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    Prescott City Council Meeting Preview

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

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    Rosemount PD Donates To Family Services

    Dakota County Children and Family Services expressed appreciation for recent donations of clothing and toiletries from the Rosemount Police Department. According to the Dakota County social Services newsletter, the Rosemount Police Department works closely with the Dakota County Child Protection Assessment team when placing children in out-of-home care. In these situations, the children often are placed on an emergency basis with few belongings. The community of Rosemount responded to the Police Departments call for help, with local businesses, churches, girl scout troops, and hockey teams all pitching in with an incredible show of support.

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    Host Homes Expands Into Dak. Co.

    Dakota County recently announced the expansion of host homes for youth into Dakota County. According to County Staff, Host Homes are a temporary housing solution provided by volunteers in their homes for young people who need a safe place to stay. Most participants are aged 18-24 and are homeless or unstably housed. Support and services are provided by youth services provided for the participant and the hosts. The YMCA host home program, which currently operates in Hennepin, Anoka and Suburban Ramsey County, is partnering with the community to expand into Dakota County. The YMCA is accepting applications for interested host homes and meeting with potential hosts to complete training and background checks. They are currently staffed to serve 2 host homes in Dakota County. Additional private funding is being pursued to expand the program.

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    HKS Planning Summit

    The Community Partners of Helping Kids Succeed by United Way of Hastings held a meeting in early February to discuss the framework of a mental health summit in Hastings, directed towards caregivers of children. According to the meeting notes, a local mental health summit wouldn't try to duplicate workshops already being provided for professionals, but would be aimed at parents, guardians, and other caregivers. Community partners would need to figure out how to encourage attendance by those who might not typically attend. Summit organizers were also advised that Dakota County has resources available to assist with the Summit, which does not have a date set at this point. A mental Health Summit working group will meet in March to continue developing the summit.

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    Award Nominations Sought

    Dakota County is seeking nominations for the annual Public Health Achievement Awards. The awards will be presented before the Dakota County Board of Commissioners meeting on April 7 in continued celebration of National Public Health Week. The awards recognize contributions of Dakota County residents who devote their time, energy and talent in their communities to improve health. Community health leaders are recognized in youth, individual, and community group categories. Winners are selected based on their leadership, contribution to solutions to public health problems, collaboration, advocacy, role modeling, and evidence of impact. Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday, March 4. For a nomination form and instructions on how to submit it, visit DakotaCounty.us and search achievement award, or call 651-554-6100.

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    LSS Seeks Foster Families

    Lutheran Social Service of MN is asking for families to consider fostering children in need. According to a press release, foster parents are urgently needed for Minnesota teens. Nearly 40 percent of children in the state's foster care are ages 12 to 18. As a foster parent, you can provide teens the support, safety and love they need to thrive. Help make a brighter, more successful future possible for young people by fostering a teen. Lutheran Social Service can provide you the training and support you need to make a difference by becoming a foster parent. Learn more by calling 612-879-5219 or visit FosterCareMN.org.

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    MnDNR Urges Litter Removal

    With February coming to a rapid close, Mn DNR officials remind ice fishers that leaving litter on the ice when houses are removed is illegal. According to a DNR Newsletter, litter is an issue throughout the ice fishing season, but it tends to be particularly problematic as the deadlines for removing fish houses from lakes loom. Shelters must be removed from inland waters in the southern two-thirds of the state by midnight on March 2, and from inland waters in the northern one-third by midnight on March 16. Trash left on the ice is not only an eyesore, but it also has the potential to negatively affect water quality, especially if the litter remains when the ice melts. Conservation officers spend the winter monitoring anglers and documenting areas where they believe litter might be a problem. It's also common for officers to hear from anglers upset about the trash left behind by the people they've fished near during the winter. The DNR urges that litter be removed when the fish houses are taken off the ice.

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    Daily Jail Booking Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Friday, February 21st, Washington County Deputies detained 44-year-old Tracy Marie Hollen on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Hollen was released on bail as the charge is processed. Scott County Deputies arrested 35-year-old Rachel Anne Peterson on felony charges of check forgery and 5th degree possession of drugs. Peterson remains in custody pending a transfer to Scott County. And Dakota County Deputies apprehended 38-year-old Randolph resident Scott Alan Sandberg on three felony charges of receiving stolen property. Peterson is being held without bail and made an appearance in court on the 21st. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    C. G. Man Charged In Auto Theft

    36-year-old Cottage Grove resident Steven Adam Wolfsteller faces charges of burglary, theft and drug possession related to a vehicle theft from a Cottage Grove dealership in early February. According to the criminal complaint, Wolfsteller and his wife allegedly went to a Cottage Grove auto dealership at about 1 AM on February 1. His wife told a Cottage Grove police officer about the alleged crime and that her husband had schizophrenia. She told the officer her husband believed he had vehicles at the dealership, so the two drove to the location and parked next to the building. Wolfsteller got out of the vehicle and shortly afterward pulled up out front in a black pickup truck. Wolfsteller told his wife to drive their vehicle and he would drive the pickup truck. The officer went to the dealership before it opened for the day and noticed a garage door halfway open, as well as a bent office door handle. The officer later spoke with one of the dealership's owners, who checked the inventory and found a 2017 Nissan Titan was missing. On Feb. 3, officers located the stolen truck in Wolfsteller's driveway. Upon searching the vehicle, they found 0.6 grams of methamphetamine. The owner of the dealership said the vehicle had been detailed before it was placed in the lot and any property in the vehicle would have come from the person who stole it. Wolfsteller was then placed under arrest. Wolfsteller faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each charge. His first court appearance is scheduled for 9 AM March 12 in Washington County.

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    Pierce Co.Fatal Accident

    An Ellsworth resident was killed and two other people were critically injured after a head-on crash Wednesday near Spring Valley. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the victim was an 80-year-old woman from Ellsworth. She was the passenger in a Buick driven by a 91-year-old Ellsworth man who sustained life-threatening injuries. Troopers said the crash occurred at 5:30 PM on February 19th, on Highway 63 at County Road Y in Pierce County. Scene investigation determined that a northbound Kia Rio crossed the center line and struck the southbound Buick head-on. The driver of the Kia, a 22-year-old woman from La Crescent, MN, also sustained life-threatening injuries and was airlifted from the scene by LifeLink III. The State Patrol said names would be released after families were notified. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Ellsworth EMS and Fire Departments, Spring Valley Fire Department, Baldwin EMS and River Falls EMS also assisted troopers on the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

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    Farmington Officer Promoted

    The Farmington City Council approved the promotion of police officer Chris Lutz to patrol sergeant at the council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18. Lutz joined the Farmington Police Department in 2008, and has completed one of the most difficult training courses to become a Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE). DRE's recognize signs of drug impairment in motorists and then identify the class of drug causing that impairment. He also spent two years assigned to the Dakota County Drug Task Force and most recently took on being a field training officer. He also kickstarted the department's first Pink Patch Project in 2019 and has begun preparations for 2020. Lutz's wife, Victoria, pinned on his new sergeant badge in front of a crowd of supportive family, friends and coworkers.

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    Man Charged In Fatal Stabbing

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that John C. Adams II, age 38 of West St. Paul, has been charged with one count of intentional murder in the second degree in connection with the fatal stabbing on February 17, of 68-year-old David Eugene Rahn, a fellow resident at a group home in West St. Paul. According to the criminal complaint, around 4 AM on February 17th, West St. Paul police were dispatched to a group home operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services on a report of a disturbance between two clients of the group home. The staff member at the group home reported that the disturbance was taking place in the bedroom of Rahn. The staff member reported that she heard Rahn screaming for help and when she responded, someone was blocking the door and would not allow her entry. The person blocking the door told the staff member "it was okay". While on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, the staff member reported that it had since gone quiet in Rahn's room and that "something isn't right". Officers found Rahn in his room unresponsive and not breathing. They also observed several stab wounds to his neck and back. First responders were unable to revive Rahn and he was declared deceased at the scene. Officers made contact with Adams in his bedroom. Adams told officers that Rahn had "busted into his room" and attacked him. He further reported that the two of them started wrestling, so Adams ran and got a knife to defend himself. Adams went to Rahn's room and claimed that Rahn "was still attacking" him, so he defended himself. Adams made his first court appearance on these charges Thursday morning and bail was set in the amount of $1.5 million by Judge Richelle Wahi. His next court appearance was set for March 16, at 9 AM in Hastings.    

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    Jurgens Authors Flood Relief Fund Bill

    With another threat of flooding this year, Governor Tim Walz asked lawmakers Tuesday to approve $30 million to replenish a state disaster aid fund. Following last springs flooding issues, State Representative Tony Jurgens sponsored legislation that refilled this exact fund.

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    Jurgens is pleased that he and Governor Walz are thinking alike on this topic, and looks forward to moving disaster relief funding forward.   

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    Feb. 24 HPC Meeting Canceled

    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman has announced that the regular meeting of the Hastings Planning Commission, scheduled for 7 PM on Monday, February 24 at Hastings City Hall has been canceled. The next meeting of the HPC will be Monday, March 9th, at 7 PM, at City Hall.

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    Workforce Board Names New Members

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners has appointed three new members to the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board. Anita Drentlaw, the president and CFO of New Market Bank in Lakeville, Ivan Youssef, the owner and CEO of JPY Enterprises, Inc. in Lakeville where he oversees all business and operational functions of four McDonald's restaurants located in Lakeville and Hastings, and Kristin Oftedahl, the marketing communications manager for Rihm Kenworth in South St. Paul, were appointed Feb. 4. The Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board oversees employment and training programs in Dakota and Scott counties. It is a state leader in developing innovative programs administered through CareerForce locations in Burnsville, Shakopee and West St. Paul.

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    Daily Jail Booking Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, February 20th, Hastings Police apprehended 37-year-old Hastings resident Richard Patrick Davis on a felony charge of receiving stolen property, misdemeanor charges of 5th degree possession of drugs and driving with a revoked license, and a felony warrant in Washington County for 5th degree possession of drugs. Davis remains in custody as the charges are processed. Dakota County Deputies arrested 33-year-old Farmington resident Brandon Lee Halloran on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Halloran made an initial appearance in court on the 20th. And Rosemount Police detained 26-year-old Keenan Alan Thomas on misdemeanor charges of violation of probation and providing false identification to police, and a misdemeanor Scott County warrant for 5th degree possession of drugs. Thomas remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 21st. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Red Wing Teen Missing

    Officials in Goodhue County are asking for help finding a missing teen who was last seen Monday, Feb. 3. According to the sheriff's office, Ryanna Alms of Red Wing was last seen in the Pioneer Road neighborhood and got into a 4-door dark-colored sedan at about 10:30 PM, on February 3rd. If you have any information, please contact the Goodhue County Sheriff at 651-385-3155 or call 911.   

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    MN B25 To Fly Over DC

    The Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing's B-25 Miss Mitchell, currently housed at Fleming Field, in South St. Paul, is one of the aircraft selected to participate in the 2020 Arsenal of Democracy Flyover in Washington D.C., that will take place on Friday, May 8th to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. The B-25 placed itself in World War II history books on April 18, 1942 when 16 of the medium range bombers launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean and bombed mainland Japan. Led by Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle, America had begun to turn the tables on the Japanese. The B-25J "Miss Mitchell" also served in the 310th Bomb Group, 57th Bomb Wing of the 12th Air Force in North Africa and Italy completing over 130 missions. Its legacy of no crew fatalities during all its missions was a rare accomplishment. After a 12 year restoration by the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, Miss Mitchell took her first flight on April 18, 1992, exactly 50 years to the day of the daring Doolittle raid. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Commemorative Air Force depends on contributions of its members, private individuals, and businesses to keep them flying. The Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing is honored to be a part of the 2020 Arsenal of Democracy as they begin to celebrate and honor the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.

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    (Photo: Courtesy Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing)

    Farm Loan Assistance Bill Stalls

    On Wednesday, Minnesota House Democrats blocked a proposal that would have replenished funds for farmers who utilize Rural Finance Authority, or RFA, loans. RFA loan funding is considered critical by many farmers as it assists them with low cost financing, and that funding will disappear on Friday. State Representative Rod Hamilton.

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    Representative Hamilton brought the $50 million proposal forward Wednesday, and said farmers needed lawmakers to act with a sense of urgency.

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    Kistner Wins GOP Straw Poll

    On Tuesday night, Tyler Kistner won the first straw poll of the 2nd District GOP race in what was termed convincing fashion. According to his campaign, Kistner secured 60 % of the vote with 38 votes. The next closest candidate had 9 votes. Kistner is quoted as saying he is honored to have won the Goodhue County Republicans Straw Poll, adding that republicans all around the 2nd District are uniting around his campaign because they "realize I am the strongest candidate to take on Angie Craig in November". Kistner looks forward to continuing to work closely with grassroots leaders to win the GOP endorsement in April.    

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    Bigham Introduces Milk Bill

    At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol, Senator Karla Bigham revealed she introduced legislation for the 2020 Legislative Session that would make milk the default beverage for children's meals in the state.

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    She also indicated the bill would benefit the state's dairy industry.

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    Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) support making milk a default beverage on children's menus to promote healthy habits.   

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    Hastings Mayor Ready To Welcome New Chief

    Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender is ready to welcome newly-hired Fire & EMS Director Brian Carlson to his position in March. She commented on the hiring process.

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    She also mentioned that the new chief is ready to hit the ground running.

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    His anticipated start date is March 23rd.

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    Daily Jail Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, February 19th, Rosemount Police apprehended 22-year-old Rosemount resident Steven Paul Brown-Beavers on misdemeanor charges of driving with a revoked license, and driving an uninsured vehicle. Brown-Beavers remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 21st. Rosemount Police detained 19-year-old Minayah Elizabeth Mollenhoff on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Bail for Mollenhoff was set at $500 and she made an appearance in court on the 19th. And Hastings Police arrested 26-year-old Derron Detrick Pugh on felony charges of assault by strangulation and being a fugitive from justice in another state, a misdemeanor charge of assault, and two felony probation violation charges. Pugh remains in custody 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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    Pierce Co. Accident Injures 3

    On Sunday, February 16th, at about 5:57 PM, the PCSO was notified of a two vehicle accident with injury near the intersection of Highway 63 and 830th Street, in Trenton Township of Hager City. According to a PCSO press release, 17-year-old Red Wing resident Madelyne Horne was operating a Chevy Cruise northbound on Highway 63, and failed to stop for a vehicle that was stopped in the northbound lane yielding to oncoming traffic to make a left turn. Horne conducted an evasive maneuver in an attempt to avoid striking the stopped vehicle and drove into oncoming southbound traffic. Horne was then struck by a Chevy Traverse which was traveling southbound on Highway 63 driven by 25-year-old Ellsworth resident Cameron Gardiner. Gardiner, along with his passengers, 24-year-old Jazmine Hanson and 83-year-old Patricia Hanson, both from Ellsworth, were transported by medical services from the scene to Red Wing Mayo Hospital in Red Wing, with undetermined injuries. Two juveniles in Gardiners vehicle were uninjured in the crash. Horne was transported by medical services to Red Wing Mayo Hospital with undetermined injuries. This accident remains under investigation by the PCSO. Assisting PCSO were the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Ellsworth Fire and Ellsworth Area Ambulance, and the Red Wing Fire Department.   

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    Search for Missing Cannon Falls Man

    Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating an endangered missing person. According to a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) alert, the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office is trying to locate 37-year-old Richard Glen Sanders. Sanders was last seen leaving the Oak Lane Mobile Home Park on foot between 9 and 10 AM on Feb. 2. Investigators said they don't believe Sanders has any money, a phone or a vehicle. Sanders was last seen walking west on Highway 19 around 40th Avenue Way near Cannon Falls. He's described as 5 feet, 11 inches tall, about 175 pounds, with brown hair, hazel eyes and tattoos on his left arm and left leg. Authorities said he was wearing a camouflage coat, jeans and green shoes when he went missing. Authorities are concerned about Sanders' well-being. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 651-385-3155 or dial 911.

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    (Photo source: MN BCA)

    DOnations Accepted by City Council

    The Consent Agenda for the Tuesday night meeting of the Hastings City Council included a number of donations to various City Departments and programs. Mickey Loucks presented a donation of $800 to the City Parks & Recreation Department for a park bench, Dakota Electric Association has presented a donation of $200 and Smead Manufacturing donated $1,000 to the City Parks & Recreation Department for 2020 Summer Programming at Levee Park, and Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union donated $5,000 to purchase an inflatable rescue boat for the Fire and EMS Department. The City Council accepts the donations with gratitude.

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    Serres Under Sentence

    A single vehicle traffic accident in February of 2019 that resulted in the death of one person has resulted in the conviction of 53-year-old Hampton resident Michael J. Serres. According to the criminal complaint, on the evening of February 14, 2019, authorities were dispatched to the intersection of Highway 50 and Inga Avenue for an accident with injuries. Initial scene investigation found a vehicle approximately 15 yards away from the road, resting on the passenger side. Officers approached the vehicle and found Serres still inside, and Serres stated that he thought his passenger had died. The passenger, identified as 49-year-old Terri Lynn Stephenson, was partially ejected from the vehicle. Stephenson was assessed by both officers and medics before being declared dead at the scene. The officers were able to detect the odor of alcohol on Serres' breath, and he refused chemical testing. He was later arrested and stood trial. He was found guilty and sentenced in October of 2019 to the Dakota County Jail. His current expected date of release is April 28th.

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    Crops Day Scheduled

    For the fourteenth year, Crops Day will bring University of MN and agency specialists to Dakota County to share local research results and crop management strategies with producers and other agricultural professionals. Topics this year will include nitrogen management best practices, weather data and irrigation scheduling, insect and weed updates, new cover crops selector tool and an update from the Dakota County Soil & Water District. Crops Day will be held on Wednesday, March 4, from 9 AM to 1 PM at Dakota Electric Association located at 4300 220th Street West in Farmington. Registration will start at 8:30 AM. This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided, thanks to generous sponsorship by the Dakota Electric Association, Kimmes-Bauer Well Drilling and the Southeast Irrigators Association. Drop-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is requested for food-planning purposes. The link to register is provided here.

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    2019 Farmington Firefighter of the Year

    Farmington Firefighter Steven Endres was announced as the Farmington Fire Department's 2019 Firefighter of the Year at the department's annual banquet in January. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Allbee stated that Steven has done an amazing job of doing what they feel is important to the department and that is reaching out to the community and being involved in many different events, adding that he even started up a new event, which was the Easter Egg Hunt that was a great success last year. Endres has been a paid-on-call firefighter with the department since October of 2016.

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    Famington Names New Deputy Chief

    The Farmington City Council approved the promotion of Administrative Sergeant Jim Constantineau to Deputy Chief of Police at a council meeting on Monday, February 3. Before joining the Farmington Police Department, he was an officer for the Village of Mukwonago in Wisconsin, a dispatcher, and he worked in lake patrol. Constantineau has been with the Farmington Police Department since 1999. In 2008 he was promoted to sergeant and assigned to administration. He has managed the budget, department technology and fleet as well as overseeing the records division. Constantineau's wife pinned on his new deputy chief badge in front of a crowd of supportive family, friends and coworkers.    

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    Daily Jail Booking Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, February 18th, Rosemount Police detained 44-year-old Rosemount resident Ronnell Eugene Dobbins on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license. Dobbins remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 18th. Hastings Police arrested 56-year-old Hastings resident Richard Carl Johnston on three misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence. Johnston remains in custody as the charges are processed. And Dakota County Deputies apprehended 35-year-old Nicole Cherie Montague on a misdemeanor probation violation charge. Montague made an initial 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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    Retired HPD Chief Plath Passes

    Retired Hastings Police Chief Daryl Alfred Plath passed away on February 13th. According to his obituary, Plath worked as a TV tech from 1953-1957 and joined the Fairmont police department. During his service with the FDP he attended and graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1965. Daryl attended and graduated from Inver Hills Community College with an AA degree in Law Enforcement. In 1968 he accepted the position of Chief of Police in Hastings, serving 25 years and retiring in 1993. He served on the Board of Directors of the MN Chief of Police Association from 1969 to 1993, serving as President of the Association from 1974-1975. He served on the Board of Directors of the Dakota County Recovery Center in Hastings from 1974 to 2019. Daryl was a lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion and NRA. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and competition pistol shooting. A funeral service will be held Thursday, February 20 at 11 AM at Starkson Family Life Celebration Chapel, 3075 Vermillion St in Hastings. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will take place at Lakeside Cemetery in Fairmont, Minnesota at 4 PM on Thursday. Plath was 89.

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    Leifeld Runs For 2nd Term

    Hastings City Council Member Lisa Leifeld has announced she is running for a second term on the Hastings City Council. Leifeld, a Hastings native who was elected in her first bid for office in 2016, said she has thoroughly enjoyed representing the residents of Ward 3 and the entire city of Hastings during her time on the council. Leifeld said her constituents have appreciated her hands-on approach to issues, willingness to communicate directly, and ability to sit down with residents, city staff and other officials to find solutions to challenging issues. According to a press release, her priorities for a second term would be to increase economic development in Ward 3, adequately fund public safety services, and ensure open communication and dialogue with residents throughout the city. For complete campaign info, visit LisaLeifeld.com.

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    Craig Announces New Caucus

    On Friday, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig announced the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Pet Caucus, alongside her colleague KS Rep. Roger Marshall, M.D. which will focus on health and nutritional well-being of companion animals, commonsense legislation supporting pet ownership and science-based and transparent regulations. According to a press release issued by Craig's office, more Americans than ever before are pet owners, about 67 percent of U.S. households own at least one pet and highly value the well-being of their companion animals. Americans young and old have embraced pet ownership and recognize the positive impact of the human-animal bond. Rep. Craig supported the PAWS Act, which aims to provide funding for service dogs for service members. On the Caucus she looks forward to supporting policies that benefit our furry friends.

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    Dakota County Jobs

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a health promotion specialist, and a facilities management engineering intern. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Presscot Weekly Blotter

    From the Prescott Police Blotter for the week ending February 16th, a traffic stop near the intersection of Hilton and Pearl Streets resulted in a citation issued to 24-year-old Prescott resident Todd Richard Ames for driving after having his license revoked. An unwanted person call brought officers to Shane Park Circle. Investigating officers arrested 38-year-old Prescott resident Steven Michael Wasmund on a charge of disorderly conduct. And officers conducted a warrant service call in the 500 block of Ash Street. The call resulted in the arrest of 34-year-old Prescott resident Eric Dennis Frank on warrants for failure to appear. Frank was also cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Dakota Weekend Jail Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, February 15th, Hastings Police arrested 34-year-old Cannon Falls resident Erik Allan Hoel on felony charges of 5th degree possession of drugs, and violation of an order for protection. Combined bail for Hoel is set at $64,000 and he is scheduled to appear in court on the 18th. And Hastings Police apprehended 41-year-old Hastings resident Derrick Steven Jameson on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license. Jameson was booked and released as the charge is processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Sunday, February 16th, Hastings Police apprehended 34-year-old Hastings resident Lanzale Jeramiah Hill on a felony charge of assault by strangulation, and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Hill is being held without bail pending an appearance in court on the 18th. Scott County Deputies detained 29-year-old Hastings resident Spencer Karl Ritt on two misdemeanor charges of theft. Ritt posted bail as the charges are processed. And Dakota County Deputies arrested 32-year-old Paul Vang on 2 misdemeanor charges of 5th degree possession of drugs, and misdemeanor charges of driving with a suspended license, and not having proof of insurance. Vang remains in custody 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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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, February 17th, South St. Paul Police apprehended 34-year-old Gaddis Johnson on felony charges of assault and violation of parole. Johnson remains in custody as the charges are processed. Farmington Police arrested 31-year-old Farmington resident Benjamin Douglas Bailey on three misdemeanor probation violation charges. Bailey remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 18th. And authorities in Dakota County detained 38-year-old Lisa Tarango on a felony charge of check forgery, and felony warrants in Anoka, Scott, and Waseca Counties, also for check forgery. Tarango remains in custody 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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    Feb. 18 Hastings Council Meeting Preview

    The Hastings City Council meets Monday evening. Mayor Mary Fasbender provides a preview of the agenda.

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    Jurgens First Week Is Busy

    The first week of the 2020 MN Legislative Session is in the books. Representative Tony Jurgens provided a recap of the week.

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    Hear the entire interview with Tony on Community In Depth, only on KDWA.

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    Bigham Reviews First Week

    With the Presidential Primary vote coming up in March, MN State Lawmakers are addressing voter privacy laws in MN. Senator Karla Bigham summarized the problem.

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    Hear the complete interview with Senator Bigham on KDWA.

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    ISD 200 Seeks Public Input

    The Hastings School Board is asking for public input as the search for a permanent Superintendent continues. The public is invited to attend a Community Listening Session on Monday, February 24th, from 6 to 7 PM, in the Lecture Hall of Hastings High School. The session will be facilitated by members of the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA). Attendees will be asked to work in small groups to answer predetermined questions which will help MSBA work with the School Board to determine what the district is looking for in candidates. In addition, the questions will aid the school board in the formulation of questions to be used once candidates to be interviewed have been selected. As the board continues to go through the selection process there are also a number of Special School Board Meetings related to the interviewing and hiring of the new superintendent, and these meetings are open to the public. All meetings will take place in the Board Room at the ISD #200 District Office, 1000 West 11th Street. The dates, times and topics for each of these meetings leading up to the final selection of a new superintendent are posted on a link provided here.

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    Cannon Falls City Council Meeting Preview

    The Cannon Falls City Council meets for regular business on Tuesday, February 18th, at 6:30 PM in City Council Chambers. After the call to order, pledge of allegiance, roll call, and determination of quorum, the Council will hear a presentation from the Goodhue County Sheriff about the Towards Zero Deaths campaign. After any Council items to be considered, the Council will vote on the Consent Agenda, containing routine items for action by a single vote. The Council will consider information regarding the City Administrator position, deliberate a resolution authorizing a finance Committee, and reschedule the March 3rd City Council meeting. Under the heading of Reports, the Council will hear from the Chamber of Commerce, the Library Board, and the Economic Development Authority. The floor will then be opened for comments from the Public. When all of the agenda items have been considered, the meeting will adjourn.

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    HPC To Meet

    The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission meets for regular business on Tuesday, February 18th. Agenda items include an Original Hastings Design Standards Review for a new house concept plan in the 400 block of 5th Street W., and the 2020 Goals Committee Report, and an Introduction to the Minnesota Statewide HPC Training Manual. When all agenda items have been considered, the meeting will adjourn. The next regular meeting of the Heritage Preservation Commission is Tuesday, March 17th.   

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    Feb. 18 Hastings Consent Agenda Items

    The Hastings City Council will consider the adoption of a resolution approving Dicks Sanitation's 2020-2021 Commercial Waste Hauler License Renewal. According to information provided to the Council, City Ordinance states that commercial waste haulers' licenses expire December 31 of the odd year. The two year licensing period for a commercial waste hauler starts on January 1 of an even numbered year through December 31 of the following odd numbered year. The City has received and reviewed the application from Dicks Sanitation for the January 1, 2020 -December 31, 2021 licensing period. Approvals and issuance of licenses are contingent upon the City receiving all required forms. The approval was placed on the Consent Agenda for the February 18th meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    The Hastings Police Department has presented a request to the City Council to extend the contract of an admin staff employee for the Dakota County Drug Task Force. HPD is an active participant in the Dakota County Drug Task Force(DCDTF) through a Joint Powers Agreement. This group, consisting of officers from thirteen Dakota County jurisdictions, is responsible for the enforcement of controlled substance laws throughout this county. Not only do they contribute a full-time Hastings Police Officer to the team, they also provide an Administrative Staff Person through a separate contract that commenced on April 21, 2011. Through that contract, the DCDTF reimburses the City of Hastings for all costs the City incurs relating to the employment of the staffer, including salary and benefits. The DCDTF wishes to extend the current contract for services through December 31, 2020. A request to approve the extension was placed on the Consent Agenda for the February 18th meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman has presented a request to the Hastings City Council to authorize signature for a Memorandum of Agreement for the EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant with the Dakota County CDA. According to a memo presented to the City Council, a $600,000 brownfields assessment grant was awarded to Dakota County CDA in September, 2019. The application was a joint effort between Dakota County CDA, Dakota County Environmental and the Cities of Hastings, South St. Paul, and West St. Paul. Funding can be used to perform environmental assessment of contaminated sites. Many sites along Vermillion Street were included in the application. The request was placed on the Consent Agenda for the February 18th meeting of the Hastings City Council.   

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    Daily Jail Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Friday, February 14th, Farmington Police arrested 36-year-old Farmington resident Chasse Lee Ackerson on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a revoked license. Ackerson was booked and released as the charge is processed. Dakota County Deputies apprehended 34-year-old Farmington resident Joseph Robert Feyereisn on 3 misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence. Feyereisn was booked and released pending an intitial appearance in court. And Washington County Deputies detained 22-year-old Maria Ines Maldonado Sanchez on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Sanchez remains in custody pending a transfer to Washington County. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.[l:\2020\02_February\Complete\CNS_17_R_Dak_BR_February14_49.mp3]

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    Play Celebrates Women's History Month

    March is Women's History Month, and in honor of celebrating women's vital role in history, five Minnesota performing art centers are proud to present "SEVEN", a riveting documentary play by seven female writers based on personal interviews with seven remarkable women who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries of Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia and Cambodia. Produced by LA Theatre Works, the play makes the powerful and timeless statement that even in the darkest of times, one person, one voice, and a single act of courage, can change the lives of thousands. "SEVEN" will be staged on Friday, March 13th, at 7:30 PM, with a pre-show discussion at 4 PM, at the Sheldon Theatre of Performing Arts, 443 W. Third Street, in Red Wing. Tickets are $26, and can be purchased from the online box office at SheldonTheatre.org, or by calling 651-388-8700.

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    (Photo: Cast Ensemble, Photo by Rich Rose, Courtesy LA Theater Works)

    Washington County Considers Tax Hike

    The Washington County Board of Commissioners recently opened a public hearing to consider updating the county's transportation sales tax from 0.25% to 0.5% to fund transportation and transit projects and transit-related operating costs. According to the County website, Washington County has unmet road and bridge needs ranging between $7 and $10 million every year. To meet these infrastructure needs, the County Board will consider options to increase the transportation sales tax to a rate up to 0.5%, and update the list of projects eligible to use revenue from this tax. The county is restricted in its use of the revenue from the tax. Proceeds must be used for specific projects or improvements, which must be spelled out during a public hearing and the County Board's resolution. The public hearing will be continued at an evening meeting March 17 to allow additional public testimony. The board plans to consider any changes at its meeting March 24, after continued opportunity for residents to comment on the plan.   

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    K9 Ozzy Retires

    The Hastings Police Department has announced that after serving an exemplary 9-year career with the Hastings Police Department, K-9 Ozzy patrolled the streets of Hastings for the last time on Sunday, February 9th. Ozzy has been partnered with Officer Michael Schmitz since 2011, and has retired to a life of leisure at home with Schmitz and his family. According to a press release, Ozzy and Schmitz have many notable accomplishments and Ozzy has been the face of the Hastings Police Department through countless community events. While Ozzy is retiring, the Hastings Police Department is committed to continuing the K-9 Program which will be funded entirely through a $15,000 donation received from a private donor last year. Chief Schafer praised Officer Schmitz for his 15-year commitment to the K-9 Program and looks forward to utilizing his experience and expertise in bringing a new K-9 team on line.

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    (Photo Source: FaceBook)

    CG Plans Temp Well In Foothill Park

    In the coming months, the City of Cottage Grove will begin construction of a third, interim water treatment facility in Foothill Park, near Foothill Road and Innsdale Avenue. The City has been, and will continue to supply water that is safe and compliant with the State's Health Based Values for PFAS. The project is a proactive approach to ensure this continues. The facility is fully-funded by the State through the 2007 3M Consent Order, and the City will not be implementing a water ban. This third, interim treatment facility will serve Cottage Grove's comprehensive water system and will look and operate much like the two facilities that were constructed in 2017. All three will be in place for the coming years as the City continues to work toward a long-term water supply plan produced by working groups through the 2018 3M Settlement Agreement. The strategic and comprehensive regional plan is expected to be complete in the Spring of 2020, but City staff indicate implementation could take several years.   

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    Vermillion Annual Meeting

    The City of Vermillion will conduct its annual election of town officers on Tuesday, March 10th, between the hours of 10 AM and 8 PM, at Pace Hall, located at 18970 Goodwin Avenue, in Hastings. The election will seat one supervisor for a 3-year term, and one clerk for a 2-year term. The Annual Meeting will follow the Canvas of the Ballots at approximately 8:30 PM, to discuss the budget for the coming year and to conduct all necessary business prescribed for the annual town meeting and by law. In case of inclement weather, the election and meeting will be held Tuesday March 17th.

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    HAFA Receives Grant

    U.S. Rep. Angie Craig announced on Wednesday that the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) will receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Janssen Hang, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Hmong American Farmers Association stated that the organization is thrilled to learn this news, adding that Hmong farmers have been integral to food access and this opportunity allows them to work with partner institutions to bring the food safety training to them. HAFA is very happy working with local elected officials and for Angie's support of HAFA farms and the farmers in her district. NIFA's Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP) facilitates the integration of Food Safety Modernization Act food safety guidelines into a variety of agricultural production and processing systems.    

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    Daily Jail Booking Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, February 13th, Hastings Police detained 48-year-old Mekonnen Wako Abakore on a misdemeanor charge of violation of an order for no contact. Abakore was booked and released as the charge is processed. Farmington Police arrested 40-year-old Jason Lee Bernardi on felony charges of harassment and assault. Bernardi is being held without bail and made an appearance in court on the 13th. And Hastings Police apprehended 34-year-old Ernest Devar Williams on felony charges of being a fugitive from justice in another state and violation of parole, and misdemeanor charges of 5th degree possession of drugs and providing false identification to police. Williams remains in custody 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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    Burshten Retires

    Cottage Grove Public Works Director Les Burshten has officially retired after 32 years of service to the City. According to City staff, not only did Les lead in times of uncertainty, he was the driving force behind his team's successful Spring Clean-Up Days and the popular Public Works Open Houses. Ryan Burfeind has been appointed by the City Council as the new Director of Public Works, and will also remain the City Engineer.

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    (Len Burshten. Photo Source: City of Cottage Grove)

    CG 2020 Budget Details

    The City Council of Cottage Grove adopted the final 2020 property tax levy and operating budget in December. According to the City newsletter, the 2020 property tax levy of $16.9 million is a 7.8% increase from the 2019 levy of $15.7 million. Despite this increase, an increase in the Citywide tax base will result in most City residents paying the same amount in City property tax in 2020 as they did in 2019. Once again, about 27% of the total taxes paid will go to the City of Cottage Grove, almost 49% will go the School District and approximately 21% will go to the County. Complete details can be found on the City website.

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    CG Facade Improvement Plan Returns

    The City of Cottage Grove's popular Facade Improvement Program is back for 2020. According to the City newsletter, eligible building or business owners may apply for grant assistance for 50% of the cost of exterior improvements, up to $25,000. Any business and or property owner in a commercially-zoned building within the City limits is eligible to apply and the deadline is April 6. You can find more information on the City's website, select Economic Development from the department tab and click on Facade Improvement Program.    

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    Water Export Plan Still Possible

    Progressive Rail is apparently retooling a business plan to export water from Dakota County to the southwestern United States by rail, according to County Commissioner Joe Atkins. According to a memo published on social media, Atkins indicated that it was his hope and belief that after the railroad's first application to export water was denied by the DNR, this issue was done. Atkins said it was his understanding the railroad has another application in the works. Atkins stated that the next step for government is to strengthen state laws to further reduce the chance of water exportation, and Dakota County will seek help from the Association of Minnesota Counties, and the State Legislature. Atkins feels that new laws are needed because studies show that growing communities across Dakota County are expected to face water quantity issues by 2040.

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    NLA Names New Head Of School

    New Life Academy of Woodbury has announced that Dr. Bruce Locklear has been appointed as the next Head of School effective February 1. Dr. Locklear has over 30 years of experience including Principal, Superintendent and Interim Executive Leader spanning four different Minnesota schools. Prior to his leadership roles, he has spent time in the classroom both as a K-12 teacher and a Professor at Southwest State University. In addition to his Doctorate Degree (EdD) in Educational Leadership and his Master's Degree in Public Administration, he has attended the Bush Leadership Institute at Carlson School of Management and Harvard University's symposium on Improving America's High School Experience, equipping him with unique insights on enhancing school climate, culture, and the student experience. The year-long executive search, conducted by Job Fit Matters, included a national canvas of highly qualified candidates, which were profiled, interviewed, and vetted against the school's needs and desired attributes of the next Head of School. Job Fit Matters affirmed Dr. Locklear, and he was selected by unanimous vote of the Search Committee, The Governing Council (GC), and the Church Elder board.

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    (Dr. Bruce Locklear. Photo Source: NLA)

    Prescott Daze Discussion Continues

    The Prescott Health and Safety Committee deliberated the Prescott Daze issue on Monday, February 10, during a regular meeting. According to the meeting minutes, City Administrator Jayne Brand explained the discussions which were held with the City's insurance agent regarding Prescott Daze. Alderperson Bailey Ruona asked local insurance agents Kris Sampson and Char Magee if there is insurance to cover additional liability for Prescott Daze. They both stated that event insurance can be purchased. Sampson stated she had quoted approximately $1,500 for a policy which would be for a full year. The committee reassured the Prescott Daze Committee they don't want to see Prescott Daze go away. There was discussion on how other non-sanctioned events should be handled. Ruona stated she could not make a decision without first seeing current forms and procedures which are being used by the Prescott Daze Committee. City staff will work with the insurance company on the procedures they would like to see to create less liability for the city. A time line of 30 days was set to get this information together and meet again.

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    Mini-Storage Plan Receives Support

    A request for Special Use Permit for a Retail Facility in the I-1 District and a Site Plan, both for a proposed mini storage facility on the northeast corner of Lightbourn Court and 31st Street came before the Hastings Planning Commission during their meeting on Monday, February 10th. City Planner Justin Fortney provided a summary of the requested actions. During the public hearing, one individual addressed the Commission with questions concerning outside storage and height of the buildings. Commissioners discussed outside storage, and fence height abutting the City trail to the east, and that this may be an attractive criminal nuisance. The Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the Special Use Permit and Site Plan per the conditions of the staff report with the addition of restrictions on outside storage and minimum fence height. The recommendation will be brought forward to the February 18th City Council Meeting for consideration.

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    Schoolhouse Square Plan Moves Forward

    The Hastings Planning Commission deliberated the Preliminary and Final Plat, a Special Use Permit for a building over 40 feet in height, and a Site Plan for the proposed senior housing facility at Schoolhouse Square at a regular meeting on Monday, February 10th. According to the meeting minutes, Community Development Director John Hinzman provided a summary of the requested actions followed by a presentation by the developer, Real Estate Equities. During the public hearing, several people addressed the Commission regarding numerous issues, including the size of the project being larger than originally planned, the ability to incorporate electric vehicle charging, and the height of the building. Commissioners discussed the past approval of a similar building in 2006 that has since expired, traffic, joint use of parking and access, future DARTS transit service, and the length of time the project would be age restricted. The Commission voted 6-1 to recommend approval of Preliminary and Final Plat, and 6-1 to recommend approval of Special Use Permit. The Commission also voted 7-0 to recommend approval of Site Plan. The Commission's recommendations will be brought forward to the February 18th City Council Meeting for consideration.

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