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New Paint at BreakAway Arts

Changes are happening inside and outside of the New Break Away Arts building. The former tan exterior is now a deep teal blue and a Dale Lewis sculpture is soon to be installed on the rotunda roof. Signage will be completed soon and other landscaping updates are in the works. Instructors are excited to offer over 100 classes and workshops by local artists in the lower level studios and remodeling continues upstairs where an art Gallery and Cafe are planned to debut in coming months. Monday afternoons and evenings are Open Studios when members can bring in a project of their choice to work on. For a schedule of classes and open studio information, visit their website


Man Charged in Prescott Robbery

A Prescott man has been charged as a result of further investigation of a holdup at the Bob and Steve's BP Amoco in Prescott where almost $1000 was taken during the October 2013 incident. Authorities in Pierce County learned that 21-year-old Trevor Lee Leyde of Prescott, who was a clerk at the time, had been part of the planning of the holdup and withheld information of his acquaintance with 27-year-old Robert Paul Janisch of Apple Valley. Leyde is charged with misdemeanor theft, being party to theft and obstructing an officer.


Man Charged with 3rd Degree Murder

An Albert Lea man, already in prison for a felony DWI offense, has been charged with 3rd degree murder in Dakota County Court. 26 year-old Dustin Charles Chenevert was charged Wednesday in connection with the death of Colton Jayce Poplow, age 18, also of Albert Lea, that occurred in South St. Paul. On February 28th of this year, medics and police officers responded to a South St. Paul hotel shortly before 10:00am on a report that an 18-year-old male was not breathing. Shortly after arriving, medics determined the male, identified as Colton Poplow, was deceased. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner later determined that the cause of death was acute methadone toxicity from an overdose of the drug. Police learned that on the evening of February 27th, Poplow and his friend heard a commotion outside of the hotel room and both became concerned the police were doing room-to-room drug checks. Poplow was observed swallowing the last two methadone pills at that time. Through the investigation it was learned that Poplow had purchased five Dilaudid pills and at least six methadone pills from Chenevert. No trial date has been set.


Slavik Talks Employment Trends

In a recent In-Depth show, we welcomed First District County Commissioner Mike Slavik who brought information on employment trends in the public sector.

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With the economic downturn several years ago, retirements, attrition, and job contraction reduced the workforce of the county by 10%. Those jobs attract a certain demographic and Slavik explains what kind of jobs are currently available.

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Update: Hastings Police Incidents

Bringing updates from the Hastings Police log, Chief Bryan Schafer tells KDWA about local incidents beginning with this equipment violation which resulted in a more serious charge.

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Schafer continues with a personal recounting of misbehavior that took place at the Saturday Night Cruise In.

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In continued updates from the Hastings Police files, Chief Bryan Schafer describes an incident for a local truck owner.

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Schafer also describes a second vehicle involved in the late night spate of tampering and a reminder about prevention practices.

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Recreational vehicles seemed to be the target of two recent thefts. Cheif Bryan Schafer of the Hastings police department, tells KDWA about the missing modes of transportation.

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In addition to this theft, a report was filed on another 2 wheeled target.

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Job Openings at the LeDuc

The LeDuc Historic Estate is looking for part-time employees. They are currently seeking a Historic Interpreter and a Site Maintenance crew member. For more information, go to Job descriptions are in the News section. Questions may be directed at Amy Deaver by calling 651-438-8480 or via email at


Annual BOOYA Coming Soon at HFD

The Hastings Fire Department is preparing for one of its biggest community events of the year. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt invites everyone to the Knights of Columbus hall for this long-standing tradition.

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Recap: Prescott City Council Meeting

The Prescott City Council held its regular meeting on Monday, August 24th. Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand gives a recap of the meeting.

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The ordinance on consuming alcohol while serving contained a major revision.

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Change in Helping Kids Succees Initiative

The United Way of Hastings announced a change in the Helping Kids Succeed initiative. Mari Mellick, Executive Director, released the news that the 3-year-old project will transfer from a full time endeavor to one of more community volunteer support. The Helping Kids Succeed the Hastings Way handbook was made possible by a collaboration between the United Way of Hastings, the City of Hastings, School District 200, the Hastings Ministerial Associaton and the Ruth Gale and George W. Doffing Charitable Fund. The handbook has been distributed widely to aid parents, teachers, faith communities and teens themselves in the healthy navigation of the process of growing up. The initial funding covered the work that was accomplished in the community to gather inputs and publish the handbook. Over the past year, Jane Neumiller-Bustad, first as a volunteer, then as the Helping Kids Succeed Director of Connections, has been working with the UWH, the Helping Kids Succeed teens, and the community to implement strategies associated with initiative. The future goal, however, is to involve more community volunteers to build the web of support and Neumiller-Bustad will continue in a volunteer capacity as she strongly believes in the program and it's power in giving youth as much support as possible to succeed.


Washington County Security Operations

The Washington County Sheriff's Department has added a new title to Sergeant Tim Harris' responsibilities. Security Operations is now a focus due to a county task force formed in 2012. District 5 County Commissioner Lisa Weik announced the evolution that will make the safety of residents and employees a top concern when in county facilities. This infrastructure includes buildings, parks, transit facilities, communication towers and any other county facility owned or operated by Washington County. The new role is a collaboration with all the departments in response to a heightened awareness of the general public for increased security measures in these areas and the county is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for residents, employees and visitors.


Weekend Storms Keep HFD Busy

Saturday's storms kept Hastings Fire Department crews busy throughout the weekend. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt talks about some damage that didn't become hazardous until the following day.

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City Continues Search for Engineer

The Hastings City Council has approved the issuance of a request for proposals for city engineering services. In February of this year, Hastings City Engineer Nick Egger was promoted to Public Works Director. Since that time, city staff has struggled to find a qualified candidate to fill the position. They will now be requesting proposals from civil engineering firms for contracting out city engineering services through the end of 2017. City Engineering services are a key element in the Public Works Department. The City Engineer is responsible for oversight of the design and management of street and utility construction projects, erosion control inspections, development site grading verification, and regulation of construction within the street right-of-way and easments. This position supervises all engineering staff and is a liason with the city council and the public.


Crash At Holiday Station Saturday

It was lights out and traffic slowed due to a Saturday Afternoon accident at the entrance to the Holiday Gas Station Store north of Hastings on Hwy 61. Emergency personel were called to the scene in mid afternoon when a car hit a power pole on the east side of the highway causing it to snap free at the top leaving wires down and circuits blown. The driver, who has not been identified, continued north several yards coming to rest against a massive liquid propane tank owned by the convenience store. The condition of the driver, nor the cause of the incident has been released at this newscast. Power was restored later in the afternoon with the outage affecting much of Downtown Hastings as well as outlying area of Washington county. KDWA will continue to update the story when available. You can see our exclusive photos on the KDWA Facebook page and online at


Egger Talks Smaller Amenities

While the main focus of Riverfront Renaissance construction is on erecting the pavillion, there are some smaller amenities the need to be put in place. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger talks about these other features.

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New Program Coming to GRRVLC

The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park has a new free program that looks at the life of local historical figures. Freedom Park Executive Director Jessica Bierbrauer talks about an upcoming program about two Wisconsin artists.

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(photo by Margaret Smith)


Final Chapter for Point Restaurant

The final chapter came Friday for a local gathering place. Doors were propped open all during the day to allow successful bidders to claim their part of the Point Restaurant inventory which was auctioned by Hines Auction Service of Ellsworth. Ken Hines, on hand with a crew of staff, checked bidders in and helped with the steady flow of booths, tables, and even the bar's popcorn machine as they were loaded into trucks and trailers.

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The auction, which was conducted online, saw the contents distributed to a wide range of buyers including several former patrons and former employees of the 54 year old business. Tools of the hospitality trade will also be used to stock new endeavors including a neighborhood business that purchased the bulk of the table service and kitchen ware to jump start their event center. Shelley Meyers was there to collect the large load to transport it to it's new home.

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A sudden downpour fell from out of nowhere at midday and as we left the lot, the giant red and white sign had been lowered by crane from the massive pole, its familiar lighted landmark preparing to shine at a new location as the County Point announces its final closing time.


FULL RECAP: School Board Meeting

The Hastings School Board held its last regular meeting before the start of the new school year on Wednesday, August 19th. ISD 200 Superintendent Tim Collins informed the board on his actions that anticipate increased enrollment in the district this year.

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Collins explained where part of that increase comes from.

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In more news, a technical support issue created problems with 600 learn pads, wireless teaching tablets, that had been secured from a vendor last year. After negotiations, the vendor has credited the district for the defective equipment and the board will go ahead with purchase of 360 mini iPads to be used in elementary buildings. The purchase is made possible because of a technology fund, Superintendent Tim Collins updates the balance of that fund.

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A related upgrade will be made in the buildings as well. The board learned that the High School actually had the least number of wireless access points in relation to the building size. That will change soon.

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The access points make it possible to utilize networked resources from every section of the building.

The Board also discussed information on a vote to insure per-student funding. Superintendent Tim Collins describes action on a recent funding vote.

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The school board is also experiencing new latitude along with its responsibilities. Superintendent Tim Collins explains some key changes.

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Changes in the way a school board can make decisions are supported by current legislation.

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Budget decisions are difficult with factors such as declining enrollment, inflation and increased costs but lack of federal followthrough in regards to promised funding for special education costs incurred at local levels challenge school boards to recoup those costs. Superintendent Tim Collins gave his view on that practice and the effects on their budget.

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City Approves Lease Agreement with T-Mobile

The Hastings City Council has approved an amendment to a lease agreement that will allow T-Mobile to add facilities at the Industrial Park Water Tower site along with an agreement that gives the wireless carrier a non-exclusive easement to the property. T-Mobile plans to add a microwave dish to the Industrial Park Water Tower on West 4th St. to supplement their existing facilities. This new device will occupy additional aerial real estate on the tower, for which the existing agreement does not account. City staff has negotiated an additional lease rent of $300 per month for the addition of the dish. This rate is commensurate with the pro-rated amount per transmission device based on T-Mobiles existing lease amount. The easement will be utilized as a corridor for T-Mobile to extend a fiber optic line to their wireless facilities located at the site and on the tower, serving as a backhaul primary line in the system. Construction of the line is tentatively scheduled for late August, subject to staff technical approval of the physical work plan. The easement is non-exclusive and can be used by other telecom utility providers to reach the site in the event that they might desire similar projects.


Stevens to Become CG Administrator

The Cottage Grove City Council has named Charlene Stevens as the final candidate for the Cottage Grove City Administrator position. Interviews were held Wednesday for the two finalists which included Stevens and Jeffrey Dahl, who is currently the Chaska assistant city administrator the city of Chaska. The City Council unanimously agreed on Stevens, who most recently served as the Willmar city administrator for four years. Mayor Myron Bailey stated that "Stevens brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and her economic development experience will help facilitate new ideas as our community grows." He added that the city is very happy with their decision. City Council authorized Springsted, Inc. and the city attorney to negotiate the employment agreement with Stevens on behalf of the City. The Council is expected to finalize the agreement at their first meeting in September.


Brothers Tell History of Denmark Township

History was celebrated Tuesday evening at the Denmark Town Hall. The second in a series of oral history events featured brothers Bill and Fritz Kruschel and Richard Hullander. A large audience filled the meeting area and spent the evening remembering neighbors, school days, working on the farm and the closely knit communities that was part of their growing up. The recollections also included a harrowing story of the Kruschel's mother attempting to drive to the neighbors, only to discover she hadn't learned to shift. Those stories brought lots of laughter while others were wistful, with heads nodding in agreement that they, too had experienced many hardships in years past. The event is part of an ongoing effort to retain the fading histories of the area with personal accounts from residents who can give first hand accounts of a much different way of life. Bill Kruschel was asked how kids growing up today had it different than when he was young. His response was in just about every way, there's no comparison. He remembered that the home his mother raised them in was built in the late 1800's, had no running water, no electricity and no insulation. Different indeed. The Denmark Township Historical Society is in the process of restoring Valley School, built in 1852 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Support of their efforts are appreciated and they hope to continue the oral history presentations to share the past before it disappears completely. More information is available from Society President Carena Kelz at 651-357-4244.


City Council Hears LeDuc Presentation

The Hastings City Council heard a presentation at its August 17th meeting about the LeDuc Civil War Weekend. Amy Deaver Site Manager at the LeDuc Historic Estate addressed the council about the event taking place September 12th and 13th.

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Trespassers Problematic for Riverfront Renaissance

Unauthorized people entering the construction zones at Riverfront Renaissance sites continues to be a problem for the Hastings Public Works Department and its contractors. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger asks the public to be respectful of these areas.

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East Rink of Civic Arena Renamed

The Hastings City Council has approved the name change for the east rink at the Hastings Civic Arena. The new name honors long time arena manager, hockey coach and tireless Hastings hockey supporter Sliver Magree. Hastings Parks and Rec. Director Chris Jenkins presented the recommended name change to the council.

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Lightning Strikes in Hastings

The storms yesterday wiped out the much anticipated Safe Summer Nights event and also caused damage with a lightening strike. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt describes the effects on emergency responders.

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(photo by Steve Hintz)


Saturday Police Calls

Weekend nights generally are busy ones for the Hastings Police Department. Chief Bryan Schafer goes over some of the calls from Saturday.

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