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    Deputy Sheriff Leko FBI Graduation

    The Dakota County Sheriff's Department welcomes Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Leko back following a 10 week session with the FBI National Academy. One of just 213 graduates of an internationally represented group, Chief Deputy Sheriff Leko shared his reason for attending the professional development course.

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    The program was held on the FBI campus in Quantico, Virgina and afforded Chief Deputy Leko the opportunity not only to gain new skills but a chance to create partnerships across state and national borders. He told KDWA how he was chosen.

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    Cottage Grove City Council Reversal

    In a reversal of a story we first reported on in May, the Cottage Grove City Council has removed their support of a request by Sunrise Development , which was seeking permission to install a 40-50 acre collection area near 61 Marine and Sports. Sunrise CEO Dean Leischow presented support by neighboring property owners as well as citing use of undeveloped land as plusses to the acceptance of their plan. City officials, however, determined the project is outside the established perimeter, and they are not willing to give the variance. They suggested that Sunrise amend the placement of their structure, a long low field of photovoltaic screens that will collect solar energy for transference to Xcel Energy in producing power. Other solar projects have been approved by the Council, just those falling within their set boundaries. No word on whether or not Sunrise can shift their plans or will walk away from the location.


    Social Media Responsiblity

    The recent posting of very graphic video taken from body cameras worn by Burnsville Police are becoming more commonplace in the instant reporting of news on social media platforms. On Wednesday, audio tapes were released of realtime officer response to a shooting in a South St. Paul Apartment building. From Cottage Grove, also on Wednesday, comes video shot by a civilian pulling over to record a speeding stolen car maneuver around stop sticks in the road followed by at least 5 siren activated patrol cars. All very adrenaline producing and some may say necessary to ensure transparency for public safety workers who are making split decisions facing unpredictable factors. The Chief Deputy Sheriff of Dakota County , Joe Leko, acknowledged the use of social media has changed what people know and when they know it.

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    The medium will continue to evolve and be used to inform and in some cases inflame those who view it.


    Western Dakota County Crash

    A dramatic end over end flipping of a car in western Dakota County resulted in a 21 year old Farmington woman, Brittani Alcorn, being transported by helicopter to a trauma center, while the driver, also 21, Paige Ersland of Morristown, remains in serious by stable condition following the crash. Neither was wearing a seatbelt and Ersland did not possess a valid driver's license. No alcohol or drugs were evident at the scene.The Dakota County Sheriff and Minnesota State Patrol is continuing the investigation.


    Welcome Scholarships

    St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion is thrilled to announce $500 Welcome Scholarships for all preschool and kindergarten students, as well as new students in Grades 1-6 beginning in Fall 2016. This money was provided to us through our matching grant event, fueled by the Schulze Family Foundation Fund at the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence. Contact the school office to talk with Principal Strommen to learn more: or 651-437-2644. Registration information can be found on our website at Flexible scheduling options are available including all-day preschool, before-school care, and after-school care. Our doors are open to all families, so come see our close-knit community focused on faith-based and personalized learning, preparing our students for fulfilling lives in the 21st century.

    Dakota County Leaves CTIBI

    The end came Tuesday for Dakota County in a formal succession notice that will remove them from the County Transit Investment Board. Commissioner Mike Slavik tells KDWA that the Board, comprised of 7 Metro Counties, is not delivering the return on the investment deemed necessary to continue funding transitways throughout the area. One stark comment, made during our conversation, suggested a bleak picture for connections to mass transit that would cross the bridge.

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    The financial aspect is telling as well. Tune in Tuesday for our InDepth Conversation on this recent development.


    US Supreme Court Affirms Testing

    A decision was released from the United States Supreme Court on Thursday that will have significant effect on the way law enforcement can collect evidence. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom indicates that the decision has been made that has upheld the validity of Minnesota's Criminal refusal Statute in requiring a person lawfully arrested for drunk driving to submit to a breath test. The case, Bernard v.Minnesota, was the result of a South St. Paul man's 2012 arrest and his refusal to take a breath test, saying it violated unlawful search and seizure without benefit of a warrant. Backstrom offered that 2 additional cases with similar stances, were also used to render the decision that breath tests, unlike blood tests, do not implicate significant privacy concerns.

    The ruling means that refusing to take a breath test is sufficient grounds for arrest. These tests must be administered at a police station or somewhere similar, as the on-site tests used to determine probable cause are not admissible in court. The decision does not cover a blood draw, however, for which a search warrant would be necessary first to perform that invasive testing. Attorney Backstrom states his approval of this positive step to addressing the growing effect drunk driving, on of our nations' greatest dangers to public safety. The trial will now proceed nearly four years since the charges were filed against Robert Bernard. The County Attorney also praised Assistant County Attorney Kathy Keena, who was successful in her argument before the US Supreme Court at the end of April.


    HMS Summer Jazz Camp

    The Hastings Middle School held a Jazz Band camp this week under the direction of Katy Linne with special guest and clinician Adam Meckler. Mr. Meckler spoke of the reason he loves working with young people on jazz.

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    One student, Caleb, mentioned that he had no idea who Mr. Meckler was before this expereince.

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    Trumpet player , Sidney, enjoys the summer experience and explained her summer plans and why she enjoys Jazz Band Camp.

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    Mr. Meckler's advice for these students, is to keep going no matter what the circumstance.

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    The summer program is provided to Middle School Students who want to continue playing over the summer and keep their musical skills progressing towards another successful start in the Fall.


    Questions In MNDot Road Plans

    District 1 Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik came to KDWA to discuss a topic that travelers and county residents are concerned about, the possible closing of access from190th Street to Hwy52. MnDOT has connected with rural townships and set a plan in motion that will likely affect at least 3 townships along Highway 52.

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    Slavik allows that options are limited, and there is no magic remedy that will suit all, but funding or lack of it, leaves few choices.

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    Listen on Tuesday for the complete discussion, on Community InDepth.


    Grey Cloud Island Bridge

    The Mississippi River is a national treasure and there is plenty of interest in making more of it accessible with development such as roads and bridges. The South Washington Watershed District has agreed to invest nearly 2 million dollars in a project that would build a bridge on Grey Cloud Island Drive in St. Paul park, establishing access once again to a long isolated area created over 50 years ago. Flooding was the reason for an emergency measure that placed truckloads of rocks along a channel that initially protected homes in the high water path. In doing so, these isolated areas soon became stagnant ponds that festered with algae and provided no access for boaters looking to pilot around the other side of the island. In addition to the bridge, dredging will also take place to create a channel 45 feet wide establishing fresh water flow to the entire area and benefitting the general ecosystem of the inlet. Work should begin in the summer of 2017 and conclude by fall of that year.


    HEDRA Thanks Volunteers

    During the recent City Council meeting a brief presentation was made that acknowledged many years of dedicated volunteer service by 2 Hastings residents, Michael Kelly and Kurt Kenna. Kelly was praised for the five years he spent on the HEDRA committee, which deals with economic development issues, a complex but vitally important topic to the overall health of a city. Economic Development Director John Hinzman praised the work accomplished by HEDRA and the impact it will have on the city.

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    Kelly turned the tables on Hinzman, offering his interpretation of the recognition.

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    Kelly has accepted a position that will cause him to be relocated to Mankato and he thanked the city for the opportunity to give back to Hastings.

    Allina Health Nurse Strike Update

    The Minnesota Nurses Association has asked for the intervention of Attorney General Lori Swanson to uphold Minnesotas not-for-profit healthcare laws by auditing Allinas financial filings in the wake of the weeklong strike involving the temporary replacement of 1,500 nurses. The cost for that move, has been called fiscally irresponsible with money and their regard of the patients they serve. Also in question is Allinas Board of Directors and the relationships and possible conflict of interest represented by several of those serving on that board including 2 doctors. The MNA requests the reestablishment of talks that contain more than the insurance plan change. They seek productive dialog about patient ratios, staff safety and workplace security. There has been no reply from the Attorneys office as of this broadcast.


    Importance of Body Cams

    The investigation into the shooting death of a Chaska man, 38 year old Map Kong, this spring has now been processed and a grand jury determined that three Burnsville Police officers were justified in using deadly force. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom explained that the use of body cameras was critical in the decisions made in the case.

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    That video, we discovered, has been posted online, on Facebook no less, due to the public access component of their use. KDWA has viewed the footage, which is quite graphic and can attest to the enhanced viewpoint those cameras provide. The question remains with each incident, however, what the lasting effect will be for those involved in the taking of a life in the line of duty.

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    The Hastings Police Department currently outfits officers with similar body cams, however the video from their use is not displayed in a public forum, instead, it is retained by the department and utilized as a record of arrests and other police interaction.


    Giant Corn

    Although there is now more developed land than country fields within the city limits, corn and beans can be found growing in surprising places. The community gardens along Ninninger road are testaments that agriculture roots are planted deep around here.A field even exists next to the YMCA, with corn nearly waist high on both sides of Pleasant Avenue. A frequent contributor to the KDWA airwaves, Char Sharr, even brought in one of the giant stalks of field corn, she has grown just west of Hastings. It is way beyond the old adage knee high by the fourth of July.


    Safety Camp

    The annual safety camp took place on Wednesday, June 22 and KDWA headed to the High school to find out just what these 3-6th graders would learn. One of the safety stations offered at this year's Safety Camp, was guided by the Hastings Fire Department and volunteers with Park and Recreation. Several activities gave students a closer look at ways to stay safe when it comes to fire emergencies. We asked one of the instructors about some of the training which is reinforced by repetition.

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    A trip through the learn not to burn practice house, gave kids a safe way to experience what a fire might be like and how to get out alive. These are messages that the students seem to remember.

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    One young man involved in the bucket brigade exercise seemed to have the technique down pat. Twelve year old Mason Johnson told me how he knew what to do.

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    And the best thing about that job?

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    Young Mason also has some pretty big plans.

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    MEALS Program

    The MEALS program that is makes lunch available in 3 locations in Hastings, is powered by local volunteers. I dropped by Our Saviours Lutheran Church Wednesday morning to see how the preparations were coming along. Several bright green t-shirted middle schoolers donned hair nets, and plastic gloves in their preparation for sandwich making and melon slicing. I asked some of them why they were here and found out they were with the Summer Stretch program where fun and service go hand in hand. As they worked, I spoke with Gaye Menke, wife of the church pastor and found out why the meals are so appreciated and who they are for.

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    The meals are also available at Lions Park and at Three Rivers Mobile Home park Monday through Friday all served at noon.


    Schmelzer vs. Northfield Chamber of Commerce

    With the jury now seated in the case of Schmelzer vs The Northfield Chamber of Commerce the highly publicized firing of Mary Schmelzer, former Chamber of Commerce Executive will start the procedure to determine whether or not insurance will have to pay the six figure judgment sought by Schmelzer following what she alleges was a violation of the Human Rights Act which includes protection for whistleblowers. The former chamber head contends that she was fired without just cause and is seeking more than 100 thousand dollars in lost wages due her contract. In November of 2013 the Chamber Board terminated Schmelzers employment citing her distrust in the board. Schmelzer had expressed concern regarding a fellow chamber board members conduct in the workplace. A motion for summary judgment was brought forward by the Northfield Chamber and heard in August of last year. A Rice County District Judge denied that in November.


    Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Endorse Change

    A move by the board of trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have endorsed a change in how the system that oversees the higher education institutions throughout the state will refer to itself. MnSCU will be changed to Minnesota State. This is the unofficial nickname that is already in use by many students, parents and community leaders. This does not change the legal name, which is written in state statute, but will create a branding platform that will included local Dakota County Technical College, located in Rosemount. Michael Vekich, board chair looks forward to presenting a clearer identity going forward said Minnesota State Chancellor Steven Rosenstone.

    Individual state colleges and universities are not required to change their names, but they will use the system affiliation identifier in conjunction with their logos and brand identities to signify that they are members of the Minnesota State system. Campuses, including DCTC and Inver Hills Community College will take steps to indicate they are a member of the Minnesota State system in phases over the next two years, as supplies of current brochures, letterheads and other promotional materials are depleted.


    Grand Jury Clears Officers

    Another update in news from this spring of an internal investigation by a grand jury in the use of deadly force by three Burnsville Police officers in the shooting of Map Kong, of Chaska. The office of Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the findings on Tuesday. The March 17th incident unfolded at a McDonald's parking lot where a very agitated Kong was seen aggressively waving a large dagger as he sat in a car erratically bouncing around while patrons walked past the vehicle. Officers responded and asked Kong to put the weapon down and exit the vehicle. A window was broken and Mr. Kong was tazed, with no effect. He then bolted from the vehicle with the dagger still in his hand. The officers believed the man to be a danger to himself, the public and the officers themselves. Three officers fired, causing Kong to fall to the ground. The autopsy of Mr. Kong revealed that his death was the result of multiple gunshot wounds and toxicology results tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. The officers involved were wearing body cams and the videos employed at the scene are a part of the BCA Public Information files that were used in determining actual events from the event. We have asked for a comment on this case by Attorney Backstrom which we will bring you in a future broadcast.


    MDK Design for Hair Sold

    Long-time Hastings salon operator and community activist Mary Fasbender has announced the sale of the company she began in 1983. Fasbender will retain her name MDK Design for Hair, LLC, with the rest of her business including address, telephone number, data, equipment and staff arrangements will transfer to Nicole Swanson on July 1, 2016 who will take over operations at 925 Minnesota Hwy 55 #201. Swanson is the owner of Nicole's New Wave Salon which has been operating at the West End for ten years. Fasbender will continue to serve clients at the salon location for a yet undetermined period of time going forward. After a mutually agreed-upon transition period, Mary plans to practice cosmetology and service clients on a scaled-down basis in her home-based salon. Fasbender has a long resume of community and volunteer involvement and she plans to spend more time on those pursuits, saying "I've accomplished everything I've wanted to as a salon owner in 33 years. I still love doing hair and working with people, but now I'd like to take all I've learned in business and apply it to other things. Community involvement has been a huge part of how I built my business and it helped define my career. I'll continue to work with clients as a stylist, but I would like to redirect time and energy I was spending to operate the salon to other tasks that I think will benefit the community. Hastings has been great to me and I'm ready to give back." Swanson will take over officially on July 1 and her staff will be moved in and operational beginning July 6.


    Grand Jury Clears Officers

    Another update in news from this spring of an internal investigation by a grand jury in the use of deadly force by three Burnsville Police officers in the shooting of Map Kong, of Chaska. The office of Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the findings on Tuesday. The March 17th incident unfolded at a McDonald's parking lot where a very agitated Kong was seen aggressively waving a large dagger as he sat in a car erratically bouncing around while patrons walked past the vehicle. Officers responded and asked Kong to put the weapon down and exit the vehicle. A window was broken and Mr. Kong was tazed, with no effect. He then bolted from the vehicle with the dagger still in his hand. The officers believed the man to be a danger to himself, the public and the officers themselves. Three officers fired, causing Kong to fall to the ground. The autopsy of Mr. Kong revealed that his death was the result of multiple gunshot wounds and toxicology results tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. The officers involved were wearing body cams and the videos employed at the scene are a part of the BCA Public Information files that were used in determining actual events from the event. We have asked for a comment on this case by Attorney Backstrom which we will bring you in a future broadcast.


    Grand Jury Clears Officers

    Another update in news from this spring of an internal investigation by a grand jury in the use of deadly force by three Burnsville Police officers in the shooting of Map Kong, of Chaska. The office of Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the findings on Tuesday. The March 17th incident unfolded at a McDonald's parking lot where a very agitated Kong was seen aggressively waving a large dagger as he sat in a car erratically bouncing around while patrons walked past the vehicle. Officers responded and asked Kong to put the weapon down and exit the vehicle. A window was broken and Mr. Kong was tazed, with no effect. He then bolted from the vehicle with the dagger still in his hand. The officers believed the man to be a danger to himself, the public and the officers themselves. Three officers fired, causing Kong to fall to the ground. The autopsy of Mr. Kong revealed that his death was the result of multiple gunshot wounds and toxicology results tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. The officers involved were wearing body cams and the videos employed at the scene are a part of the BCA Public Information files that were used in determining actual events from the event. We have asked for a comment on this case by Attorney Backstrom which we will bring you in a future broadcast.


    Dock Decision

    With the momentum created by the Riverfront Renessiance, conversation has turned to increasing access to the area around the Pavilion not just by cars or bikes but also by boat. KDWA asked Mayor Paul Hicks about the possibility for adding a dock near the Levee. He shared the reality of such a request and told us, we were not the first to suggest the idea.

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    So with that dubious distinction, we asked about the existing dock, located on the east edge of Jaycee Park.

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    We'll follow that proposal and report on any action to increase the existing dock.


    Pair Of City Awards

    The recent City of Excellence Award came with a crystal award and a 1,000 dollar cash prize. I asked Mayor Hicks, who attended the League of Minnesota Cities convention, what the funds will likely be used for.

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    All cities considered for the award had more than 20,000 in population. Mayor Hicks sees the Hastings placing as quite an accomplishment considering the much larger cities in that category.

    Lots of civic pride to go around as the City of Hastings was the recipient of 2 acknowledgements at the recent convention for the League of Minnesota Cities. Receveiving both the City of Excellence Award in the successful Riverfront Renassiance development as well as milestones in the GreenStep City process, Mayor Paul Hicks and several staff and councilmembers accepted the honors at the St. Paul convention on the sixteenth. Mayor Hicks described the event.

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    (Photo provided by the City of Hastings)

    Industrial Hemp Farming

    A Hastings Farmer is challenging convention by becoming the first Minnesota farmer to be allowed to plant industrial Hemp. A part of the Original Green Distribution movement, Ken Anderson, is hoping that this crop could be used as another good oil crop, meaning that the final product can be used in a similar way sunflower or soybean oil. Hemp, as many are aware, has another name, cannabis, which is currently a controlled substance. Anderson has lots of supporters, however, that look to the traditional industrial use for rope, fibers and as a food source, mixed with cereals to provide a nutritious, not nefarious, result. Agronomists acknowledge that the test plot on the Anderson farm is the first of it's kind and has a lot to prove. They also stress the amount of THC, the ingredient that causes euphoria sought by some in the smoking or ingesting of marijuana, is miniscule in comparative concentration. Time will tell as the possibility of more hemp fields bringing high expectations to its use in the consumer market.


    Helmer Printing Deal

    Forum Communications Co., the owner of the Hastings Star Gazette, has announced that the longtime family owned Helmer Printing will sell it's list of local shoppers and other publications with a deal that will finalize next week. Helmer Printing is owned by Prescott School Board President Mark Helmer and his siblings Scott and Jenny. The deal will mean publications such as The Hastings Free Press, Ellsworth and River Falls Shoppers among others in Pierce, Dakota and Goodhue Counties will now be under the FCC umbrella. Forum Communications is also the owner of the Hastings Star Gazette among others with local printing based in Red Wing. The Helmers plan to concentrate their focus on a very successful commercial printing business. Forum owns approximately 60 publications in addition to North Dakota television franchises; news bureau and AM radio Station WDAY in Fargo. A carrier system PDQ, or Postal Delivery Quick is also part of the sale. This service is responsible for the delivery of 52,000 pieces to mail customers thru a series of private drivers each covering a route of home-to-home delivery. RiverTown Multi Media is also owned by Forum and is based in Red Wing. Steve Gall is the publisher of that entity. Plans released indicated the intent to provide jobs for many current employees within the Forum structure.


    Crystal Lanning Named Interim

    A Hastings woman has been named as interim athletic director for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus. Crystal Lanning had been part of the athletic department administration, serving as assistand athletic Director during the 2014-15 school year. Most recently, Lanning was the assistant commissioner of the Northern Sun Intercolegiate conference. The River Falls campus recently began a 63 million dollar renovation of it's facilities including the athletic department which Lanning will oversee as of July 1st.


    Door To Door Warning

    A neighboring police department issued a statement today in response to several complaints regarding the door to door sales tactics of at least one security company whose representatives use a list of so called facts about the crime rate in that particular area or city in their presentation to sell their service or equipment. The City of Hastings notes on it's website that anyone wishing to obtain a peddlers license must provide information to the city and fill out a form that includes a filing fee. If you have salespeople come to your door, you should always ask to see their peddlers license, that is issued by the city, prior to engaging in business agreements with them. Public safety also suggests that you ask for documentation that the company is properly licensed and insured. A consumer who agrees to purchase a product or service from someone who comes to your home, has a 3 day grace period to cancel any signed contract. Never give credit card information or personal data to anyone who cannot provide you with some type of formalized receipt, although some scammers use very sophisticated methods that have been shown to convince victims that they had legimate standing in the business community. If you experience high pressure, special pricing for today only decisions or scare tactics from someone who is soliciting work in your neighborhood, contact your local police department non-emergency number to report the practice with a description of the type and name of service or product, descriptions of the salesperson or type of vehicle they may have used. Local law enforcement are provided with information of bonafide businesses and they can determine if your caller is legitimate.


    Wisconsin Secretary Kitty Rhoades Passes

    A former champion of several major health related legislation, Wisconsin Department of Health and Human services Secretary Kitty Rhoades, passed away after a brief struggle with pneumonia. Rhoades, who served the city of Hudson for many years as the director of their Chamber of Commerce, led in the creation of several efforts including the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance. The effort created a tourism alliance that aided in promoting the entire area for its natural resources and common goals. Rhoades, 65, was a great proponent of helping families that struggled with dementia care and had recently introduced an expanded network of emergency resources and programs to address the overwhelming need of caregivers. She was given the 2014 Outstanding Alzheimers Advocate Award for her efforts to reform the Wisconsin health care system. Rhoades served the Hudson area in the State Assembly for 12 years prior to her appointment in as Secretary of the Department of Health.


    Hastings Couple Arrested

    The Minnesota State Patrol released information on Monday afternoon that two residents of Hastings have been arrested in the hit and run incident that took place on June 10th near Lake Mille Lacs. Ten year old Caylin Donovan of Lake Park was walking along an Aitkin County road when she was struck by a vehicle that left the scene. Steven Lee Meier and Deborah Lynn Chandler, both of Hastings, were arrested Monday following a tip from the public. The pair are currently awaiting formal charges by the Aitkin County Attorney. The Donovan family was notified that there had been information that could answer questions about the night their daughter was struck and killed. The State Patrol believes that there could be more information about their actions that may be released soon. Anyone who has additional information about this case is asked to contact the Minnesota State Patrol.


    Huppert Family Gathering

    A community gathering took place on the Huppert Family Dairy Farm, located just 10 miles east of Prescott on Saturday Morning. A large field was mown to provide a parking place for hundreds of cars carrying folks to the 7th annual Pierce County Dairy Promotion Breakfast. LeAllan and Mary Jo Huppert and their 3 sons, Adam, Nick and Will watched as the people mover wagons pulled by tractors came out of the fields and into the farm yard where a spitshined assortment of pole barns and buildings were filling fast with hungry families eagar to find out more about this hard working farm family. Lines snaked out of the main shed where the aroma not of a dairy barn but of fresh waffles welcomed the guests and along with breakfast came samples of deep fried cheese curds from the Ellsworth CoOp Creamery. Stay tuned this week as we bring you several news stories from this great event that taught us so much.

    Prescott Bell Tower Support Crew

    In travels from another story on Saturday, I literally drove past this next bit of local news. At the entrance to the City of Prescott a stately brick Clock tower stands watch over the corner, providing the time on four giant clock faces mounted in round windows about 30 feet from the ground. As I passed by, I noticed a group of about 10 people amid a line of tables filled with parts, cleaning aparatus and tools. The four giant circles had been removed and the team was in some mode of refurbishment, which of course, I had to explore. I found a spokesman, Jerome Voje who gave me some history first, telling me of the origins of the bell which had been a part of the first school build in 1887. That bell and a clock that was mounted on the roof of the school fell in a massive fire that destroyed the original building in 1935.

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    Thanks to the efforts of the Prescott Historical Society, however, the bell and the clock have been placed in the tower at the edge of town. The team I talked to included many members of the Voje family including brother Bill who used his talents to keep the clock running.

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    The fundraising included the entire community and the tower was built to house the historic timepiece. First installed in 2007, the time had come to perform some deep cleaning as well as replacement of several worn out parts. I was told that there are some quirks that require constant attention, mainly the clock's reaction to changing weather.

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    The Prescott Historical Society provides care for the clock and lovingly attend to it's mechanical needs as a gift to the community.


    Hastings PD Community Notification Meeting Part 3

    We conclude with Part Three of the Community Notification Meeting that took place in Hastings on June 15, 2016. This segment provides audio of the open question and answer period which featured comments and questions from the audience. Please note several times in this segment, the audience member was not optimally recorded due to having no microphone. The answers, however, given by Chief Schafer and others are of proper quality and provide some connection with what is being asked. There are also several unintelligible questions which have been left in the audio clip. They have been amplified as much as possible. Members of the audience are not identified by name at this public meeting.

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    Hastings PD Community Notification Meeting Part 2

    We continue with Part Two of the Community Notification Meeting that took place in Hastings on June 15, 2016. This segment provides audio of Jacob Wetterling Resource Center representative Jane Robinson, who gives families and other citizen tools and tips to stay safe in our community. She also relays Stranger facts and provides information on the Safety Net technique. Segments do vary in length and follow a chronical re-broadcast of the conversation held live at the Hastings Middle School. Members of the audience are not identified by name at this public meeting.

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    Hastings PD Community Notification Meeting Part 1

    KDWA brings you Part One of the Community Notification Meeting that took place in Hastings on June 15, 2016. This segment provides audio of HPD Chief Bryan D. Schafer as he introduces the subject , discusses City protocol, and informs the audience of how the transition of a level 3 predatory offender will be viewed from a law enforcement perspective. Segments 2, 3 and 4 vary in length and follow a chronical re-broadcast of the conversation held live at the Hastings Middle School. Members of the audience are not identified by name at this public meeting.

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    City OKs Special Event Vendors

    Programming continues along the river at the Rotary Pavilion. Besides the list of events, there is now opportunity to have vendors add to the experience with food and other offerings, which is something new for the city. Parks and Rec Programming Specialist Paige Marschall explains this new opportunity.

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    Vendors can be included in upcoming events and Marschall describes how to get your business involved.     

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    Amber Alert Motorcycle Run Success

    A recap from the weekend 14th annualAmber Alert motorcycle run comes from organizer Ronnie Trejo who tells KDWA about the event.

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    One of the highlights was the police escort that led the 168 riders thru the city, and over the bridge.

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    Trejo expects the event raised nearly 10 thousand dollars, with all proceeds provided to the Amber Alert program.


    News This Week From City of Prescott

    The Prescott City Council met Monday Night and faced an agenda that spanned several topics. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides the first of two reports on what was covered.

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    We continue with items heard at this week's Prescott City Council meeting. City Administrator Jayne Brand begins with plans on a railroad quiet zone which received support during past meetings.

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    The next meeting will take place on June 27th at Prescott City Hall.   

    One topic that has been of interest to the business community in Prescott is that of additions to the lodging options in that city. The city received a proposal many months ago,by the investment group representing the Vista Croix property, whose goal is to rebuild the east bank of the river into a multi-million dollar resort and marina. I asked City Administrator Jayne Brand where that project stands

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    Another issue, with the recently passed room tax, would be interest from the AmericaInn Corporation, who held an investor interest meeting this Spring, to identify possible partners to build somewhere in the area. Brand comments on the current status of that project.

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    There will be further information provided at the August Planning Commission meeting.


    Hastings Man Meets Goal

    A statewide bike trek brought supporters out to raise money for research in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Last weekend's MS 150 included a Hastings Man, Andy Langenfeld, who put in 1248 miles in preparing for the 2 day ride. Some of the training came during the early morning hours and he shared one incredible experience along his way.

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    The hours and miles he spent meant a great deal when he considers the support he received from those who donated to his ride

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    Langenfeld is contemplating a repeat effort but considering the time required to prepare, may choose another route

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    The experience made a big impression and he thanks everyone who followed his progress online.


    Family Time On Lake Rebecca

    The breeze across Lake Rebecca provided some aquatic fun on Sunday afternoon for a Hastings family. The Noonan's, Mom Dad and 2 boys spent some quality time with non-motorized watercraft, each hoisting a sail to catch some of that breeze for a smooth glide around the small waterway. I was able to question a couple members of the crew as they ventured close to the north shore, not necessarily by design. There is a fair amount of seaweed and other clingy plants that tend to get tangled in centerboards and tillers. The giant sails turned on a dime first billowing out then swinging in to nearly knock it's occupants off their floatable skimmers. I was told two of the vessels were basic hollow core flat bottomed boats that were just wide enough to sit on, with most of the time observed diving for a prone postion to stay clear of the sail. Mom and one son worked together on one small craft with the older boy debuting his Red Barron, although he had turtled it just before I arrived and was heading back to shore to regroup. Dad seemed to have the rhythm and knack of the skill as he guided his red and yellow sailed sunfish back and forth, cutting thru the water in near silence.


    Hastings Sings Auditions Air Next Week

    The auditions have now been completed for those hoping to advance to the finals of Hastings Sings. Singers from all backgrounds came to the KDWA radio studios where they were recorded singing to their favorite music. Each shared some musical background,and one told us how she viewed auditions.

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    We'll be featuring parts of their audition songs next week as we highlight the contestants of Hastings Sings. Listen for them weekdays June 20-24th. The judges will be listening to their songs and will provide their choice of the singers that will advance to the Finals that take place July 17th at Rivertown Days. Those finalists will be announced live on KDWA on July 1st.


    First Cruise In A Hot One

    The first Cruise In car show took place on Saturday with the sweltering temperatures causing shady locations to be prime spots along Downtown Hastings. Despite the construction which caused some inconvenience, the numbers of classic cars seemed to be consistant with last year's attendance levels. Food vendors and lots of folks with cameras made their way from the Bridge to Tyler Streets with some creative parking to be seen as every space was filled, including some side streets. One bright yellow Mustang caught my eye and the owner Paul, told me his reason for coming out.

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    I saw a familiar face further down the line, Cress Gackle was watching two brothers admire his car and compared their stories about the long blue Impala

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    The antennas were about 6 feet long and arched smoothly over the back of the car. Cress enjoys the feeling of community.

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    The second cruise in will take place in 2 weeks, on June 25th in Downtown Hastings.


    Class Of HHS 2016

    The 2016 Commencement service for Hastings High School was held in the Field House, as dark clouds and oppressive heat threatened the ceremony originally slated to be held on Todd Field. Superintendent Tim Collins told our KDWA radio audience on Friday morning that the decision was in no means easy, with the safety of the audience as well as protection of the music equipment used by the band and choir of top priority. Ultimately, the decision was made just after noon, and janitors, students and staff prepared the Field House and Auditorium for a full house. Tickets held by family were honored in the field house, with open seating available on the cushioned seats of the Performing Arts Center with a live video feed of the proceedings. Our summer reporter, Cody Arndtson, was there to hear some of the reactions from students, parents and teachers. Stay tuned today for special interviews from the 2016 Hastings Graduation.

    (Photo provided by Andrew Hill)


    Cranky Ape

    From the Hastings City Planning Commission came a request for the adoption of a resolution to grant a special use permit for Online Auction business, Cranky Ape. They seek to operate a retail sales business in the Industrial I-1 zoning district. The business which currently has several Minnesota locations as well as offices in other states, seeks to locate their headquarters in Hastings, moving from their building in Lake Elmo on Highway 94. This move would mean an employee base of between 30 and 40 people and be located at 1101 Spiral Boulevard. The business is involved with the online sales of vehicles, however there would be no showroom, or other method of sales from that site. The property would be fenced both for security as well as the aesthetic component desired by both owners and planners. The city council unanimously recommended approval of the special use permit under those terms. In a related issue, the Hastings Police Department related in another story of the day, that they use Cranky Ape in the disposal of forfeited vehicles. Chief Bryan Schafer had good things to say about Cranky Ape as a business

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    Road To Recovery

    After 90 days, numerous surgeries, and many sleepless night invested by the family and friends of Bryan Joas, the bicyclist, hit as he pedaled along a Dakota roadway, is now home. His wife Shauna, has posted a caring bridge blog since that very first day when Bryan was left in a ditch following the collision by a yet to be identified vehicle. Joas was left with severe internal injuries resulting in the removal of his large intestine, part of his small intestine, gallbladder as well as suffering kidney damage and several broken bones in his pelvis and back. Intensive therapy and a roller coaster of progress and setbacks have been shared by this young family who continue to receive support from co-workers, family and friends and an expanded community thru online visits to keep the momentum going. The Dakota County Sheriff is still accepting any information on who was responsible for the incident and there is a sizeable reward leading to the person who hit him on March 8th. Contact the Dakota County with any information that could give answers to the family.



    Duel Credit Courses

    A popular method of getting a head start on college credits is a partnership between Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and public high schools. MnSCU hopes to raise the fees that schools will pay to offer these dual-credit courses and also to update how teachers use continuing education to retain their certification to teach these courses. These classes make it possible for students to maximize their time at high school and prepare them for employment at a faster rate as well as saving families as students do not pay tuition. MnSCU plans to increase the fees to the schools to 3,000 dollars per course by 2022. Some schools may have financial issues with these increased costs. The new standards for teachers is expected to cost more as well, as some educators have spent summers and other time to add to their certification such as Masters and Doctorate degrees. The Higher Learning Commission has asked for increased criteria including more credits in relevant subject matter in addition to the degree. Some are concerned that the new requirements may limit certain schools from offering the popular classes and reduce the number of teachers that would be certified. More than 20,000 students to dual credit classes in 2014 and 96% of those received passing grades for their efforts. We will see how this decision may impact area School Districts.



    BreakAway Arts Approval

    The City has determined that BreakAway Arts will get the go ahead to begin operating their long planned cafe function now, due to an agreement made between owner Mecca Page for a deferrment of the SAC and WAC fees that were levied based on estimated usage over what that building has been credited for. The city will allow Page to delay the payment of 12,060 by spreading the cost over 10 years, instead of the requirement to pay the fees before usage can begin. The cost of the waiver will be the addition of a 3.3% interest cost on the duration of the delayed payment. The precedent for the decision was made in 1994 when the Levee Restaurant requested more time to pay for its assessment for SAC and WAC, so the council acted in the interest of providing Mecca Properties the ability to open the remainer of the business and begin generating revenue. The council could not defer or waive payment due the Met Council for fees, however, and those will be due prior to the issuance of a permit. Earlier this year, the council waived more than 50,000 dollars in such fees for the expansion of the YMCA, which is adding a gymnasium and studio space to its existing building. A formalized survey of the fees charged by the City will be examined this summer when an independent consultant will look at the fee structure as Hastings reflects the highest such charges as compared to similar surrounding Dakota County cities.


    Candidates Set

    The opportunity to file for city office has now closed and all open positions on the Hastings City Council will involve two candidates. In ward one, which is being vacated by Tony Alongi, Bryan Alpaugh and Tina Folch have filed for that council seat. In ward two, incumbent Joe Balsanek will face challenger Adam Estenson. The representative for ward 3, Tony Nelson, the incumbent will run against Lisa Leifeld and in ward 4, Trevor Lund has filed to run against incumbent Danna Elling Schultz. Since no ward received more than 3 candidates, there will be no local races. The candidates vote for council will be held on November 8th along with the general election.


    Cottage Grove K9

    Congratulations are in order for Cottage Grove Public Safety Officer Nils Torning and his K9 partner Gunnar who have successfully completed the 12 week training program through the St. Paul Police Department. St. Paul Police held the graduation ceremony at the Timothy J. Jones Canine Training Facility. The partnership began in January when Officer Torning was able to take ownership of our new police K9. During the academy, the Nils and his partner, Gunnar were trained in searches, apprehension and narcotics. Gunnar came to station from Poland and has acclimated to life in Minnesota. Officer Torning and Gunnar have just began their duties with the Cottage Grove deaprtment.


    River City Sculpture Tour

    With the opening of the new riverwalk along the riverfront of the Mississippi River, The River City Sculpture Tour is also brand new in 2016. This tour is designed to display and promote public art of local Minnesotan and Wisconsin artists. The tour showcases over two dozen sculptures from local artists such as Dale Lewis and John Hughes. Visionary and director of the tour, Julie Pangallo, looks to this tour to promote public art more in the sourrouding area.

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    With summer underway and the tour now open, Pangallo has hopes that the sculpture tour will bring residents and tourists to the riverfronts of these three communities to enjoy the water, activities, and of course, the art.

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    The dream of the River City Sculpture Tour is for it to become an annual event with hopes of more communities joining to host artwork along the riverfront.

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    Police Campaign

    As highway 61 enters Hastings and traffic slows from a highway to a city level, another level is a concern to public safety, the noise level. Chief Bryan Schaffer says plans will debut a campaign to remind drivers that squealing of tires, revving of engines or causing excessive noise by gunning an engine, is something to avoid. The noise factor has been a concern for those trying to enjoying outdoor dining, or other activities along the river and in downtown Hastings.    

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    Marquee Planting

    For anyone who checks the time or an upcoming school event on the marquee located at the intersection of Hwy 55 and Vermillion Street, you may have noticed some recent sprucing up of the area underneath that lighted sign. Students of the Hastings High School Horticulture club along with Tim Likes worked to green up the spot in preparation for graduation.

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    We asked Tim what kind of experience his brings to this task.

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    We also found out about his continuing community pride.

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    Tony Jurgens Running

    In news released on June 1, Tony Jurgens of Cottage Grove announced he has filed to run for House District 54B which includes communities in Cottage Grove, Afton, and Hastings and townships Denmark and Nininger. Jurgens is a father, independent insurance agent and recipient of this year's Cottage Grove Volunteer of the Year award. Jurgens released this statement -After dedicating the past few decades to raising my family, growing my book of business and volunteering my time to important causes, Im prepared to bring my perspective and experience to the Capitol. I may be a political outsider, but I am not new to service and leadership. I care deeply about our community and I am committed to doing my part to represent our voice in the Minnesota House. Jurgens looks forward to listening to families in District 54B over the next few months and working hard to earn their support in November. He and his wife, Dawn, live in Cottage Grove with their two daughters. Anyone wishing to connect with his campaign can do so soon at a new website and also on a Facebook page dedicated to spreading his message.

    McNamara Is Done

    State Representative Denny McNamara announced June 2 that he withdrew his name from consideration for the Republican endorsed House Seat representing Cottage Grove and Hastings in District 54B. He made the decision to step away in order to spend more time with family. In a call to KDWA, McNamara expressed his thoughts on this difficult decision.

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    His decision will impact others who have stepped up to fill the void. McNamara named his choice as successor.

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    He also looked back at the role he feels he played in shaping local policymaking thru the years.

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    HFS Sees Increase In Dumping

    Executive director of Hastings Family Service, Chris Koop, has important information to share with the community in response to a more frequent activity seen at the local thrift store, the dumping of household goods, especially furniture, at the front and back alley doors of the downtown building.

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    Koop also reminds those donating reusable items to Rivertown Treasures should bring them to the front of the building, located at 301 2nd Street East during normal intake hours only.


    Sanctuaries Churches Homes and Gardens Tour

    Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council and Friends of LeDuc and Historic Hastings are pleased to announce their upcoming event, Sanctuaries - Churches, Homes, and Gardens Tour on July 9, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. This year, the theme focuses on the Mid-Century Modernism and Modernism archetectual style. This fundraiser is for the benefit of scholarships for youth who are interested in any of the art forms. It is the philosophy of the steering committee for this event that they will be promoting architecture, designs and gardening as art forms.

    Tickets at 20 dollars in advance are available on line at http://www/ Paper tickets may be purchased at the following places of business: Hastings YMCA, Orange Dragon Art Gallery in Prescott and Breakaway Arts in Hastings. If purchasing tickets ahead of time, the rate of 20 dollars applies only up until 5 p.m. July 8. If purchasing tickets 25 dollars on the day of the tour, Breakaway Arts and Orange Dragon Art Gallery will handle these sales. Guests will receive a map of locations for each of the stops and may choose their own route.In an effort to raise awareness for this tour and fundraiser, we are inviting people to post and share photographs of sanctuaries - churches, homes, and gardens, or flowers by adding to hashtag GardenPillowContest. Participants will have a chance to win a set of two pillows kindly donated by MyPillow. For more details, please visit;garden-tour.

    Hastings Middle School Garden

    The students of Hastings Middle School have been busy planting seeds in the greenhouse including a mix of vegetables, flowers, and fruit. Each garden bed is currently about half planted leaving room for all the plants, veggies, and fruit that can be planted in June (due to cooler weather in May). Throughout the summer, the Me to We Club will help take care of the garden including weeding and watering. In the fall the Art Club plans to get involved by producing decorations and creating an herb station for kitchen use. If you are interested in volunteering in any way please contact Kendra Stettler at .

    Research has shown a positive relationship in students between garden-based learning and a positive attitude towards classroom content, interest, and excitement for learning. Additionally, children who learn nutrition through garden-based education have significant improvements in their intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.


    Hastings SPARQ Program

    Seven years ago as part of the remaking of the physical education department at Hastings High School several new classes were born. One of these new signature courses was called SPARQ which stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. Staff members in the department have pursued training from

    strength coaches at the University of St. Thomas, UW River Falls, and the University of Minnesota among others in an effortto make sure that the students of Hastings High School are being

    trained safely and efficiently in strength training. Students in SPARQ are generally athletes in the pursuit of reaching their full potential, while others prepare for basic training in the military, and others to improve their overall level of fitness. Some students have noted that their academic performance and ability to concentrate during the school day has improved

    as a byproduct of the early morning workouts.The success of the SPARQ program has grown since its inception in 2009. There were 2 classes of SPARQ students in its first year but now the program is reaching there are 10 classes of students. Students continue to raise the bar by setting new HHS fitness records, as well as excelling as leaders and performers in extracurricularactivities.

    New Legion Commander

    A new shoulder at the wheel for the Nelson Lucking Post 47 as Hastings resident Paul Fletcher has been installed as the new commander, replacing Joe Balsanek for the top position of the post. Fletcher is a firefighter with the South Metro Fire station 2 in West St. Paul. Fletcher takes over today as the post commander. We will have comments on his new role coming up on future newscasts.

    Veteran ID Cards

    On Tuesday, Secretary of State Steve Simon announced that he has added the Veteran Identification Card to the list of acceptable photo identification documents Minnesotans can now use for same-day voter registration, which like all other photo identification documents that do not contain an address must be combined with an authorized proof of residence. The addition of the Veteran ID Card is expected to benefit over 115,000 Minnesotans and was enacted via an administrative rulemaking process. Simon stated We should be doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for the men and women who have served our country to vote, and thats what were doing today. In many cases, a Veteran Identification Card may be the only form of current identification veterans may have in their possession, and now they will be allowed to use it when registering to vote on Election Day.

    To date, 32 states including Minnesota and the District of Columbia accept the Veteran ID Card as a form of either primary or secondary identification for voting.Veteran ID Cards are issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system. The cards contain a photo of the individual and the individuals full name and are used to access health benefits through the VA. A complete list of approved photo identification and proof of residence documents Minnesotans can use for same day registration can be found at


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