. The Clifton Planning Commission has the building permit issue on the agenda for its November 19th meeting.

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    CG Council Releases Admin

    It has been reported that Cottage Grove City Administrator Charlene Stevens has been released from her position in Cottage Grove. According to a report in the South Washington County Bulletin, Stevens' contract was terminated by unanimous vote of the City Council at its November 7th meeting. The ouster came after an annual review of her job performance, called by Council Member Steve Dennis in September. Details of that review are not available. The City Council appointed Community Development Director Jennifer Leavitt as interim Administrator, with the possibility of being permanently placed in the position by the end of the year, according to Mayor Myron Bailey. Stevens occupied the position since October of 2015.   

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    Prescott Council Agenda Preview Nov 12

    Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview of the Prescott City Council meeting for Monday, November 12th.

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    Prescott School Announcement

    An announcement from the Prescott School district that the College Street Drop-Off will reopen for use Monday morning, November 12. The temporary drop off along Campbell Street will no longer be used for student drop off and pickup. A letter with the new drop-off and pick-up procedures was sent home with students on Thursday but some may have missed it. Plan on returning to the familiar routine and they want to thank everyone for their patience while the work was being done.

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    Prescott Chief Questions Liquor Request

    At the Prescott City Council meeting tonight, one of the items before the council involves the plans by the Prescott HIgh School Parent Group to hold an event at My Happy Place Boutique, a new business located in downtown. The event planners have requested a temporary Class B Liquor license for alcohol to be served at the event slated for November 17th. The current Office Chief of Police, Doug Ducklow has submitted a list of 12 points he questions about the request.

    Some of his points involve the liability of the parent group and possibly the school district, the status of the fundraiser, the source of the alcohol to be used for the event, insurance held by the hosting business and the precedent it sets for other businesses to do the same. Ducklow has provided those to the City administration and discussion will cover the request at the meeting that gets underway at 6:30 pm.

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    Dakota County CDA Fund Theft

    Charges have been filed in Dakota County in the case of a former employee of the Dakota County CDA. According to the announcement made by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, 39 year old Vangyee Leng Yang, a resident of Fridley, has been charged with 5 counts of Theft by Swindle in connection with the disappearance of over $270,000 of housing funds that alledgedly occurred from April, 2016, to May 31, 2018, while Yang worked as an employee with the Dakota County Community Development Agency. Yang was terminated from employment on June 26th of this year.

    The facts alleged in the criminal complaint include: the May discovery by the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) of irregularities with checks which had been issued to two property management companies identified as: Mackey Prime Property LLC ("Mackey LLC") and Twin Cities Star Properties LLC ("Twin Cities LLC"). In reviewing payments made to these companies from April, 2016 to May, 2018, it was determined that they had received assistance checks for CDA clients who were deceased, no longer eligible for assistance, or who were not current CDA clients.

    In his position, as the CDAs software system coordinator, Yang had the ability to create these fraudulent client accounts. The fraudulent checks issued from the CDA totaled $271,325. Backstrom stated that he considers the action by Yang to be a major economic crime for which Dakota County intends to seek an aggravated sentence under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines if a conviction is obtained. A warrant has been issued for Yang and anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the Eagan Police, 651-675-5700.

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    Afton Sets 2019 Budget

    The 2019 City Budget proposal for Afton has been published, and an overview of the budget was released in the City Newsletter for November. Highlights of the budget include general fund spending totaling $1,294,776, an increase of $50,886, or 4.1 percent. Key items affecting General fund expenditures include an increase of 11.1 percent under wages and benefits, a fire and ambulance spending increase of 4.5 percent, and a police service cost increase of 5 percent. Revenues for the budget are said to remain generally flat, but actual building permit revenue is higher than anticipated, and the City has been budgeting these revenues conservatively. The proposed 2019 General Fund tax levy is $1,051,047,which is an increase of 4.4 percent from 2018.

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    Planning Commission Cancels Meeting

    The Hastings Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 13th has been canceled. Information provided by Hastings Development Director John Hinzman indicates that the Commission will next meet for regular business on Monday, November 26th, at 7 PM in City Council Chambers at City Hall.

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    Prescott Chamber Nov Meeting Recap

    The November meeting of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce was called to order by President Lisa Johnson. Introductions and announcements were made. Current membership is 101. This month's meeting was hosted by WESTConsin Credit Union. A report was made by the Chamber Ambassadors who will be doing a ribbon cutting on November 14th at 11:15 for Subway. Everyone is welcome.

    Under topics of Old Business, Small Business Saturday takes place on November 24th. The Chamber office will be open and they will be giving away popcorn, beverages and also have a drawing for Chamber Checks.The chamber is also glad to promote what your business will be doing that day, so please let them know.

    The next item was the Adopt A Highway event that took place last month. They thanked those that attended and note that more are always needed to accomplish this big task. Planning is underway for the Annual Dinner which will be held on February 6, 2019. Sponsors are needed with that cost at $250 each.   Those dollars pay for larger prizes that are part of the raffle.

    They also ask members to watch for more information on Chamber awards which will be conducted in a slightly different way this year.

    They are also working on getting more Christmas lights up downtown and behind the chamber office. If anyone is interested in helping with putting them up please let the office know.

    Items in new business include the Holiday Party which will be held in liu of a chamber meeting in December as well as the plan to be a Secret Santa to sponsor a family again this year.   Philanders Grill & Bar will also be holding a Toys for Tots event during Small Town Saturday. They also remind members that the 2019 Membership Renewals have gone out with a 5% discount incentive if dues are paid before the end of December.

    Following the business portion of the meeting, newly elected Sheriff Nancy Hove brought us up to date on the Pierce County Sheriff Department. The next regular chamber meeting will take place on January 9th, 2019. The meeting was then adjourned. New members are always welcome to attend, contact the Chamber office for opportunities and a membership package.

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    Homeless Youth Housing Plan

    On November 1st the Housing Division of non-profit group the Link launched its newest program called Cairn Housing, which provides permanent supportive housing across the suburban metro area, including Anoka, Washington, Dakota, Scott and Carver counties. The program provides scattered site housing for youth between the ages of 18 and 24 who are experiencing homelessness and have a disability. The program will start with 5 youth during the first year and will expand to 12 youth in November of 2019. All referrals go through a coordinated entry process. Youth in Dakota County in need of an assessment should call the Dakota County Housing Crisis line (651) 554-5751.

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    Hampton Firefighter Honored

    Hampton Fire District Captain Jake Toledo is the winner of the 2018 Spirit of Excellence award presented by Dakota Electric Association. Toledo accepted the Dakota Spirit of Excellence award Monday night at a ceremony at the fire station. The award highlights a first responder who demonstrates leadership, dedication to serving others, teamwork, integrity and other attributes. Hampton Fire Chief Kevin Whitson speaks highly of Toledo and said he is very committed to his volunteer work with the fire department. Toledo has served 10 years with the department and was promoted to captain last year.   

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    (Image Courtesy Dakota Electric)

    Rosemount Considers Rec Center

    Rosemount residents are invited to an event to learn about the City's initiative to plan for a possible indoor recreation center, and to share ideas about what such a center would include. The event is an open house on Monday, November 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center. The City Council has hired 292 Design Group to study the needs for new facilities. 292 Design is based in Minnesota and has long experience nationally with the careful planning needed for successful facilities. 292 Design will work with Ballard King & Associates, a consultant that specializes in the financial analysis that will allow the Council to make important choices for any facility.

    Among the questions to be studied is whether a facility should be owned by the City or operated by an outside group like the YMCA or other private recreation providers. The consultants will also look at what land is available and what staffing would be required. Research should be completed in the spring, to be followed by the Council's decision on how to proceed. This will be a public process, and residents will have many opportunities to share their views.

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    HEDRA Meeting Cancelled

    The November 8th meeting of HEDRA has been canceled, according to an announcement made by Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks during Monday night's City Council meeting. The next regular meeting of HEDRA is set for Thursday, December 13th, at City Hall.

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    Dakota County Results Continued

    Several other elections took place in Dakota County including two in Vermillion Township , electing Mayor Brian Mann and council member Joe Munson. In Miesville, the residents elected Sara Niebur Mayor and Gerald McCarthy for city council. In New Trier, 24 residents elected new mayor Nicole Peine as well as council members Bo Eric Selinder and Ginny Johnston. In the city of Hampton, David Luhring and Anthony Verch will join the council. The City of West St. Paul has a new Mayor, businessman David Napier and three New council members, John Justen, Wendy Berry and Richard Vitelli.

    In Rosemount, residents re-eleted Mayor Richard Droste and named Tammy Block and Paul Essler to the city Council. In Coates, Craig Franzmeier was elected Mayor with Christopher Gores and Jim Horsch taking on city Council roles. In Farmington, 5 candidates ran for 3 available council offices however a write in candidate could win one of those seats once the job of tallying more than 2463 votes received in that race can be counted.

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    Voters Return Jurgens To House

    The race for State Representative in District 54B did not have a final result until nearly midnight when the final precinct including the city of Afton adding to the voters who would take Republican Tony Jurgens back to St. Paul for another Term. According to the Secretary of State website, Jurgens received 5626 with challenger Tina Folch garnering 5033 in her bid to unseat the incumbent. Jurgens had this to say about the results.

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    More local and county election results will be updated as they are received.

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    Voting Equipment Performance

    Voting officials in River Falls reported an automated voting tabulator at the River Falls High School polling site was jammed on Election Day, from approximately 8:55 to 9:30 AM. According to the site's Chief Election Official, Debra Andaloza, a paper ballot, filled out by hand, jammed when it was inserted into the machine, and a small piece of paper became stuck inside the portion of the machine that scanned hand-filled ballots.

    All ballots scanned through the machine were deposited in a secured, locked compartment of the machine. During the time the machine was jammed, hand-filled ballots were deposited in a separate, locked compartment of the machine, and election officials will scan those ballots through the machine at the end of the day, and those ballots will be counted via the machine. Andaloza also stated that the city obtained the voting machine in January, and it had been used in the January, February, April and August elections, adding that this is the first time the machine has had a mechanical issue.

    In a conversation with Hastings City Clerk and elections coordinator Addie Schroeder, she confirmed that no such problems arose from equipment in this city.

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    Election for Mayor and Council

    Tuesday's elections brought and end to one of the most active and reactive candidate competitions in recent Minnesota history. From small town grass roots campaigns to big PAC monies and out of state funding, more than a year of promises, forums, debates and door knocking concluded with the results of races at local, county, state and national levels. Beginning with the race for Hastings Mayor, two candidates vied to replace Paul Hicks who served 10 years in that office. Hicks spoke with KDWA during the first hour of live coverage. Although he chose not to run for another term as mayor, he has great interest in some state races.

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    Just after 11 pm we spoke by phone with his successor. Mary Fasbender was named the winner by an uncertified margin of 5750 to 3821. Fasbender spoke with KDWA just after receiving the news of her win.

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    In the contest for 2 open positions for At Large Councilmembers

    Incumbents Mark Vaughan and Lori Braucks will continue their time on the council dais with challenger Tom Cherney falling just short of a first time bid. Unofficial numbers with all precincts reporting showed 4495 votes for Braucks, 4405 for Vaughan and 4263 for Cherney. Members of the current council will assemble on Friday morning at 7:30 at City Hall to canvas the vote outcomes.

    Well continue with outcomes of county and state races coming up in our newscast with results posted online at KDWA.com

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    Mesko Lee Receives Burnsville Mgr Position

    In a 3 to 2 vote on Monday evening the Mayor and City Council of Burnsville moved to offer the position of City Manager to Hastings City Administrator Melanie Mesko-Lee. According to a report published on the Hometown Source news website, Mesko-Lee edged out Dana Hardie, the current interim Manager and Administrative Services Director. During the selection process, Mesko-Lees oversight of redevelopment of the downtown and riverfront areas of Hastings was cited as one of her strengths. Mesko-Lee will replace Heather Johnston, who resigned to position on July 13th, citing family needs for her reason for resigning. Mesko Lee informed members of the Hastings City Council of the offer on Tuesday.

    Update- November 8- In a statement released by Communications Coordinator Lee Stoffel on Wednesday, she states that Mesko Lee denies reports that she has tendered her resignation.

         

       

    Prescott School Board Sets Policies

    During the October 17th meeting of the Prescott School Board, several policies that govern how the board operates were approved for first reading. These are available for public review with a link found on the district's facebook page. Series 1000 Policies on Administration had 12 policies with a first reading. Some of these policies dealt with the chain of communication between staff members and the board. The policy states that all communications from staff members related to their job duties or responsibilities to the Board or its committees shall be submitted through the District Administrator, who shall also keep staff members fully informed of the Board's problems, concerns, and actions.

    The policy also involved protocol for Social Interaction and the informal discussion of educational matters. Although such interactions are expected, the policy states that since individual Board members have no special authority except when they are convened at a legal meeting of the Board or vested with special authority by Board action, discussions between staff and Board members related to the job duties or responsibilities are inappropriate violations of the chain of command. More district policies will be examined at the next meeting of the Prescott School board which will be held on Wednesday November 28th . Topics for those policies includes code of ethics, job expectations, roles and functions within the organization.   

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    Guard Members Arrive in Middle East

    9 National Guard soldiers from Hastings are among a group of over 600 members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division deployed to Kuwait for a nine-month stint with Task Force Spartan. According to a National Guard press release, the Red Bulls spent just under a month conducting pre-deployment training at Fort Hood in Texas, including a Culminating Training Exercise with the 1st Army. Along with the Hastings soldiers, 9 from Farmington, 4 from Northfield, 1 from St. Paul Park, 15 from Rosemount, and 3 from River Falls are included among the soldiers deployed. Task Force Spartan is designed to build capacity, regional self-reliance and stability in 20 countries. The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division is headquartered in Rosemount.

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    Dakota County Commissioners Meet Tues

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners will meet on November 6, 2018 9:00 AM in the Boardroom of the Administration Center at the Dakota County Government Center in Hastings, MN The Pledge of Allegiance, this election day, will be provided by the Dakota County Sheriff's Honor Guard. Following audience comments, and approval of the agenda, a Presentation will be made recognizing the achievement Of Distinguished Budget Award From the Government Finance Officers Association. County Board.

    They will then ask for approval of the consent agenda that includes scheduling a Governance Workshop for the Dakota County Board Of Commissioners, Authorizing the Purchase of Fuel From the State Of Minnesota Fuel Consortium Program, Executing the Contract With Aune Fernandez, LLC, For Professional Design Services For the 2018 Whitetail Woods Regional Park Master Plan Improvements Project and award the bid and contract for automated materials handling for the refurbished Pleasant Hill Library. An amendment is also requested from Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd. for work underway at the library. Nearly 100 pages of the remaining items covered in the Tuesday meeting is posted online at the Dakota County Website. The meeting is open to the public.

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    End In Sight For Alley Reconfigure

    A major milestone for the remaining segment of the Riverfront Renaisance which has impacted the alley behind the 100 block of 2nd street since May. According to Public Works Director Nick Egger, Xcel Energy has completed the last of their underground work at the east end of the alley, removing the last of the utility poles on November 2nd. Although this work is nearly finished, Egger reminds businesses that the alley is still closed to traffic and is limited to temporary delivery access when necessary. Those needing that access for business deliveries are asked to return the barricades to block public access until the work is complete. Deliveries must still enter from the west due to curing time for recently poured concrete on the east end. Normal access and traffic will once again be permitted when all work is finished and the barricades have been removed. Some restoration will need to be done including concrete pavement that will be poured soon, depending on the other finishing schedules. CenterPoint Energy will continue to be on site, with a structure surrounding the gas pressure monitor yet to be constructed.

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    Year End Review For Pavilion

    The Hastings City Council meeting of November 5th will include an end-of-season report regarding the third year of programming at the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park. According to the report, the season ran from June 5th to October 31st, with a total of 38 events and programs scheduled, or about 2 per week, and 27 rentals of the facility. Combined attendance for the non-rental events came to over 3,900 people, and programming came in under budget for the year. The City designated $10,000 and an additional $3,950 was raised through sponsorships. The Parks and Recreation Department extended sincere thanks to event partners, sponsors and attendees, and the Department looks forward in anticipation to 2019.

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    Preview of City Council Agenda Nov 5

    The Hastings City Council meets for regular business on Monday evening. Mayor Paul Hicks provides a preview of the meeting.

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    City Hall Rehab Price Hike

    As an item of the consent Agenda for the November 5th meeting of the Hastings City Council, the Council is requested to approve seven change orders for the City Hall Masonry Restoration Project. The items are mostly related to additional masonry repair units. According to information provided in the meeting packet provided to Council members, the project manual produced by Collaborative Design Incorporated identified the general conditions of the building including areas of suspected damage and an estimate of unit numbers required for replacement. The contractors bid on the project on a per unit figure for each item with a lump sum, based on the estimate of $471,434.

    The total value of the seven change orders is $19,480.75, which is about a 4.1% increase to the original contract amount. Also according to the request submitted, due to long lead times for obtaining materials and time restraints of the project as a whole, 5 of the seven change requests were already approved by City Staff and work on those changes is already under way, or waiting materials. City staff advised the Council that there may be future deductions for stone replacement and historic brick repointing at the end of the project, that should take place around Thanksgiving.

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    Hamrick Creates DNR Stamp

    Lakeville artist Stephen Hamrick won the Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest. Judges selected his painting from among 11 entries for the annual contest that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sponsors. According to a DNR press release, the 2019 walleye stamp will feature Hamrick's painting of a walleye swimming at night under a full moon near an angler's leech-baited hook and slip bobber. Hamrick has won a DNR stamp contest 11 times, and he has also won the waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, trout and salmon, and walleye stamp contests. The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5 but the DNR does not require anglers to buy it to fish for or keep walleye.

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    (Image courtesy MnDNR)

    Housing Grants For Dakota Co

    Grants totaling $7.07 million have been awarded to 46 counties and three American Indian tribes to help more people with disabilities have housing of their own through a new initiative from the state of Minnesota. Community Living Infrastructure Grants will go toward a variety of initiatives aimed at helping people with disabilities with housing instability get housing, move out into the community or remain in their own homes. Under the grant, Dakota County received $140,088 and Washington County received $185,447. Funding for the grants was appropriated by the 2017 Legislature within the Minnesota Housing Support Act.

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    More Questions Than Answers

    Questions are increasing this first week in November in light of the October 30th announcement that a Hastings Police Officer , Geoff Latsch, is now off administrative leave and back on regular patrol. Social media posts placed on the KDWA Facebook page since then inquiring about the status of the shooting investigation have several asking for the body camera footage of the shooting that took place on October 1st and resulted in the death of Keagen Johnson-Lloyd. Emails sent to KDWA have suggested that transparency is lacking, despite the protocol of the BCA, who took over the investigation just hours following the event. Their response is that an ongoing investigation prevents releasing any information. Their community communications spokesperson, Jill Oliviera, confirmed that only when the case is closed by the Dakota County Attorney, who has yet to receive the BCA Findings, will any details about what did and did not happen.

    One of the topics of concern is the training afforded Hastngs Police Officers. Crisis intervention teams and other resources have also entered the one sided conversation, some comparing this event with other officer involved shootings that have happened in metro and other suburban communities.Questions have also been directed to the public safety advisory commission who have been asked about changes in residential licensing and policing of neighborhood based transitional housing, that are run by private individuals or health care entities and involve clients that have a violent background or record of criminal activity. That commission will take the questions under advisement with their next meeting scheduled to take place on December 20th. KDWA will continue to ask for updates in the status from those departments connected to the case

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    Pre Election Day Voting Swells

    As Election Day quickly approaches, MN Secretary of State Steve Simon has released the latest numbers for early voting in the State. According to a press release issued on Thursday, at least 476,167 absentee ballots have been requested by Minnesota voters, and 410,238 have been accepted by election officials. The rate of absentee ballot requests is an increase of 142 percent over the same time in 2014, the last statewide non-presidential election. The rate of accepted ballots is an increase of 177 percent over the same time in 2014. Secretary Simon stated that at this rate, Minnesota is on pace to maintain its status as first in the nation for voter participation, adding that he is "energized by the robust civic engagement of my fellow Minnesotans."

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    Prescott Schools Adjust Levy

    In a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Prescott School Board made a last-minute adjustment to the tax levy for the 2018-2019 school year budget. According to a press release from the district, as the budget levy was being entered for tax assessment reporting, it was discovered that a correction was necessary to properly account for 2014 bond proceeds. That correction increased the operating budget by $59,868, making the final tax levy $8,708,356. The correction establishes a mil rate of 10.93 instead of 10.86 as presented and approved during the school board's regular monthly meeting, held October 17. All other line items in the budget remain unchanged. The levy is still down from the 12.38 mil rate of the 2017-18 school year budget. The school board unanimously approved the correction.   

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    Prairie Island Reactor Upkeep

    The Prairie Island Nuclear Plant has just finished a 5-week refueling and maintenance cycle. The process included replacing a 40-year-old generator that was installed when the plant was first built, and storing spent fuel in temporary casks on the plant grounds. Final disposition of the spent fuel remains a subject of discussion with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as they debate permanent storage facility development.

    According to a press release from the facility, a new fuel design implemented as part of the work will allow the plant's Unit 1 reactor to operate for 24 months between refuelings, up from the current 18 months. The change is projected to save $70 million over the next 15 years. The refueling and maintenance work was completed by around 600 plant workers and 1,000 contractors.    

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    Fall Chores Keeps City Busy

    Boats in area marinas have vacated their summertime slips with most in Kings Cove, Hubs and Captains Bay now protected under a shrinkwrapped white or blue plastic covering that will keep the rain, snow and sleet from damaging the vessels as they wait in dry dock. Piers and docks are being pulled from the lake and river's edge at cabins and summer homes, with property owners tieing up loose ends and putting plastic on screen porches to keep out the dust. In area yards, leaf blowers are humming away now that frost has cleared the tree tops of all but the tenacious white oaks which retain their leaves until the new growth sheds them in the spring. Public Works crews have been crisscrossing the city using sweepers and truck vacs to clear gutters before snow covers the debris or late season rains swirls them into the storm sewer. Residents not connected with the Nixle System for snow emergency notification, should connect that local service to prevent towing surprises that can come with the next storm.

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    Rural Medicine Investment

    The USDA has announced a Rural Development investment grant of $85,646 to help the purchase of telemedicine equipment including two telemedicine carts, to create a telehealth network in Western Wisconsin. One telemedicine cart will be used to provide services for the medical/surgical unit at Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin, facilitating medical care for hospitalized patients. The other telemedicine cart will support telemedicine evaluation services for patients admitted from the emergency department. Western Wisconsin Health is partnering with Eagle Telemedicine, LLC to provide telemedicine access for remote patients in St. Croix County. The emphasis of this project will be on the treatment and prevention of opioid misuse. This project will reach up to 3,960 residents.

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    Wisconsin Opioid Prescriptions Falling

    In news from the battle against the opioid epidemic, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has announced continued progress in the fight against opioid abuse with a 32% decrease in opioid prescriptions dispensed in Wisconsin since January of 2015. The report released Wednesday by the Controlled Substances Board of the Department of Safety and Professional Services analyzed Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program data from July 1st to September 30th of 2018 as part of the controlled substance dispensing trends. Data released shows a continued decline in opioid and other monitored prescriptions throughout 2018. The report also highlights a 25% decrease in the total number of monitored prescriptions dispensed, over 690,000 fewer prescriptions since the first quarter of 2015.

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    Halloween Candy Crawl Recap

    Wednesday night's Halloween Creepy Candy Crawl was the first venture by the Downtown Business Association to showcase the storefronts for this holiday. The three hour event covered most of 2nd street and offered several stations to hand out treats to children and adults dressed as clowns, princesses, super heroes and even some politically themed costumes. Families dressed as the Incredibles waited for their turn in the bounce house while little scarecrows, Marios and zombies traipsed from store to store to collect candy, popcorn, apples, hot cocoa and fruit snacks.Several totes were filled with donations for Hastings Family service. A team of spotted draft horses pulled a wagon down the street and plenty of warming barrels were provided to chase away the chill. Approximately 400 visitors took part in the event which has already begun planning for next year.

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