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    Jurgens Addresses Offender Transition

    On Wednesday's edition of Community InDepth, State Representative Tony Jurgens voiced his views on the issue of transitioning clients from the Minnesota Department of Corrections into residential neighborhoods, as will take effect Tuesday here in Hastings.

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    He noted that its difficult to find just one answer.

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    Hear Representative Jurgens' comments on this topic as well as his stance on the potential vote Monday that could allow Sunday Liquor Sales in Minnesota. Listen to InDepth on Wednesday on KDWA.

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    Jurgens Addresses Offender Transition

    On Wednesday's edition of Community InDepth, State Representative Tony Jurgens voiced his views on the issue of transitioning clients from the Minnesota Department of Corrections into residential neighborhoods, as will take effect Tuesday here in Hastings.

    Click here for audio

    He noted that its difficult to find just one answer.

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    Hear Representative Jurgens' comments on this topic as well as his stance on the potential vote Monday that could allow Sunday Liquor Sales in Minnesota. Listen to InDepth on Wednesday on KDWA.

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    Council Meets Tuesday

    The Hastings City Council will meet on Tuesday. Mayor Paul Hicks previews the agenda and explains the reason for the change.

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    Mayor Addresses Community Notification Audience

    An audience of nearly 90 people attended the community notification meeting that was presented by Hastings Public Safety Wednesday evening hosted by Chief Bryan Schafer. The Chief acknowledged members of the city council, speakers from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a spokesperson representing the supervisory team that will be responsible for documenting the compliance of a Level 3 Predatory Offender, 50 year old Randall Scott Wonderlich when he transitions to a residence in Hastings next week. Chief Schaffer introduced Sarah Hustad, who provided data about the man who received sentences of more than 38 years in all from 3 separate convictions involving criminal sexual conduct. According to Hustad, Wondelich has served the expected two-thirds of the time required by those sentences and will now transition to a rental property located near Pine Street and Southview Drive. During the presentation Hustad revealed that there are currently 74 offenders currently living in the city, although Wonderlich would be only the 2nd Level Three offender to reside here. She also stated that there are more than 200 in Dakota County and that larger counties such as Hennipen and Ramsey have upwards of 1,000 listed on the DOC offender registry. A great deal of information, lasting approximately 90 minutes, was then followed by audience reaction ranging from fear to frustration and anger. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and neighbors raised questions about property devaluation, child safety, conceal and carry intentions, and proximity to day care, school zones and public parks. One member of the audience asked for Mayor Hicks to address the group, which he did, referring to the steps involved in drafting city ordinance language to address the concern.

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    We will feature more of the Community Notification meeting content including reaction from the Hastings City Attorney, Dan Fluegel on our next newscast.

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    Mayor Addresses Community Notification Audience

    An audience of nearly 90 people attended the community notification meeting that was presented by Hastings Public Safety Wednesday evening hosted by Chief Bryan Schafer. The Chief acknowledged members of the city council, speakers from the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a spokesperson representing the supervisory team that will be responsible for documenting the compliance of a Level 3 Predatory Offender, 50 year old Randall Scott Wonderlich when he transitions to a residence in Hastings next week. Chief Schaffer introduced Sarah Hustad, who provided data about the man who received sentences of more than 38 years in all from 3 separate convictions involving criminal sexual conduct. According to Hustad, Wondelich has served the expected two-thirds of the time required by those sentences and will now transition to a rental property located near Pine Street and Southview Drive. During the presentation Hustad revealed that there are currently 74 offenders currently living in the city, although Wonderlich would be only the 2nd Level Three offender to reside here. She also stated that there are more than 200 in Dakota County and that larger counties such as Hennipen and Ramsey have upwards of 1,000 listed on the DOC offender registry. A great deal of information, lasting approximately 90 minutes, was then followed by audience reaction ranging from fear to frustration and anger. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and neighbors raised questions about property devaluation, child safety, conceal and carry intentions, and proximity to day care, school zones and public parks. One member of the audience asked for Mayor Hicks to address the group, which he did, referring to the steps involved in drafting city ordinance language to address the concern.

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    We will feature more of the Community Notification meeting content including reaction from the Hastings City Attorney, Dan Fluegel on our next newscast.

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    Cold Water Rescue Training Drills

    This past Saturday, firefighters from the Hastings station honed their rescue skills along the icy edges of Lake Rebecca in Jaycee Park. The annual visit is part of the cold water rescue training. .Chief Mike Schutt stated that every firefighter will have the training to keep all members up to date with protocol to be ready if needed.With the unseasonably warm weather, the ice is becoming dangerously thin not only on small lakes, but on quarry ponds, creeks, streams and rivers. Because of currents and lack of snow cover the thickness can vary in depth in just a few feet. For safety, it is best to stay off the ice all together. Chief Schutt explains that rescues can also be needed when those on the water in fishing boats fail to add a PFD, personal floatation device to their wardrobe. With water temperatures just a few degrees about freezing a stumble that lands you in the water could be deadly. The instinct to gasp due to the shock of going into the icy water, can render even the best of swimmers unable to stay afloat. Children of every age should be closely monitored and warned not to wander near the ice without adult supervision. Schutt also notes that animals drawn to the water can find themselves unable to escape falling through thin spots. He advises keeping your pet on a leash to prevent them from venturing out onto the ice. Photos of the training can be found on the KDWA Facebook and website.

       

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    Community Notification Meeting This Wednesday

    Information released earlier this month from the Hastings Police Department lists another Level 3 Predatory Offender as being scheduled to transition to the Hastings Community on February 20th. A community meeting, similar to the one held when Michael Deon Harris was transitioned to the area of Ashland and 3rd street west in July of last year. Randall Scott Wunderlich, is a Caucasian male, aged 51 who has been released from the Minnesota Department of Corrections following completion of his time served for criminal sexual conduct with female victims ages 12 to adult, gaining compliance through intimidation and threats. The Hastings Police notes that they are unable to restrict where a released offender can live, work or attend school, but they are able to convene a public meeting to provide information on the subject to the community at large. Wunderlich is scheduled to be transitioned to a property in the vicinity of Pine Street and Southview Drive near the end of this month. It is not known if the residence is a business arrangement of a supervised caretaker, such as is being used with Harris, or if the terms of his release allow independent residency. Questions posed to the public safety department will be answered at the Meeting to be held this Wednesday, February 15th at 6 PM at the Hastings Middle School Auditorium.

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    Seven Arrested In Pierce Co Gun Incident

    An update, now of a story we brought you last August. Following investigations involving a party that took place just outside of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, six men and one woman will face Pierce County court proceedings due to their involvement in actions that included firing at least 2 guns into the air, into buildings and around those at the event. A dispute that took place at the party,escalated into a charge that 17 -year-old Dylan M. Spargur of Welch along with several others returned to a party where Spargur had been asked to leave. Spargur was seen in possession of a 9 mm handgun, which he reportedly fired into a building and into the air during the incident. Elijah R. Buck, 19, Welch, has been charged with misdemeanor counts of intentionally pointing a firearm at a person, discharging a firearm within 100 yards of a building and disorderly conduct. He is accused of using an AR-15 assault rifle pointing it at another partygoer and threatening others by firing the weapon into the air. Elijah M. Grove-Thomas, 19 of Welch is charged with substantial battery. He will be in court on March 7th. Kennedy M. Johnson, 21 , also of Welch has already appeared to face one count of substantial battery. Adam Hunstad, 16 and Zahvieer Acosta, 19, both of Red Wing were charged with felony firearm theft, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor theft. Hunstad, however, did not appear at an appointed court date resulting in a warrant being sworn out for his arrest. Acosta pleaded not guilty at his initial appearance, and will return to court on March 2nd. The incident ended with Red Wing Police being alerted to the actions by those at the party. The subjects were found in three different vehicles after the shootings took place. The weapons were found loaded inside of the vehicles, including an additional handgun, a .44 caliber weapon owned by an unnamed party guest.

       

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    Security Camera Survey By HPD

    The Hastings Police Department announced Monday that consideration will be explored to create a security camera registration to help aid in future criminal investigations. Residents or business owners or managers who utilize security cameras are asked to take a short survey listed online. The five question survey asks respondants to list whether or not residents or businesses have outdoor facing cameras and wether you record live feed footage or still images. The outcome of this exploration will be made soon. Follow the link to the survey - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/sec_cam

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    Council Campaign Spending Totals Released

    Seven of the eight candidates in last falls Hastings City Council elections have filed final spending reports with the City. Review of the reports indicate that the range of spending by the campaigns ranged from Bryan Alpaughs expenditures of 915 dollars to Joe Balsaneks campaign spending 7 thousand 48 dollars in his successful bid for the Ward 2 City Council seat. The average amount spent by the campaigns was 3 thousand 5 hundred 92 dollars. In other campaigns Incumbent Danna Elling Schultz listed expenditures of 3818. Her opponent spent 6831. In the 4th ward, incumbent Tony Nelson spent 928 while his winning opponent, Lisa Leifeld spent 3818. In ward 1, winner Tina Folch reported spending a total of 1784, while opponent Alpaugh spent 915. Not listed among the reports on the Hastings City website is the accounting for Adam Estensons campaign.

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    Online Exploitation Presentation Sobering

    On Sunday, February 12th residents were invited to a free presentation given by a member of a special task force that works with several counties and local law enforcement units to keep up with the hundreds of reports of online predatory or criminal behavior. Grant Snyder appeared thanks to a request made by District 200 Special Services director Dave Haveman. The type of risks that face children, especially those who are trusting and perhaps, socially immature, were presented in a sobering 90 minutes of examples that proved disturbing to hear.

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    While the subject matter covered in the presentation was one often heard on news programs the insideous tricks of the exploitation trade seemed to transfix parents and grandparents who listened intently to the grim list of those taken in by those who know how to reach the most vulnerable in society. The audience also listened to the facts surrounding social media sites. Some familar and some new to the listeners.

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    Mr. Snyder volunteered his time to provide the information to the audience. I asked Mr. Haveman if an opportunity to hear the message might be added in the future. That may be possible, depending on Mr. Snyder's schedule.

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    MN Youth Snapshot Reveals Student Survey Results

    In data compiled from a statewide voluntary annonymous survey, 5th,8th, 9th and 11th grades reported nearly 40 pieces of information about themselves in an effort to form a snapshot of Minnesota Youth. Students in District 200 participated in the first semester of the 2016 school year, and recently received the state collaborative numbers, showing how each grade responded. Questions covered physical and mental health, self esteem, perceived safety, family support and educational engagement. Two of the questions related to general health and physical condition of the students. The state percentages noted that in the area of physical education, meaning gym or PE classes, 56% of 5th graders received between 2 and 3 days of that class per typical school week, contrasting that number with just 14% of 9th graders and 3% of 11th graders. In another health item the number of students in each grade varied only slightly with between 13 and 18% of all respondents indicating they had been told they have asthma and between 3 and 5% of each group having an allergy that requires them to carry an epi-pen to be used in an emergency. The district will use the data to understand potential trends, look for deficits and determine the best methods of encouraging growth according to best practices.

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    Additional information gleaned from the Minnesota State Snapshot Survey of Youth, included those from District 200. The Minnesota Student Survey is conducted every 3 years and students in grands 5,8, 9 and 11 completed the survey in 2016. The outcome of that 40 question survey has been released, giving educators a better understanding of how students view their school experience. Question topics ranged from out-of-school activities, emotional health, substance use, and overall engagement in school to provide a whole child report. Some of the key findings for the overall state view include data that 69 percent of all respondants said they had excellent or very good health while nearly 18 percent reported long term mental health, behavioral or emotional problems. A possible trend is noted that between the 2013 and 2016 surveys, an increase of between 5 to 7 % in students reporting mental health issues. Results for the next survey year, 2019, will be needed to detect a true trend in this category. In the health category,the findings for state totals list nearly 50 percent of students eat fruit at least once per day, with just 40 percent eating vegetables once per day. About half of the state student responses list at least 60 minutes of physical activity engagement 5 days per week. In a related category, students in grades 8,9 and 11 were asked to fill in their height and weight. Those numbers were then calculated into a Body Mass Index. The report showed that, based on that BMI, and using current standards, 23 % of students in grade 8 were either overweight or obese, in grade 9 that rose slightly to 24% and in grade eleven, another increase to 25 %. In newscasts this week, we'll reveal more of the results released in the Minnesota Student Survey and compare local results with those of the Minnesota numbers.

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    Planning Commission Meeting Canceled

    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman reports that the Hastings Planning Commission meeting, scheduled for February 13th, has been canceled. The Hastings Planning Commission serves as an advisory board to the City Council on matters related to land use development and zoning. The commissions primary responsibilities include review of residential subdivisions, commercial site plans, and special use permits. Commissioners meet twice a month on the second and fourth Mondays at 7:00pm in the City Council Chambers. Applications are being accepted for seats on the Commission by contacting Mr. Hinzman at 651-480-2378 or by logging on to the Citys website at hastingsmn.gov.

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    ResidentsQuestionNeedForSpeed

    The conversation continues as opinions are shared on the topic of proposed increases to the main thoroughfare, Vermillion Street as well as outlying shoulder areas including Highway 55 to the west and Highway 316 on the south side of the city. Hastings residents have contacted city council members , written state representatives and even attempted to connect with MnDot to voice their concern over safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles. One resident, who lives on 316 cites nearly 50 years of struggling to navigate safely from a driveway that empties directly out onto a 40 mph highway. Owen Hecht related his experience of hearing numerous accidents, squealing tires and many near misses from traffic passing his home that fails to slow at the edge of town when the limit changes from 55 to 40 in a very little distance. That speed will be increased this spring to 60- a 20 mph change that will increase that stopping time, if the limit is followed. Residents along that stretch wonder how quickly commercial traffic will react to the higher limits coming into town, with the larger vehicles on the purported truck route, needing even more time to react and come to a full stop for turning vehicles or other unexpected obstacles. MnDot has complete jurisdiction over the speed limit on Minnesota Highways and the impending restructuring of the Vermillion Street Corridor may be impacted by the decision.

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    BridgeHonorForKopp

    Minnesota State Senator Greg Clausen has introduced legislation to name the bridge spanning Highway 52 in Coates as the Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp Bridge. The naming of the bridge is to honor the Rosemount High School graduate who died July 18, 2009, of trauma caused by gunshot wounds he received during a firefight with the Taliban while serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan. He saved six of his fellow Rangers on the battlefield before being shot in the leg by a sniper. After his death, he saved or enhanced the lives of 60 more people through organ, skin, tissue and bone donations. Kopp was a student in Rosemount while Clausen was principal of the school. The bill, SF 589, co-authored by Representative Anna Wills in the House, has been referred to the Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. Clausen said he hopes it will reach the floor of the Senate and the House, preferably as a standalone bill, and be voted on this spring.(Photo submitted by family)

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    Prescott Library Staff Turns Page

    The Prescott Library announces the hiring of new Program Specialist Danielle Welch. Welch was hired in January, and describes herself as having passion for literacy and children. She says that she loves classic literature but will read anything she can get her hands on. Prescott Library Director Jane Enright has been working closely with Welch in promoting literacy programs of the library, such as the Tuesday evening and Friday morning Storytimes. Another big program will be the Summer Reading Program that will start in July. Welch states that she has felt very welcomed by the community and is eager to move forward in her duties. Welch lives in River Falls, with her husband and children.

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    Washington Co School Bus Aide Charged

    Washington County Attorney Pete Orput today announced the filing of charges against Harvey Kneifl, age 71, of Woodbury. Kneifl was charged Thursday with 6 counts of 2 nd Degree Sexual Assault. According to the complaint filed in the case, Kneifl is a school bus attendant assisting children on the bus with special needs for the South Washington County School District 833 on routes in Woodbury. After an investigation by the Woodbury Police Department, with the cooperation of the school district, Kneifl is seen on video from inside the bus on two occasions, touching 6 children under age 13 on their genitals over their clothing. At least 3 of the children confirmed to law enforcement that which was readily visible on the school districts video of the bus interior. Attorney Orput stated, The first duty of this office is the protection of our children. What this defendant is alleged to have done is totally abhorrent to society. The case will be prosecuted with that standard in mind.He will have his first appearance February 10th

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    Prescott Chamber Celebrates

    The Annual Dinner of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce was held on Wednesday evening at the Old Ptacek's Event Center. According to a recap provided by the organizing committee, a record attendance of 154 members and guests made the event even better. Awards were presented in several categories with acknowledgments made by emcee Jason Roeder to Chamber member of the Year, Lisa Johnson, Ambassador of the Year, Penny Peterson, Educator of the Year, Beth Charette, New Chamber Member of the Year UNFI with a special recognition Award made to the Prescott Police Department. A very successful silent auction added to the evening and additional prize sponsors Cernohous Chevrolet, First National Bank, Noah Insurance Group, River City Stitch, Prescott Chiropractic and WESTconsin Credit Union making for a worthwhile ocassion. Committee members Lisa Johnson, Amy Sabelko, Amber Hanson, Tara McCracken, Marisa Anderson and Penny Peterson put the ingredients together and are responsible for the well run production. The Chamber also thanks the support they have received from the community and the continued effort to promote and educate the public about local business. Photo provided by Prescott Chamber.

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    Denmark Township Planning Meeting

    The Denmark Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 23, 2017 starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Denmark Town Hall located at 14008 - 90th Street South, Hastings, MN for the purpose of hearing, considering, and making a recommendation to the Town Board regarding a proposed amendment to the Denmark Township Development Code to exempt certain minor subdivisions from the platting requirements currently applicable to all minor and major subdivisions. A copy of the proposed amendment can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk-Treasurer. Interested persons are welcome to attend the hearing. The town clerk is Becky Herman and she can be reached at 651-436-1704.

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    Hastings Reads Schedule Complete

    Some of the special activities that will be held during Hastings Reads in February include Book Discussions for SEAS Students and HMS Students that will take place to examine the book Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai at their individual schools. Teachers at each location will provide direction on how to attend. Book-club kits for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet are now available at the Pleasant Hill Library and a variety of books are available for purchase at the YMCA, Tilden community Center and at most events during Hastings Reads 2017. The big finale will take place February 21st at the Hastings Arts Center with the appearance of Author Jaime Ford, who will visit students at Hastings High Schools during the day on then appear in the evening to read passages from his book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. He will have copies of the book for purchase at this free to attend event. Hastings Reads is an annual celebration of literary connected activities that involve many community sponsors, including the Dakota County Library System, United Way of Hastings and The Hastings Public School Foundation.

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    Denmark Township Planning Meeting

    The Denmark Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday, February 23, 2017 starting at 7:00 p.m. at the Denmark Town Hall located at 14008 - 90th Street South, Hastings, MN for the purpose of hearing, considering, and making a recommendation to the Town Board regarding a proposed amendment to the Denmark Township Development Code to exempt certain minor subdivisions from the platting requirements currently applicable to all minor and major subdivisions. A copy of the proposed amendment can be obtained by contacting the Town Clerk-Treasurer. Interested persons are welcome to attend the hearing. The town clerk is Becky Herman and she can be reached at 651-436-1704.

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    Capital Improvements for Dakota County Parks

    As part of the 2015 Lebanon Hills Regional Park Master Plan , multiple improvement projects have been scheduled for completion by December 2017.These improvement projects provide increased access to the park, address needs due to increased use, replace aging infrastructure, adaptations that allow compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and projects that will restore and improve natural resources. All projects will incorporate the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation Districts Storm Water Management Low Impact Development Standards .With a budget of just over 2 million dollars improvement projects for this year will include completion of an ADA accessible paved trail loop and boardwalk around McDonough Lake; completion of an ADA accessible paved trail and pond access improvements near Wheaton Pond; creating a mountain bike facility and improvement of parking accessibility at the west trailhead; complete an ADA accessible paved trail from the parking lot to the fishing pier at Holland Lake; construct an A-Frame shelter to replace the one currently at Portage Lake and replacement of the Bridge at Bridge Pond. These projects are part of a 5 year Parks Capital Improvement plan as specified in the Dakota County Budget.

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    Council Plans Utility Rate Workshop

    The City Council of Hastings will conduct a Utility Rate Study workshop on Thursday, February 16th, at 6:30 PM at City Hall. The workshop is intended to inform the Council on the current status of the ongoing utility rates study, and be presented with the latest information and options of rate structures for their consideration. Also, the City of Hastings wishes to remind you that the City Offices will be closed on Monday, February 20th, in observance of Presidents Day.

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    Washington Co K9 Dies in Line of Duty

    There is some sad news to report from the Forest Lake Police Department today. According to department spokesperson Captain Greg Weiss, on February 7th at 11:35 PM in the area of Hwy 61 and Hwy 97 the Forest Lake Police Department was assisting the Minnesota State Patrol with a high-risk vehicle stop. During the stop an individual within the vehicle was non-compliant with the officers directions and after several attempts to gain compliance K9 Ranger from the Forest Lake Police Department was deployed and an apprehension was made. Immediately following the incident, K9 Ranger suffered a medical emergency and was transported to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. Doctors at the U. of M. attempted to resuscitate Ranger to no avail. K9 Ranger was pronounced deceased at the U. Of M. Veterinary Hospital. The preliminary findings concluded that Ranger suffered cardiac Arrest.

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    Alley Ways Concern for Improvement

    During the February 6th meeting of the Hastings City Council, Councilor Joe Balsanek said that he plans to schedule a meeting with himself, Public Works Director Nick Egger and the management of the American Legion in Hastings to discuss alley improvements near the Legion as part of the Riverfront Renaissance project. The project is very near to completion and the alley improvement is one of the final steps in the Renaissance. A date for the meeting has not been set at this time. Councilor Balsanak also indicated that he would be attending the next Dakota County Commissioners Board of Directors meeting, scheduled for Thursday February 16th.

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    City Boards And Commissions Busy

    The Hastings City Council is heading into 2017 with a full agenda of city business to accomplish. February will see the Council engaged in a number of board and commission meetings designed to engage the citizens of Hastings in the direction of the City. The Artspace River Lofts kicked off the month with an information meeting on Tuesday, Feb 7th. HEDRA will meet on Thursday, February 9th at City Hall at 6:30: Also on Thursday, from 4 to 6:30 PM a Street improvement Open House will held at Our Saviours Evangelical Lutheran Church. The City Council encourages the citizens of Hastings to meet with the various boards and commissions and provide input for the various projects under consideration.

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    Local Scout Park Reports Success

    A smiling young representative from local Cub Scout Pack 444 visited the KDWA studios Wednesday to announce the successful completion of their project the popular Popcorn and Treats Fundraiser. The effort concluded earlier this year and 8 year old Jack was proud to report to KDWA Radio news that thanks to the generosity and probably the combined sweet tooth of our community, the pack was able to sell nearly 36,000 dollars worth of popcorn, pretzels and other tasty treats. The pack will receive a portion of the profits.Many scouts sold hundreds of bags of the tempting fare with proceeds necessary to finance a big part of their budget each year. Jack also told me he likes camping best and looks forward to summer so his pack can head out to earn badges sleep out in tents.

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    New Biz For Hastings Foxes

    Hastings natives Nick and Amy Fox have announced their plans to open a new business in Downtown. Spiral Brewery is set to open later this summer, and will feature a number of crafted beverages with names like Townie, Olivers Grove, Downward Spiral and The LeDuc. Calling upon the talents of brewer Luke McGuire, the team will reintroduce the city to homebrewed beers, in an homage to a rich history of Hastings made libations going back to the 1800s. A combination of brewery site and taproom, the team plans to provide a casual and unique destination adding to the recent resurgence aided by several years of riverfront renewal.

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    Trail Connection Shows Progress

    As we reported last week, Washington County in Minnesota and Pierce County, Wisconsin have committed additional financial resources to complete the intercounty trail halted by bonding inaction by last year's legislative session. During the 2017 State of the City Address given by Mayor Hicks, progress updates were given on the Greenway Trail in Dakota County as well as revealing a new goal in the connection of trail systems for pedestrians and bike traffic.

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    Trail Systems Note Expansion Progress

    As we reported last week, Washington County in Minnesota and Pierce County, Wisconsin have committed additional financial resources to complete the intercounty trail halted by bonding inaction by last year's legislative session. During the 2017 State of the City Address given by Mayor Hicks, progress updates were given on the Greenway Trail in Dakota County as well as revealing a new goal in the connection of trail systems for pedestrians and bike traffic.

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    Mayor Seeks Transit Priority

    The State of the City Address was given by Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks on Tuesday morning, February 7th. Council Chambers filled with local and state dignitaries including Representative Tony Jurgens and each member of the Hastings City Council. In his address, Mayor Hicks stressed the continued and renewing efforts that are focused on connections to mass transit.

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    He also notes that expansion is a priority

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    The State of the City Address will be rebroadcast Wednesday,on-air and online at KDWA.com with a link found on the KDWA homepage.

       

    SWAT Team Responds to Dual Crisis

    Hastings Police were called to the 300 block of Maple Street to assist a citizen who was said to have been suicidal. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schaffer summarized the account.

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    As the Maple Street incident was in progress, Chief Schaffer also had a call in another part of town for the same kind of incident.

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    Hastings Join Powers Agreement

    During the February 6th Hastings City Council meeting, the City Council is expected to authorize a joint powers agreement between the City of Hastings and Dakota County for the Wetlands Health Evaluation Program. The agreement continues a partnership established in 1999 between Hastings and Dakota County to inspect four identified wetland areas in Hastings to monitor the general health of those wetlands. The County provides training of the personnel making the checks and the City agrees to promote the program, identify the areas to be inspected and monitored, and provide financial assistance to cover the cost of the inspections.

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    Preview of City Council Agenda

    The Hastings City Council Meets tonight at 7 PM. First on the agenda are three presentations by community groups. Representatives from The Tennis Sanitation Green Team has an update, as does the Dakota County Library, and there will be a presentation from the LeDuc Mansion. Following approval of minutes the consent agenda will be presented for approval. Awarding of Contracts and public hearing is listed next, if necessary followed by reports from city Staff. On that agenda will be information from the Public Works department as well as that of Community Development concerning the South Oaks preliminary finding and final plat resolution. Also on a resolution to authorize submittal of the CDBG Budget, a presentation to discuss a request for proposal of the Vermillion Street Corridor Study and a presentation of the Community Development Annual Report. The last item of business will be administrations decision on sanctions for the overdue Transaction fees hearing relating to the Pawn Shop License at Old Mill Pawn Shop. Comments from the Audience will be welcomed and any unfinished business, new business or reports from city committees , officers or council members will be heard. And that will conclude the Monday night meeting of the Hastings City Council. the next regularly scheduled City Council Meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 21. Moved to Tuesday due to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday the 20th.

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    Sobering Numbers In Domestic Violence

    Current numbers were released on Tuesday from the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, finding that at least 21 people died in Minnesota as a result of domestic violence last year. and while women make up the majority of victims, men can be targeted too. Dakota County hopes to inform and protect those who may experience violence at the hands of a relative, friend or someone they trust.360 Communities provides two domestic violence shelters: one in Eagan, another in Hastings. If youd like help navigating the court system-or even just emotional support-they have trained advocates standing by. Their hotlines are available 24/7; just call 651-452-7288 (Eagan Lewis House) or 651-437-1291 (Hastings Lewis House). Since its inception in 1979, Lewis House has provided safety and support to more than 80,000 survivors of domestic violence. They can help you too. You can also find applications for an Order for Protection (OFP, for short) at all Dakota County Court facilities. Approval of your application entitles you to court-ordered protection from your abuser. Its free to file and there is no cost to you when the order is served on the respondent. If you want to know more about the process, view the links found at the KDWA.com webpage.

    call 952-985-1200 (Metro area) or 1-800-293-8451 (Non-metro area). https://www.co.dakota.mn.us

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    Hastings PD Arrest Log

    From the Hastings Police Blotter, a restraining order violation was reported to Hastings Police on January 17th. Investigation by officers resulted in the arrest of 60-year-old Hastings resident Marie Margaret Trejo on a charge of violating a court ordered restraining order. Trejo was booked at the Dakota County Jail. Officers were called to Walmart on the 18th to investigate a possible shoplifting occurrence. Officers made contact with the suspect, 28-year old Hastings Resident Nicole Leann Stine. Stine was cited for shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia. And on the 19th of January, Hastings officers were dispatched to the 1900 block of Oak Street to serve a warrant. The officers on scene were able to serve the felony warrant issued by the Department of Corrections against 28-year-old Hastings resident John Allen Cox. Cox was taken into custody and booked into the Dakota County Jail.

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    Hastings Foundation Grants Surprise Recipients

    The annual awarding of the Hastings Public Schools Foundation Grants took place early Tuesday morning complete with a four piece marching band that joyfully announced the group of foundation representatives. Superintendent Tim Collins led the procession of nearly 2 dozen foundation members and those who were tasked with determining how nearly 65 thousand dollars would be divided. Presentations were made to teachers who had submitted ideas and projects that fell outside of regular curriculum funding. Grants were awarded in the Hastings High School, Middle school, Kennedy Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary and Tilden Community Center buildings and the crew made the rounds enjoying the reactions of the recipients and having the opportunity to share the mission of the foundation. We'll be featuring the stories of those who received the grants from a grand marimba demonstrated by Percussionist Will Alongi, to a pair of grants for the Middle School Special Education department that will purchase skills and job building software, and several grants that will provide writing workshops, theater experiences, chemistry equipment and many more educational tools. Listen all this week for our coverage of the Hastings Public Schools Foundation Grant presentations. Pictured are Kendra Berg and Sandy Meyer who received a large grant that will provide expansion of the art program to include Digital Arts and Animation software.

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    Washington County Prostitution Charges

    The Washington County Sheriff Department has arrested a man under allegations of arranging customers for prostitutes in Cottage Grove. Maurice Leander Briggs, 41, is being charged with promoting prostitution of an individual, which is a felony. The charges come as a result of some messages in the escort section of backpage.com. Briggs is accused of arranging meetings at a Cottage Grove hotel. An undercover officer responded to the backpage message and contacted the victim at the Walgreens in Cottage Grove. A search warrant executed at the hotel discovered a ledger of personal contact information labeled as tricks, the cell phone originally used by the victim with the undercover officers texts still on the phone, and other related items. Briggs remains in jail in lieu of bail and has been previously arrested for sex trafficking in Nebraska.

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    Dakota County Vaccine Clinics

    Dakota County Public Health provides reduced-fee immunizations for eligible children and adults who are uninsured or whose health insurance does not cover vaccine. Children who are on a Minnesota health care program or are American Indian or Alaskan Native also qualify for this vaccine. Check Dakota Countys website at www.dakotacounty.us, keyword vaccines or call 952-891-7528 for eligibility guidelines and vaccine availability or to schedule an appointment. Scheduled February Clinics are Thursday February 9, walk-in from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Dakota County Northern Service Center, 4th Floor, 1 Mendota Road, West St Paul. Tuesday February 14 and Tuesday, February 28, by appointment only, at the Dakota County Western Service Center, Suite 286, 14955 Galaxie Avenue, Apple Valley. Immunizations given at public clinics should not be substituted for routine well-child visits. Minors under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or have a signed authorization for another adult to accompany them. The authorization form is available online at www.dakotacounty.us, keyword immunization clinics. Bring all immunization records with you to the clinic. A donation of 20 dollars for each vaccination is suggested, but persons who qualify for reduced-fee immunizations will not be turned away if they are not able to pay the donation. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. For more information, call the Immunization Hotline at 952-891-7999.

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    Hastings Planning Commission Annual Report

    In a recap of the January 23rd meeting of the Hastings Planning Commission, Community Development Director John Hinzman presented the annual report that lists highlights and major projects that took place during the previous year. Of note were the 60 residential building permits that were issued, a 115% increase over those issued in 2015. The total valuation of those projects were just under 13 million dollars. On the commercial side, however, only 3 new commercial permits were issued. He noted that 44 permits were issued for remodeling projects. Real Estate numbers also decreased, by 9.3 percent in new listings and by 7.2 percent in closed sales. The average sale price mirrored the region , increasing by 5.7 percent with a slight 2.8 percent rise in average sale price. The report included some projections on areas that are condusive to development, including several areas on the south and west ends of the city. Additions of single family and multi-family housing units are estimated at nearly 600 readying to be available for tenents within the next 12 months. There was no information given on the anticipated valuation level of those units, however the minority of that number, just 134 listed as single family homes.This report will also be provided to the full council on February 6th.

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    CG Carbones Builds Biz

    In continuing efforts to expand its restaurant, Carbones of Cottage Grove has filed for a liquor license with the City of Cottage Grove. The liquor license is one of the final steps for opening the expanded dining area that Carbones is currently constructing at their location on Jorgenson Lane. Carbones is expanding into the retail area directly adjacent to their current dining area. The expansion will increase the dining space available by approximately 4000 square feet. The original dining area will be converted into a 100 seat capacity banquet room. A public hearing will be held on the liquor license application on Wednesday, February 15, at 7 PM, at the Cottage Grove City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway South, in Cottage Grove.

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    Newport Leads Way

    Since 2012, the City of Newport has been participating in Minnesota B3 Benchmarking, which is a building energy management system for public buildings in Minnesota and allows Newport to manage its public buildings, improve the efficiency of each building and monitor the improvements. In October, at the second annual Best of B3 Recognition Luncheon Newport was nominated for and won the Best of B3 Benchmarking category for a City for its improvements to several City-owned buildings. By replacing equipment with energy efficient equipment, Newport was able to achieve an energy use intensity that is 52 percent lower than the code-based benchmark, a 24 percent reduction from the previous year.

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    Prescott State Of City Address

    Mayor David Hovel appeared before members of the Prescott Chamber at Great Rivers Printing company to deliver his State of the City Address. Below, is the live audio recording of the speech in its entirety.

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    District 833 Challenged by Transport Expansion

    The District 833 administration heard concerns from parents of the Nuevas Fronteras school which is slated to convert the former Oltman school in St. Paul Park into the highly anticipated Spanish immersion facility as approved by voters in 2015.Parents who attended the most recent community meeting asked for options that could mitigate the impact of the expansion to the Railways transport hub that will process deliveries of new vehicles and distribute the incoming products by truck transports. Those familiar with the expansion are concerned by projections of as many as 130 transport trips per day that would add noise, pollution and safety hazards to the 3rd Street corridor area near the school. The district says its hands are tied as the bonding approved by voters can only be used for renovating Oltman, not on another school construction or building additions. Mayor of Cottage Grove Myron Bailey spoke with KDWA about the proposed increase in traffic in his city and also on residential streets in St. Paul Park and Newport along the west side of Highway 61. The impact is widespread, according the Mayor Bailey.

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    The school board will continue the discussion on the issue at the February 2nd school board meeting Mayor Bailey expressed his hope that a possible rerouting of the traffic could be accomplished by a proposal that involves a bridge re-configuration along the border with Grey Cloud Island. Well have more on that story in our next newscast.

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    Armed Robber Hits CG Walgreens

    According to a news release from Cottage Grove Police, investigation continues in the search for a suspect in an attempted armed robbery that took place on January 14th at the Walgreens store, located on 80th Street in Cottage Grove. The suspect is a Caucasian female who was dressed in black and wearing sunglasses when she approached the pharmacy counter around 2:40 in the morning demanding narcotics. The pharmacist did not provide the suspect with any drugs and responded by running to get help, while the suspect walked out of the front door and got in a waiting vehicle. According to the police, a video camera recorded the event at the pharmacy but did not capture the make, model or color of the vehicle she left in. If anyone was in the area of the Cottage Grove Walgreens early Saturday morning on January 14th, and witnessed suspicious activity, please contact Cottage Grove Police.

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    Residents Behind the Rally

    Former Hastings teacher Jan Hertel is a local woman who made it a priority to be included in the rally that took place at the Minnesota Capitol on January 21st. She and many others from the area, decided that it was important for them to add their voices to assure they continue to be heard. Three of those from Hastings sat down with KDWA to give our listeners an idea of what it was like to be included in the crowd of nearly 100,000 others that day.

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    Another guest, Glenda Schnirring had another perspective.    

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    During our conversation, each gave unique reasons for their involvement but both stated that they not only represented themselves and the present, but the next generation of their families and the future. They also suggest that the movement isn't likely to stand down anytime soon, and that they plan to continue to speak out, accutely aware that democracy allows that continuation of conversation. Hastings resident Dick Graham also attended the rally and expressed his hopes for the future.

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    Local Perspective on Capitol March

    On January 21st a crowd of nearly 100 thousand people walked from the Cathedral in St. Paul to the lawn of the Minnesota Capitol Building. In that crowd were many local citizens and three of them came to KDWA to provide a community contribution to the event. The trio included Glenda Schnirring, Jan Hertel and Dick Graham. In an expanded segment this week, we'll hear from each why they felt it was necessary to attend the rally which Jan describes why not term it a demonstration.

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    Glena shared her reason for attending.

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    Dick explained that it wasn't just a woman's cause.

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    Prescott Police Blotter

    From the Prescott Police blotter, on January 11th, officers on patrol stopped a vehicle driven by 34-year-old Hastings resident Michael Raymond Weber. The initial stop was for speeding and a subsequent roadside investigation resulted in Webers arrest for possession of THC, possession of meth with the intent to distribute or sell and a probation violation. On January 14th officers arrived on the scene of a crashed vehicle near the intersection of Albert and Young Streets. Investigating officers made contact with 28-year-old Prescott resident Patrick Roland Ward, who was bringing a shovel to dig the car out. As a result of the investigation, Ward was arrested on charges of obstructing or resisting an officer and disorderly conduct.

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    Afton High Speed Hits Snag

    The ability for residents of Afton to access high speed internet in their community through Century Link has seen a delay, said to be due to a turnover in engineering staff at Century Link. The staffing turnover has delayed the startup date for Aftons High Speed Internet Project. According to Afton City Council Member Stan Ross, community representatives are currently in the process of scheduling a meeting with representatives of Century Link for updates from the communications company on completion of the project. Ross states that the citizens are very anxious to start using the new, improved service coming to all of Afton.

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    Alongi Announces Presidential Bid

    Breaking News...As this day officially began, 12:02 AM Eastern Time on Friday January 20th, to be exact, a Hastings resident made it a day to remember by filling out the necessary paperwork to begin his candidacy for the office of the President of the United States. Hours before the change of power would take place in Washington, in a home on the east side of Hastings, former Hastings Council member Anthony Tony Alongi completed the official form that records his intention to seek the highest office in the land in the 2020 election.[l:\2017\01_JANUARY\Completed\SB_20_AlongiDeclaresRunForPresident_37.mp3]

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    Mr. Alongi conducted a phone interview with KDWA late Friday afternoon to provide a few details on a decision that he confirms has been closely guarded.

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    In an admittedly non-traditional announcement, shared on social media, Alongi states that he will provide further information of the next steps in the process, his platform, and those who will help him with this effort.Stay tuned to KDWA radio for more in our continuing coverage of the announcement that Hastings resident Anthony Tony Alongi has declared his intent to run for United States President in 2020.

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    Chamber Recognizes Excellence

    The Hastings business community turned out Thursday night to honor some deserving individuals .The annual Chamber Award Banquet was held before a large gathering of Chamber members and families of the award recipients. Before the program began I asked Chamber President Kristy Barse about the record turnout.

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    The first award was presented to the Educator of the Year Kathy Gleik, who thanked others for making it possible for her to stand in the spotlight.

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    Volunteer of the Year, Cindy Thury Smith also shared the accolades with those who helped her to achieve recognition.

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    The final award of the evening was presented to KDWA Radio. Owner Dan Massman acknowledged the support he has received and an important message that guides him.

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    The event took place at Treasure Island Resort and Casino Banquet Center on Thursday, January 19th. The three awards have been presented since 1988.

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    HERO Center Gathers Support

    In speaking with Minnesota State Senator Dan Schoen recently, we found out more about the proposed HERO Center that is gaining momentum in his hometown of Cottage Grove and with the city of Woodbury, who will partner with that city to provide a training center for Public safety personnel as well as facilities that Schoen says may also be used by the public.

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    Schoen notes this type of resource is something constituents have been asking for.

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    Other offerings are projected to be included in the 10-12 million dollar center for which Cottage Grove has pledged to provide the land, possibly in the area of the new Cottage Grove Fire Hall number 2.

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    Senator Schoen is a Cottage Grove law police officer who is continuing the effort to make the HERO center a reality.

       

    ArtSpace Readies With Info

    Alyssa Kelley, the project manager for the Artspace Hastings River Lofts spoke with KDWA about the first of many meetings that will inform potential commercial interests and residents about the availability and requirements to live or contract for retail space in the building going up in Downtown Hastings. The project got it's start with a survey, sponsored, in part thru local and county support, in which interest was tallied for potential tenants of such a space. Ms. Kelley shares the response from the first meeting.

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    We asked how the facilities will be divided. Kelley notes 37 residential units will be available as well as retail space.

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    The timeline was also updated.

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    The first meetings have begun for those who may be interested in residing in the Hastings Artspace Riverlofts. Alyssa Kelley, project manager for the 37 unit structure had some clarification on who is defined as an artist.

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    With such a wide range of art, Kelley also expects the public to be intrigued by the work being done there.     

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    Artists may choose to sell their art or just continue making art for the benefits they receive to their lives.

       

    Hastings Choirs Tops Twice

    Another exciting weekend in the new Show Choir season. Hastings prep choir Upstage Revolution directed by Michelle Braun and co-directed by Hastings Alum Nick Lehey traveled with the Varsity group, Riverside company to the Onalaska Show Choir Classic on the 14th to compete in the second week of the 2017 season. Upstage received the top prep group award on their first competition of the year. Riverside Company bested a tough field of shows to make a sweep of all possible caption awards for the 3rd consecutive year. Director Lin Warren , Co-director Jen Fox and Back Up Band Director Jake Bohlken were thrilled with the Grand Champion award as well as best vocals, best Band, and best choreography. The school will send Riverside Company to the Competition of Excellence at West Side in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28th as the season continues. The All girl Divaz group will start their season on February 4th at the Eau Claire Memorial Winterfest as they join Upstage and Riverside on the road. Photos and on-location reports were provided by Kari McCord our KDWA community contributor.

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    Local 4H Group Gives Gift of Warmth

    Eight members of the Dakota County Top Notchers 4-H Club in Vermillion made 18 tie-blankets and sewed 12 pillowcases for patients of the University of Minnesota Childrens Hospital recently. Club members applied for a 4-H Bernie Beadle grant and used the money to purchase supplies for the blanket portion of their project. Patients admitted to the hospital are given these soft, comfortable items to make them feel more at home.

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    Schools Delayed 2 Hours

    SCHOOLS DELAYED-KDWA reports that all District 200 Public and Parochial Schools will be delayed 2 hours on Tuesday, January 17th due to ice and snow conditions in the KDWA listening area. Once again, all district 200 Public and Parochial Schools and buses will start 2 hours late on Tuesday morning, January 17th due to weather conditions. Please stay tuned to KDWA for any updates or changes if they become necessary.

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    DCSO Citizen Academy Registration Opens

    The Dakota County Sheriffs Office has announced it will host the annual Citizen Academy, taking place over six consecutive Thursdays starting on February 16th, and concluding on March 23rd. Each session will run from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on each of those Thursdays.

    The Dakota County Sheriffs Office Citizen Academy is an educational and informative program that allows citizens the opportunity to learn about the issues that face law enforcement efforts in our community. The program will provide insight into the philosophy and operations of the Dakota County Sheriffs Office. The program also helps our residents better understand police work in their community and develops stronger ties between our community and Sheriffs Office. Some of the issues that will be covered during the six weeks include; the history of the Sheriffs Office, use of force, traffic stops, laws of arrest, criminal charging process, judicial process, role of the County Attorney, SWAT Team, taser demonstration, canine demonstration, crime scene processing, internet crime, and overview of the Dakota County Jail.

    Also, using state of the art virtual reality training technology, candidates will have the opportunity to experience simulated scenarios where they must choose whether or not to exercise the use of deadly force. This is the first time the Citizen Academy has offered this type of training to its members.

    Those citizens who are interested in attending the Dakota County Sheriffs Office Citizen Academy or would like more information, please contact Captain Jim Rogers at 651-438-4751 or jim.rogers@co.dakota.mn.us by February 9th.

    All applicants will be subject to background investigation prior to being accepting into the program.

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    Prescott Fire Department Plans for Future

    Prescott Fire Department tackles several issues at the recent Prescott Fire and EMS Board meeting. They addressed issues that have been discovered with two Fire Department buildings under their jurisdiction. The Oak Grove Fire Hall has had 2 dehumidifiers installed to help with mold issues and the roof at the main Fire Hall in Prescott needs to be repaired or replaced. The board has received a bid for the roof from Johnson Construction and is waiting for a bid from Durand Builders. The Fire and EMS Association and the Prescott City Council will finalize details of the maintenance concerns when all necessary information is gathered.

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    The Prescott Fire and EMS Board has taken up the issue of fees for fire inspections of new construction. The current fee is 600 dollars and the Board is debating whether this fee is adequate or if another fee structure is needed. Ideas being considered include fees based on the value of the new building, or the possibility of not charging a fee. The board will finalize their decision at an upcoming meeting.

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    Prescott Fire Chief Tom Lytle reported to the board that due to the anticipated retirement rate in his department, the current roster of 38 people in the department should ideally be increased to 42 to 45 members to cover the expected vacancies. Chief Lytle also recommended that rolling stock be updated, including replacing the fire truck currently assigned to Station 2 in Oak Grove.

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    New Years Day Bomb Scare Update

    A New Years Day 9-1-1 call that initiated a response from the St. Paul Police bomb squad has been given a bit more of an explanation. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer provides an update.

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    An official report is expected sometime next week.

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