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    2021 Budget Talks Begin

    Autumn in Hastings also means setting a budget for the upcoming year. The Hastings City Council has begun the process of setting the 2021 budget, and with a reported suspension of Local Government Aid from the State Capitol, and decreased revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City Council is aiming to not increase the levy. Council member Tina Folch explains.

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    The increase in budget will come at a price.

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    Stay up-to-date by visiting the Budget page of HastingsMN.gov.

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    Villas At Pleasant Update

    The Hastings City Council deliberated a planned development at the south end of Pleasant Drive, called the Villas at Pleasant. Council member Tina Folch commented on the project.

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    After a public hearing and discussion by the Council on Monday evening, a motion to approve the rezoning passed unanimously.

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    ISD 200 Job Openings

    ISD 200 still has a number of employment positions open in the district. According to a post on social media, Hastings Public Schools is looking to fill positions that may be a perfect fit for a parent with students in school. There are currently openings for Student Assistants, or Lunch/Playground Supervisors, and Instructional Assistants, Title I. The ISD 200 School Aged Childcare program is also looking for staff. Please visit Hastings.K12.mn.us for more information. Shared positions that could align with your student's hybrid schedule may also be considered.

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    Hwy 52 Project Begins

    A new project has begun on Hwy 52 between Hampton Township and Cannon Falls. The ride quality of the road on Hwy 52 in this area is reaching thhe end of its life expectancy. A concrete overlay will improve the smoothness and ride quality in the area. The project work will include construction crossovers, a concrete overlay, updating guardrails, installing a cable median barrier, updating signals and repairing joints on two bridges. Traffic impacts include lane closures and access changes or closures. Expect a truck detour due to narrowed lanes/crossovers. The project is expected to be complete in November 2021. For complete details and updates, visit the link to the project, provided here.

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    CARES Relief Extended To Chambers Of Commerce

    The Dakota County Community Services Administration has announced that the Nonprofit Relief Program has been expanded to include Dakota County Chambers of Commerce and Convention and Visitor Bureaus. A press release issued by the CSA states that eligibility criteria has also changed. Dakota County will offer a Nonprofit Relief Program to support local nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. This program is funded by the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund established by the CARES Act. Eligible 501(c)(3) human services and public health nonprofits or 501(c)(6) Chambers of Commerce or Visitor Bureaus serving Dakota County businesses may be eligible for reimbursement not to exceed $10,000 for necessary expenditures incurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Applications will be accepted for a four-week period ending October 2nd, at 4 PM. The Nonprofit Relief application can be found at the link provided here.

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    St. Paul Park Announces Contest

    The City of St. Paul Park is getting a jump on the holiday season by announcing their 16th Annual Holiday Lights contest, which will be presented and coordinated by Old National Bank and the City of St. Paul Park. For those that like to decorate your homes for the holidays, City staff welcome you to participate in this annual St. Paul Park tradition. For those who enjoy the holiday lights, they encourage you to nominate your favorite home. Get your nominations in early. Stop by City Hall, at 600 Portland Avenue, for more information about the contest and how to nominate your favorite holiday house, and to pick up a nomination form.   

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    Aid To FarmersContinues

    Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) funding and an extension of Pandemic EBT in the Continuing Resolution has been secured, after U.S. Rep Angie Craig and other House members submitted a request to House leadership to address the issue. The changes secured in the Continuing Resolution will prevent the Commodity Credit Corporation from reaching its borrowing limit later this fall, which would significantly delay Farm Bill program payments from reaching farmers. The USDA has utilized the CCC, in addition to funds provided by Congress through the CARES Act, to provide pandemic assistance to farmers and producers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). The House passed the resolution on Tuesday evening.

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    WI Dems Release Reunion Reading of "Princess Bride"

    The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is proud to release a special recording of the live table reading of "The Princess Bride". The digital event was a massive success and the DPW's biggest grassroots fundraiser ever, raising over $4.25 million for the party. The recording will be available for purchase for Americans across the country for a single contribution to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, with no minimum contribution required, and will be viewable through November 3. A link to the table reading is provided here.

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    HFD 2020 Open House Called Off

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department has made the difficult decision to suspend the annual Open House in October. Interim Fire Chief John Townsend explains.

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    The Open House normally coincides with Fire Safety Week, and residents are encouraged to visit the Department's page on Facebook.

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    Confluence Construction Continues

    The Confluence Development team continues to make progress as they move toward a completion of phase 1 on the historic building located near the HWY 61 bridge on 2nd Street. Phase 1 includes installation of all site utilities and restoration of the exterior shell. Specifically, the developer will repair all brick, install a new roof, and install new windows in the 20 loft-style apartment units. The Chamber Board, along with Hastings City Council & HEDRA Commission, were invited to meet representatives from the hotel Management partner IDM Hospitality Management. Nedd Neddersen, President of IDM Hospitality Management, expressed his excitement for the project and felt the building's location coupled with Hastings assets will make for a very successful hotel. Completion of the project is targeted for Fall 2021.

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    (Photo: Courtesy Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau)

    Winter Drawdown At Byllesby Reservoir

    Dakota County reports that the annual drawdown of the Lake Byllesby reservoir to its winter elevation will begin on Oct. 1. According to a county press release, the reservoir is gradually lowered 3 feet from the summer elevation to 853.7 feet above sea level. The winter drawdown lowers nearby groundwater levels to accommodate local agricultural needs based on research from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR requires the drawdown as part of the county's operating permit. The drawdown lowers the water to just below the sill of the Byllesby Dam, forming the reservoir. To lower the water level in the reservoir without causing an abrupt change, about 1 inch of water is released daily. The reservoir will remain at its winter level until May 15, when refilling 3 feet to the summer elevation of 856.7 feet is permitted. For more information, visit DakotaCounty.us, and search water levels.

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    Mayor Sends Letter To Governor

    Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender has sent an open letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz regarding the recent OSHA inspection at The Busted Nut that resulted in fines of over $7,500. In the letter, the Mayor stated her support of local business, and reiterated that small business has been "severely impacted", due to the COVID crisis. She also stated that she agrees with the Governor's stated stance that compliance checks should have, in the Mayor's words, a process that first seeks to educate business owners. The letter was dated September 18th.

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    Parks And Rec Not Giving Up On Halloween

    The Hastings Park and Rec Department is looking for local businesses & organizations who are interested in hosting a candy station at a potential socially-distanced Halloween event in place of the Annual Community Halloween Party, tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 30th, from 6 to 8 PM. Interested businesses are asked to contact Hastings Parks and Rec at 651-480-6182 or pmarschall@hastingsmn.gov before September 28th for more details. The goal is to have at least 25 stations at the alternative event.

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    Wisconsin Extends Mask Directive

    In an effort to stem the rising numbers of COVID cases in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers has extended Wisconsin's mask mandate until November 21st. The original mask mandate was scheduled to lapse on Monday, September 28th, but because of the average number of daily new cases going up by 912, an increase of nearly 104%, the Governor has opted to extend the mandate. Reports indicate there were 357 new cases per 100,000 people in Wisconsin over the past two weeks.

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    Simply Secure Opens Large-Scale Storage Units

    Simply Secure Storage of Hastings is pleased to announce the grand opening of the second phase of their storage facility. Opening on on October 15th, the new phase will bring the first large private indoor boat, RV, and business rental storage units to the Hastings area. According to a press release, the large 12x40-foot storage units will offer 11 foot wide x 10 foot high doors and no-turn access from the front gate. Owner Chad Smurawa notes "We're excited to offer the big storage units with large doors in Hastings. Businesses and owners of boats and RVs will benefit from this new option, and I'm happy to announce that tenants can reserve one of these popular units starting today." Family-owned Simply Secure Storage is located at 3001 Industrial Boulevard in the Hastings Industrial Park. More information and pricing can be found online at SimplySecureStorage.com.   

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    Children's Water Festival Goes Virtual

    Teachers, parents and students are invited to the 23rd-annual Metro Childrens Water Festival Monday, Sept. 28-Thursday, Oct. 1. Participants can sign up to virtually experience several of the same learning stations offered at the in-person festival in previous years. The Metro Children's Water Festival is usually a field trip experience at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, but COVID-19 restrictions moved this year's water festival online. The festival teaches, motivates and challenges fourth-graders to understand, conserve and protect water resources. Water festival materials are geared to meet fourth-grade standards. However, the materials are appropriate for many age groups and grades. The event is free and provides live presentations, activities, videos, lesson plans and resources that teach about water. Registration is required for the live virtual classrooms during the week at

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    Dakota County Weekly Job Opening

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a part time Social Worker for children and family intake. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Overlay Project Begins

    The City of Hastings has announced that the 2020 Thin Overlay Paving project begins this week. According to the City Newsletter, crews spent the last week and a half preparing streets in this year's thin overlay areas for pavement. Time was spent milling down the edges of the existing pavement, and repairing badly deteriorated or faulted/sunken curbs and drainage structures. Teams will be aiming to lay down blacktop on as many of the streets as possible, but depending on weather and staffing availability, this work may carry into the week of September 28th. Affected streets are Tiffany Drive from 316 to 37th Street, Voyageur Parkway from Spiral to the northern intersection with Yellowstone Drive, Eddy Street from Highway 55 to 13th Street, Spring Street, Ashland Street, and Maple Street between Highway 55 and 12th Street, and 11th Street from Pine Street to Walnut Street.   

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    Hastings Chlorination System Activated

    Work continues on the Hastings Chlorine Systems Implementation. According to the City Newsletter, all plumbing, mechanical, and electrical work has been completed at all five water distribution facilities. The City's contractors, consultants, and staff are beginning the process of putting this equipment online and replacing the liquid chlorine feed with gas chlorine. This work will continue into next week and the full transition will require some fine tuning as it is put online. This form of disinfection may slightly increase negative taste and odor experiences when compared to liquid chlorine delivery, once everything is fully dialed in and stabilized. However, City staff remind the public that taste and odor experience is still unique to each and every individual in the population.   

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    County Road 46 Study Planned

    Dakota County, in partnership with the City of Hastings, is leading a corridor study for the section of County Road 46 that is within the City limits. The study is scheduled to take approximately 1 year to complete and will provide recommendations and a preliminary design that addresses public concerns as well as transportation and infrastructure needs. A project website will be hosted on the County's website with links to ways the public will be able to engage and interact to provide input and feedback, and a letter will soon be sent out by the County to property owners in close proximity to this roadway with additional information. City staff will feature links to the online tools and information via the Citys Social Media platforms and website once they are available.

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    County Board Closed Session Planned

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners will conduct a closed session during their regular meeting of September 22nd to confer with the County Attorney on strategies for acquiring property rights or possible "quick take" eminent domain proceedings as related to a roadway reconstruction project along Highway 78, or 240th Street, from Blaine Avenue to Northfield Boulevard in Hampton and Hampton and Castle Rock Townships, scheduled for 2021. According to the meeting agenda, the project is designed to address safety and mobility issues along the corridor, and to construct the recommended improvements. In order to complete the project, Dakota County must acquire property rights in the project area. The closed session will address the legal strategy of acquiring the property rights.

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    Crash Vistims Identified

    After recovering the third victim from a plane crash in a gravel quarry on Grey Cloud Island on September 13th, Ramsey County Medical Examiner identified two of the occupants as Larry Schlichting, 60, of Eagan and Lucas Knight, 24, of North Mankato. The plane was on a discovery flight, where passengers can experience what it's like to fly. Knight was the licensed pilot, and Schlichting was the one taking the discovery flight. The third and final registered occupant has been identified by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner as Grace Addae, 30 years old from Eden Prairie, and the crash remains under investigation.

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    Mcdonald Sentenced

    On Friday, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Nathan Wesley Mcdonald, age 23 of Oakdale, was sentenced to 367 months in prison by Judge Jerome Abrams in connection with the July 9, 2019 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Lawrence Terrance Renfro at an apartment where he was residing in West St. Paul. Mcdonald pled guilty on August 21st to 2nd Degree Murder. The charge of First Degree Murder was dismissed. Co-defendant Terrell Theo Payne, age 20 of Little Canada, pled guilty on September 10 to 2nd Degree Murder, and was sentenced by Judge Tanya O'Brien to 306 months in prison. Backstrom praised Cheri Townsend, Criminal Division Head and Cassandra Shepherd, Assistant County Attorney for their prosecution of the case, and the West St. Paul Police Department for their thorough investigation of the case.

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    DARTS Partnership Raises $33K

    DARTS, a Dakota County organization that helps older adults lead independent lives by providing transportation and home services to seniors, caregiver support, and intergenerational volunteer opportunities recently issued a "Thank you" to Rick's Bike Sale for organizing pop-up sales this summer. According to information provided by DARTS, through the hard work of the staff at Rick's, they were able to raise over $33,000 for DARTS and Kids 'n Kinship from this years sale events, and over $273,800 has been raised through this annual event, so far. Plans are in the works for next year's sale, on Saturday, May 8th, 2021, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Rick's Bike Sale is accepting bike donations for next year's sale. As always, proceeds benefit DARTS and Kids 'n Kinship. To donate, visit the link provided here.

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    Prescott Community Ed Launches New Website

    Prescott Community Ed has created a new website that lays out all of the offerings and their specific details instead of a printed catalog as usual. According to information provided by PCE, they are excited to have a number of opportunities to offer this fall, and have added a number of virtual classes for all ages, with a few in-person offerings as well. New classes will be added to the website, as they become available. The new website also has a Virtual Community Art Gallery, where they can share art created by all ages in the community. A link to the new website is provided here.

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    Hastings Council Meeting Preview

    The Hastings City Council meets Monday evening. Mayor Mary Fasbender provides a preview of the agenda.

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    Prescott Council to Hold Special Session

    The City Council of Prescott has called a Special Meeting for Monday, September 21st, at 6 PM. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview of the meeting.

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    The meeting is open to the public with respect to social distancing guidelines, and will be conducted at City Hall, 800 Borner Street.

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    Mathiowetz To Hold Book Signings

    Donna Mathiowetz, local grief counseling specialist, has written a book about dealing with grief called "What Have You Done Since I Left?". The book tells the story of her own grief journey and how it has brought her to a place of helping people dealing with grief, and she has scheduled a number of book signings. Mathiowetz explains.

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    The book is available at UnfinishedByDesign.com.

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    3rd Victim of Plane Crash Recovered

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that the third and final registered occupant of a plane that crashed into a water-filled gravel quarry on Grey Cloud Island on Saturday, September 13th was recovered on Thursday night, September 17th. Partial wreckage from the aircraft has also been recovered, and the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, with assistance from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner and the FAA.

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    Harbor Church Senior Group

    The Harbor Church, at 11125 West Point Douglas Road, in Hastings announces a new ministry for people ages 55 and up, called Seasoned Souls. They meet on Friday mornings at 9:30 in the main auditorium at The Harbor, with plenty of room for social distancing. Church staff invite seniors to come and join the fun. For more information, visit TheHarborChurch.com, or call 651-493-7974.

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    (Stock Photo)

    Bikes 4 Kidz Seeks Donations

    Allina Health is teaming up with Free Bikes 4 Kidz for the 10th year in a row to collect donated bicycles for kids in need throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Last year they collected more than 5,000 bikes, and they'd like to do at least that many again this year. Free Bikes 4 Kidz is also seeking volunteers to help clean and prepare the donated bikes for distribution. For more information and to volunteer visit FB4K.org. Bikes will be distributed in the spring next year and kids who receive a bike will also get free bicycle helmets and bike safety information from Allina Health at the distribution events. Consider donating a gently used or new bike and ask family and friends if they have one they'd like to donate, including adaptive bikes for kids with disabilities. Donations will be accepted at any of the 42 Allina Health locations on Saturday Oct. 3, from 9 AM to1 PM.

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    Craig Receives Award

    Last week, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig was presented with Growth Energy's 2020 "Fueling Growth Award" for the second year in a row for her commitment and work on behalf of Minnesota's biofuels sector and family farmers. Rep. Craig is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Congressional Biofuels Caucus. According to a press release issued by Craig's office, in her first term in Congress, she has made it a priority to push for policies that support the agriculture economy and bring more rural voices to the table.

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    Absentee Balloting Now Open

    Minnesota Secretary of State Simon announced the start of early voting by absentee ballot for the 2020 General Election. Minnesota is one of the first states in the country to open absentee voting for all eligible voters. This year's August 11th primary election saw record-setting participation in absentee voting, and over 926,000 Minnesota voters have already requested an absentee ballot to vote from home in the General Election. September 18 was the first day of Minnesota's 46-day period of absentee voting leading up to November 3. In-person Election Day voting will take place throughout Minnesota on Tuesday, November 3. Anyone can go to MNVotes.org to check their eligibility, register to vote, or to locate their county or city election office.

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    Weekly COVID Update

    Dakota County reports that since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic, Hastings has a case count of 279 people that contracted Coronavirus, which translates to a case rate of 120.6 people per 10,000 residents. The rural area of Dakota County immediately surrounding Hastings has less than 100 reported cumulative cases, and neighboring towns Farmington and Rosemount reported 268, and 343, respectively. Complete details are available on the Dakota County COVID Dashboard.

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    Allina Reports Ransomware Attack

    Allina Health has reported they were notified in mid-July, by Blackbaud, a company that provides donor management software to their family of 13 philanthropic foundations, that they had experienced a ransomware attack in May. This was a nationwide incident affecting many organizations. Allina Health has been in the process of investigating this incident since they received notice of it to provide donors with the most accurate information about the data breach. After discovering the attack, the Blackbaud Cyber Security team, together with independent forensics experts and law enforcement, successfully prevented the cybercriminal from blocking their system access and fully encrypting files, and ultimately expelled them from their system. According to an Allina press release, prior to locking down Blackbaud's system, the cybercriminal removed a copy of a subset of non-encrypted data, such as names, addresses, and dates of birth. Allina has been assured that sensitive data, such as credit card and social security numbers were not stolen. While Allina believes there is a low risk of donor information being compromised, they understand that these types of events can cause concern. Donors who may have been impacted can call 833-689-1140, Monday through Friday from 8 AM until 6 PM.

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    Busted Nut Seeks Assistance From Public

    The Busted Nut Bar and Grill in Hastings has set up a GoFundMe account to assist them with costs associated with appealing a fine of over $7,000 for non-compliance issues levied by OSHA against the bar. According to the GoFundMe page, the fines were levied because a state inspector felt that the bar was not doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Bar owner Tatia Nelson has stated that she has done her best to follow the ever-changing recommendations put forth by the federal and state government, and she feels that these fines are outrageous and are an example of government overreach and heavy handedness. Nelson is contesting these fines, but she is unsure of the outcome at this point. Any funds raised that are remaining or unused will be donated to help out in various areas of the community including other businesses and charities. A link to the GoFundMe page is provided here.

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    COVID Survey Ongoing

    The City of Hastings has announced that Examiners from the Minnesota Department of Health, with help from the Centers for Disease Control, will be out in neighborhoods throughout Minnesota between September 14 and 30, engaging households in a COVID-19 survey. Households are randomly selected so examiners will be out knocking on doors. All examiners will have MDH or CDC identification on their persons. This is a voluntary survey to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The survey will include a household questionnaire as well as free virus and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Questions or concerns may be directed to the Mn Department of Health by calling 651-201-5000.

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    Mail-in Balloting Safe, Per County

    With absentee balloting for the November General Election opening today, KDWA spoke with Dakota County Director of Elections, Andy Lokken about issues surrounding voting absentee or by mail. He commented on one particular aspect of the mail-in voting process.

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    If anyone has concerns about the absentee or mail in voting process, visit the Elections pages of DakotaCounty.us, or HastingsMN.gov.

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    Hastings Welcomes Communication Coordinator

    The City of Hastings has announced that the position of Communications Coordinator has been filled. Mayor Mary Fasbender provided the details.

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    Skelly was chosen from a pool of over 200 applicants.

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    Cannon Falls Street Work Begins

    Work on City streets in Cannon Falls began on Thursday, and motorists in town are advised to use greater caution while traveling in construction areas. Streets affected include Hoffman between 3rd and 4th Street, except for intersections, Dakota between 5th and 3rd Street, Ridgecrest from 1st Street East, Sherwood Street, Barkley Courts East and West, and the Public Safety Building parking lot. Residents with questions can call the Cannon Falls Public Works Department at 507-263-9300.

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    Rosemount Nominated

    The City of Rosemount has been nominated for a Leaders in Local Government Award by a collection of East Metro area chambers of commerce. According to a post on social media by Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins, Rosemount is vying for the top award in the Business Retention and Expansion category. In a statement, Atkins said that Rosemount's Community Development team put additional focus on increasing local jobs, increasing tax base, and expanding services. Despite the added challenges of the pandemic, they have worked to support local business, develop pride in the community, and increase awareness of resources and needs through improved communication and outreach.

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    Strength In Diversity Act

    Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig voted for H.R. 2639, the Strength in Diversity Act. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Marcia Fudge and cosponsored by Rep. Craig to help fulfill the promise of equity in education by offering support to school districts that are developing, implementing, or expanding school diversity initiatives. It also creates a federal grant program to support voluntary, community-driven strategies to increase diversity in schools. In a statement, Craig said "I was proud to cosponsor the Strength in Diversity Act earlier this year to provide additional resources and support to our school districts as they work on measures to improve diversity and inclusion", adding, "We know Minnesota has historic disparities when it comes to educating students of color, and it is our responsibility to look critically at the role systemic racism plays in determining outcomes in our education system. This legislation is an important step in making sure every student receives an excellent public education."

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    Absentee Balloting Begins Friday

    Absentee voting for the November 3rd General Election opens on Friday, September 18, and the City of Hastings reminds residents that absentee ballots will be available for pick up at City Hall, 101 4th Street East, or the Dakota County Administration Center, 1590 Highway 55, weekdays, between 8 AM and 4:30 PM. Ballots may be returned to the Absentee Voting Locations at City Hall, or the County Administrative Center. In Prescott, visit the City Hall at 800 Borner Street.

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    Mayor Provides Community Update

    Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender took time out of her schedule to talk with KDWA radio and provide updates on City happenings. She spoke about the extensive renovation project on 15th Street.

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    She also spoke about the Alternative Fall Cleanup.

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    Hear the entire interview with the Mayor on Community In Depth.

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    HPAAC Virtual Gala

    The Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council has scheduled a virtual Gala for fundraising coming up soon. HPAAC President Kathy O'Keefe recently spoke with KDWA about dealing with fundraising efforts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    O'Keefe also commented about the unique nature of HPAAC.

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    The virtual Gala is scheduled for Sunday, September 27th. A link to the Gala is provided here.

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    ISD 200 Job Openings

    ISD 200 seeks a Driver's Education Instructor, and a Kid's Campus substitute assistant. According to information provided by ISD 200 the Driver's Ed instructor position is a great part-time position and requires valid MN Teaching License for Driver's Education. Hours vary and the District will work with the successful candidate to offer class times that meet their availability and schedule. For more information please contact Kari Gorr, Director of Hastings Community Education, by email at kgorr@hastings.k12.mn.us, or call 651-480-7672. The Kid's Campus Substitute position is District-wide, with hours before school start time, and after school from school dismissal time to 5:30 PM. A link to the job postings is provided here.

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    Local Air Force JROTC Units Merging

    The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) programs at Woodbury and Park High Schools are joining to form one blended program. According to Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Leah Pederson, every (AFJROTC) unit is a family no matter what is going on around them, adding that it is not every day that they get the chance to meet so many new people and have so many new friendships blossom. Students across the district will have the opportunity to come together during the zero hour option for AFJROTC, which is offered after school at Woodbury High School or online through the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA).

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    New Water Issues Reported

    The Woodbury Public Works Department has received reports of discolored water coming out of the taps in the southeast neighborhoods of the city. The City issued a statement saying that the cause is currently being investigated and staff is on site flushing the water to remedy the issue. City staff also assured residents that the water remains safe to drink. Questions can be directed to Woodbury Public Works at 651-714-3720 or by email to PublicWorks@WoodburyMN.gov.

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    Plane Recovery Continues

    Recovery operations of a crashed plane in the gravel quarry on Grey Cloud Island are continuing, and the Washington County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the Cottage Grove Police Department, Hennepin and Dakota Sheriff's Offices Dive Teams, recovered two of the thee registered occupants onboard the aircraft. Search conditions continue to be difficult due to the depth and debris from the wreckage. Identification information will not be provided until next of kin notifications have been completed. The incident is still under investigation with assistance from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office and the FAA.

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    Tax Penalty Abatement Approved

    Updating a report previously carried by KDWA, Dakota County is waiving a penalty for some property tax payments due Oct. 15. Recognizing that property owners may be impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, on Tuesday, Sept. 15 the Board of Commissioners approved a property tax penalty abatement for the second half of 2020 property taxes. The penalty for late payment is waived through Monday, Nov. 16. The penalty relief applies to all non-escrowed residential, vacant rural, open space, apartment, commercial and industrial property. Agricultural property taxes are due by Nov. 16. Taxes paid through an escrow service and properties classified as utility, railroad, machinery and transmission lines are excluded from the waiver. The penalty waiver is intended for taxpayers currently experiencing financial hardship. Property owners who can pay their property taxes by the due date should do so to help support county, school and city responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

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    Compliance Checks Result In Fines

    Governor Walz' mandated compliance checks for restaurants are in full swing, and The Busted Nut was recently inspected by OSHA. Tatia Nelson, explains.

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    The result of the inspection by OSHA was a fine of over $7,000, and MN State Representative Tony Jurgens commented about the scope of the compliance checks.

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    The Busted Nut plans to appeal the fine.

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    Intek Receives Grant

    Intek Plastics of Hastings was recently awarded a grant through the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) Program with the help of Minnesota State College Southeast.?Intek is committed to employing and educating a diverse population of local and Twin Cities residents which this grant will help them attract and retain. Intek CEO Jill Hesselroth spoke about how the grant will be used.

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    DEED Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon explained how the grant will help.

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    The grant was officially awarded at a ceremony on Monday afternoon.

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    (Photo: Minnesota State College Southeast Director of Business Relations Katy Hardyman, (standing), and Intek CEO Jill Hesselroth (seated). KDWA)

    HPC Meeting Recap

    The Hastings Planning Commission met for regular business on Monday evening, and deliberated the preliminary and final plat for the Villas at Pleasant development, at Pleasant and Northridge Drives. The Commissioners discussed why the plan wasn't altered to remedy previous concerns with the cul-de-sac. A representative for the applicant said fencing and landscaping was added, which he stated was appreciated by the neighbors he spoke with. He added that the Hastings Engineering department would not compromise on the cul-de-sac design or allow an alternative style turn around. He said removal of the cul-de-sacs and connecting the roads would place the homes and or road closer to the neighbors and adversely affect the drainage of the site. The Commissioners voted 4-2 to recommend approval of the preliminary and final plats as presented with the following added condition that the two western cul-de-sacs are reduced in size, despite Engineering Department current standards. The City Council will consider a 2nd reading for the rezoning and hold a public hearing for the preliminary and final plat at the September 21st City Council meeting.   

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    Wittman Motorcycle Accident

    On Sunday, September 13th, at about 5:38 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a lone motorcycle crash on 825th Street in Trenton Township. According to a PCSO press release 25-year-old Red Wing resident Devon Wittman, was driving a Harley Davidson north bound on 825th Street when he failed to negotiate a curve, drove left of center and entered the west ditch. Wittman and his passenger Makenzie Franklin, 25 years also from Red Wing were transported from the scene by Red Wing Ambulance Service to Mayo Hospital in Red Wing. Assisting the PCSO on the scene were the Red Wing Police, Fire and Ambulance Departments, and the Ellsworth Ambulance Service.

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    Jacobsen Motorcycle Accident

    On Saturday, September 12th, at about 11:10 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office responded to a single motorcycle crash with injury on U.S. Highway 63 near 730th Avenue in Martell Township. According to a PCSO press release, a motorcycle driven by 26-year-old Spring Valley resident Cameron Jacobsen, was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 63 near 730th Avenue when he struck a deer in the roadway. Jacobsen was ejected from the motorcycle. Jacobsen was transported by Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with undetermined injuries. Assisting the PCSO on the scene were the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service and Ellsworth Fire Department.

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    County Weekly Job Openings

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a commercial appraiser. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Sustane Natural Fertilizer Achieves Power Goal

    Sustane Natural Fertilizer, a leading manufacturer-exporter of renewable, organic and natural slow release fertilizers recently announced that its Cannon Falls facility's electricity requirements are now powered by 100-percent renewable energy. The renewable energy is provided via Sustane's power supplier, Dakota Electric Association's Wellspring Renewable Energy program. Wellspring Renewable Energy subscribers pay a slight premium to purchase wind energy for their facilities. As a partner in the Wellspring Renewable Energy program since Jan. 1, 2020, Sustane will annually purchase approximately 2.3 million kilowatt-hours of wind-generated electricity, which is equivalent to the electricity used to power 279 homes for one year; which is also the equivalent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by removing 351 vehicles from the road each year. Dakota Electric Association President and CEO Greg Miller said, "Dakota Electric is thrilled to provide this renewable energy option to our large business members," adding, "Through Wellspring, Sustane has taken another big step in demonstrating its commitment to the environment, and we are happy to be part of this milestone achievement."

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    DCSO Seeks Public Comment

    The Dakota County Sheriff's Office is planning to finalize its drone vehicle Use Policy. According to a DCSO press release, effective August 1, 2020, New Minnesota Statute Section 626.19 and amended Minnesota Statutes Sections 13.82 established guidelines for the use of the "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" or "UAV" and all the storage, retrieval, and dissemination of images and data captured by the UAV. The new law requires that the DCSO provide an opportunity for public comment before purchasing or using a UAV. These comments must be accepted electronically or by mail. DCSO requests that public comments be submitted by mail to Dakota County Sheriffs Office, Attention: UAV Policy, 1580 Highway 55, Hastings, MN, 55033, or by email to DCSOPublicComments@co.dakota.mn.us. Comments must be received by October 2nd to be considered prior to finalization of the drone policy.

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    Plane Goes Missing

    A Cessna private plane with three people on board has gone missing after taking off from Fleming Field in South St. Paul on Sunday afternoon. According to a press release, the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Cottage Grove Police and Fire Departments began a search for the missing plane on Sunday evening. They were assisted with the search by the Stillwater Fire Department and the South Metro Fire Department. Based on information provided by officials at Fleming Field, search teams believe the plane is located in a water-filled quarry on Grey Cloud Island, south of Mooers Lake and north of the Mississippi River. Throughout the evening, deputies and officers searched the quarry with boats and lights but were unable to locate the plane. However, they did find plane debris leading them to believe they were searching in the correct area. Washington County Sheriff's Office Dive Teams will be in the water attempting to locate the missing plane. The search operation conditions are difficult, as the quarry walls are sand-based and the quarry itself is up to 200 feet deep. The quarry, and property surrounding it, is owned by a private business. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will be leading the investigation once the plane is found.

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    Accident Injures Two

    On Sunday, September 13th, at about 5:27 PM the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a single vehicle roll over crash on Highway 65 near 790th Street in Beldenville. According to a PCSO press release, a Honda Pilot, driven by 54-year-old Ellsworth resident William Barillas, was traveling south on Highway 65 when the vehicle crossed the center line into the north bound lane, entered the east ditch and rolled multiple times. Barillas' passenger, 57-year-old Ellsworth resident Sandra Barillas, had to be extricated from the vehicle. Mr. Barillas was transported by Ellsworth Area Ambulance to Regions Hospital in St Paul, and Mrs. Barillas was transported from the scene by Life Link III helicopter, also to Regions Hospital in St Paul, both with undetermined injuries. The PCSO was assisted on scene by the Ellsworth Police Department, Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service, River Falls Fire Department and River Falls Area Ambulance Service. The crash remains under investigation by the PCSO.

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    (Photo: Courtesy PCSO)

     

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