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    Metzen Honored With Parkway

    Longtime South Saint Paul champion, Jim Metzen was recognized at a ceremony attended by the family of the late Senator as the opening of a roadway was unveiled on Saturday morning.The one-time road to nowhere, now named Metzen Parkway, will lead visitors across the railroad tracks to amenities along the river, once known as Port Crosby, an 83 acres construction landfill that is now Kaposia Landing, outfitted with 5 ball diamonds, a concession and maintenence building and an off leash dog park , a project more than 20 years in the making. Dignitaries included State Representative Rick Hansen, who was a collegue of Senator Metzen for many years

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    Others on hand included former South St. Paul Mayor Beth Baumann who told the crowd about the kind of support necessary to make the project a reality. I also asked Baumann what Metzen would think of the honor.

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    Curious Contraption At Jaycee Park

    An unusual contraption has been placed in the parking lot on the west side of Jaycee Park. What its purpose is, was a question we were tasked to find out. Following a Monday evening visit, KDWA was able to learn that the equipment is a measuring device that will collect data for the next 10 days on how birds and bats respond to the height, lights and location of the the Hastings Bridge. The National Parks Service has allowed the placement of the spinning unit for collection of the data, which is monitored by a radar apparatus that determines how migrating and local birds view the bridge, which sits in a north-south placement, paralleling typical migration patterns. According to the operator on site, the equipment will be used at 3 twin city sites to see how flying creatures are able to navigate man made structures. Although studies continue on many types of structures, the construction footprint, height and lighting are most likely to confuse nocturnal navigators such as bats, whose echolocation sends radar blips back to them keeping them from hitting airborne objects. The operator I spoke with, also noted that wind turbines are of great concern, with moving blades that actually travel at speeds of 100 miles per hour, confusing all types of winged creatures, as they attempt to pass them safely. The National Parks service asks that visitors observe from a safe distance and not disturb the data collection equipment. We have video of the apparatus posted on the KDWA.com Facebook Page.

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    Challenge Accepted By Chief

    A case of Sweet Justice was enacted at the Dakota County Government Center on Friday, as the winner of the Hastings Family Service Food Fight ended with a pie in the face for Hastings Chief of Police Bryan Schafer. Schafer was the winner, meaning he garnered more donations than Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie during the March Foodshelf Campaign held to restock area Food Shelves. Squashing Hunger.was the goal and donations of cash and foodstuffs made in Schafers name will help families through the summer when students are away from school breakfast and lunch programs and relying on help to provide those meals. Sheriff Leslie noted that this year's pie was a plate of whipped cream instead of last year's partially frozen cream pie that resulted in a minor injury to his nose in the process. The chief's whipped cream pie was specially hand delivered as seen in a video we have posted on the KDWA facebook page.

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    5th Grade Orientation At HMS

    Register for 2017/18 School Year-Parents of students who will be entering 5th grade this fall should plan to attend the Orientation meeting held at Hastings Middle School on Monday night, April 24th. The hourlong session will be held in the Auditorium from 6-7 pm. Adminstration will be on hand to provide information and also to answer questions as well as providing a welcome for those new to the district.

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    Dakota County Jail Log

    The Dakota County Jail reports that on April 21st, Cody Randell Brown, 24, of Hastings was booked in on a felony check forgery charge. The County Sheriff brought Brown in at 3:39 in the morning and charges are still being processed. Hastings Police detained Alonzo Chester Hill just before 3:30 in the morning of April 21st on a charge of misdemeanor theft. Hill is listed as being 48 years old, with no permanent address. Rosemount Police arrested 35-year-old Chicago,IL resident Ferit Kut on a felony charge of harassment. Kut was detained on the 20th of April and booked into jail at 5:20 PM. The charges against Kut are still pending. And, on the 20th, Lakeville Police booked 24-year-old Rosemount resident Joseph Patrick Rowley into the jail on felony charges of theft and probation violation.

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    City Water Restrictions

    The city of Hastings has an irrigation ordinance that is in effect from May 15th through September 1st. Properties with odd numbered addresses may water on odd-numbered days with properties ending in even numbers, to water on alternate days.Violators are subject to a fine. An exemption can be obtained for a one-week exemption for new sod or seeded turf establishment. Residents must, however, contact the Public Works Department to inform them of the need. Water usage in the city of Hastings nearly triples from winter to summer months and the six wells that serve the 23,000 residents and hundreds of businesses produce nearly 3 million gallons each day just to keep up with irrigation demand. If you have questions about watering ordinances, contact the Public Works department at 651-480-6185.

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    Prescott Hosts Intergovernmental Meeting

    The City of Prescott, the Townships of Clifton, Oak Grove, and Diamond Bluff and the School District of Prescott will hold and Intergovernmental Meeting on Wednesday, April 26th at Prescott City Hall. Representatives will gather to discuss fire station roof and building repairs and who should be responsible to assume the costs, the cost of building permits for new construction and consistency across the municipalities, and other items of mutual interest. There will also be a general update from the School District, City and Townships. The meeting is at 7 PM at the Prescott Municipal Building, 800 Borner Street, in Prescott.

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    Troop Thanks Hastings Council

    The Hastings City Council meeting of April 17th opened with a presentation from the Tennis Sanitation Green Team to Hastings Boy Scout Troop 503 for the troops efforts in promoting community recycling. Troop Senior Patrol Leader John Kennedy.

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    Troop 503 meets at Our Saviours Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hastings.

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    Pie Planted For Good Cause

    During the March Foodshare Month ,in an effort to benefit 360 Communities and the Hastings Family Service Food Shelf, Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie invited Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer to join him for a pie in the face challenge. The winner of the challenge would receive a pie in the face. Sheriff Leslie reported that Chief Schafer and the Hastings Police Department did indeed win the challenge and he will receive his pie compliments of Sheriff Leslie at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, April 21st, at the Dakota County Sheriffs Office, Jail Training Room. The community is welcome to witness the event.

    In addition to that challenge, jail staff conducted one of their own. Correctional Sergeant Oppong was the winner and will also receive her pie in the face on the 21st. The real winners of the challenge, Leslie noted, are Hastings Family Service Food Shelf, who received 151 pounds of food and $1,574 in cash donations, and 360 Communities with 888 pounds of food and $380 in cash. Sheriff Leslie thank all who supported the efforts of these very worthy charities through this challenge.

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    Defense Planned To Save Ash Trees

    The Hastings City Council approved a plan as a proactive response to future losses of Ash trees created by the Emerald Ash Borer. EAB was found in Hastings in 2016 and City Forester Paul Mahoney along with the members of the Parks and Recreation Committee have recommended a program that will use a treatment rotation plan to preserve the 500 desirable ash trees inventoried within the city owned parks and other public spaces. The program, involving an insecticide regimen, will treat one-third of the trees, which is 167 times the cost of just over 50 dollars per tree for a total annual cost of 8,400 dollars per year. The rotation of treating the trees every third year controls the cost for the city and still provides an efficacy rate according to arboriculture experts on EAB control. Equipment will need to be purchased to drill sites for the injection of the insecticide and arbor plugs to seal the injection holes. Part of the request for the addition to the budget will be in reforestation efforts when a tree does not respond to the treatment or is lost to other causes. The program is slated to last 10 years, for a total cost of just over 84 thousand dollars.

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    DCTCToHonorBest

    The DCTC Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Outstanding Alumni, Advocacy, Instructor of the Year and Spirit of DCTC awards. This year's Outstanding Alumni Award will be presented to Diane Frandrup the current Registration Coordinator at DCTC. Diane is a 1985 Graduate of the DCTC Supervisory Management and Accounting programs. Diane has more than 30 years of work experience at the college. Paul Anderson will receive the DCTC Advocay Award. Anderson has worked in the transportation industry for 45 years-38 of those at Ziegler, Inc. Most recently in human resources, Paul serves as the companys technical recruiter in Bloomington, Minnesota. In this position, he brings the latest technologies to the classroom and personally sources DCTC interns into the Ziegler workforce, giving the students real-world experience while cultivating their professional network and fostering their confidence on the job site. Renee LeMieux is the DCTC 2017 Instructor of the Year. Recipients of this award are selected based on their celebration of education and their great work. Renee began teaching at Dakota County Technical College in September 2012. Her current course load includes Adult Health Nursing I and II, Maternal and Child Health, and clinicals. The late Jason Schatzlein will be recognized for leaving a tremendously positive impact on the DCTC community. Jason was a native of Lakeville and graduated from Lakeville North High School in 1998. He worked at DCTC eight plus years and during that tenure built strong, lasting connections with staff, faculty and administrators. In recent years, Jason enrolled at Inver Hills Community College, giving serious consideration to a teaching career. He exemplified the typical DCTC student as a 30-something individual, already employed, seeking to further his career while juggling personal, academic and work-related responsibilities. Each will be honored for their dedication to DCTC at the True Blue Gala, April 27, 2017, at Bracketts Crossing Country Club in Lakeville, Minnesota.

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    ALICE Training Continues

    On last week's Tim Collins Show, the Superintendent reacted to the training that students in Hastings Middle School took part in that was a continuation of the ALICE Training program.

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    The training was completed in the High School before and after the Christmas holiday break and age appropriate training will also be given in the elementary buildings as well.

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    Budget Concerns Priority For District

    The cost of everything necessary to educate students in a school district must be factored into the budget. Superintendent Tim Collins explains how the cost of keeping up with technology is especially challenging. One of the issues is how to prioritize the schedule of updates when it comes to that technology. He posed the question of how often computers need to be upgraded to stay relevent:, every 5 years, every 7 years?

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    Those questions will be addressed by the school board as they deal with declining funding and rising costs in shaving 2. 5 million from the budgets in the next 2 school years.

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    On the most recent edition of the Tim Collins show, the Distict 200 Superintendent announced the opportunity for the community to attend the presentation for the budget cuts that will take effect next fall. Collins explains what to expect.

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    The meeting will take place at the District Office, located on the East Entrance of the Hastings Middle School.

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    Shooting Suspect In Pierce County Chase

    Suspect Captured- A search that began in Goodhue County, ended with a high speed chase across the river in Pierce County, Wisconsin, where the 26 year old man suspected of shooting D'Angelo Masterjohn was finally taken into custody. Charles Deonta Jones has now been charged with 2 counts of second-degree murder, one count of third degree murder and 2 counts of second degree manslaughter in the Tuesday morning shooting that left Masterjohn dying on a Red Wing street. Police in Pierce county attempted to stop Jones for driving through a stop sign at the intersection of Hwy 35 and 63. The vehicle driven by Jones attempted to outrun the squad reaching a spead of nearly 115 miles per hour. The car then went into a ditch at 750th Street near Ellsworth, barely missing a home as he drove thru the yard. Jones then bailed out of the car and ran into wooded property after brandishing a pistol. He did surrender to authorities and is in custody at the Pierce County Jail in Ellsworth. A search of the wooded area reavealed a loaded 9 millimeter handgun.

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    Transportation Priority For Council

    Transportation is a priority identified by the Hastings City Council during its recent strategic retreat held at the Le Duc. Major areas of the transportation priority deal with equity and financing of the current infrastructure, connection to the Twin Cities with a focus on potential service provider partnerships, such as the MN Valley Transportation Authority, and public transportation within the confines of Hastings. The Council understands that approximately 60 percent of the residents of Hastings travel out of Hastings for work. One idea was to consider the option of using business development in town to possibly create what they term a reverse transportation environment by importing people for newly created jobs. The Council also discussed the option of joining a transit taxing district. The Council plans to investigate a district taxing and financing model to help make the best decision. One of the concerns of the council is to not let solutions to be blown out of proportion and to consider simpler options. Stay tuned to KDWA News for more about the Strategic Planning Retreat.

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    Winning Warren Combination

    As we reported last week, the baton has been passed from one Warren to another with the decision by the District 200 committee to name Luke Warren to step into his father's position as HS Vocal Music teacher and also as the director of the varsity showchoir group Riverside Company. Besides the excitement and pride voiced by the Warrens on the choice, Lin also shared some history of why the method taught at HHS is the perfect fit for both director and the existing program.

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    In our next newscast, Warren explains that the joy will be tempered with some pain as tough choices will be made in the district with budget cuts a part of the future.

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    With the transition in place to have Luke Warren become a Vocal Music Teacher at Hastings High School, Superintendent Tim Collins noted that Lin Warren, completing 33 years in that position, has been responsible for leading much more than just a music program.

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    United Way Of Hastings Food 4 Kids

    The organizers from the United Way of Hastings are putting out a request for some kid friendly food they will add to the Food 4 Kids program. Food 4 Kids provides weekend food bags to over 75 Hastings students each week. There are still 7 weeks of school left, but supplies are running out. More than 500 bags will be needed before the end of the school year, to make sure food insecure Hastings students can continue to come to school bolstered by good nutrition being a part of their weekend. Most needed items include- Individual oatmeal packets, Individual Mac & Cheese, Ravioli, Spaghettios and similar pasta items, Granola/cereal bars, Individual cereal containers,and Soups and Chili. Food donations may be dropped off at the United Way of Hastings offices,119 2nd St W, Hastings any time between 8 am and 4 pm M-F. Or call, 651-438-3337.

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    Pierce County Fire Calls 100

    On the Saturday before Easter, the Ellsworth Fire Department was called to River City Metals located on State Rd 35 in Diamond Bluff Township for a structure fire. The blaze involved 2 pole-shed type buildings that were built together in a T-type manner. These buildings were estimated to be approximately 40 feet x 80 feet and 70 feet x 120 feet and contained scrap type work and engine tear down work. According to the report, the magnitude of the fire caused the Ellsworth Fire to initiate the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) for the first time in Pierce County. This system brought several additional departments to the scene and an additional two departments to the Ellsworth Fire North Station for coverage. Because of the proximity to the highway and heavy smoke, STH 35 was closed for approximately two hours. A total of thirteen tenders shuttled water from three fill stations where an estimated 130,000 gallons of water were used. On scene were a total of one hundred firefighters who responded, forty five of which were from the Ellsworth Fire Department. One unnamed firefighter was transported to Mayo Red Wing Hospital where he was treated and released. Departments were on scene throughout the afternoon, with crews clearing the scene just after 5 PM. The Ellsworth Fire Department was assisted on scene by Red Wing , Prescott ,River Falls , United , Roberts , Hudson , Spring Valley, Elmwood , Plum City and Lund Fire Departments, the Ellsworth and River Falls EMS Departments, the Pierce County Sheriffs Office, Pierce County Highway Dept. and Wisconsin State Patrol. No estimate has been received on the damage caused by the fire and the State FireMarshall has not released the official origin of the blaze.

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    Strategic Retreat Outlines City Council Goals

    KDWA News has received a copy of the report from the recent City Council Strategic Retreat held at the Le Duc Historic Estate. The Mayor and the City Council met March 10th and 11th with the stated purposes of building and understanding and establishing common ground among the council members, and gather meaningful input and updates on the Citys strategic plan. During the first session of the weekend Council members shared what they found most distinctive and important about Hastings, and the areas each member was most passionate about in their role on the Council. Some of Hastings distinctives were a welcoming community, a comfortable and safe place with a home town feel with many ways to be involved. Council members felt most passionate about engaging their constituencies, promoting livability in Hastings and the community image and development of the community and the economics.

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    The Mayor and City Council also spent time during their recent Strategic Retreat to discuss Hastings Core Values in the context of what they look like or should look like. The values were defined as Communication, Optimal Service, Respect and Enthusiasm. According to a session report, the Council will strive to combat misperceptions about the city government and be clear and unified in communicating their priorities with a transparent and open process and a quick response to community concerns. The council also stated a desire to be where the people are, actively listening and assessing the Council role in any given situation with the aim of being immediate and direct. The Council hopes to foster a sense of genuine enthusiasm for Hastings, both in the City Government and the general populace. More of the Councils Strategic Retreat in later newscasts.

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    During the recent strategic retreat held at the LeDuc historic Estate, the Hastings Mayor and City Council identified and ranked priorities for the next few years. Topping the list was economic resilience, followed by community image, sustainability, transportation, the Vermillion Street Corridor, and school system coordination. Each of the priorities was discussed in-depth, and the council brought forward issues and ideas relating to each of the priorities. KDWA News will breakdown the issues and ideas for each priority in future news broadcasts.

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    HPD Chief Schaffer Sunday Search

    Official response to the KDWA Newsroom from Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schaffer as he addresses some community questions on law enforcement activity that took place Sunday evening, April 16th. Chief Schaffer recaps the search taking place in the western part of Hastings around 9:30 PM.

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    We also asked the Chief about community speculation that ranged from the sighting or rumor of a rifle or other weapon involved with the search.

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    We'll continue our coverage in the next newscast and ask anyone who observed the incident to contact KDWA Radio News with their firsthand recounting the the event. You can reach the newsroom at 651-437-1460.

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    Empty Bowls Event Big Success

    A wonderful turnout Wednesday evening for the Empty Bowls fundraiser that paired local talent with generous supporters who purchased handcrafted bowls in support of the Heiffer International sponsorship program. The annual event was held at the Hastings High School with nearly 300 unique containers provided as a result of work completed by students in Bert Casperson's art class. Each purchase added to the donation that will enable families to be given livestock to help them become self sustaining. The program funds flocks of egg laying chickens, milk producing goats and fiber supplying alpacas, for an empoverished family across the globe. Although the total raised has not yet been released, the tables filled with carefully crafted earthenware cleared quickly signifying another successful event. We will connect with Casperson next week for his review of the event. You can find a photo provided to KDWA by Denny Beck, on the KDWA.com webpage.

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    Last Minute Tax Filing Tips

    The traditional deadline of April 15th as Tax Filing day is extended this year to the following Monday, April 18th and for nearly 40 million taxpayers yet to file their returns, some last minute suggestions to get yours mailed before the post offices close that day. According to the IRS tax help line, those of you who are last-minute filers may need information on free e-file options or in filing an extension. Extensions do have one important stipulation, however, that if taxes are due, they must be paid before the deadline, even if paperwork is not completed. Payment received after the midnight postmark, is subject to penalty. Phone lines will be open on Saturday from 9 until 5 to help answer questions regarding forms, receipts, and other documents required in federal and state filing. Online resources include downloads of commonly asked questions, forms and schedules. IRS.gov is the central website that has links to most requested information. For those filing locally, the Hastings Post office lobby closes at 5 PM on Monday and postage must be purchased prior to that time to get that important letter into the last posting of the day. The IRS reports that the average refund returned is in the amount of $2,851.

       

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    Hicks Sentence Closes Case

    The conclusion came Monday, April 10th, for a murder case that began in 2015. The result was reached with the sentencing by Judge Joe Boles,of the second person involved in the death of Douglas Bailey of Prescott. Clarence Hicks, was involved in a relationship with the woman accused of killing Bailey, with whom she shared a home in rural Prescott. Rose Marie Kuehni received an acquittal by jury in late 2016, in the first-degree intentional homicide trial after presenting a case of what she said were years of abuse at the hands of Bailey, the act of shooting him , one of self-defense. She was convicted of the lesser offense of hiding a corpse. Hicks, who lived in Kentucky at the time of the killing, received 3 years in prison and seven years on extended supervision for his part in transporting a box that held Bailey's body, given to him by Kuehni, which was then dumped into a steep ravine along a southern highway. Hicks invoked the 5th ammendment against self incrimination during the Kuehni trial, declining to make a deal at that time, even though his testimony could affect the outcome of that trial. His conviction falls under an agreement known as an Alford plea, which admits no-contest, but not guilt. The Pierce County Assistant District Attorney Rory O'Sullivan cited evidence including text message that appeared on Hick's phone the day before Bailey died, that if the opportunity comes this weekend, I might take it. Sullivan also noted that Hicks received a more severe sentence that Kuehni but that O'Sullivan disputes his assertions that he was unaware of what the box given to him by Kuehni contained, stating there is no way that Mr. Hicks didn't know what was in that box, and if he didn't, he should have.

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    Hastings Fire Displaces Family

    On Wednesday morning, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the Hastings Fire Department responded to a house fire at 2038 Ashland Street. Chief Mike Schutt states that the four occupants, parents and 2 children were evacuated safely prior to unit arrival. Heavy fire was visible on the rear of the structure on both the exterior and interior of the home, along with fire in the attic traveling both north and south. An offensive interior attack was performed while crews laddered the roof and vented the attic area and assisted in working to extinguish the fire. The firefighters did a fantastic job of quickly bringing the fire under control and keeping it from spreading further. During the firefighting operations, a hose line kicked while a firefighter was working on a ground ladder. The kick caused the firefighter to lose his balance and fall approx. 5 feet. Fortunately, the firefighter was not injured.     During the fire, the overhead electrical power lines leading to the residence shorted out, creating a large volume of arcing that lasted for approx. 20 seconds. In the aftermath, Chief Schutt noted that while the structure sustained major damage, he does believe it is repairable. Damage is estimated at approximately $125,000 to $150,000. The fire began in a planter on the deck outside the home and that the cause of the blaze was unintentional discarded smoking material.   

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    DNR Needs License Fee Increase

    As part of the Minnesota Legislative session, Governor Dayton has stated his support for an increase of license fees for fishing and hunting .Politicians in both House and Senate this term, however, have remained quiet on any movement to act on the proposed legislation. According to John Lenczewski, executive director of Minnesota Trout Unlimited, staff or fish stocking programs will need to be cut unless revenue can balance a budget that is currently under funded by 3 million dollars each year. License fees are the main source of funding for the DNR's Game and Fish Fund. Under the proposed increases, the cost for a deer hunting license, currently $30 would increase to $34 with an annual Minnesota resident fishing license raised from 22 to 25 dollars. Other licenses would be affected at a similar percentage to continue current programs that support fish and game preservation. Without the increase, the DNR expects that between 50 and 60 jobs would need to be eliminated to meet the budget, as well as necessary reductions in grant-in-aid programs to local snowmobile and TV clubs as well as water access, fishing pier and water trail maintenance currently done by the Parks and Trails Division. License Fees have been raised, historically, on a 6 to 10 year cycle to meet the projections of usage. The Minnesota Fishing opener is held this year on May 13th.

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    Prescott Town Hall With Senator Baldwin

    Wisconsin US Senator Tammy Baldwin held a town hall meeting at Prescott High School on Wednesday. High school students and approximately 30 community members attended the meeting. Covering a wide range of topics including Syria, climate change and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Senator Baldwin spent an hour and a half answering questions from those in attendance. She advocated for citizens to be involved at grass roots levels regarding effecting change to legislation about topics such as federal government shortfalls of promised funding to special education needs, overturning Citizens United, and issues regarding natural resource management. She also discussed her efforts on various committees in the Senate to deal with the issues the citizens brought to the meeting. There was a brief outburst from an audience member regarding Syria. The person was convinced to calm down and was not removed from the meeting. Efforts by KDWA News to obtain an interview with the Senator either before or after the town hall meeting were denied. KDWA news will, however, provide more of our first hand report from the town hall meeting on tomorrow's newscast.

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    Western Refinery Leak Contained

    A situation reported by the Washington County Sheriff's department involved five workers at the Western Refining plant in St. Paul Park. The incident, which took place Saturday afternoon, April 8th, resulted in exposure to hydrofluoric acid, causing breathing problems and some skin irritation for those involved. The compound is used in the conversion process in the refinement of oil and gas to produce a high octane gasoline component. Emergency responders continued medical treatment and decontamination procedures started by employees at the site. According to a plant spokesperson, contrators were doing maintenance at the site prior to the leak. An investigation of the cause is still underway. All workers were treated and released following the event. Effects of expose may involve respiratory irritation and burning and is also irritating to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. The corrosive nature may also cause destruction of deep tissues when fluoride ions penetrate the skin.

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    CG Park Thespians Advance To Festival

    According to information received by Activities Director from Park High School, Members of Park High School Thespian Troupe #6136 have qualified for the International Thespian Festival that will take place in Lincoln, Nebraska June 19th through the 24th. Parks one-act play Come Back received a starred performance which is the highest rating possible at this years MSHSL one-act festival, and the entire cast and crew was selected as the MN Chapter Select at the Festival, which means they will now represent high school theater for the entire state of Minnesota. Additionally, students qualified for performances and presentations to compete at the National Individual Events Showcase. Student-actors and directors involved include Denise Atkinson, Emily Ball, and Tracy Caponigri. A gofundme campaign is now underway to help support the students by defraying some of the costs involved with sending them to the Festival.

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    Prescott Students Welcome Senator Johnson

    US SenatorRon Johnson, spent time with the students of Prescott High School on Tuesday, April 11th. After the Q and A session with the students, the Wisconsin Senator spoke to KDWA News about his vision for Wisconsin and America in Washington, D.C.

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    More with Senator Johnson in upcoming news broadcasts.

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    Dakota Communications Center Stats

    Some statistics were released by Executive Director Tom Folie from the Dakota Communications Center this week citing a look at the past month of service by dispatchers contacted during the period. According to the numbers, there were 23,145 calls received and a total of 24,711 CAD events. It was reported that call pickup times were short of the standard with 76% picked up within 7 seconds, and 86% within 10 seconds.The standard of 95% of incoming emergency calls picked up within 20 seconds was exceeded at 96%.

    Fire call processing showed improvement overall in March. Eighty percent of Structure Fire calls were processed within 64 seconds with 100% of Structure Fire calls processed within 106 seconds. In the category listed as All Other Fire Calls response time fell short of the standard of 90% with 84% processed within 64 seconds but did meet the 106 second standard with 95% processed within that time.

    All Law call processing times for the Dakota Communications Center met the standard with an average creation time of less than 55 seconds. In Hastings, March responses totaled 1,469 law enforcement responses and 248 Fire or EMS calls. In comparison, nearby Rosemount requested 1,200 Law Enforcement calls and just 54 Fire EMS requests.

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    In Depth Program Previews

    On Tuesday ,April 11th In Depth programs we welcome back an old friend from Oak Ridge Manor, Al Risberg brings us up to speed on Springtime with the busy residents as well as an invitation to explore the next Story Weavers Toastmasters club meeting. Then we discuss the 2017 allocation award list with Executive Director of United Way of Hastings , Mari Mellick. She invited new board member, Stoddard Crane to join the conversation and we find out why he believes everyone wants to be able to help others. OUr third In Depth Program has updates and an invitation from District 917 representatives Chef Patty Labeau and instructor Paul Landwehr who hope listeners will attend the Open House that will take place at DCTC on may 9th from 3:30 to 6:30pm. You'll find out more on Community InDepth.

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    Wednesday, April 12th on Community In Depth, the Minnesota legislature is on break, but that meant Representative Tony Jurgens and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt could visit our studio to discuss several items that will be on their agenda when they return after Easter. We also spend more time in the Garden with Char Schaar who explains how to get growing this early spring. Our third Program on Wednesday finds out about a very special campaign just debuted by the United Way of Hastings. Executive Director Mari Mellick explains the meaning of the Power of the Pig. This and so much more Wednesday, on KDWA Radio.

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    Prescott Police Call Logs

    Prescott Police officer Bryan Massman provided KDWA news with his weekly update on the Prescott Police Departments calls.

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    More of Officer Massmans update in our next broadcast.

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    Officer Massman continues his update.

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    Officer Bryan Massman concludes his update of activities and calls to the department for last week.

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    Pierce County Lodging In Holding Pattern

    Large scale lodging, a topic of much discussion by at least two communities on the east side of the St. Croix, has taken at least one project off the table. While hopes still exist in Prescott to interest a major chain to build there, in Ellsworth, their village board has been in discussions with the corporate representatives of AmericInn Hotels, hoping to bring a franchise to their city. Initial talks began nearly 2 years ago, with the terms of investment in the hands of the community which would need to raise 1.3 million to begin the process coupled with 2.4 million to complete the financing. The plan called for building near the Ellsworth Shopko. The board voted again on April 3rd to discontinue further discussions, citing insufficient returns on their investment begin projected. In Prescott, a pattern of hurry up and wait is currently in the wait mode with the Vista Croix property, not yet ready to break ground and talks with at least two lodging entities providing no progress.

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    United Way of Hastings Announces Allocations

    In Tuesday's In Depth program, I spoke with Executive Director of the United Way of Hastings Mari Mellick and new board member Stoddard Crane. The annual allocation disbursements have been announced with 70,000 dollars carefully divided amogst 20 local organizations and programs. Mellick explains the procedure.

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    Stoddard Crane has served on other United Way boards, but became connected with his new position in Hastings by the selection process.

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    The complete list of those to receive funding this year is listed below:

    360 Communities -Lewis House /Domestic abuse shelter

    Partners for Success - Bridges school and home

    Black Dirt Theater -Inter-generational curriculum development

    Boy Scouts, Northern Star Council -Scouting activities and mentoring

    DARTS /Older adult home services

    Friends of the Mississippi River /Stewardship of Mississippi River banks with youth and adults

    Hastings Community Education /Disability Program and Special needs adult work program

    Early childhood scholarships through Hastings Family Service

    Food shelf and summer lunch program

    Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council (HPAAC) /Child and youth scholarships

    Hastings Schools

    High School Field Biology - Environmental stewardship with youth and adults

    High School & Middle School Special Friends - Special needs youth work program

    Middle School OASIS - Youth after school program

    Middle School Positive Behavior - Reinforcement of positive behavior

    Middle School Summer Wedge - Summer youth program

    Hastings Senior Center /Older adult transportation and social interaction

    Legal Assistance of Dakota County /Family legal assistance

    Lifeworks /Vocational, educational and enrichment activities for people with disabilities

    ProAct /Job training, employment, life-skills and enrichment for youth and adults with disabilities

    True Friends/ Camp and respite care for families and children with disabilities

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    Senator Johnson Visits PHS

    US Senator for Wisconsin Ron Johnson will be paying a visit to Prescott High School on Tuesday, April 11th, at 2:30. Senator Johnson plans to meet with students, especially those involved in social studies. Prescott High School social studies teacher Jeff Ryan states that he is extremely excited for this opportunity for students to meet and greet with the US Senator. Ryan has been sending invitations to lawmakers for the past 28 years, and Senator Johnson is the third government official to accept the invitation, following Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl.

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    Hastings Highway Spared Speed Increase

    KDWA received a call from the House Floor late Thursday, Representative Tony Jurgens annouced an agreement has been reached with Mn DOT that involves a reversal in the proposed speed limit increase for a portion of Highway 316 in South Hastings, which has been a topic of several months of discussions among residents, the City and Representative Jurgens.

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    Jurgens also provided some background and details

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    Our Saviours Contests Assessments

    The Hastings City Council held a public hearing regarding special assessments for properties in the areas of Ward 2 that are scheduled for street improvements during 2017. David Warg, Church Council President for Our Saviours Evangelical Lutheran Church presented concerns held by the membership of the church regarding the amount of the assessment projected for the church.

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    City Attorney Dan Fluegel explained the initial step to file an objection.

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    Mayor Hicks encouraged Mr. Warg to file the written statement of intent in order to preserve the churchs rights for objection. Hastings City Engineer Ryan Stempski clarified the amount was actually 25,000 dollars, at $12,500 per lot in question. KDWA News will bring updates on this story as they become available.

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    Rivertown Media Restructure Costs Editors

    Changes reported by longtime employees of the Hastings Star Gazette. In an email received by Katrina Styx, the most recent editor of the paper, she revealed that she was informed that due to budgetary restrictions and restructuring the community editor positions across River Town Multimedia's newspapers have been eliminated. Styx took over for Chad Richardson in May. Richardson, who had served as longtime Gazette Editor, was moved into a regional position at that time. KDWA News also contacted Richardson and received the statement that he had resigned from River Town Multimedia at the end of March. News items, according to Styx will now be covered by reporter Michelle Wirth with editorial decisions now being made by Scott Wente.

    A call placed to Rivertown Multimedia Group publisher Steve Gall was not returned.

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    Senator Schoen Disappointed At Bill Cuts

    A recent reaction From Senator Dan Schoen to the Education bill passed Tuesday in the Minnesota Senate reflected his disappointment in the outcome which included a 900 million dollar tax bill which included 35 million in tax breaks sending public dollars to private schools. He feels the money should be used to fund public schools so they may avoid cuts in staffing, supplies and services without increasing property taxes. He also commented on the tax relief for businesses at the expense of Minnesota homeowners. The 18 percent reduction for business property compares to the .4 percent reduction for homeowners. The Senator cites a figure of nearly 50 percent of the business relief benefitting out of state building owners with 1.2 billion in lost tax revenue facing the state in the next 10 years.

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    Senator Dan Schoen also commented on the results of other bills passed by the Minnesota legislature this session. A debate on the health and human services finance bill resulted in disagreement from Schoen on the cuts made by Senate Republicans. In a statement received Wednesday, Senator Schoen criticized the 335 million dollar reduction in the health and human services bill that he says is fiscally irresponsible. He states the cuts are not just unnessary, but also unsafe, making cuts to direct care and treatment and using one-time money for ongoing programs that shift payments out into the future, putting those budgets in jeopardy. He also stated opposition to Education bills and property tax relief for Business.

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    Photo Provided by Minnesota Senate files

       

    Chemical Effects Examined by MDH

    The Minnesota Department of Health provided KDWA News with information regarding effects of TCE and PCE, or PERC, two soil contaminants found in the City of Hampton. Department of Health Information Officer Doug Schultz explains the risk with TCE.

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    Schultz also explains the health risks associated with perchloroethylyne commonly called PERC, one of two soil contaminants being tracked.

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    The PCA is taking samples in an effort to determine the source of the contaminants.

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    Highway Closure For Bridge ReDo

    A road closure that began April 3rd, will impact those traveling between Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College daily; The Highway 52 bridge over County Road 42 will be replaced causing the road under the bridge to be closed. Work will first address the ramps to provide access while the bridge is being replaced. The ramps will still be accessible, however, it will not be possible to turn left at the bottom of that ramp. Anyone who typically travels north on 52 then west on cty road 42 to Rosemount, Farmington and the Dakota County Technical college, will also be impacted.The city of Rosemount will use the construction time to install a new watermain. The project slated to last thru November with the bridge replacement expected to cost $8.3 million dollars. (Photo-MnDOT)

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    WESTconsin CU Teaches Saving

    Learning to save for what you want in life is a crucial life skill, but it is one too few young people are learning. That is why for financially literacy month in April, WESTconsin Credit Union will focus on helping young people develop good saving habits. A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey found that 72percent of parents experienced at least some reluctance to talk to their kids about financial matters, and 18 percent were either very or extremely reluctant. The most common reasons given were that the parents did not want them to worry about financial matters or thought they were too young to understand. But on his blog, the personal-finance guru and radio host Dave Ramsey encourages parents to be more open with their kids about money, even their failures. Parents biggest regrets are often not saving enough or going into too much debt, wrote Ramsey. He stated being honest about that in an age-appropriate way can be a powerful lesson. WESTconsin offices are celebrating Youth Month by hosting several on-site and off-site financial literacy activities within each community. Families are encouraged to stop by their local WESTconsin office during Youth Month Focus Week, April 17-22, for games and learning activities. Youth who bring in a deposit during the month of April will receive a school kit. Visit westconsincu.org for complete details and valuable online resources.

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    April Autism Awareness Month

    April is National Autism Awareness Month, and a growing library of resources are available to support families new to the diagnosis of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, or those who are looking for teaching methods or therapy regimens that will help their child navigate the challenges successfully. From early interventions to educational choices, communities are unfortunately too familiar with a statistic that lists as many as 1 in 68 children affected by Autism. The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with ASD is currently 5 to 1, with affected caucasian and Somali children outpacing diagnosis of Black or Latino children. The spectrum is just that, a wide variety of issues that may affect how a child learns, behaves, or processes that often interferes with social milestones or expectations. Minnesota is well known for educational opportunities that begin with early diagnosis and continues thanks to dedicated professionals who use an everchanging toolbox to address the complex issues that each child needs to learn. This month serves to acknowledge the work done by educators and professionals that contribute to the the continued progress made by children on the spectrum and their families who support them.

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    St Philips To Celebrate 50th

    St. Philips Lutheran Church in Hastings continues to plan its 50th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled for the weekend of April 29th and 30th. A casual fellowship gathering on the 29th happens from 7 to 10 PM. The Jolly Huntsmen will provide live music and there will be a bonfire with singing, smores, refreshments and popcorn, weather permitting. Plenty of visual history will be displayed throughout the church building. On Sunday the 30th, Bishop Patricia Lull of the St. Paul Area Synod will provide the preaching for the service, with former pastors being invited to attend and Pastor Gregory Geier presiding. A complimentary dinner, including gluten-free menu options will follow the service. The church does ask for registration for the dinner by email to mlegreid1025@comcast.net no later than April 20th. St. Philips Lutheran Church is located at 1401 W 15th Street, in Hastings.

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    Springtime Burning Restrictions Begin

    With warm temperatures, little to no snow and dry vegetation, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources started spring burning restrictions in parts of the state on March 31st. As conditions for wildfires increase, exposed dead grass and brush can light easily and burn quickly, especially in windy conditions. During spring restrictions, the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste. Debris burning is especially dangerous in April and May when most wildfires occur in Minnesota. Residents are encouraged to use alternatives to burning such as composting or hauling brush to a collection site. To find burning restrictions for different areas, go to mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions or call a local DNR Forestry office. Fire conditions may change quickly. So, be sure to check before burning. When issued a burning permit, calls must be made to local fire departments to provide them with the notice of the hours and location you will be burning.

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    Hampton Soil Tested By PCA

    More information has come to light regarding a story reported by KDWA News. The MN PCA will be conducting soil testing in June in Hampton to determine the source of soil contamination first discovered in 2012 during street reconstruction in Hampton. PCA Hydrologist Sondra Campbell.

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    The PCA is testing for levels of perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which are defined as chlorinated compounds and not a toxic gas.

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    The tests are being financed through grants received to determine the source of the contamination. In upcoming news broadcasts KDWA will discuss the health risks associated with PCE and TCE.

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    ArtSpaceSelectionCommitteeForming

    According to project manager Erika Dani, the Artist Selection committee that will view applications submitted for apartment space in the ArtSpace Hastings River Lofts is now forming. Through the several community information sessions held in recent months, a growing list of potential residents has been accumulated. Artists who have applied, submitted eligibility information then are interviewed through a panel of selected people who will be trained in Fair Housing practices before providing their recommendations on just who will live in the 37 units that will be available. Dani notes that the definition of Artist is very broad and that the committee will use several criteria to provide their suggestions on who makes the cut. Several rounds of interviews will take place, with the projection that the lofts will be ready to receive tenants at the end of July.

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    Washington County Wells To Test

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect and analyze water samples from about 90 wells in Washington County this spring. Data is being collected for the Washington County Geologic Atlas, an effort involving the Minnesota Geological Survey and the DNRs Ecological and Water Resources Division. DNR staff will contact county residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well. Tests will profile the general chemical characteristics of area groundwater and will also show approximately how long the water has been underground. Geology, location, well depth and well construction will determine the selection of wells for sampling. Owners of sampled wells will receive a report of the laboratory results for the water sample collected from their well. Part A of the report has been published, with this testing being included in Part B. That publication will include maps and descriptions of the distribution and movement of groundwater, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of aquifers in the county.The DNR County Geologic Atlas program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008.

       

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    Crime Victims Recognition Week

    Washington County Attorney Pete Orput reminds citizens that every April the Office of Victims of Crime joins communities throughout the country in their annual observances of National Crime Victims Rights Week by promoting victims rights and honoring crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf. This years theme is Strength. Resilience. Justice. The Week of April 2nd through the 8th highlights the importance of multidisciplinary responses and building the capacity of individuals, service providers, and communities to respond to crime and support the ongoing healing of victims and survivors. In 2016 the Washington County Attorneys Office worked with over 1400 victims of crimes committed in the county

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    April Is Autism Awareness Month

    April is National Autism Awareness Month, and a growing library of resources are available to support families new to the diagnosis of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, or those who are looking for teaching methods or therapy regimens that will help their child navigate the challenges successfully. From early interventions to educational choices, communities are unfortunately too familiar with a statistic that lists as many as 1 in 68 children affected by Autism. The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with ASD is currently 5 to 1, with affected caucasian and Somali children outpacing diagnosis of Black or Latino children. The spectrum is just that, a wide variety of issues that may affect how a child learns, behaves, or processes that often interferes with social milestones or expectations. Minnesota is well known for educational opportunities that begin with early diagnosis and continues thanks to dedicated professionals who use an everchanging toolbox to address the complex issues that each child needs to learn. This month serves to acknowledge the work done by educators and professionals that contribute to the the continued progress made by children on the spectrum and their families who support them.

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    Prescott Resident Addresses Council

    During the Prescott City Council meeting a lengthy discussion took place during the public comments section of the evening. Resident and property owner Thomas Langenfeld addressed the council to provide his views on impending assessments that are proposed for Henry, Hampshire and Orin Road. Mr. Langenfeld disputes the charges of nearly 8,700 dollars that will be assessed for curb and gutter along four sides of the property that he owns. Citing an earlier contract with the city, taking place in 1985, he represented that an agreement prevented future charges for improvments made to the property in question.One of the issues raised by Langenfeld was the state's extension of latitude in the decisions made by municipalities, allowing them to apply regulations according to the unique needs of each community if needed.

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    Council member Daugherty countered that a deferrence made to one resident, would set that prescedence.

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    Langenfeld continued with specific examples of ordinances revised to seemingly benefit individuals.    

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    More than 60 minutes of discussion of the topics took place. The discussion continues until a final assessment total is determined. Residents may then appeal that decision.

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    Rosemount Mayor Pledges Conservation

    A national competition will use a treasure chest of valuable prizes to reduce the amount of water used by residents of cities across the country. The 6th annual Wyland National Mayors Challenge for Water Conservation begins April 1st and Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste has announced his intention to join mayors across the country to inform and inspire their residents to make long-term commitments to manage water resources more wisely. Although Droste cant guarantee locals will win one of the big prizes, that includes a new car and hundreds of other prizes, he has pledged to use his position to encourage residents to help reduce the impact made on water and sewer bills each year as well as the need for additional wells to be built as demand rises. Last year, Rosemount residents pledged steps that would conserve more than 1 million gallons of water adding to the efforts of residents from more than 4,100 cities in 50 states who pledged to reduce annual consumption of freshwater by 1.9 billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 42 million pounds, and prevent more than 87,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. To participate, residents enter online at mywaterpledge.com, and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water on behalf of Rosemount. Last year, the City ranked 34th in the population category of 5,000 to 29,999 residents.

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    Diseased Bats Confirmed In Dakota County

    Confirmed cases of a bat disease, known as white nose syndrome, has been varified in six counties in Minnesota, including Becker, Dakota, Fillmore, Goodhue and Washington. The disease is characterized by white appearing fungus that grows on the nose of infected bats. The disease is transmitted from bat to bat and there is not evidence that it can be contracted by humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife. Humans and pets can spread it, however, by transfering the spores that cause the disease on their hands, clothing or shoes if they visit caves where bats are found. The DNR asks the public to be watchful for dead bats or those who appear to be sick and to contact them to submit a Bat Observation report which can be found online at mndrn.gov/wns.

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    Washington County Well Testing

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect and analyze water samples from about 90 wells in Washington County this spring. Data is being collected for the Washington County Geologic Atlas, an effort involving the Minnesota Geological Survey and the DNRs Ecological and Water Resources Division. DNR staff will contact county residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well. Tests will profile the general chemical characteristics of area groundwater and will also show approximately how long the water has been underground. Geology, location, well depth and well construction will determine the selection of wells for sampling. Owners of sampled wells will receive a report of the laboratory results for the water sample collected from their well. Part A of the report has been published, with this testing being included in Part B. That publication will include maps and descriptions of the distribution and movement of groundwater, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of aquifers in the county.The DNR County Geologic Atlas program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008.

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    ArtSpace Selection Committee Forms

    According to project manager Erika Dani, the Artist Selection committee that will view applications submitted for apartment space in the ArtSpace Hastings River Lofts is now forming. Through the several community information sessions held in recent months, a growing list of potential residents has been accumulated. Artists who have applied, submitted eligibility information then are interviewed through a panel of selected people who will be trained in Fair Housing practices before providing their recommendations on just who will live in the 37 units that will be available. Dani notes that the definition of Artist is very broad and that the committee will use several criteria to provide their suggestions on who makes the cut. Several rounds of interviews will take place, with the projection that the lofts will be ready to receive tenants at the end of July.

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    PCA Examines Hampton Street

    The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced plans to continue an investigation started in 2012 regarding contaminated soils in Hampton. The contamination was first discovered during construction of Main Street and Lincoln Street and the source of the contamination has yet to be discovered. According to City Engineer Cory Bienfang, the current investigation by the PCA will be similar to the City's inspection of the streets several years ago when they attempted to find the source of the contamination. Bienfang noted that there are residential properties in town that could be affected by the contamination and the PCA is concerned about folks who could be living in unsafe places with aged basements and deteriorating foundations. The investigation is funded by a Dakota County grant, meaning Hampton will have not have to pay for this investigation.

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    Hastings Tastings Winners Named

    The Feast for Foodshare , Hastings Tastings, results are in. Organizers from Hastings Family service announced late Wednesday that the 22nd Annual event raised over $24,000 at their event on Tuesday night. The restaurants featured in the tastings competed for several top awards. The Best Entree went to Treasure Island Resort and Casino, the Best Appetizer went to newcomer Breakaway Arts and Cafe, Best Dessert was won by Perkins of Hastings and the People's choice for Best Overall Tasting went to the Onion Grille. Nearly 400 tasters enjoyed the best of local cuisine and Executive Director Chris Koop thanked everyone who supported the event making it possible to take advantage of Matching dollars that will increase the work they do for families in need.

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    Hastings Tastings Winners Named

    The Feast for Foodshare , Hastings Tastings, results are in. Organizers from Hastings Family service announced late Wednesday that the 22nd Annual event raised over Twenty-Four Thousand Dollars at their event on Tuesday night. The restaurants featured in the tastings competed for several top awards. The Best Entree went to Treasure Island Resort and Casino, the Best Appetizer went to newcomer Breakaway Arts and Cafe, Best Dessert was won by Perkins of Hastings and the People's choice for Best Overall Tasting went to the Onion Grille. Nearly 400 tasters enjoyed the best of local cuisine and Executive Director Chris Koop thanked everyone who supported the event making it possible to take advantage of Matching dollars that will increase the work they do for families in need.

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    Lewis Bill Limits MPOs

    Minnesota Second District Congressman Jason Lewis issued a statement Wednesday after a bill co sponsored by he and Dan Lipinski of Illionois, passed the Transportation & Infrastructure committee unanimously. The bill seeks to undo an overreaching Department of Transportation DOT rule to restore local transportation planning authority to communities. Lewis stated that The power that some Metropolitan Planning Organizations MPO stood to gain over areas far outside their cities concerned both Democrats and Republicans, and he was pleased to work with colleagues to come up with this common-sense bill.

    Under the rule the Minnesota based Met Council, a MPO, could have expanded their boundaries and taxed the suburbs to help fund downtown projects. He sought to protect the ability of local decision makers to do what works for their own communities. The bill has already passed the Senate and Lewis expects it to be signed into law by the President.

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    Hudson Site Continues Dig

    More excavation updates from the site of the former Hudson Sprayer building. A standing field of approximately two dozen giant concrete pilars filled with rebar have been uncovered at the site. Some of the pillars which were footings laid on top of bedrock, supported the western edge of the building at one time. The soil remediation is progressing with clean sand expected to be filled in once all targeted soil has been removed. Contractors in charge of the project suggested that some pillars extended 15 feet or more into the earth. The area is private property and fenced for safety reasons. Authorites warn that trespassing charges will be filed against anyone venturing into the site. The dig began on March 27th and it is possible that the area will be completed in the next couple of weeks. Photos of the site are placed on our website under news.   

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