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Important Dates for the School Year's End

The end of the school year brings some important dates for District 200 students to remember. Last day for seniors is Friday, May 29th. For students in grades 9-11, final testing will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, June 3rd and 4th, the last day at the Senior High. Across town at the middle school, 8th grade graduation will be held at 8:00am in the Gymnasium. Hastings Graduation will be held on June 5th at 7:00pm taking place at Todd Field, weather permitting. Stay tuned to KDWA for updates concerning any changes, due to weather, that may impact the location. Rain location, if needed, is the Hastings High School.


New Members Join United Way Board

The United Way of Hastings welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors. United Way of Hastings Executive Director Mari Mellick talks about what the new members bring to the Board.

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Reward Being Offered After Suspicious Fire

Early Tuesday morning, Hastings Fire and Police responded to a single family home fire at 41 Amelia Avenue. Upon arrival, flames were visible in the front half of the home, with fire breaching through the roof. The home and its contents are a total loss. There were no injuries to either the occupant or emergency personnel. Investigation of the fire has been deemed it to be suspicious in origin. Hastings Fire and Police investigators are working together on this investigation. If you have any information, please contact either Detective Nelson at the Hastings Police Department at 651-480-2300, or the Assistant Fire/EMS Director/Fire Marshal John Townsend at the Hastings Fire Department 651-480-6150. You can also leave a message by texting TIP411. A reward of up to $5000.00 is being offered.

City Council Approves YMCA Glow Run

Hastings City Council has approved the 2015 YMCA Glow Run. The 8K and 2K Glow Run will be part of the Hastings Rivertown Days Event on July 16th. The 2K run will start at 7:30pm and the 8K run will start at 8:30pm and end by 9:30pm. Hastings Police Reservists will assist with traffic control at the following intersections: Pleasant and Jackson Streets, CR 42 and Monroe St., 2nd St. and Lock and Dam Rd., and CR 42 and Pleasant St. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Hastings Area YMCA.


Update: Names in Sunday Night's Crash Released

Authorities have now released the names of those involved in the Sunday night crash on Highway 61 just north of the Highway 95 intersection in Cottage Grove. A vehicle driven by Jeffery Baker, 65 of Hastings was traveling at highway speed south on Hwy 61 near River Oaks Golf Course. Bailey Parsons, 21, from South St. Paul pulled across the intersection to go north when the Baker vehicle struck his car, which was pushed into the median and against the cable barrier. Parsons was extricated by firefighters and flown by LifeLink helicopter to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Baker was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Parsons' condition is not known. The Minnesota State patrol is investigating the crash.

Prescott City Council Meeting Preview

The regular meeting of the Prescott City Council will be held on Tuesday, May 26th due to the Memorial Day holiday. Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand shares the agenda for that meeting.

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City Council Designates Streets for Cruise-Ins

The Hastings City Council has designated the Historic Hastings Saturday Night Cruise-Ins as a special event. The Hastings Downtown Business Association has been given permission to block off some downtown city streets every other Saturday night starting May 30th and ending October 3rd for the Cruise-ins. Times for the events will be 5:00-9:00pm with the exception of August 22nd, when a special Cruise-In show titled "History of Cars 2" will begin at 4:00pm.


2015 Seal Coat Program Contract Awarded

The City of Hastings has awarded the contract for its 2015 Seal Coat Program to Allied Blacktop Company of Maple Grove, MN. Allied submitted a bid that was 10.8% lower than the construction cost estimate and contributed in being $16,000 less than the collective $210,000 pavement management budget. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger goes over the program.

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City Council Approves Liquor for BOOYA

The Hastings City Council has approved a one-day liquor license and a one-day gambling permit for the Hastings Fire Department Relief Association. The license and permit will allow the sale of beer and charitable gambling during the Relief Association's 75th Annual Booya at the Colombian Hall in Hastings on September 13th. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt talked about the association's work.

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Opening Statements Made in Hoefgen Case

Opening statements were made Wednesday in the Dakota County trial of a former Catholic priest charged in connection with repeated sexual abusing an altar boy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Francis Hoefgen, 64, who has since, left the priesthood was charged last year with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abusing the boy, who was between 9 and 12 years old at the time. The Dakota County attorney's office said the crimes were committed while Hoefgen was a priest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (formerly St. Boniface) in Hastings. Hoefgen also has been sued under the 2013 Minnesota Child Victims Act, which opened a three-year window for the filing of lawsuits for decades-old child sex abuse claims. While dozens of Minnesota priests have since been accused of sexual misconduct, Hoefgen is one of the few to face criminal charges. Hoefgen was assigned to St. Boniface in Hastings in 1985. The lawsuit filed in Dakota County by St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson in November 2013 alleges that the institute, St. John's Abbey and the Twin Cities archdiocese concealed Hoefgen's past abuse and failed to warn parents in Hastings.

Cottage Grove and Home Depot Finalize Sale Contract

In business news, the City of Cottage Grove and the Home Depot announced that they have finalized contract terms for the sale of the former Home Depot store located at 7210 East Point Douglas Road South. City administrator Ryan Schroeder told KDWA about the resolution of a step forward for the development of the community.

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While not able to name the proposed purchaser, Schroeder gives details about the anticipated timeline.

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We then asked about the effect this news would have on existing tenants of the West Point Douglas complex.

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Messages directed to Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey were not returned by our news deadline. Stay tuned to KDWA for more on this developing business story.

Upcoming MNDOT Highway Cleanup

The Minnesota Department of Transportation asks motorists traveling on southeastern Minnesota highways to watch for slow moving MNDOT trucks this spring. MNDOT trucks outfitted with an eight-foot wide magnet drive slowly along the road shoulders to pick up nails, screws, wire and other metal that can cause flat tires and be hazardous to vehicles. The magnet effort helps clear the shoulders for motorists, but also aids MNDOT vehicles, which are often doing work that requires driving along the road shoulders. The trucks move at approximately 5 to 10 mph and are followed by warning trucks to make sure motorists use another lane to give the crews a safe cushion of space. Crews will often be able to fill a 5-gallon pail with various metal objects plucked by the magnet, including nails, screws and springs. It's part of the annual spring cleaning that MNDOT conducts on state highways to get ready for summer travel and construction season. Shoulders are also swept and bridges are flushed with fresh water to clear the remnants of winter's snow and salt treatment. Work is occurring or is planned on Interstates 35 and 90 and Highways 3, 14, 19, 52, 56 and 61.


HPD Narrowing Down Candidates for New Officer

The Hastings Police Department is narrowing down the candidates for new police officers. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer goes over the time table for choosing the new officers.

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Final Exit Network Convicted

Last week's conviction of Final Exit Network Inc. in the 2007 assisted suicide death of Doreen Dunn of Apple Valley has re-focused attention on the right-to-die issue. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom talked about holding Final Exit accountable.

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Backstrom hopes Final Exit will be kept from acting in the state of Minnesota and will consider reviewing its practices.

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Backstrom also talked about the only penalty that can be brought against Final Exit.

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2015 Street Improvement Project Has Begun

The Hastings Public Works Department has started work on the 2015 Street Improvement Project. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger talks about turning the old streets into new.

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Vision 2025 Talks Continue in ISD 200

A forward looking group of between 40 and 50 people met last Wednesday to continue discussion on the focus for Independent School District 200. Superintendent Tim Collins and several administrative staff, teachers, and the public at large looked for priorities by implementing the Vision 2025 program. Superintendent Collins told KDWA that despite the fluid nature of these discussions, the intent is to let each voice be heard.

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Collins also noted that it is an ongoing process where valuable information can be shared.

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Copper Theft Continues in Hastings

Hastings Police investigated a theft last week that fits into a pattern of recent thefts in the area. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer goes over the incident.

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New Principal at JFK Announced

In our weekly conversation with Superintendent Tim Collins, he announced that the selection has been made for the replacement of Diane Smilth as John F. Kennedy principal.

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Collins notes that the community already has a tie to the new principal, who is presently part of the South Washington County school district.

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Burning Ban Lifted

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has lifted it's burning ban as of May 14th in numerous Minnesota counties due to decreased fire danger because of precipitation and green-up. This means burning permits will be available for burning of vegetative materials. Although the state is lifting restrictions, local counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning. Also, because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters are able to restrict burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant. This could occur if there is a dry, windy day where fires could start easily and burn quickly. The DNR advises anyone doing burning to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out. If fire escapes, the person who started the fire is responsible for the damage and suppression costs. Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per calendar year. Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. Burning restrictions will remain in place, until further notice, in northern Minnesota until sufficient green-up occurs. Vacationers and other visitors to that area should check with local authorities for up to date information.

Plant Sale at GRRVLC

The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park is having a plant sale. Freedom Park Executive Director Jessica Bierbrauer talks about going native with your spring planting.

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Planning Commission Recommends Redline Project

The Hastings Planning Commission has recommended approval of a special use permit for a new athletic training center in the Industrial Park on Enterprise Ave. The Redline Project is a specialized training facility looking to open in a site that is zoned for industrial use. Rita Girgen, one of the business partners of the training center, spoke to the commission about the company's plans.

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The special use permit still needs to be approved by the city council, which will review the recommendation at its May 18th meeting.


Hastings Country Club Re-Opens

With the recent re-opening of the Hastings Country Club, we wanted to find out what the conditions were like on the course that officially closed in October of last year. We went to the parking lot of the the club and when the clickety-clack of golf cleats approached, we asked for some feedback. Former HCC board member Bob Wise kindly answered some of our questions.

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With the continued attention by the longtime greenskeeper the course will be maintained by several workers to provide the best facility while awaiting a new owner. Wise notes that the closing was a result of many challenges that seemed to accumulate.

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That history aside, it seems that another chance has been given for continuing memories to be made. The longterm goal seems to focus on securing a new owner, and we asked Wise if he though that might happen.

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Awards Night Coming Up at HHS

The annual Awards Night at Hastings Senior High School will take place Monday, May 18th at 7:30pm. Held in the auditorium, this event will recognize student who will be receiving scholarships for 2015. Outstanding achievement awards will also honor students selected in academic and non-athletic activities. The jazz ensemble, directed by Jim Jacobsen, will perform before the ceremony.The event is open to the public. Students receiving awards will be notified, along with their parents by letter. Also on the 18th, the Achievement Fair will be open from 6pm until after the Awards night program in the lobby of the auditorium. For more information, contact Bob Majeski at the high school, 651-480-7470.


HPD Open House Successful

The first annual Hastings Police Department open house was by all measures a big success. The 3-hour event included picnic lunch, fresh popped popcorn, facility tours and even the force's armored MAG vehicle. An estimate of approximately 300 visitors joined in to connect with members of the HPD, Dakota County Sheriff's department, police reserves and staff welcomed the opportunity to meet citizens and even field questions. We asked Chief Bryan Shafer why this event was created.

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One of the biggest draws, besides the excellent food, was the armored SWAT-type vehicle. Officer David Bauer explained the gear and why the community needs such an event.

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National Guard Send-off Coming Up

Members of a local National Guard unit will soon be deployed to Kuwait. Selected soldiers of the 834th Aviation Support Battalion will receive a send-off at the Hastings Middle School on Saturday, June 6th at 11:00am as they prepare to deploy in support of Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. Captain Caleb Seelhoff of the 834th's Charlie Company talks about the soldiers to be deployed.

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Captain Seelhoff also talked about a permanent move for Charlie Company to Arden Hills in October.

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The community is invited to attend the June 6th departure ceremony and wish the soldiers farewell.



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