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    Ramp Completion Status Update

    In an update for the continuing changes and challenges involved with the Great River Landing project, the parking ramp, started last fall and nearly completed, was confirmed to be owned by Confluence Development. The terms set forth for that property, once the First National Bank building, include a co-dependent agreement in which the city extended the $1.5 million dollar grant which was awarded by the Metropolitian Council on to Confluence so they would be able to construct the parking ramp, a necessary element of the hotel and event space planned to anchor the Great RIver Landing.

    The contract establishes certain rights and obligations that pertain to maintenance, not ownership. That grant, according to Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman, expires on December 31st , 2020. The grant payment would come from Metropolitan Council. Hinzman confirmed Tuesday that the Met Council provides the funding and the City of Hastings is the recipient of that funding Hinzman also confirmed that the city has requested reimbursement of a substantial amount of the grant funds and do anticipate being able to collect on the full grant amount by having work completed in time to meet those standards. What is unclear, and what we will continue to research, is how much risk the city may incur if financial stablility is not restored by Confluence to the entire project.

    Other grants required for completion of environmental remediation of the soil that sits under the building and securing a landscape designer and installer to utilize another grant is paramount. Early waivers and extensions of deadlines will be met with negotiation as well, but financial obligations for the city could result if critical path items are not satisfied.

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    Grants Key To GRL Success

    Some information on the complex timeline governing the Great River Landing project has been received by Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman. In a statement received Monday from the city, Hinzman states that the Purchase and Development Agreement establishes certain events of default in which either party could terminate the agreement. Under the current agreement failure to meet "substantial completion" by December 15, 2019 would constitute a default and the City and HEDRA could take action to terminate the agreement. Hinzman goes on to explain that his office is negotiating an amendment to the purchase and development agreement which would again extend the substantial completion date and establish other performance measures.

    The issue of the December 31st sunseting of several grants, however, cannot be extended. Without environmental and other types of funding, it is not known whether or not the project would continue under Confluence. They have already stated that construction financing may not be received by September 1st at the earliest. That construction loan is critical to ensure grants based on the ability to keep to completion timelines are valid. The amended purchase and development was previously amended to give Confluence 4 additional months which was represented crucial to attaining construction financing. The latest request for an extension will be brought before the City Council when completed but is not expected to be before July 15th.

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    Prescott Police Record June 24

    From the Prescott Police blotter for the week ending Sunday, June 23rd, officer conducted a traffic stop in the 300 block of Lake Street. The investigation resulted in citations issued to 31-year-old Sioux City Iowa resident Jeremy Michael Faber for non registration of a vehicle, and driving without a license, and the arrest of 42-year-old Prescott resident Cory Allen Nowling for a warrant for failure to appear in court and a probation hold. A domestic disturbance call brought police to the 600 block of Pine Street. Investigating officers arrested 35-year-old Prescott resident Melissa Lynn Knutson on charges of disorderly conduct. Knutson was released on bond pending an appearance in court. And officers on patrol conducted a traffic stop in the 700 block of Borner Street for a driver suspected of driving with a revoked license. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 32-year-old Prescott resident Chantele Renee Bluhm on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer. Bluhm was booked and released as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Juvenilles Arrested Following Robbery

    Three juveniles were arrested on Friday in connection with a robbery in the 8900 block of Springwood Circle, in Woodbury. According to information published in the Woodbury Bulletin, the break-in was called in to police just after 3 AM on the 21st. A resident observed the license plate of the suspects' vehicle and shared it with authorities. A Washington County Sheriff's deputy then located the vehicle on Interstate 694 at Minnesota Highway 36. The vehicle fled but "became disabled," so the suspects fled on foot. Ramsey County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested the three suspects shortly after and they were booked at the Washington County Jail. Possible charges include first-degree burglary, theft, tampering with a motor vehicle and vandalism. Woodbury Police Commander John Altman has stated that the juveniles are also suspected in a string of other burglaries in Woodbury, with possible other unidentified suspects, but the investigation is not complete.   

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    Cycle Deer Collision

    On Saturday, June 22, at about 10:19 AM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a motorcycle vs. deer crash with injuries on Hwy 35 south of 1200th Street in Oak Grove Township. According to a press release issued by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, the investigation indicates a motorcycle driven by 54-year-old David Bender, with passenger 59-year-old Gwynne Thompson Witte, both of Stillwater, was traveling south on Highway 35 near 1200th Street when the motorcycle struck a deer. The motorcycle then entered into the ditch where it came to rest. Both David and Gwynne were ejected from the motorcycle. David was treated on scene by River Falls Area Ambulance service. Gwynne was transported by Life Link III helicopter to Regions Hospital with undetermined injuries. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was assisted on scene by Prescott Police Department, River Falls Area Ambulance service, Prescott Fire Department and Life Link III Helicopter. The crash remains under investigation.   

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    (Photo source: PCSO)

    Borner Farm Permits Approved

    At the Monday Night Prescott City Council meeting a group of nearly 30 community members came to support one item listed on the agenda. Friends and fans of the Borner Farm Pizza night spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting to express their views on the reissuance of the special use permit that has been granted for the property. The first person to speak was owner Diane Webster who was allowed approximately 20 minutes to detail the multiple advantages of the work done including education partnerships it extends to area students.

    The farm is located on Walnut Street completely surrounded by single family homes. Webster and her husband were flanked by several speakers who extolled the virtues of the Pizza Nights, a community attraction that takes place 13 times each summer. The city has heard loud and long about some immediate neighbors who oppose the guests who drive to the site on Friday nights, park on the farm's front lawn, and spend an hour or two waiting for outdoor woodfired ovens to cook the pizzas. Issues concerning traffic, noise, the farm process such as composting, and small rodents such as mice and voles were addressed by Webster as not valid and several others urged the council to continue the permit and preserve the popular event.

    Once the supporters had been heard, it was time for the council to discuss the issue. Councilmember Dar Hintz stated that no matter the popularity or benefits, the fact remains that the special use permit was issued to limit participants to 100. Webster acknowledged that she never envisioned the event would be so successful and also admits that the number of guests has often exceeded the limit. Last year the site averaged 130 pizzas sold at each event, equating, she said to the same number of people. Alderperson Bailey Ruona had asked that the Fire Chief and Police Chief visit the site to determine a safe capacity. Both declined to do so, saying that wasn't in their purview.

    Mayor Hovel, who is a building inspector, pointed to codes and zoning that protects all, including those homeowners who have purchased a residence in a R-1 zone but now have a for-profit business enterprize as a neighbor. Alderperson Galen Seipel asked if the farm was registered as a non-profit 501c3. Webster stated that the cost for that process would be approximately $5,000. She also states that her family have invested over $80,000 in repairs, code compliance and other licensure to conform to building codes and other regulations involving food service and public accessibility.

    Hintz reitterated that the original number should be complied with to preserve the terms of the current special use permit. A suggestion of having the owners request an amendment to the terms would then be the proper way to change current terms. In the Prescott city code, it states that no such permit should substantially impair or diminish the uses, values or enjoyment of other property in the neighborhood, something that a few vocal property owners believe is indeed what is taking place at least 13 times each summer. A vote was then taken by the full council to first approve the reissuance of the farm's beer and wine licenses and then to re-issue another annual special use permit providing that the original specifications of off street parking and guest limits were followed.

    In our followup report we will be asking how the city will determine if the farm is complying with the terms of the permit and also if there could be fines or other measures taken to insure they will be followed.

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    Hastings Make Music Day Year 3

    The 3rd annual Make Music Day took place on the first day of summer with performances large and small all over the city. Although rain fell during the overnight before, none of the music was disrupted during the 14 hour celebration that is observed in more than 100 countries all over the world. Highlights included the dixieland band comprised of some of the top players from the Metro area who assembled on the City Hall corner at 7 am to play for commuters and other travelers as they passed by. At Levee Park, several groups of local volunteer musicians involved the audience with a wide variety of musical styles. Thanks to Hornor, International more than 100 harmonicas were given out as door prizes and several of the recipients started practicing right away. Music eminated from Lions Park, Roadside Park, Vermillion Falls Park, Oliver's Grove Corner and along the river at the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park. Mayor Mary Fasbender attended several of the performances and shared her thanks for the volunteers and attendees who made the event so rewarding. Co-coordinators Paige Marschall from the city of Hastings and volunteer Chuck Spavin agreed that the excellent weather ensured that hundreds were entertained and are looking forward to year four , which because of leap year, will fall on Sunday, June 21st, 2020. Be sure to check out the photos from the day on the KDWA facebook page.

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    Prescott City Council Agenda June 24

    The next Prescott City Council meeting is Monday evening. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview of the agenda.

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    Miss Hastings Recaps Miss MN Experience

    At Sunday afternoon's Longer Table Event, the community pot luck at the Pavilion, a chance for KDWA to get a recap of last weekend's Miss Minnesota Scholarship Program that included Hastings' own Alaina Mattimiro. In between requests for photos and community well wishes, a smiling and gracious Miss Hastings shared a few minutes with us to recap some highlights of the whirlwind week. She first voices her favorite memory of her year representing Hastings.

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    Miss Hastings was chosen in July of 2018 and was thrilled to be named in the top 11 on the Miss Minnesota Stage. She confirms that announcement made her nervous.

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    Alaina then relayed an exciting encounter

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    As a line was forming, I asked Alaina what is next for her

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    The 2020 Miss Hastings selection will be July 17th at Crossroads Church.

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    Photo L-R Miss Hastings 2019 Alaina Mattimiro, Miss Hastings Scholarship Program Executive Director Janelle Behny


    City Confirms Critical Path for Confluence

    Continuing our report first made public on Friday,June 21st provide more details in the costs that could be incurred by the City of Hastings as development deadlines draw closer for the former Hudson Manufacturing Building . The message delivered just before the weekend from Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman was sent to members of the City Council, HEDRA and Mayor Fasbender. The multi-page update confirmed that several key deadlines that were extended in the past 18 months, have failed to be met and a flurry of rescheduled meetings, reviews and adjusted timelines have been confirmed to attempt to assure more than 1.5 million dollars worth of grants for a number of sources do not disappear.

    The 2018 final transfer of the property, once purchased by the city for purposes of redeveloping the riverfront, required some residual costs and responsibilities for the city, including nearly $300,000 yet to be paid for a Soil Vapor Intrusion Mitigation System, to meet mandatory environmental standards before the site can be certified. The Purchase and Development Agreement for Great River Landing set such deadlines so that the lion's share of clean up costs- awarded in a half million dollar grant- would be assured. That grant, and others won with help from the city, are in real jeopardy of expiring due to the conditions of completion falling short. Confluence has been represented by owner Pat Regan and Mike Mattingly as the project has progressed from the first agreement in 2013 to the most recent revolation. Regan is one of two partners in Confluence Development with Mattingly providing updates on the financial adjustments that have been made in the nearly 6 year process.

    One of the reactions made after the May 9th meeting that involved Confluence, Hastings City Council members and HEDRA, was the hiring by Confluence of Rob Barse as a project manager to provide increased oversight in managing what was termed a tight constrution schedule. Barse also serves on the planning commission for the city.

    Although final building plans are now in the hands of the city, other key elements are needed to fall into line to keep the valuable grants from being stripped from the project.

    One positive item placed in the report was a statement made by confluence that it has a verbal committment from an unnamed hotel operator to be involved with the property which also is advertised to include, retail, dining, event space and residential housing components. Confluence anticiates that a signed contract is forthcoming.

    Some answers not yet known include how the completed parking ramp, also constructed and partially owned by Confluence figures into the issue as well as what happens if the project is defaulted with monies still owed on the repayment of the original purchase price. However the project is developed, the soil cleanup must be done, and the investment that has been made already leaves questions unanswered on the liability or even litigation that could result if the development does not proceed. At this time, email and phone messages directed to city staff and to representatives from Confluence have not been received. We will include those replies in our upcoming newscasts.

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    Service With A Smile

    As the summer continues, the SPARK and mid day meal program coordinated by Loaves and Fishes are needing some community help, especially in the serving of the meal each weekday. A small time committment between 11:30AM and 1:00 PM would be greatly appreciated and is easy to arrange. A clickable signup genius web link has been placed on the KDWA news page and community events calendar. A family, a social group or a business can sign up and dish out the great food prepared fresh at the site each day. Meals are provided free at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church and all are welcome.

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    Summer Safety Session

    Summertime safety is the topic of an upcoming In Depth program with Hasting Police Chief Bryan Schafer. The August 1st date enacting this session's law regarding Hands Free electronic device use should help in lessening the impact of distracted driving incidents. The Chief offered his perception

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    He shared a short list of some of the causes for accidents, some resulting in fatalities

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    We'll hear more from Chief Schafer about a summer full of safety coming up on In depth.

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    Top Soil To Highest Bidder

    The City of Hastings has released an advertisement for bids to purchase and remove topsoil currently on land that is poised for redevelopment by a storage facility that hopes to use the property located at 2030 Spiral Boulevard,in the city's industrial park. Sealed bids will be received at the Hastings City Hall by no later than 4:00PM July 2, 2019 for the purchase and removal of topsoil that had been placed there from another project. At a May City Council meeting, approval was given for the city to sell the soil to the highest bidder, generating income while aleviating the cost that would be required to move the soil to another, city owned location. Bids are for the purchase and removal of approximately 7,500 cubic yards of common topsoil from the City owned property . Terms of the sale is that all bids will be kept by the City until such time that the City approves the sale to the highest bidder with all others returned within 28 days after the opening of bids. Another restriction of the bidding is that City Code requires that No full time, part time, paid on-call firefighter or seasonal employee of the city, including any person who is a member of the administrative staff, department head, a member of the Council, or an adviser serving the city in a professional capacity, may be a bidder or purchaser of this property. The City Council will consider award of the bid at their regular meeting to be held on Monday, July 15, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

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    Prescott Chamber Names New Coordinator

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce has named Casey Johnson as the new Chamber Coordinator. According to a press release issued Thursday morning by the chamber, Johnson brings lots of experience and a passion for the community to the coordinator position. The Chamber also thanked Sarah Sieben for her time with the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, stating that she did an excellent job while she was with the chamber, and wished her the best in the future. As the office transitions are in progress, the chamber will have limited hours of 11:30 AM to 3 PM on Thursdays, June 20th, and 27th, and Friday, June 28th, but will check emails daily. Johnson will begin her duties on July 2nd.   

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    Prescott Grad Receives Scholarship

    2019 Prescott High School graduate Nolan Rohl was awarded a $1,000 scholarship as part of the WESTconsin Scholarship Program. 12 recipients in western Wisconsin were selected based on a variety of criteria including community and school involvement, academic progress, financial need, career plans and goals. Rohl will use the money to help fund his post-secondary education plans at the University of Wisconsin River Falls, where he will be studying Pre-Engineering. For over 22 years, WESTconsin has distributed over $250,000 to help support the higher education goals of area students. Scholarships are awarded annually to youth members from communities served by WESTconsin offices.

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    Scam Alert Warning

    The Minnesota Commerce Department is warning seniors about an investment scam involving precious metals. According to Department of Commerce officials, California-based precious metals company, which is not registered in Minnesota as a bullion dealer or investment advisor, is cold calling seniors across the U.S. trying to convince them their savings are not safe in traditional accounts The DOC issued a cease-and-desist order against the company in May. The company has been accused of using scare tactics and threats to manipulate seniors to move their savings into investments controlled by the company, according to an emergency order filed May 1st, in Texas. Minnesotans who fear they have been the victim of a scam or fraud should contact the commerce departments Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602.

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    Greenway Trail Master Plan

    Dakota County is creating a master plan for the proposed 5-mile greenway through Hastings. According to a press release issued by the County, the greenway would span from downtown Hastings southeast through the city and then southwest to Marshan Township. It would connect to local and regional destinations including the Mississippi River Trail, the Point Douglas Regional Trail, Vermillion Falls Park and neighborhoods in southern Hastings. It also would be part of Dakota Countys greenway network. The public is invited to comment on plans for the Vermillion River Greenway in Hastings. For information about the greenway and to comment on the master plan, visit, and search Vermillion River-Hastings.

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    Prescott Chamber Changes

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce has named Casey Johnson as the new Chamber Coordinator. According to a press release issued Thursday morning by the chamber, Johnson brings lots of experience and a passion for the community to the coordinator position. The Chamber also thanked Sarah Sieben for her time with the Prescott Chamber of Commerce, stating that she did an excellent job while she was with the chamber, and wished her the best in the future. As the office transitions are in progress, the chamber will have limited hours of 11:30 AM to 3 PM on Thursdays, June 20th, and 27th, and Friday, June 28th, but will check emails daily. Johnson will begin her duties on July 2nd.   

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    District Follows New State Mandate

    One of the topics placed before the District 200 School Board at the June 19th meeting was to amend the current protocal to align with the new Minnesota Statute that requires changes in the accounting for student activity funds collected for all extracurricular events taking place in the district. All monies received or expended for extracurricular activities must now be recorded in the same manner as any other revenues and expenditures of the district. Discussion included a statement made by Kelsey Waits who wished to clarify that this was a state mandate and was not a result of action by the District 200 Board. This new policy may have a bearing on booster groups, fundraising efforts and distributions made that had previously been handled by volunteers or supporters of district events or programs. We will continue to gather information about what the new mandate will mean and provide those answers in upcoming news reports.

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    More Info Gen Sieben Closure

    The first day of the road closure and detour impacting travel in the northbound lanes of General Sieben Drive included some trial and error in getting the word out that road closed barricades errected between 15th Street and the frontage road near the old Target entrance was, indeed, intended for All traffic. Just after the signage went up, casual observation of the area showed a steady stream of vehicles ignoring the barricades and barrels, entering the southbound lanes to proceed where they were headed. The city had a detour map on their website last week, as well as text explaining the closure but those disregarding the signs appeared not to have gotten the message.

    Later in the day, Hastings police had a patrol presence as an extra reminder. According to Minnesota Statute, driving around a road closed sign can result in a misdemeanor charge of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail. The law also allows for a doubling of a fine when workers are present in the construction or closed roadway area. It is expected that the work to create a pedestrian median at the frontage road will take about 2 weeks. A copy of the detour map for all northbound traffic from 15th street to the frontage road near Culver's, can be found on our webpage.

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    Driving Diversion Program Adopted

    One item before the Hastings City Council on Monday evening was a request by City Attorney Dan Fluegel to consider and approve a new Driving Diversion Program Agreement. In 2016, the City Council approved the Driving Diversion Program as a pilot project to allow individuals who have suspended or revoked licenses, due to unpaid financial obligations, to have the licenses reinstated, subject to approved repayment plans. According to information provided by Mr. Fluegel, the MN State Legislature has now approved the Driving Diversion Program as a permanent program, making it necessary for the City to reapprove the Services Agreement for continued participation. Fluegel also stated there is no cost for the City for enrolling in the program, and the City would generally receive $100 of each individual participant's enrollment. The Agreement was approved as an item on the Consent Agenda for the June 17th City Council meeting.

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    Prescott Housing Boost

    At the Prescott Planning Commission meeting on June 18th, Engineer Matt Heib from Auth-Consulting and Oranzo Oevering of Oevering Homes presented a concept plan for the redivision of the Filkins-Harris subdivision. The redivision would create 52 lots. The property would need to be rezoned to a Planned Unit Development. The advantage of creating smaller lots is to create more affordable housing. The price for homes would be $200,000 to $300,000. Discussion of the Commission included home types, drainage of stormwater, parkland considerations, and a question of the right-of-way at the lower end of Filkin Street. A pedestrian plan will be reviewed to see if there are any sidewalks that would need to be put in as part of the development. Consensus of the Commission is to proceed with concept as presented with suggestions from Commission.   

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    Tutors Needed For School Year

    The Woodbury School District has announced the need for 8 literacy and 3 math tutors in elementary schools across the district for the 2019-2020 school year. According to Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, tutors are being sought for three different levels of commitment: 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. Tutors receive a stipend every two weeks, and can earn up to an additional $4,200 for student loans or tuition, which can be gifted to a family member if the tutor is 55 or older. Many tutors also qualify for additional benefits like free health insurance and child care assistance. Anyone interested is encouraged to apply at or by calling 866-859-2825. Tutors will begin in August 2019.

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    Make Music Day Friday

    Make Music Day is this Friday, June 21st. This international celebration of music making will include the 3rd annual event held in Hastings. The day begins at 7AM with the Dixieland Jazz Band performing at Public Square Park. Nick Fox takes the early morning stage from 8:30-9:30 am in Levee Park, Mark Swan will perform from 10 to 11am at Roadside Park, Popgun Johnson and the Messy Sloppy 7 will have a kids music singalong from 11:30-12:30 pm in Levee Park. The Night Light Chasers will perform at Lions Park from 1-2 pm, 8LivesDown, a variety cover band plays in Levee Park from 2:30-3:30 pm, The Montys play at Vermillion Falls Park from 4-5 pm then it's a showcase of Singers who have performed in Hastings Sings or in Minnesota Sings. They will be on the Levee Park Pavilion stage from 5:30-6:30 pm. In the evening, Nathan Griner plays at Oliver's Grove Park from 7-8 pm and the Finale' will be the South Washington County Community Band from 8-9 pm. All performances are free. A rain location will be provided at the Railway Gallery at Artspace River lofts, 121 Tyler Street. Questions? Contact Hastings Parks and Recreaction - 651-480-6182


    Collins Resignation Withdrawn

    At the District 200 School Board meeting ,called to order by Chair Scott Gergen, an item was removed from the agenda seeking the board's approval of the resignation of Superintendent Tim Collins. The small conference room which is the site of the meeting was filled with approximately 40 members of the community. Following two presentations, Collins addressed the agenda change by reading a prepared statement that he had formally withdrawn his previous resignation, stating that he now intends to stay and finish out his contract.

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    There were no comments or reaction made by the board at the announcement and none were given following the meeting. We'll have more on what this move may mean to the district coming up in future newscasts.

    MN DoT Addresses Sidewalk Fail

    A buckling of a small section of the east sidewalk along Todd Field Tuesday, brought members of MN DOT to the site to address the issue for public safety and also for the structural integrity of the concrete that adjoins the flagstone rock wall surrounding the stadium. According to a statement received by a MN DOT representative, a contractor was working in the area, and a 4x4 foot section of the sidewalk section collapsed. MN DOT has closed the sidewalk and will be coordinating with the contractor and school district to secure the portion of Todd Field below the wall. They will also evaluate and determine the next steps.

    The stadium has been the site of plenty of head turning and traffic slowing this summer as work continues on the renovation taking place to install a synthetic turf, increase accessibility, improve parking and concession facilities and enhance the fan experience through a 3 month construction project. Concern for the stone wall surrounding the field has been taken into consideration for years as the historic stadium continues to face challenges to protect the affects of weather, water and well, people. We'll be checking in with MnDOT and with the school to find out what measures will be considered to address the current need and what may be required to preserve the architecture.

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    Hastings Council Approves GO Bonds

    The Hastings City Council was presented with an overview and request for approval for the sale of General Obligation Improvement bonds that will be used to fund the Summer Neighborhood Infrastructure projects as well as allowing contracts to be secured for the design and installation process for the chlorinated gas system that was approved by the council earlier this summer. Jessica Green, a representative of Northland Securities provided a detailed look at the proposed sale date of July 19th, the debt service factors, the process and issuance of the bonds as well as informing the council of the current Double A rating set by Standard and Poor's. An August 8th resolution of the proceeds from the 10 year bonds will allow the city to stay on the installement schedule set by contractors for both projects. The council approved the sale.

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    Grants Benefit Local Girls

    The Ann Bancroft Foundation has announced its 2019 spring grant cycle resulted in a total of $88,920 awarded to 186 Minnesota girls through the organization's grant programs and overall mission to help local girls to have the support, inspiration, and resources to help make their dreams come true. The Ann Bancroft Foundation awards grants twice each year in the spring and fall. Grants were awarded to 10 students in Dakota County, and 5 students in Washington County. According to a press release from the Ann Bancroft Foundation, the grants are investments of up to $500 that have immediate and lasting impact. ABF grants have funded a wide range of activities and experiences.

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    PIgs Eye Lake Adding Islands

    The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a project partnership agreement with the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners earlier this month to build seven islands in St. Paul's Pigs Eye Lake for the benefit of the natural environment. Sedimentation, low transparency and nutrient loading have caused the water quality and habitat suitability in Pigs Eye Lake to be poor. Additional factors, such as wind fetch and high rough fish populations, are also impacting the water quality and habitat suitability. According to an Army Corps of Engineers press release, the project will cost $12.6 million. The Corps of Engineers will cover $8.4 million, and Ramsey County will provide the remainder. Materials to build the islands will come mainly from material dredged from Pool 2 by the Corps of Engineers. Work is anticipated to begin 2020 and be completed by 2022.

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    Inver Hills College Ranked 16

    Inver Hills Community College has been named in the top 20 2019 Best Online Community College Rankings By State, as number 16 in the best online community colleges in MN. The rankings, published by SR Education Group, looked at several important factors, including retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of online enrollment data, and the number of online associate degrees offered. The organization only considered states with at least three regionally accredited schools offering at least one fully online associate degree. The organization states that since 75 percent of online college students live within 100 miles of their school's campus, the 2019 Online Community College rankings by state are an especially valuable resource for prospective community college students. The complete listing by state can be found online at GuideToOnlineSchools.Com.   

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    Solar Garden Subscription Proposal Plan

    Interim Hastings City Administrator Julie Flaten presented a request at the Monday evening City Council meeting for the Council to

    approve a request for proposal for solar subscriptions. Flaten outlined the general framework of the request.

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    Flaten also states that the City Council did not move on a similar request in 2017. After discussion by Council members involving what's changed since 2017, the length of any contract and associated risks, the City's long-term sustainability goals, correlation with the Energy Action Plan, and potential obstacles to approval, the request was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Council member Vaughan in the opposition.

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    Dakota Co Jail Booking June 18

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, June 18th, Hastings Police arrested 39-year-old Hastings resident Nicole Ann Beil on a felony charge of theft of mail, and a misdemeanor charge of DUI. Beil was booked and released pending an appearance in court. Rosemount Police apprehended 21-year-old Weston Mykle Robinson on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Robinson made an initial appearance in court on the 18th. And Hastings Police detained 35-year-old Luke Steven Stringfellow on one misdemeanor and two felony charges of theft. Bail for Stringfellow is set at $10,500 and he made an appearance in court on the 18th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott Liquor License Debated

    The meeting of the Prescott Licensing Committee took place on Tuesday evening, June 18th, with Chair Galen Seipel calling the meeting to order. Also in attendance was Dar Hintz and Josh Gergen. City Administrator Jayne Brand represented staff. On the agenda was an opportunity for 3 current businesses who have requested to purchase the remaining Class B Liquor License from the city which has been reluctant to issue it in hopes that a large hospitality venture such as a hotel or resort would view the available license as an incentive to base their project in Prescott.

    Initially nearly 4 years ago, a strong intrest had been displayed by the Bruce Lenzen company who put forth plans for a multimillion dollar venue called the Vista Croix which would need the license for a bar, banquet, marina business model. The developers, contacted recently, have not been able to complete the financing and retooling of a residentially based model that is ready to present, although no confirmation of a complete pull out from the project was made.

    With at least 3 current businesses interested in expanding , the subject of retaining the license has caused debate with Mayor Dave Hovel previously on record as favoring retention of the license to provide initiative for a more profitable, at least to the city by way of tax revenue , project. All three applicants for the license attended the meeting to present a brief overview of their plan should they be granted the ability to purchase the $500 license.

    Bill Hinniker and finance Rose presented their request first stating that Port of St. Croix Marina, which operates from April to October has been doing business without any law enforcement issues for more than 20 years and pointed to their community sense, support of other local business and possible of expansion of their client base with the expanded liquor license. Prescott Roadhouse, a business which has operated in downtown for almost 2 years wants the license to stay competitive with other bars and restaurants on Broad Street. They are open year around, have a capacity of about 50 and could expand their deck to increase service to more customers.

    The owner of St. Croix Liquors, Larry Johnson, offered some sketches for a preliminary view of reconfiguring his 6,900 square foot off sale business to become a riverfront bar and restaurant, noting he also owns the green space adjoining the building for additional expansion. He stated that he has lost considerable Sunday sales due to the Sunday Liquor legislation that went into effect in 2017.

    Seipel asked him if he would consider expansion without being granted the Class B license, Johnson did not think so.

    The meeting continued with several other topics including additional options for providing licenses as well as an examination of the renewal of the Borner Farm Pizza Night wineand beer licensure. It should be noted that the committee did not take action and will bring the discussion to the June 24th Prescott City Council Meeting.

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    New Look for Eagles Club

    A new look for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Spiral Bridge Aerie #2212 as a new yellow awning has been spotted on the Hastings Midtown location this week. The fraternal organization has a long history in the city, providing families and individuals a local meeting place to share special events and daily get togethers. Several special events, fundraisers, meat raffles and other community gatherings are regularly part of the schedule. You'll find them at 1220 Vermillion Street.

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    Afton Public Hearings July 1

    The City of Afton will hold 4 public hearings on Monday, July 1st which include various requests for action to be considered by the town council. The hearings will be held consecutively and include one request to establish a riding stable on 45th Street: another is to request the allowance of the construction of an accessory building; a third is the request for a property owner to establish a minor subdivision of an Afton property and the fourth is a request to amend the plat for the Afton Creek preserve that would allow for a property on Odell Avenue to remain a buildable lot provided some buildings on the property are moved. The meeting begins at 7 pm and is open to the public

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    Hastings Pair Arrested After Chase

    More information has been released by Pierce County courts on the high speed chase and crash that took place on May 19th just over the border from Red Wing, Minnesota. According to the criminal complaint released on Monday, June 17th, two Hastings residents- 30 year old Joshua S. Holt and 29 year old Olyanna S Spychalla- are now in custody following a chase that began at a laundromat in Red Wing and ended with the suspect's in a wooded area on Highway 63 at County Road C in Pierce County.

    The Pierce County Sheriff's Department had been contacted by The Goodhue County Sheriff's Department that a vehicle containing the pair was being pursued after an incident was reported concerning a stolen credit card.

    Holt was listed as the driver and has been charged with possession of Methamphetamines, THC and drug paraphernalia as well as identity theft for the purpose of financial gain and attempting to flee or elude an officer in a motor vehicle. Spychalla was charged with identity theft for financial gain, possession of methamphetamine and as a party to a criminal act. Holt and Spychalla were each released on a $10,000 signature bond.

    The vehicle search determined that drugs, paraphernalia and several items that bore the names of persons other than the suspects- including mail, check blanks, a license belonging to someone in California were found in the vehicle. Both subjects were released on $10,000 signature bonds on May 21st with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Pierce County Courthouse in Ellsworth.

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    Resident Asks Council to Rethink Chlorine

    The regular meeting of the Hastings City Council took place on Monday, June 17th. A quorum was established with a full contingent of all council member present. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, a call for comments from the audience brought Hastings resident Patrick Kelley to the podium. His statements and questions to the council addressed the recent decision for the city to proceed with choosing to use a chlorinated gas delivery system to disinfect the municipal water supply. Mr. Kelley asked the council to consider several reports and documents that he provided that point to health concerns associated with ingestion of chlorinated drinking water.

    Besides the odor, he cited studies that suggest chlorine in water has a multitude of adverse health risks. Following a 12 minute presentation, he ended by asking the council to consider replacement of antiquated infrastructure where necessary to deliver safe drinking water, rather than to install the system-wide chlorine treatment. Comments from the public do not require input, statements or action by the council and none were provided.

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    River Slow to Recover From Flooding

    The water level of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers have receded in the past few weeks, following a late spring second crest which has left some lasting remants on local communities including Hastings and Prescott. The popularity of spending time on the the water has been curtailed until recently with signifcant debris in the water, no-wake zones to protect the shoreline and damaged docks and retaining walls that are in the process of being repaired.

    A massive log jam still sits under the Railroad lift bridge in Hastings and barges used to carry products up river have been stalled in St. Louis as the spring dredging continues in 5 areas along the upper riverway to remove soil and sediment from the 9 foot channel necessary to navigate the massive carriers northwards.The St. Paul District is responsible for maintaining 243.6 miles of navigation channel to a depth of at least 9 feet on the Mississippi River from Minneapolis at river mile to Guttenberg, Iowa, and 40.6 miles on three tributaries: the Minnesota, and the St. Croix and Black rivers.

    This district is also responsible for supporting inland navigation by operating 13 locks and dams in that district. Although the first tow officially arrived in St. Paul on April 24th, traffic will continue to stall until dredging can be completed allowing the tows to propel empty and full containers once again.

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    Prescott Police Report June 16

    From the Prescott Police Report for the week ending June 16th, officers were called to the 100 block of North Front Street for a report of an intoxicated person. Officers located the subject in a vehicle, and noted that the vehicle was not running, and the keys were not in the ignition. The subject was given a ride home by a sober party, and the vehicle was secured for the night. Officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of Highway 10 on a report of a fight in progress. Investigating officers arrested 22-year-old Houston, TX, resident Jose Canil on charges of disorderly conduct Canil was booked into the Pierce County Jail and posted bail pending an appearance in court.

    And officers on patrol encountered a pair of people pushing a motorcycle along the road near the intersection of Locust and Oak Streets. During the encounter, it was discovered that one of the people, 32-year-old Prescott resident David Alvin Thomas, was in possession of stolen property and arrested. Thomas was booked into the Pierce County Jail and charged with a felony. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Dakota Co Jail Booking June 15

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, June 15th, Chisago County Deputies apprehended 39-year-old Cottage Grove resident Derek Scott DuFour on a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of marijuana. DuFour was booked into the Dakota County jail pending a transfer to Chisago County. Hastings Police detained 47-year-old Khemara Hing on a felony charge of 3rd degree possession of drugs, and misdemeanor charges of 5th degree possession of marijuana, and driving with a canceled license. Bail for Hing is set at $30,000, and he remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 18th.

    And Hastings Police arrested 29-year-old Kibol Ken on a felony charge of 3rd degree sale of 10 or more dosages of hallucinogens, and a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of marijuana. Ken remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 18th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    SHARKS Join Torch Run

    The final leg of the Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run will involve local law enforcement personnel as the Guardians of the Flame of Hope will take their turn beginning at 4:20 pm on Wednesday, June 19th. Hastings Police will accept the torch as it comes into Hastings from Red Wing, taking over the flame at the Hastings Arena where they will run north on Hwy 61 and then be joined by the Hastings Sharks at Pinecrest School. The run then continues onto Roadside Park . Through many fundraising events, law enforcement personnel donate their time to show their support to athletes who participate in Special Olympics, including the culmination that takes place at the Summer Games held this weekend, June 21-22nd on the campus of St. Thomas in St. Paul. They also volunteer at area, regional and state competitions. The public is encouraged to join them at Roadside Park at about 4:45 for a short presentation as they pass the torch onto the next participants in the Final Leg.Participants will have escorted the flame more than 2,000 miles across Minnesota to the Celebration Ceremonies of Special Olympics Minnesotas State Summer Games that will take place on Friday, June 21st,

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    Photo taken at 2018 Torch Run


    Regional Parks Visits Increase

    A report released by the Met Council this month details the popularity of Regional Parks throughout the Metro area which received nearly 60 million visits in 2018, marking an increase of 2.6% over the previous year as well as the most visits of any year on record.

    The findings are from the Metropolitan Council's annual estimates of visits to the Regional Park System, which will be presented to the Community Development Committee on Monday, June 17 at 4:00 p.m.More than one-third of visits, 20.8 million, were to regional parks in Minneapolis, including the ever-popular Minneapolis Chain of Lakes.While Anoka County Regional Parks had the largest gain in visits, topping 2017 visits by more than 520,000, Dakota County had the highest percentage increase in the number of visits, with a 14 percent increase over 2017.The Metropolitan Council is charged with overseeing the acquisition and development of regional parks and trails. Operations are in the hands of 10 partner cities, counties and special districts.

    As of the end of 2018, the regional system included 44 regional parks, 12 park reserves, 49 regional trails and eight special recreation features, including the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and Noerenberg Gardens on Lake Minnetonka.Two new trail segments were added to the parks system in 2018; Point Douglas Regional Trail connecting Dakota to Washington County and Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail in Bloomington.

    Park funds come from a variety of sources, including the State of Minnesota's Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment, and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.Just last week 102 acres were added to the St.Croix Bluffs Regional Park in Washington County. To estimate regional parks visitation, data were collected within each park and trail during the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and then expanded to produce an annual estimate.

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    HFD Calls and Incidents June

    Recent calls to the Hastings Fire and EMS Department include a blown transformer in the 2000 block of Forest Street. Fire crews located a blown inline fuse on a transformer in the 1900 block, which was not smoking and was determined to not be a danger to the public. The Fire Department called in repair teams from Excel Energy to repair the fuse. A carbon monoxide alarm brought fire crews to the 1900 block of Oak Street. Fire crews noted an initial CO reading of 70 parts per million at the garage door. The carbon source was determined to be a battery charger on a van lift. When the charger was deactivated, CO levels immediately dropped. And fire crews were called to the intersection of Goodwin Avenue and 160th Street for a three-vehicle accident. The department report indicates that one of the drivers of the three vehicles suffered minor injuries in the accident.

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    Fleischauer Found Guilty

    43-year-old New Richmond resident Kayle Alan Fleischauer has been found guilty of 2nd degree reckless homicide on Thursday, in St. Croix County Court. According to the criminal complaint, shortly after 4 a.m. April 14, 2018, authorities received the call of a male with a gunshot wound to the head. They arrived at the rural New Richmond residence to find 19-year-old Chase Alan Fleischauer, a Tartan High School graduate, unresponsive on the floor of the upper level of the home. Defense in the case hinged on whether or not Chase was killed by his father, or a self-inflicted wound, and the jury determined that Kayle fired the weapon, and mortally wounded Chase. The second-degree reckless homicide charge is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The maximum sentence allows for up to 15 years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision. Fleischauer remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing.

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    Prescott Emergency Services Update

    The Prescott Area Fire and EMS Association held a regular meeting in late May that included an update from River Falls EMS Director Jason Stroud regarding preliminary possibilities of cost for EMS service and types of service possible for the EMS contract renewal between the Association and River Falls EMS. According to the meeting minutes, the lower cost extreme for service of $19 per capita, which is near what is charged now, would continue EMS service from River Falls EMS, but not include maintaining a station in Prescott, so in this case, ambulances would be responding to Prescott service area from the River Falls Ambulance station. The higher cost extreme for service of $32 per capita would include EMS service from River Falls EMS serving from the EMS station in Prescott.

    These are extreme ends of possibility and there is room and time for discussion. Currently River Falls EMS is providing Advanced Life Support service to the Prescott service area from the Prescott EMS station but Director Stroud states that it is costing River Falls more to provide this service than was originally expected or planned for. Board Member Dan Johnson requested that Stroud submit 3 possible options for consideration and the broader community will have to make decisions, and acknowledged that River Falls has been exceeding the initial contract requirements without additional charge but with increased staffing costs and decreasing reimbursements, the current situation is not sustainable. Contract talks will continue at the June 19th meeting of the Association.

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    SPARK and Meals First Week

    The first week of the SPARK activity program and community meal welcomed an average of 45 children and between 15 and 20 adults to their weekday program held again this summer at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. Upwards of 100 guests attended on Wednesday, according to sources at the church who were busily serving children, seniors and families, many who expressed thanks for the mid day meal. Volunteers from HPAAC, Black Dirt Theater, Dakota County Libraries, Hastings Tennis Association and others offer activities for the childen after the meal and will rotate with even more providers of some activity or learning topic that children can participate in when coming to the program. With interns from Loaves and Fishes, volunteers from the community and church and others, the meals are assembled, cooked, and then served to anyone who comes through the line. Seconds are even encouraged depending on the amount that remains from the first helping. Servers, food prep and especially clean up help is greatly needed with an easy sign up through Loaves and Fishes. The program will continue through the summer, except for July 4th and 5th, and involves a transportation option and is free to anyone who wishes to attend.

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    CG Police Rescue Incident

    Cottage Grove Police were called to the bridge over Highway 61 at 80th Street at about 11:35 AM on Wednesday on a report of a woman standing outside the fence over the southbound lane of Highway 61. According to a report in the South Washington County Bulletin, someone called the Highway Patrol about the woman. Cottage Grove Police arrived on the scene and saw a woman on the other side of the wrought iron fence overlooking the highway. Director of Public Safety Pete Koerner said one of the officers began talking with the woman while keeping his distance, and the officer was able to calm her relatively quickly. The officers' demeanor allowed them to de-escalate and get close enough to where they were able to grab her and slowly move her down. The woman cooperated, and was taken to Regions Hospital. Koerner commended the officers for defusing a dangerous situation.

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    Keeler Faces Charges

    A Prescott man has been arraigned on charges of strangulation, suffocation, false imprisonment, and disorderly conduct after a domestic disturbance on May 19th. According to the criminal complaint, 35-year-old Eric P. Keeler had been drinking during his daughter's birthday party on the 19th. After guests left, Keeler began making threatening remarks to the victim, a woman, about killing her and her family. Keeler poured a bottle of water on her while in bed while continuing to make comments about murder. In the bedroom, Keeler assaulted the victim by grabbing her throat. She asked him to stop, but he continued to strangle her until she tasted blood and could not breathe. The daughter responded to the noise coming from the bedroom and walked in, at which time Keeler released the woman and picked up his daughter. At a May 31 arraignment, Keeler pleaded not guilty on all counts. A $5,000 cash bond was posted June 4 and Keeler will next appear in Pierce County court for a pre-trial conference July 25 at 3:30 p.m.   

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    Dakota County Lyft Pilot Program

    Although mass transit continues to pass by without stopping in many areas in Dakota county, a program with Go Dakota, may make some populations better able to be self directing thanks to a pilot program partner with Lyft. This individualizes mobility for many including those who have previously depended on family, friends or even sources like Metro Mobility when desiring to travel for work, health appointments or for entertainment and social reasons. Dakota County has partnered with Lyft in a pilot program that makes it possible for those with disabilities to have greater mobility and a greater flexibility for travel options.

    A Department of Human Services Innovation Grant has gotten the program off the ground with a percentage of the funding used for support and instruction for families and individuals who have traditionally had limited options available for independent transportation. The grant

    will allow data to be used to compare effectiveness and convenience along with sustainability and possible expansion depending on the response.

    Some current Lyft drivers have also expressed interest in being considered for priority pairing in the program that could give a new demention to transport stability for those needing special accomodations or equipment services. Those associations are likely to develop as the program progresses. We've also provided a link to the program's email address and promotional video that has been posted on YouTube.

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    Summertime Burglaries On Rise

    Several cities in the Metro Area and beyond have reported the traditional spike in home and vehicle burglaries as the summer gets underway. Of particular concern is the theives' penchant for removing garage remote controllers that you may have tucked into your visor and used them to gain access to your garage and perhaps your home. Local law enforcement agencies have posted a lengthy list of preventative measures that can keep this from happening to your family. The first priority is to lock your vehicles, even if you will just be a minute. And remove your garage door opener from your vehicle if you store it outside. In securing your home, it's always a good idea to close and lock lower level windows to prevent access, secure patio and other sliding doors with a simple stick stop placed in the track on the inside. Trim shrubs or other folliage near lower windows and consider a motion activated or other home security system. Be aware of items left outside, even for a short amount of time and report any suspicious vehicles or people to local police supplying as much description as you can to help identify them. Looking out for neighbors is also important and talking with those who live nearby can help if a pattern develops in your area. If you see crime, call 9-1-1 immediately so that help can arrive as soon as possible.

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    Wright To Leave HCTV

    A change announced on social media late on Wednesday from local media exec Tom Wright who will be leaving his position of Executive Director for Hastings Community Television at the end of the summer. Wright has seen the local cable access grow from an analog station under former director Dave Baudoin to a multi channel High Definition local media leader with multiple awards for community programming and government coverage which has included several regional Emmys. Wright notes that he has plenty of people to thank for helping HCTV serve the Hastings Community and looks forward to his next adventure that will be based here in Hastings.

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    StrawberryFest Medallion Found

    After two days of clues provided by Edina Realty and the South Washington County Bulletin, the Cottage Grove Strawberry Festival Medallion has been found. According to an article in the Bulletin, hunters uncovered the medallion from its hiding place in Hearthside Park. As of Wednesday afternoon, the names of the finders of the medallion had not been released. The Strawberry Festival officially kicks off today with many events taking place at Kingston Park and the Grand Parade on Saturday at 10:30 am.

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    Dakota County Arrest Log June 12

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, June 12th, Hastings Police arrested 50-year-old Hastings resident Brian Bernard Beil on a misdemeanor charge of sharing private images without consent. Beil remains in custody as the charge is investigated. Washington County Deputies apprehended 20-year-old Newport resident Ashley Marie Dewane on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Dewane is awaiting transfer to Washington County for processing. And deputies in Goodhue County arrested 27-year-old Hastings resident Jamarcus Cordarius Horsely on a felony charge of 3rd degree assault. Horsely remains in custody pending a transfer to Goodhue County. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott Council Considers Permit Renewal

    During the conversation on license renewal made by the Prescott City Council, annual permit requests were presented on behalf of Prescott businesses that would allow each to sell cigarettes and intoxicating beverages. Those permits expire on June 30th. Each business, in good standing, who wishes to reapply for a permit are reviewed for compliance before reissuance is made. Seasonal licenses for those businesses who request a sidewalk cafe permit are also reviewed. All liquor and beer and wine permits were voted to be reissued with 2 exceptions. The request from Borner Farms for a beer and wine license renewal will require further compliance confirmation by the license committee in regards to operator license certification.

    Also dismissed was a request by 3 establishments wishing to be considered for the city's remaining class B liquor license, which has been on hold for a hotel or large developer for several years. Each city in Wisconsin, is allowed a number of class B licenses, which was set in 1997, and are granted based on total population. Addition of another such license would be dependent on the addition of another 500 in population since that year. Some anomalies, however, have very small, generally tourist areas, awash in licenses, such as the village of Egg Harbor with an official population of just over 200, having 10 Class B licenses.

    That number was grandfathered in as of 1997. Wisconsin statute also allows that If a municipality has granted or issued a number of licenses equal to or exceeding its quota, the municipality may issue an "Above-quota" license for a full-service restaurant that has a permanent interior seating capacity of 300 or more persons; A hotel that has 50 or more rooms of sleeping accommodations with either an attached restaurant (seating capacity of 150 or more persons) or a banquet room (banquets attended by 400 or more persons may be held) or An opera house or theater for the performing arts operated by a nonprofit organization qualified as a section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

    If that is accurate, it is not known why such a large, as yet to be named development, might not be allowed to then take the Above Quota license, if and when a deal is made. A call Tuesday to Robert Campbell requesting an update to the Vista Croix project has not yet been received. The results of the license committee, with Chair Gene Seipel and members Dar Hintz and Josh Gergen, will be reported following their May 18th meeting.

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    Release The Beast Event

    Hastings based "This Old Horse" invites the public to an annual event entitled Release the Beasts, which takes place each summer. Nancy and Jim Turner and the volunteers who make this sanctuary of retired, rehabilitating and recovering horses will celebrate the opening of the grazing pastures. They assure guests will enjoy the heart pounding excitement as the mares and geldings kick off grazing season at 10 a.m. with their thunderous and joyful entrance to their summer pastures. Everyone is then invited to stick around and enjoy the open shopping day at the Tack Shop, with several vendors providing an open house and plenty of horses to inspire you. This Old Horse is located at 19025 Coates Boulevard just off of Hwy 52.

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    Jurgens Receives Housing Leadership Honor

    On Tuesday, Housing First Minnesota announced that they have recognized State Representative Tony Jurgens for his effort in the 2019 Legislative session. Housing First Minnesota has membership of more than 1,200 homebuilding, remodeling, and associated industry businesses. According to Executive Director David Siegel, Jurgens has been instrumental in finding solutions that can positively impact Minnesotans by finding a reasonable balance of safety , resource protection and housing affordability . The 2019 Housing Leadership Award was presented to Jurgens in the recognition of Rep. Jurgens "commitment to a vibrant housing market that ties together the communities of our great state. Additionally, it recognizes his work throughout the 2019 legislative session to promote homeownership in communities people love, at a price families can afford. Jurgens released a statement saying that "It as an honor to receive this distinction," As someone who serves on the housing committee in the Minnesota House and is concerned about affordable home ownership, he is very grateful to have his work at the Capitol recognized."

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    Update On HazMat Call

    Updated Version: Tuesday nite: Local Emergency crews including those with hazardous material containment were called to a garage on the property used by Tennis Sanitation in St. Paul Park on Tuesday afternoon. The Washington County Sheriff's Office were on site and released information that the situation could be contained without need for resident evacuation for homes nearby the site. A separate report suggested that several workers at the garage complained of feeling sick following the discovery of an unspecified substance that may have been included in a waste pick up from one of the collection trucks. There were no reports of any of those involved having to be hospitalized. An investigation into a possible source of the substance is currently underway. We will provide an update to this local story as it becomes available.

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    Prescott School District Honors Staff

    The end of another school year brings milestones for some Prescott employees. Those retiring this year include Connie Grabow, Deb Huppert and Rod Radle. Other service anniversaries with the school district were also recognized. Paula Kenow and Aaron Marshall were congratulated for reaching 10 YEARS of service; Mike Hoikka,Mike Kosmalski,Corey Morning and Marcy Westphal have worked in the district for 15 YEARS; Patty Orf, Jeff Poliak, Helen Raebel and Tina Stenroos have reached 20 YEARS of service: and a 25 YEAR commemoration was given to Donalee Meyer as well as one for 30 YEARS of service to Jeff Ryan. The Prescott School District employees were honored at a reception held earlier this week.

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    Longer Table Community Meal

    A reminder from Kathy O Keefe- Hello Neighbors, this is a reminder of a big event happening in Hastings -Our first annual longer table. All are invited to this community pot luck. We hope youll consider joining us . Please bring a dish to share. The event is Sunday afternoon, June 23rd from 2-5 pm. and will be held at the Rotary Pavillion in Levee Park. Everyone is invited to come- stay and eat and share and enjoy your neighbors. There will be outlets to keep warm food warm and ice tables to keep cold foods cold so bring YOUR favorite dish to share. Well also have lawn games and several activities that kids are sure to enjoy., there will be plenty of room for everyone at our longer table. Find out more on Facebook at The Longer Table.or email

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    Garden Club Honored In CG

    The Pineridge Garden Club of Cottage Grove recently received special recognition from the City at a Volunteer Award Banquet. According to the City newsletter, members of the club were honored for providing 50 years of sharing expertise and passion for gardening with the community. In addition to promoting gardening in the city, the Pineridge Garden Club maintains the landscaping in front of City Hall, and tends the Triangle Garden at the intersection of East Point Douglas Road and Hyde Avenue.

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