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    Hastings Booya Canceled

    Due to COVID-19 concerns, the 80th Annual Hastings Fire Department Relief Association Booya has been canceled. Hastings Fire Relief Association President Al Storlie provides the details.

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    The Association plans to resume the Booya next year.

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    Smith Craig And Bigham Visit Hemp Farm

    On Wednesday, U. S. Senator Tina Smith, U. S. Representative Angie Craig, and State Senator Karla Bigham visited Strohfus Farms in Hastings, and learned about difficulties in the hemp farming industry from John Strohfus. Strohfus commented on the reason for the visit to the farm. [l:\2020\08_August\Complete\SB_14_JohnStrohfus_HempMarketing_16.mp3]   

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    State Senate Convenes 3rd Special Session

    The Minnesota Senate met Wednesday for the third special legislative session of the summer, passing bipartisan legislation to improve the lives of Minnesotans with disabilities and to provide court alternatives and support for Minnesota's veterans. The first bill, SF 1, expands eligibility for the Department of Human Services' Customized Living Quality Improvement Program, allowing more waiver providers to utilize the program. The change will also allow more providers of disability services to access the program. The second bill, SF 14, provides sentencing guidance to consider service-related trauma and suggest alternatives for veterans that provide treatment and recovery services. And, in an unannounced move, Senate Republicans also voted against the confirmation of Nancy Leppick as the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, a role she has served in for the last two years. The unprecedented vote removed the states primary administrator responsible for worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    Parks And Public Property Meeting Recap

    At the August 10th meeting of the Prescott Parks and Public Property Committee, Seth Hudson, of Cedar Corp., presented information regarding the riverfront project. The downtown assessor's plat has been divided into two separate phases. Phase one is from the car bridge to Orange Street. The second phase is from Orange Street to the Eagle Point Condos. According to the meeting minutes, phase one has been approved by the state and is in the 30 day review for the property owners. The property owners have been notified the plat is at city hall for them to review and sign. The one issue with this plat is a portion of Muddy Waters deck on public property. There is an easement which will be signed to allow for the deck to remain but if the deck needs to be replaced then the deck will need to meet setbacks. The Committee also noted that the design and bid documents for the courtesy dock will be completed and put out shortly. The city will need to apply to the DNR for new structure and pilings. Cedar Corp. is also reviewing the need for a state building permit. The plans will go out at the end of August to be awarded in September.   

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    Heritage Preservation Commission Meeting Preview

    The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission meets virtually for business on Tuesday, August 18th, at 7 PM. The agenda includes a Certificate of Approval review for second story porch windows on a structure in the 300 block of 2nd Street West. The meeting will be held via Zoom, and logon information is available at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Whitetail Woods Renovation Update

    Recently completed trail improvements at Whitetail Woods Regional Park have expanded recreational and educational access to Empire Lake. The trail upgrades are part of an ongoing $3.5 million park improvement project. According to information provided by Dakota County Parks, the trail around Empire Lake is now a paved loop, that includes two long sections of boardwalk providing scenic and accessible access to the lake and wetlands. Work continues on two other major park improvements. The Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area remains closed to allow for the addition of inclusive play features, accessibility improvements, a permanent accessible path down to the fort-building area, an accessible play pad in the pines, pollinator garden, benches and picnic area. And construction of two new camper cabins continues. The project, which is scheduled to be complete this fall, also includes additional parking and trail improvements.   

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    ISD 833 Meal Plan Enrollment

    ISD 833 reminds district families of students that they must submit a new application each year for free and reduced-priced meals. If your family received free or reduced-priced meals last school year, that same eligibility will remain in effect for the first 30 days of the 2020-21 school year. Families who have this 30 day period and do not submit an application for the current school year by Oct. 14, 2020 will lose their eligibility. To apply for free and reduced-priced meals, complete the application online or print and submit an application form. A link is provided here.

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    Lake Byllesby Park Reopens

    Lake Byllesby Regional Park, in Dakota County, has reopened following a nearly $5 million improvement project. Highlights of the project include a renovated and expanded Lake Byllesby Campground with a total of 83 sites, new paved trails along Echo Point, a new fishing pier and campfire ring off Echo Point, and a remodeled beach plaza area with new campfire ring area. Other improvements are a traditional camping-themed playground, and a new nature-themed playground with a zipline, giant tree climber, tire swing and splash pad. Visit the Lake Byllesby Regional Park webpage at DakotaCounty.us for more information on the project, or to reserve a camping spot.

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    Cardinal Burke Visits Vermillion

    Cardinal Raymond Burke made a stop on Wednesday at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion to greet and visit with students, school staff, and their families. Parochial Administrator Father Mike Tix provided a review of the visit.

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    Father Tix also shared about Cardinal Burke's background.

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    Cardinal Burke's message to the gathering was the Gift of God in education. Father Tix explains.

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    Cardinal Burke grew up in Western Wisconsin, and now serves the Catholic Church, in Rome.   

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    DCSO Dive Team Recovers Vehicle

    On Tuesday, the DCSO Dive Team recovered a vehicle from the Mississippi River in South St. Paul. According to a post on social media, DCSO was notified earlier this summer of this vehicle. With the low current and wind, they were able to recover the car. An initial inspection of the vehicle located two different VIN numbers on it and investigators are still processing the information. All that is known for sure at this point is the vehicle a 2009 Buick Century with the old MN stamped license plates. The investigation remains active.

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    (Photo Source: DCSO)

    USDA Reports On Mailed Seeds

    The USDA has provided an update on the investigation of unsolicited seed packages, apparently from China, that have been showing up in the US Mail. Osama El-Lissy, with the Plant Protection program of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, says that experts analyzing some of the seeds from China have, so far, found very few problems.

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    The USDA continues to request that anyone who has received unsolicited seeds to contact the USDA for assistance.

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    Pierce County Reports 1st COVID Death

    Pierce County Public Health (PCPH) has reported the first death related to COVID-19 in Pierce County. The individual was in his late 70s and had underlying health conditions. Based on the investigation conducted by Pierce County Public Health, the individual appears to have been exposed to the virus in a communal living environment. Over the past month, Pierce County has continued to identify between 23-33 new cases of COVID-19 each week. Local COVID-19 statistics are available on the PCPH, COVID-19 hub.

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    River Falls Facility Reports Outbreak

    The Lodge at River Falls Comforts of Home and Pierce County Public Health Department recently announced that residents and staff members in the assisted living facility have tested positive for COVID-19. Recently, 15 residents and eight staff members or personal care givers have tested positive. According to a statement issued by County Health Officer A. Z. Snyder, the County, working together with senior living leaders, have been preparing for the possibility of outbreaks in senior living communities. Public Health is working closely with The Lodge at River Falls Comforts of Home staff to ensure everyone in the facility is closely monitored for symptoms. National Guard resources have been requested to assist with repeated testing in the facility to ensure identification of any new cases quickly. Residents who have tested positive have been separated into a different wing of the building.

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    SoWashCo Schools Start New Online Payment System

    South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) has announced the launch of a new payment processing system for fees called SmartSchoolK12. This system will be used for processing payments for school fees, and competitive activities. According to a district press release, to register, please visit SoWashCo.org/Fees, click the "Pay Fees" image, and then select the blue "click here to begin our setup process" button. If you already have an account, click on "Pay Competitive Activities Fees" or "Pay School Fees". Step-by-step instructions are available for how to create a new parent account and how to attach a student to an existing account. If you have any issues with the process, please contact Fees@SoWashCo.org.

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    Unofficial Pierce Co. Primary Results

    Checking the unofficial results of Primary Partisan Balloting for Pierce County, and the City of Prescott from Tuesday, incumbent Democratic candidate Ron Kind is the presumptive winner in the race between him, and candidate Mark Neumann. County-wide, Kind received 2749 votes to Neumann's 653, and in Prescott, the voting was 222 to 44. On the Republican, side, Derrick Van Orden easily outpaced competitor Jessi Ebben by a margin of 2493 to 810 county-wide, and 144 to 73 in Prescott. Results are unofficial until canvassed by the County Board.

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    Hastings Primary Results For Ward 2

    Unofficial results of Tuesday's Primary for Ward 2 in Hastings indicate that Jen Fox garnered 465 votes, with 239 for Joe Balsanek. KDWA News spoke with Fox about the election results.

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       According to the Election Results page of DakotaCounty.us, 789 ballots were cast in the Ward, with candidate Philip Biermaier receiveing 55 votes, after ending his campaign before the Primary took place. Candidates in the other wards are running unopposed, and the General Election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 3rd.

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    Public Safety Meeting Preview

    The Public Safety Committee of the Hastings City Council meets at 7 AM on Wednesday, August 12th. Items on the Agenda are a review of the hiring process for a Fire Chief, from August of 2019 through March of 2020, and changes in Fire Department operations since August of 2019. The Committee will also discuss the future of the hiring process for Fire Chief.

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    Suspects Identified In Hampton Crash

    The MN State Patrol has released the names of two individuals involved in an attempted burglary in Hampton on August 6th that resulted in the death of one of the suspects. According to the State Patrol crash reporting website, the male suspect and driver of the vehicle that crashed in a field was identified as North St. Paul resident Sincere Yero Page-El. Page-El was ejected from the vehicle and fatally injured. His passenger, identified as 21-year-old Minnesota resident Madeline Marie Gross, suffered life threatening injuries in the accident. The report states neither of them were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. The crash was a result of a chase involving a Dakota County Sheriff, after Page-El struck the deputy's vehicle during the initial call.

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    Rosemount's Martin Receives Credentials

    Logan Martin, City Administrator for the City of Rosemount, recently received the Credentialed Manager designation from ICMA, the International City/County Management Association. Martin is one of over 1,300 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program. Martin has over 7 years of experience as a City Administrator. Prior to his appointment in Rosemount, he served as the City Administrator for the City of Bayport, in addition to multiple roles in Community Development for the City of Oakdale. Martin has also made significant contributions to several other organizations, including serving as the President of the Association of Public Management Professionals, on numerous committees at the League of MN Cities, and in roles with the MN City / County Manager's Association. To receive the prestigious ICMA credential, a member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government; have earned a degree, preferably in public administration or a related field, and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development.   

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    (Logan Martin: Photo Courtesy City of Rosemount)

    Washington County Job Openings

    Washington County has posted a listing of job openings, which include a custodian, a seasonal guest services attendant, a Human Resources intern, a senior IT systems analyst, and senior IT systems administrator. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to GovernmentJobs.com/Careers/WashingtonMN.

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    Stone Soup Seeks Models For Fall Fashion Show

    Stone Soup Thrift Shop in St. Paul Park, is gearing up for their annual Fashion Show, in October, and are looking for runway models to showcase clothing and accessories for the show. The fashion show also raises money for the shop, with raffles, a pop-up store, and food. This year's event will be held virtually, on Sunday, October 11th, and applications to be a model are needed by September 2nd. A link to the model application form is provided here.

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    Cottage Grove Improves Online Utility Payment System

    On Tuesday, the City of Cottage Grove launched a new and improved bill pay service with a user-friendly portal and more features than before to view and pay bills online. In addition to being able to pay online, you'll also have the option to Pay by Phone 24/7 and/or sign up for Pay by Text to receive notifications and pay via text message. According to a post on social media, it is easy to make an online payment. Simply visit CottageGroveMN.gov/UtilityBill to get started. You will need to register before you are able to make your next utility bill payment. You can also save time by setting up auto pay. To pay by phone or check your balance at any time, simply call 1-844-855-0025. If you have questions regarding your account, please send an email to DHintz@CottageGroveMN.gov for a prompt reply.

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    PCSO Seeks Mask Donations

    The Pierce County Sheriff's Office is looking for donations of homemade face masks. According to a post on social media, the masks should be new and sized for children grades K-12. Donations can be dropped off in the collection box located in the entryway of the PCSO, at 555 West Overlook Drive, in Ellsworth. The masks will be part of the PCSO Badges and Backpacks program, donating school supplies to Pierce County children in need.

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    Tax Breaks For School Supplies Available

    The school year may look and feel a little different this fall, but parents can still claim valuable K-12 tax benefits by saving receipts on school supply purchases this year. Two tax benefits can help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child's education: the refundable K-12 Education Credit (income limits apply) and the K-12 Education Subtraction (no income limits). These programs reduce the tax parents pay and could deliver a larger refund when filing a Minnesota income tax return. To qualify, the purchases must be for educational services or required materials. The child must be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private, or home school and meet other qualifications. Last year, more than 36,000 families received the K-12 Education Credit and saved an average of $251. Nearly 192,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction. A link for more information is provided here.

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    Villas At Pleasant Land Use Application Submitted

    Simek Property Group has submitted land use applications for construction of the Villas at Pleasant located on 10 acres northwest of Pleasant Drive and Northridge Drive. The villa homes would be targeted towards empty nesters and seniors. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider the application on August 24th. Upon action by the Commission, the City Council would order a public hearing for the rezoning on September 8th and consider the application on September 21.

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    Sieben Ridge Land Use Application Submitted

    TC Land has submitted land use applications for construction of Sieben Ridge located on 40 acres west of General Sieben Drive and south of St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. According to City staff, half of the 116 homes would be half single family and half villa homes (smaller detached single family homes). The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider the application on August 24th. Upon action by the Commission, the City Council would order a public hearing for the rezoning on September 8th and consider the application on September 21.

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    ATM Stolen

    The Hastings Police Department reports that a downtown business was the target of a recent overnight breakin. According to the Hastings Police blotter, on July 31st, at approximately 1:10 AM, officers responded to the 100 block of 2nd Street East for a burglary in progress. The report indicates that suspects forced entry into a business and stole an ATM machine. The report does not indicate any suspects or persons of interest, and the case is still under investigation.

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    Goats Coming To Freedom Park

    Goats are coming to Freedom Park. These goats will have a job to do, by helping restore the globally-rare bluff prairie at Freedom Park that has become clogged with overgrowth and invasive plants. Israel Haas, the executive director of the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center at Freedom Park says, "Many people don't realize that we're sitting on a precious resource. The goat prairie is a globally rare habitat, and the bluff looks a little like a jungle right now. It's overgrown and full of invasive species. That's why I'm very excited about what goats could do for the bluff. They're fun to watch, eco-friendly, and efficient. And they'll help us restore this precious resource." Freedom Park is doing its part to care for birds such as indigo buntings, Eastern bluebirds, yellow warblers, Baltimore orioles, and more. Eradicating invasive plants, cultivating native species, and managing the site through grazing and controlled burns will make the goat prairie an ideal place for these neo-tropical songbirds to stop on their journey.   

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    Hastings School Board Finalizes Hybrid Option

    The Hastings school board held a special meeting on Monday morning to approve a Resolution that directed Superintendent McDowell to implement the Hybrid Learning Model, as the base learning model for the upcoming school year. The resolution further gives the superintendent, in consultation with the board chair and notification to the school board, the ability to modify Learning Models and make adjustments to the calendar, as conditions change. A video of this meeting, and a copy of the resolution are available for viewing on the district website. The school board and Dr. McDowell also shared that families should expect more details of the Hybrid plan and Online Learning as the week progresses. Questions or concerns about specific learning plans should be directed to the appropriate principal moving forward. Again, the Board recognizes that this time is not normal, and that they do not yet have every detail figured out. The School Board states they appreciate patience, openness, and feedback from students families, as they continue to move closer to the start of the school year.

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    COVID Testing Finance Bill

    On Friday, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig introduced the Suppress COVID-19 Act to provide states with the support they need to eliminate the spread of COVID-19. According to a press release issued by Craig's office, based on research by leading public health experts, the Suppress COVID-19 Act seeks to end testing shortages and provide states with the tools they need to identify and suppress outbreaks. The legislation would set aside $25 billion for states to purchase tests and testing supplies, and it authorizes states to form interstate compacts that allow them to overcome challenges with the testing supply chain. The Suppress COVID-19 Act also provides $25 billion to states for contact tracing and test administration. Under the bill, states are not required to use testing dollars in the context of regional agreements; however, those that do will be eligible for part of a $5 billion set-aside from the overall testing amount.

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    Dakota County Weekly Jobs

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a Head Attorney for the Civil Division, and an Administrative Manager for Social Services. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Local Student Receives Scholarship

    In honor of Hy-Vee's 90th anniversary this year, scholarships were awarded to 90 high school seniors and college students who are part of the Hy-Vee community across the company's eight-state region. Scholarships were awarded to high school students who work for Hy-Vee, or have a parent who works for the company, and to college students who are employed by Hy-Vee. Locally, Elianna Zimmerman, at the Cottage Grove Hy-Vee was selected in the High School Category. High school students selected for this year's scholarship had an average GPA of 3.98 and an average ACT score of 29. Their average years of working for Hy-Vee was 1.81 years.

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    ISD 200 To Use Hybrid Learning Model

    The Hastings School Board has expressed they appreciate the patience and understanding of the Hastings Community as they navigate the road to the start of the 2020/2021 school year. The Board has stated that the new school year will be driven by county-level COVID-19 virus data, provided by the Minnesota Department of Health. As a result, the School Board has said they are planning to start the school year in a hybrid model for all K-12 students. The school board will be shortly approving a resolution articulating this, as well as how they will move between models as the situation changes. A letter to parents with complete details has been sent out by Superintendent McDowell.

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    August 10 Prescott City Council Meeting

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

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    August 10 Prescott Committee Meetings

    The Prescott Parks and Public Property Committee will meet for regular business on Monday, August 10th, at 5 PM. Agenda items include an update of the Riverfront Project, and review of the Compost Site Farm Lease. The Health and Safety Committee will then meet at 5:30 PM to review the Municipal Refuse and Recycle Contract, with Paul's Industrial Garage. These meetings will be held by teleconference, and those wishing to participate are asked to call 1-571-317-3122, and enter code 131-120-269 when prompted.

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    Weekly COVID Numbers

    The weekly review of the Dakota County COVID dashboard shows, that through Thursday, August 6th, the county has tabulated 76 new cases in the County, and the cumulative number of cases for Hastings is holding at 138. Complete details are available at the link posted here.

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    One Killed After Suspects Flee Deputy

    On Thursday, August 6, at 10:40 AM, the Dakota County Sheriff's Office responded to a suspicion and suspected burglary call at an outbuilding located in the 26000 block of Donnelly Avenue in Hampton Township. According to a press release from the DCSO, the responding deputy encountered a vehicle backed up to the outbuilding. The deputy attempted to block the vehicle in with his squad car, but the driver fled, and struck the deputy's squad. The deputy was not injured. The driver left the property northbound on Donnelly Avenue a gravel road, at a high rate of speed. The deputy followed to identify the vehicle. As the deputy crested a hill approximately one mile north of the property, he found the suspect vehicle had left the roadway and rolled into a field. Two occupants were ejected from the vehicle. The male driver was found deceased and a female passenger who sustained serious injuries was transported to the hospital. The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash and it remains an active investigation. The vehicle was reported stolen out of Minneapolis and the deceased male driver has not been identified at this time.

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    Hastings Adjusts Fall Clean-Up

    The City of Hastings has postponed the Clean-Up Day, scheduled for September 19th. According to Paige Marschall-Bigler, the postponement is a result of COVID-19 concerns. As of right now, the City has scheduled an alternative clean up from September 14th through the 25th, using curbside pick up and drop-off options. City staff are asking that residents call Tennis Sanitation at 651-459-1887 to schedule a curbside pickup. For questions, contact the City at 651-480-6182.

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    Hassan Teacher of the Year

    Qorsho Hassan, a fourth-grade teacher at Echo Park Elementary in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district, is the 2020 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. Hassan is the 56h recipient of the prestigious award, and the second from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district. An independent selection committee representing Minnesota leaders in education, business and government chooses the Minnesota Teacher of the Year from individuals who are nominated and who then choose to become a candidate. This will be Hassan's first year in Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan. She taught for three years in Burnsville, and before that, three years in Ohio and one year as a teacher in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as part of a Fulbright Fellowship. She holds a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and a bachelor's plus from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.

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    (Qorsho Hassan, Minnesota's 2020 Teacher of the Year. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle: Sahan Journal)

    Goodhue County Auctioning Excess Equipment

    Goodhue County is currently conducting an online auction for several inventory items that have been declared excess property for the County. Items ranging from an International semi truck, to chainsaws, and welders, will be listed on PublicSurplus.com through the end of the business day on Thursday, August 13th. A link to the online auction is available here.

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    ISD 200 Board Continues To Plan For School Year

    A proposal for the re-opening of Hastings Public Schools was presented at a District 200 school board meeting on Wednesday evening. The recommendation was made to go with a "Hybrid" model, which is termed to be "flexible", as the model is based on the number of current COVID-19 cases in Dakota County. According to meeting information, this is not the school's final decision and the proposal will be voted on at a special board meeting Monday, August 10th. Stay tuned to KDWA Radio for further information on these developments.

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    August is Tree Check Month

    The USDA reminds residents that August is Tree Check Month, and there are other threats beside Emerald Ash Borer. Samantha Simon, Executive Director for APHIS's Plant Protection and Quarantine explains.

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    She also described what the beetle looks like.

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    For more information, or to report a sighting, visit AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

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    Prescott Assessor's Plat Available For Inspection

    The City of Prescott is looking to finalize the Downtown Waterfront Assessor's Plat, and must make it available for public review as part of the process. According to the City Website, anyone that would like to inspect the document may do so as the plat is on file and open for inspection for 30 days, starting August 6th. The public may inspect the plat between 8 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, at City Hall. The City Council is scheduled to deliberate its approval at the City Council meeting on Monday, September 14th. For questions contact the City of Prescott at 715-262-5544.

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    SoWashCo School Opening Update

    During a special school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 3, South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) presented its safe learning plan for the new school year. Following a review of distance learning and in-person learning, the school board voted to approve hybrid learning, the most complicated plan. According to information provided by the District, the approval does not mean that the school year will start in a hybrid learning model. The school board simply approved administration to move forward on planning for hybrid learning in the event it's needed this fall. The school board also directed the superintendent to be more restrictive than the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Safe Learning Plan. The school board will make the final decision on how school will start this fall during its board meeting on Aug. 13. SoWashCo will also evaluate its ability to implement learning plans while balancing logistics, staffing numbers and the health and safety of students and staff.

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    Hastings Planning Commission Meeting Canceled

    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman has announced that the meeting of the Hastings Planning Commission, scheduled for 7 PM on Monday, August 10th has been canceled. The next regular meeting of the Commission is set for Monday, August 24th, at 7 PM.

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    Suspect Sought in St. Paul Park

    The St. Paul Park Police Department needs your help locating a wanted fugitive with multiple warrants for his arrest. According to a Department post on social media, Jesse Kyle Hoffman is known to frequent St. Paul Park, Cottage Grove, and Newport areas and he may be operating a yellow and black colored Suzuki dirt bike. If you have seen Hoffman, know his whereabouts, or have any other information, please contact police via 911. Do not approach or confront Hoffman. For specific information on Hoffmans warrants please visit the link provided here.

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    (Jesse Kyle Hoffman. Photo Source: St. Paul Park PD)

    Prescott Chamber Raffle Tickets On Sale

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce is once again selling Calendar Raffle tickets to help support Chamber programming and beautification efforts around Prescott. Stop by WESTconsin Credit Union or Cernohous Chevrolet, or contact the Chamber or Chamber members, to purchase your $10 ticket, with a chance to win every day in October. Tickets are on sale now through end of September.

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    Cottage Grove Offers Irrigation System Checks

    As part of Cottage Grove's water conservation program, free irrigation system assessments are available to residents, homeowners' associations, apartment complexes, schools, businesses, and churches. The only requirement is that you use city water for irrigation. During an assessment, an irrigation professional from Water in Motion will observe your landscape irrigation system in operation and furnish an assessment report cataloging system characteristics and identifying opportunities for improvements in condition, operation, and maintenance. If you want to schedule an assessment, please contact Tim Malooly with the partners at Water in Motion at 952-229-1911 or TimM@WaterMotion.com. If you have questions about the program, contact Joe Fox, Cottage Grove Project Engineer, at 651-458-2826 or JoeFox@CottageGroveMN.gov.

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    HFS Drive-Thru Food Share is Busy

    Hastings Family Service has remained very active in helping families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the physical building and thrift shop have been closed to the public during this time, Executive Director Chris Koop said that the food shelf portion of the organization has been fairly busy.

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    Families in the ISD 200 boundaries that need help are encouraged to visit HastingsFamilyService.org, or call 651-437-7134.

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    CNC Says Trail Time Good for Well-Being

    The Carpenter Nature Center encourages people to take a break from the every day world, and take some time to rejuvenate your body and mind. Outreach Program Coordinator Jessie Eckroad explains.

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    Hear the complete interview with Jessie on Community In Depth on KDWA.

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    Hastings Chamber Working for Businesses

    The Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau is working hard to encourage business in Hastings in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Chamber President Kristy Barse commented on their efforts.

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    Barse also said there were still grants available to help small businesses.

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    Chamber members are encouraged to contact the Chamber with questions or concerns.

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    ISD 200 Board Planning for Reopening

    On the heels of Governor Walz' decision last week on reopening schools this fall, ISD 200 School Board President Kelsey Waits commented on what the decision means for the District.

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    She also stated that styles of learning carries a lot of weight in the decision.

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    Stay up to date with the District's planning on the District website, at Hastings.K12.mn.us.

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    316 Project Still Short on Funding

    The Highway 316 Project in Hastings still needs to secure funding to ensure the project can be completed once started. Hastings City Council member Tina Folch provides an update on the funding.

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    Follow progress on the project by visiting the link providedhere.

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    HFS School Supply Program Makes Changes

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hastings Family Service School Supply Assistance program will be modified this year. Executive Director Chris Koop explains.

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    Hastings Family Service also welcomes your donation of new school supply items for the program. Most needed school supplies include character backpacks for elementary students, with no wheels, and must fit snowpants, larger, plain backpacks for middle and high school students, and Texas Instruments TI-30XIIS calculators. A bin for school supply donations will be available for drop off at 301 Second Street East, 8:30 AM, through 5 PM, Monday through Thursday.

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    Renewal Ribbon Cutting

    On Tuesday, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey had the honor of representing the City as Renewal by Andersen cut the ribbon and opened its new facility, representing yet another big investment in the Cottage Grove City and Business Park. According to the City of Cottage Grove, the new 350,000-square-foot facility will usher in 125 new jobs. Not only is the company one of the City's largest employers, it continues to produce an award-winning product and remains highly recognized as one of the state's best places to work.

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    (Mayor Bailey. Photo Source: City of Cottage Grove)

    County Programs Recognized

    Four Dakota County programs that improve the quality of life for residents, make the community healthier, and save taxpayer money have received national recognition. According to a County press release, the county's restoration of Thompson Lake, its work to make public housing smoke-free, a partnership with rideshare company Lyft to help people with disabilities get to work, and its growing volunteer program all received 2020 achievement awards from the National Association of Counties. Board Chair Mike Slavik commented that, "This is just a snapshot of the amazing work county staff do each and every day to collaborate and find ways to be an efficient, effective, and responsive government for our residents." Staff involved in the programs were recognized on August 4th by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners.

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    Hastings Council Hears CARES Report

    At Monday evening's Hastings City Council meeting, City Administrator Dan Wietecha reported to the Council that when the City received funding through the CARES Act, a figure of 10% for local business was suggested.

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    The Council moved to allot money to the County, and local non-profits via HEDRA, and tabled a motion to allocate money to ISD 200 for time for staff to research the ability of the City to allocate funds to the school district.

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    St. John School To Welcome Special Visitor

    St. John the Baptist School, in Vermillion is preparing for a special visitor next week. Parochial Administrator Father Mike Tix explains.

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    Father Tix also commented on the significance of Cardinal Burke's visit.

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    Due to COVID-19 concerns, the visit will not be open to the general public.

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    Craig's Office Targeted With Threat

    Sources have reported that U. S. Representative Angie Craig's field office in Burnsville was the subject of a bomb threat on Monday afternoon. According to published reports, staff of the Burnsville office did receive a threat, and upon advice of the FBI, local authorities made a sweep of the building and surrounding area, that did not find any sort of explosive device. Craig's staff applauded the swift reaction of Burnsville's Fire and Police Departments in responding to the threat. The incident remains under investigation.

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    Teacher of the Year To Be Named Thursday

    On Thursday, the new Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be named at the Minnesota State Capitol at this year's Teacher of the Year event. Jessica Davis, the current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, will announce her successor at the ceremony. Local teacher Katie Coulson, a 4th grade teacher at Thomas Lake Elementary School of the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District is one of the finalists for the award. This is the 56th year for the program. The ceremony takes place at 7 PM on the Upper Mall of the State Capitol complex. The surprise announcement of the new Teacher of the Year should take place between 7:30 and 8 PM. In addition, the announcement will be broadcast live on Facebook on the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Facebook page.

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