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    ADA Compliance In Cottage Grove To Improve

    The Cottage Grove City Council has recently reviewed a transition plan update for adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act for pedestrian routes in Cottage Grove. According to the meeting packet for the December 4th meeting, an inventory and evaluation of pedestrian curb ramps, signaled crossings, sidewalks, and trails was conducted for ADA compliance in 2018, and Public Access Routes at City-owned facilities in 2019. The study found that 84% of City-owned pedestrian curb ramps, 54% of sidewalks and trails, and 83% of traffic control signals were not ADA compliant. The City Council Council received and adopted the Final Draft of ADA Transition Plan 2. The initial cost estimate is approximately $11,500,000, or roughly $383,000 per year, over a plan through 2024 to achieve compliance.

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    Search For Farmington Superintendent Begins

    The search for a new superintendent for the Farmington School district is getting underway, and School Board Chair Jacilyn Doyle has put out the call for community members to serve on a selection committee. According to Doyle, community forums will take place in February to garner input as to what qualities residents would like to see in a new superintendent. Doyle said she would like School Board members to share three names of people who could serve as community representatives on the selection committee. The first and second rounds of superintendent interviews are expected to take place in April, and a finalist selected in May.

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    FPD To Get New Radios

    The Farmington Police Department has submitted a request to the City Council for authorization to replace 26 portable radios, and 16 vehicle radios at a cost of $211,000. At the December 2nd meeting of the Farmington City Council, Farmington Police Chief Gary Rutherford said the department considered waiting to purchase the radios for two years, but at the end of 2019 the manufacturer Motorola will no longer support current police radios. Rutherford said Motorola has a year-end special, as the department will receive a discount of $14,000 for a one-time purchase. The 42 radios will cost $205,000 with a three-year payment plan. A finance charge of $14,000 over three years, matches the current Motorola incentive. The Farmington City Council unanimously approved replacing the radios.

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    Winter Safety Is Priority

    With winter comes the daily task of walking on surfaces that are not always clear and dry. Rehab Director for Augustana Care, Stephen Hett, gives a reminder for caution on slippery surfaces. (

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    Falls can be especially dangerous for the elderly, and those with health issues. For more information, visit the blog at AugustanaCare.org.

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    Craig Takes On Drug Prices

    House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Co-Chair Debbie Dingell, along with Representatives Haley Stevens and Angie Craig held a press conference on Wednesday ahead of a Thursday vote in the U.S House of Representatives to pass the landmark Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drugs Costs Now Act. Representative Craig commented on her familiarity with the issue.

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    She also stated that the negotiated prices would assist those not on Medicare.

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    All three representatives expect quick passage in the House.

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    Triple Espresso To Benefit Union Gospel Mission

    Presented by Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities, the nationally known and local favorite "Triple Espresso: A Highly Caffeinated Comedy" is performing at the O'Shaughnessy at St. Catherine's in St. Paul for the upcoming Christmas and New Year's season. The comedy phenomenon of 23 years has set multiple records for longest runs, including at the Music Box Theatre in Minneapolis, in Dublin Ireland, and in San Diego, Calif. A three-man stage play, it claims "an utter lack of common sense." From hand-shadow puppets, to dancing in Zaire and dust storms in Nebraska, the characters reveal their own mistakes and foibles, as well as the "masks" they put on to cover their pain. Tickets are $40, with discounts for seniors, students, military and groups. Proceeds go to Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. There are just over 5,000 total seats for the shows eight performances, which run at 7:30 PM, from December 26 to 28, at 3 PM, on December 28 and 29 and at 7:30 PM, from January 2 to 4. The OShaughnessy is located at 2004 Randolph Avenue in St. Paul. Parking is free.

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    County Jail Report Dec. 11, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, December 11th, Hastings Police arrested 27-year-old Marquis Dewayne Fanniel on a misdemeanor warrant from Hennepin County for driving with a revoked license. Fanniel posted bail as the charge is processed. Rosemount Police apprehended 18-year-old Alisha Quitero Hoffman on felony charges of receiving stolen property and fleeing police, and misdemeanor charges of tampering with a motor vehicle and speeding. Hoffman remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 13th. And Dakota County Deputies detained 47-year-old Farmington resident Erick Lee Lomker on a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay child support. Lomker made an appearance in court on the 11th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Newport Requests Bonding

    Newport has submitted a $4.8 million bonding request to the state legislature to help address inflow and infiltration (I/I) within the City's sanitary sewer system. Inflow is stormwater that enters into sanitary sewer systems at points of direct connection to the systems, such as sump pumps and floor drains in resident's homes. Infiltration is groundwater that enters sanitary sewer systems through cracks and/or leaks in the sanitary sewer pipes. In Newport, many of the sanitary sewer pipes are underwater during rain events or high river levels, meaning any leak can be a significant source of infiltration. The added cost of treating this water is passed along as rate increases on City water bills. According to Newport Mayor Bill Lund, solving this problem is important not only for Newport, but the Met Council's entire wastewater treatment system. The high volume of rainwater flowing into the pipes requires the same treatment as wastewater, and expanding capacity is much more expensive than mitigating I/I. However, the cost of mitigating inflow and infiltration is more than Newport can afford. Mayor Lund also stated that the city has spent a significant amount in recent years to address this problem, but millions more are required to solve this issue in Newport.   

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    St. Paul Park Seeks Top Volunteer

    The City of St. Paul Park is accepting nominations for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year, an award that recognizes people who contribute to the betterment of St. Paul Park through volunteering activities. Each April, the City Council holds a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to recognize and honor those who have demonstrated a caring attitude through volunteer efforts. Nominations will be accepted at City Hall through February 28th. Nomination forms are available by calling 651-459-9785, or visiting the City Website.

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    Dakota Electric Provides For Schools

    Dakota Electric Association selected the school districts of Lakeville, Randolph, Red Wing and South St. Paul as this years recipients of donations from the unclaimed capital credits fund. Dakota Electric awarded a total of $46,000 of unclaimed capital credit money to the schools, which will be used to fund specific educational projects and reach district goals. District 195, in Randolph, will use the money to support elementary science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs (STEAM) and purchase equipment for the high school science lab. District 256, in Red Wing is using the money for iPads for its STEAM curriculum. A customer-owned, nonprofit utility since 1937, Dakota Electric Association provides electricity to more than 108,000 members throughout Dakota County and portions of Goodhue, Rice and Scott counties. Dakota Electric is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

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    Holiday Train Delivers $4,500 To HFS

    The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made a stop in Hastings on Monday night. Executive Director of Hastings Family Service, Chris Koop, provided a summary of the event.

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    She also stated that the final numbers for the event will include the 10 Days of Giving.

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    HFS serves families in the ISD 200 school district.

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    Prescott Council Sets Special Levy

    The Prescott City Council acted on a resolution to levy a special assessment for properties on College and Albert Streets because of infrastructure improvements. City Administrator Jayne Brand reported some good news.

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    The Council approved the assessment by unanimous vote.

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    Fairy Wonderland Park Plans Move Ahead

    At a meeting on December 9th, the Prescott Parks and Public Property committee reviewed a memorandum of understanding between the City of Prescott and Healing Play, Inc., regarding Fairy Wonderland Park. According to the agreement, regular maintenance, such as mowing, would be the city's responsibility, and maintenance of the play structures would be handled by the Healing Play group. The Committee deliberated on clear expectations for who takes care of what in the park, and the City should start looking for grants for restroom installation. The Committee determined that events would need to provide the city a certificate of insurance. The City Attorney will review the agreement and it will be brought back to the committee. The anticipated opening of the park is Spring of 2021.

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    County Jail Report Dec. 10, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, December 10th, Rosemount Police apprehended 57-year-old Rosemount resident Rashid Abdullahi on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Abdullahi remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 11th. Hastings Police detained 56-year-old Hastings resident George Patrick Dowell on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Dowell was booked and released as the charge is processed. And Dakota County Deputies arrested 22-year-old Hastings resident Gracie Mae Schafer on two felony charges of wrongfully obtaining assistance. Schafer was booked and released pending an appearance in court. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Barton New Comm. Dir. At ISD 833

    South Washington County Schools has hired Pepe Barton as the new Director of Communications and Community Relations. Barton has extensive communications experience, previously serving as a communications consultant at Saint Paul Public Schools. In this role, he managed high-level communications projects supporting districtwide initiatives, including supporting the district's strategic plan, coordinating communications around the search for a new superintendent and leading referendum planning for their 2018 operating levy. Barton has a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications from Montana State University, in Billings. He replaces Shelly Schafer, who left the position in November. Barton will begin this new role on December 16, pending school board approval on December 12.

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    One Injured In Wash. Co. Bus Accident

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that an accident involving a school bus occurred Monday morning, in Lake Elmo. According to published reports, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said a vehicle hit a bus that had kids on board near the intersection of 24th Street and Manning Avenue. One person was extricated from the second vehicle but nobody else was believed to have been injured in the crash. Further details have not been released.

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    Dec. 06 Accident Injures One

    An accident on Highway 52 near Cannon Falls at about 1:30 PM on Friday afternoon has injured one person. According to the MN State Patrol, a MNDOT plow truck, driven by 30-year-old Joseph Daniel Johnson, of Rochester, with crash cushion and arrow board activated was stopped on the right shoulder of Highway 52, near the County Highway 19 ramp, providing traffic control for road and shoulder maintenance. The truck was rear ended by a Saturn Aura, driven by 63-year-old Darrell Ronald Carlson, of Red Wing. Carlson was transported to MCHS in Cannon Falsl, with non-life threatening injuries, and Johnson was not injured in the accident. The Goodhue County Sheriff's office assisted at the scene.

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    Weekly Listing Of County Jobs Dec. 08, 2019

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a CJN Systems Analyst/Programmer, an Engineering Intern with Water Resources, and Community Living Specialists, with PHN, RN, and SW Classifications. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Bill To Eliminate 3.2 Beer Restriction

    After two major brewing companies announced they will no longer produce the lower-strength beer that can be sold in Minnesota grocery and convenience stores, Senator Karin Housley is renewing her call to modernize the state's liquor laws. Senator Housley is calling on the legislature to act on a bill she introduced during the 2019 session, that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell off-sale beer and wine. In separate letters to industry representatives, executives from Heineken USA and Constellation Brands cited Minnesota's position as the sole remaining state to limit alcohol sales at grocery and convenience stores to 3.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) beer as the primary reason for their decisions to end its production.

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    County 3rd Graders Attend Zoo STEM Program

    More than 1,800 third-grade students from 19 elementary schools in School District 196 are learning to think like scientists and wildlife conservationists by participating in the Zoo Safari program at the Minnesota Zoo. Made possible by a partnership with Flint Hills Resources that began in 1989, this field trip is free for all third-grade students and is the first visit to the Minnesota Zoo for many of them. The goal of these field trips is to spark students' interest in science and promote academic achievement. Learning outside the classroom engages kids in new and creative ways and fulfills curriculum requirements. During Zoo Safari field trips, zoo naturalists bring STEM concepts to life as students learn about habitat design, animal behavior and environmental impacts. Studies show that hands-on STEM learning can help develop children's problem-solving skills and understanding of the natural world.

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    (Students at Zoo Safari. Photo Courtesy, Flint Hills Resources)

    County Property Taxes See Decrease

    Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins has released information stating that continued work on the County's 2020 budget means the 2.9% property tax increase proposed in September will be reduced. Note that this is for the County portion of property taxes, as local city councils and school boards control a larger portion of the total property tax amount and set their own budgets and tax levies. At the County level, property tax revenues will go toward things like road repairs, snowplowing, public safety and jail expenses, building repairs, addressing homelessness, park and trail maintenance, library operations, and to help keep up with increasing utility and insurance costs. According to a recent Pioneer Press review, proposed property tax rates for Dakota County services in 2020 will be the lowest in the metro area. They will also be the lowest of any of Minnesota's 87 counties, according to statewide data. Atkins also stated that for 2020, the median value for a home in Dakota County is $280,200, and the average county portion of property taxes on a median-valued home are expected to be $643. The metro average is $945, over $300 more. Note that this is only the county portion and does not include city or school property taxes.

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    County Jail Report Dec. 07, 08, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, December 7th, Rosemount Police arrested 22-year-old Quinton Robert Roy Boe on a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree assault. Boe is being held without bail and appeared in court on the 9th. Washington County Deputies detained 43-year-old Hastings resident Gregory Brannon on a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Brannon remains in custody pending a transfer to Washington County. And Hastings Police apprehended 38-year-old Hastings resident Jonathon Davis Grasl on a felony charge of assault, and misdemeanor charges of assault and interfering with a call to 9-1-1. Grasl is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on the 10th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, December 9th, Dakota County Deputies detained 29-year-old Kirsten Elaine Hart on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs, and misdemeanor charges of possession of needles, and bringing contraband into jail. Hart remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 11th. Hastings Police arrested 36-year-old Luke Steven Stringfellow on 4 felony charges of theft, and a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Stringfellow remains in custody as the charges are processed. And 50-year-old Hastings resident Daryll Christian Strom was apprehended by Eagan Police on felony charges of DUI and 5th degree possession of drugs, and a misdemeanor charge of violation of driver's license restrictions. Strom is being held without bail as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    2020 Prescott Election Filing Period Open

    The City Council election season has begun in Prescott. The filing period for candidates is now open. City Administrator Jayne brand explains.

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    As mentioned, the election is on April 7th.

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    Donations To HPD Fo rAEDs

    The Hastings Police Department recently received a matching donation opportunity from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Business Council to replace aging Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) that are housed in each marked squad car on patrol. The SMSC provided a $4,000 matching grant to replace half of the current stock of AEDs. This effort was led by Deputy Police Chief David Wilske, who jumped at the opportunity to find matching dollars to replace the AEDs. Walmart in Hastings agreed to match the donation, and Wilske was able to purchase six new devices, replacing the oldest AEDs in the fleet. Currently the Hastings Police Department has 12 AEDs for 12 marked patrol vehicles. Seven of the existing stock are considered to be at the end of their life, meaning it will become more difficult to keep the units up and running when they break down. Six of those seven were replaced with the matching donations. The Hastings Police Department plans to seek additional funding sources to replace the remaining units next year.

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    (Photo: L to R: SMSC Secretary/Treasurer Rebecca Crooks-Stratton, SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig, Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender, HPD Chief Bryan Schafer, HPD Deputy Chief David Wilske, HPD Commander Bryan Schowalter Courtesy City of Hastings)

    ProACT Light Recycling Program Open

    Now in its sixth season, ProAct, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities, continues the Holiday Lights Recycling effort, in conjunction with several cities in the south metro area. The program also recycles electrical, phone and appliance cords and offers 26 drop-off locations. Several city facilities, Dakota County service centers, hardware and liquor stores are serving as drop-off points. According to a press release, drop-off locations and ProAct cannot accept cord adapters, battery packs, plastic rope lights, CFL lights, light fixtures, trees and garland. Anything that is pre-lit needs the light strands removed, and the item disposed of separately by the consumer. Christmas lights and electrical cords cannot be recycled in standard, single-sort recycling bins, and can cause problems in the regular waste stream. ProAct has grown the recycling effort each of the last five years, with more than 13,886 tons of material collected last season. All of the work and income from the processed material will benefit individuals with disabilities in its programs. In Hastings, drop-off locations are Dakota County Admin. Service Center, 1590 Highway 55, Hastings City Hall, 101 4th Street East, Hastings Joint Maintenance Facility, 920 10th Street West, Hometown ACE Hardware, 1355 South Frontage Road, and Terry's Hardware, 375 33rd Street West. The program ends the first week of February 2020.   

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    Scholarships For HS Juniors

    The Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) is proud to announce its 2020 Scholarship Program, which will award up to five $2,000 scholarships to high school juniors. All students currently enrolled in 11th grade and attending a Minnesota public, private, or parochial school, or a home-study program, are eligible to apply for this program. Applicants should submit a written essay on the theme of MATs 2020 Education Conference, "Township Day," by May 1, 2020. Winners will be chosen by an independent panel of judges and will be notified by October 1, 2020. They will also be invited to attend MAT's Awards Banquet in St. Cloud, on November 20, 2020. For more information and application details, please call the MAT offices at 1-800-228-0296 or visit MNTownships.org.    

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    Downtown Ladies Night Winds Up Year

    Several business in Downtown Hastings are sponsoring the last Ladies night of the year on Thursday, December 19th, from 5-8 pm. Each store participating will have a Ladies night sticker in their window. When you purchase from one of these stores, save your receipt and at the end of the night take your receipts to Level Up Games at 120 Second Street, to participate in a game to win gift cards from the local businesses. The more receipts you have, the more chances you get to win a prize. In addition, many of the restaurants and businesses will have sales, promotions and fun events to participate in. Your local businesses have been working hard all year to sponsor events for the local community, so show your support by coming out to finish (or start) your Christmas shopping, have dinner and some fun on December 19.

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    County Jail Report Dec. 06, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Friday, December 6th, Rosemount Police arrested 33-year-old Cottage Grove resident Miguel Hernandez on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license. Hernandez made an appearance in court on the 6th. Farmington Police apprehended 29-year-old Jacob Martin Kraska on a misdemeanor charge of violation of an order for no contact. Kraska was booked and released as the charge is processed. And Dakota County Deputies detained 25-year-old Woodbury resident Candis Ellie Ohs on misdemeanor charges of theft and 5th degree possession of drugs, and a felony charge of being a fugitive from justice in another state. Bail for Ohs was set at $3,000 and she made an appearance in court on the 6th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Jurgens Rotates Off UWH Board

    United Way of Hastings has had the honor of having State Representative Tony Jurgens as a member of the Board of Directors for the last year. As he prepares to rotate off the board, he commented on his impressions of the term.

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    UWH Executive Director Mari Mellick also commented on his participation.

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    New board members will be seated in January.

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    State Reports Budget Surplus

    The State Management and Budget office released the forecast Thursday morning showing an economic outlook, which they say has improved since the end of the 2019 Legislative special session. According published information, the state of Minnesota projects a $1.3 billion budget surplus in the fiscal year 2020-21. KDWA spoke with State Representative Tony Jurgens about the surplus.

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    He also indicated there may be ways to improve infrastructure without financing projects.

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    The Legislature goes back into session in January.   

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    Buckthorn Removal Continue sIn County Park

    Efforts to remove buckthorn continue at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, in Eagan. Each summer, Natural Resources staff tour Lebanon Hills Regional Park and analyze buckthorn growth and develop a plan to keep it in check. They look at qualities such as density, size and whether buckthorn will likely produce viable seed in the fall. After this information is mapped, staff prioritize areas for contractors to apply different control methods such as prescribed burning, hand cutting, brush cutting, forestry mowing or herbicide spraying. Contractors will work throughout the winter, focusing on cutting the highest-priority buckthorn that is likely to produce seed this year and burning it on site.   

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    DCHS Reaches Fundraising Goal

    The Dakota County Historical Society has reported that a $7,000 fundraising goal for the Lawshe fund currently stands at more than $7,500 raised in just a few weeks. According to a DCHS press release, donations were received from people representing 7 different states, more than 25 cities, including 11 different cities represented from Dakota County alone. The fund had three matches offered by the Friends of the Sibley Historic Site, Steve Cook & Michele Fallon, and Robert and Michelle Damon. DCHS Executive Director Matt Carter stated that the goal is continue to raise funds and shatter this total, setting up for an even higher goal for 2020.

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    Czeck Pleads Guilty

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Joseph Paul Czeck, age 34 of Hastings, pled guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in connection with a fatal crash that occurred on July 9, 2018, which took the lives of 67-year-old Karen Christiansen and 32-year-old Jena Christiansen, both of Shoreview. According to the criminal complaint, an 1,100-pound boulder fell off the back of the commercial truck Czeck was driving and struck the vehicle driven by Karen Christiansen. Czeck continued to drive away and did not return to the scene of the crash. Backstrom thanked the Rosemount Police Department for their thorough investigation of this crash. Backstrom also extended his appreciation to the Inver Grove Heights Police and Fire Departments, the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Dakota County Sheriff's Office for their assistance. Judge Arlene Perkkio ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set the sentencing date for January 17th, at 1:30 PM, in Hastings.

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    Diffley Road Open Houses Set

    Dakota County has scheduled open houses on Dec. 11 and Dec. 16 at Eagan Community Center to learn more about Diffley Road (County Road 30) pedestrian and bicycle safety. According to a press release issued by the County, the purpose of the open houses is to share progress on safety improvements and gather community input on potential short- and long-term solutions for the area that includes Diffley Road between Lexington Avenue and Braddock Trail, the Northview Elementary School, Dakota Hills Middle School and Eagan High School sites, and connections to nearby neighborhoods. The public can expect to view displays highlighting existing conditions along Diffley Road, key objectives, potential short- and long-term solutions, and more. Staff from Dakota County, the City of Eagan, District 196 and a project consultant will gather community input and answer questions about the project. Both open houses will be held in the Eagan Community Center Oak Room, 1501 Central Parkway, with the Wednesday, Dec. 11 meeting from 5:30 to 8 PM, and the Monday, Dec. 16 meeting from 4 to 6:30 PM. The same information will be available at both open houses, so residents can attend at their most convenient date and time. A follow-up open house is planned for February to share short- and long-term safety recommendations, based on feedback from the open houses, and an implementation plan. For more information, visit DakotaCounty.us, and search Diffley Road.   

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    2020 Winter Reads Program

    Turn the page to a new year and cozy up with a good book during Dakota County Librarys 2020 Winter Reads adult reading program. Winter Reads inspires adults to pick up a good book and read or listen to an exciting audiobook. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasure of wintertime reading, write reviews and attend author programs. Participants can rate and submit reviews of books read Jan. 6-Feb. 29 to be eligible for prizes. Enter as often as you like. The more reviews you submit, the better your chance to win. Register for Winter Reads at any library location or participate online. Each online review submitted earns you one entry into a prize drawing. Earn additional points and drawing entries by participating in online missions that help you discover new books and explore library programs. For more information, visit DakotaCounty.us/Library, and search Winter Reads.     

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    County Jail Report Dec. 05, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, December 5th, Dakota County Deputies arrested 44-year-old Amy Christine Andree on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs, and misdemeanor charges of theft and bringing contraband into jail. Andree remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 6th. Hastings Police detained 23-year-old Hastings resident Jade Lynn Gervais on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Gervais made an initial appearance in court on the 5th. And Hastings Police apprehended 30-year-old Hastings resident Thomas Edmund Johnson on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Johnson was booked and released as the charge is processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Cottage Grove OKs 3rd Filtration Plant

    In the coming months, the City of Cottage Grove will begin construction of a third, interim water treatment facility in Foothill Park, near Foothill Road and Innsdale Avenue. According to a recent post on social media, the City has been, and will continue to supply water that is safe and compliant with the State's Health Based Values for PFAS. The project is a proactive approach to ensure this continues. The facility is fully-funded by the State through the 2007 3M Consent Order, and the City will not be implementing a watering ban. This third, interim treatment facility will serve Cottage Grove's comprehensive water system and will look and operate much like the two facilities constructed in 2017. All three will be in place for the coming years as the City continues to work toward a long-term water supply plan produced by working groups through the 2018 3M Settlement Agreement. The strategic and comprehensive regional plan is expected to be completed in Spring of 2020 but implementation could take several years.   

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    HHS Ranks Among Best In State

    Academic ranking website Niche has published its list of the best high schools in MN for 2020. According to the list, Hastings High School was ranked at 47 in the top 50. Other area schools included on the list were Math & Science Academy in Woodbury, Eastview Senior High School in Rosemount, and Rosemount Senior High School. The 2020 Best Public High Schools ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with test scores, college data, and ratings collected from millions of Niche users. The complete list is available by the link availablehere.

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    City Council Approves HFD Training Agreement

    At Monday's meeting of the Hastings City Council, the Council authorized a rental agreement approving Hastings Fire Department's use of the East Metro Public Safety Training Facility in Maplewood. According to the meeting agenda, in the past, Hastings Fire Department has acquired old structures within the Hastings service area to conduct live fire training. This has become difficult with lack of available and suitable buildings that the owners are willing to have burned. The 2019 budget included renting a facility, and the Fire Department hopes to accomplish this prior to the end of the year. The East Metro Public Safety Training Facility has a standard rental agreement for use of its facilities. Attorney Fluegel has reviewed the agreement and noted that charges are only incurred if the facility is used so there is no real commitment by the City. Administrative Services Director Flaten has confirmed that the City's liability insurance meets the requirements of the agreement. The authorization was placed on the consent agenda for the meeting, and approved by unanimous voice vote.

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    King's Toy Drive Recap

    King's Burgers in Miesville held their annual Toy Drive on Tuesday. Chris Koop of Hastings Family Service reports from the event.

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    Even Santa provided an update.

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    HFS is still available for donations. Visit HastingsFamilyService.org for more details.

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    2019 River Shipping Season Complete

    The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received two prestigious awards at the 2019 Society of American Military Engineers, or SAME, Small Business Conference in Dallas on November 21st. According to a press release, the St. Paul District received SAME's "Top Small Disadvantaged Business" award for awarding over 46 percent of all its contracts to disadvantaged businesses. It also received the "District that Supported Small Businesses" award for awarding more than 50 percent of all its contracts to small businesses. The SAME Small Business Awards is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of small businesses, individuals who work as advocates for furthering small business interests, and large businesses that work to strengthen and support small business. Through market research efforts conducted by contracting and project management, the St. Paul District has exceeded small business contract awarding goals since 1999. In Fiscal Year 2019, the St. Paul District spent $66 million of its $144 million budget on small business contracts.

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    NAMI Meeting Dec. 10

    The Dakota County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will hold a regular meeting on Tuesday, December 10th, at 7 PM. The Agenda includes a treasury report by James Hanlon, and a fundraising report by Annemarie Hanlon. The remainder of the agenda for the meeting has been cleared to allow for a year-end gathering over dinner, and a look back at the accomplishments of the organization during 2019.The meeting will be held at Mary Mother of the Church, at 3333 Cliff Road, in Burnsville. For questions, visit NAMIDakotaCounty.org, or call 952-432-9278.   

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    MN SAVES Provides For College

    For shoppers looking to give a meaningful present this holiday season, the Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan (MNSAVES) makes it easy to give the gift of higher education. No matter if you're ahead of the game or just searching for last-minute options, MNSAVES has mail-in contributions or Ugift, a secure online gifting platform at MNSaves.org. In-state relatives and friends who gift with MNSAVES not only help turn the dream of college graduation into a reality, but they can also receive certain tax breaks. The Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan (MNSAVES), makes it easier for families to save for higher education expenses. It takes just $25 and 15 minutes to open a MNSAVES account and funds saved can be used at colleges, technical schools and graduate schools nationwide and many abroad. For more information on MNSAVES, including all of its new features and available gifting options, please visit MNSaves.org or call 1-877-338-4646.

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    County Jail Report Dec. 04, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, December 4th, 46-year-old Hastings resident Tundra Ann Beck was apprehended by Burnsville Police on misdemeanor charges of driving with a revoked license, and failure to appear in court, and a felony probation violation charge. Bail for Beck was set at $3,500, and she made an appearance in court on the 4th. Hastings Police arrested 24-year-old Dakota Brandon Magney on felony charges of 5th degree possession of drugs, fleeing police, and making terroristic threats, and misdemeanor charges of failure to yield at a left turn, driving with a suspended license, providing false identification to police, reckless driving, failure to comply with sentencing for a drug conviction, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Magney remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 5th. And Burnsville Police detained 43-year-old Hastings resident Jason Michael Czerminger on felony charges of 1st degree burglary and 5th degree possession of drugs. Czerminger remains in custody as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    State Snowmobile Trails Remain Closed

    While early cold temperatures and snow in parts of the Minnesota have many snowmobile enthusiasts excited to take their first ride of the season, most of the state's trails are not ready for riding, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Minnesota's snowmobile trails officially open Dec. 1 each year. Regardless of the date on the calendar, the DNR states that several conditions must be met before trails are groomed and ready for travel. The ground must be frozen. Where trails cross wetlands, 15 inches of ice is needed to support the weight of the trail groomers. Adequate snow cover, about 12 inches, must be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming. And trails must be cleared of fallen trees, signs put in place and gates opened. Snowmobile club volunteers and DNR staff are currently working on these tasks. Local trail conditions are often posted online by local tourism associations, chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs. To find the nearest club, visit the Minnesota United Snowmobiler's Association website at MNSnowmobiler.org.   

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    Farmington Board To Handle Search

    Following superintendent Jay Haugen's retirement in November, the Farmington School Board has decided to handle the search for a permanent superintendent on their own, instead of hiring a consulting firm to complete the task. According to a superintendent search update given by Board Chair Jacilyn Doyle at the November 25th School Board meeting at city hall, at the last work session the board determined that they would be able handle the search on their own. The board agreed unanimously to hire Jason Berg as the interim superintendent to work through June 30, 2020. Berg served as the district's executive director of educational services. The superintendent position will most likely be posted in March or late February and the interview process will begin in March. The process will allow different committees to form that may include a community committee and advisory committee. A final superintendent hiring decision would be done in May, according to the timeline.    

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    City Holds Truth In Taxation Session

    At the Hastings City Council meeting on December 2nd, City Finance Manager Melanie Lammers outlined the 2020 Truth in Taxation information for the City Council. She discussed median home values, and taxation rates anticipated for 2020.

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    The final 2020 budget for Hastings is set to be adopted at the December 16th City Council meeting.   

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    City Tree Lighting Ceremony

    The highlight of the Thanksgiving weekend in Hastings was the lighting of the newly-planted evergreen tree on the North Lawn of City Hall, on Saturday, November 30th. Mayor Mary Fasbender summarized the event.

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    The tree, and the labor to plant it, was donated by Precision Landscape Inc, Green Acres, Nova Frost Construction, and Mike Wagner Construction.   

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    Gobble Gait Recap

    Hastings' annual Gobble Gait on Thanksgiving Day was another successful event for the City. Mayor Mary Fasbender recapped the event.

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    The donations will be forwarded to Hastings Family Service.   

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    2019 Barge Season Closed

    The 2019 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District navigation season has come to an end. The last tow of the season departed St. Paul on Thursday, Nov. 28. According to an Army Corps of Engineers Press Release, the departure of the Motor Vessel Kelly Rae Erickson bookmarks a challenging navigation season that started April 24. There were more than 12,000 commercial vessels and 77 million tons of commodities shipped this season. The shorter navigation season resulted in approximately a 30 percent drop in tonnage compared to the 2018 navigation season and about 25 percent drop from the 10-year average.   

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    Fire At Steel Plant

    An overnight fire at Gerdau Ameristeel, just north of 494, reported at 12:30 AM on Saturday, took firefighters over 12 hours to contain and extinguish. The fire reportedly had 70-foot flames and could be seen for miles. Officials said more than 40 firefighters responded and were on the scene to battle the blaze. According to the St. Paul Fire Department, no one was injured in the fire, and the incident remains under investigation.

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    (Photo source: SPFD)

    County Jail Report Dec. 03, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, December 3rd, Hastings Police arrested 71-year-old Hastings resident Ronald John Bathrick on felony charges of 1st degree possession and 1st degree sale of drugs, and a misdemeanor charge of 3rd degree DUI. Bathrick was booked and released as the charges are processed. Farmington Police detained 48-year-old Carlos Cajaraville Jimenez on a felony charge of identity theft. Jimenez was booked and released pending an appearance in court. And Rosemount Police apprehended 19-year-old Minayah Elizabeth Mollenhoff on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Mollenhoff made an appearance in court on the 3rd. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    HFD Annual Awareness Campaign Starts

    With the start of December comes the Hastings Fire and EMS Department's annual Keep the Wreath White campaign. The Christmas Wreath has been hung on the fire hall with all of the lights in the wreath shining a bright white. The goal of the campaign is for residents of Hastings to be extra careful during the holiday season, and prevent fires in the home, or at work, due to any causes, like dry Christmas trees, faulty wiring, or unattended stoves or fireplaces. The fire Department will replace a white bulb with a red one anytime during the season they are called out to extinguish a fire.    

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    Diggins Brigs Race To MN

    Afton City Council member Stan Ross has announced that 2018 Olympic Gold Medal winner Jessie Diggins has scored another victory in bringing a World Cup Cross Country Ski Race to Minnesota. According to the Afton City Newsletter, The Fastenal Parallel 45 winter festival will take place at Theodore Wirth Park, in Minneapolis, on Saturday and Sunday, March 14th, and 15th. The race will feature youth and citizen events and activities. Jessie will race in the World Cup Sprint race on Tuesday, March 17. The top Cross Country skiers in the world will be racing, as this is the final sprint race of the World Cup season, where the Crystal Globe will be awarded to the best male and female sprinters over the entire season. Complete details are available at the link provided here.

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    (Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons)

    St. Croix River Listed As Impaired

    The City of Afton has learned that that the St. Croix River between Taylors Falls and Stillwater has been added to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) growing list of impaired waterways. Overall, 30 percent of the state,s lakes and 50 percent of its streams are now listed as impaired. The issue in the St. Croix is due to high levels of phosphorus. According to Afton Mayor Bill Palmquist, when a river like the St. Croix is threatened by excessive nutrient loading, the only way to fix it is for municipalities up and down the river to do everything they can to limit the amount of sediment and fertilizers reaching the creeks and streams that empty into the river. To do this there must be a partnership with landowners, farmers, and developers. Many area farmers are taking active steps in this regard already. Palmquist also stated that Afton's development goals focus on the preservation of open space. This helps ensure the problems of nutrient loading and other issues impacting the surface and ground water in the Afton area are not worsened. The new development on 60th Street is a prime example of both the goals, and the challenges, of dealing with this issue.   

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    Dec. 09 Prescott Parks Committee Meeting

    The Parks and Public Property Committee of the Prescott City Council will meet for regular business on Monday, December 9th. Agenda items include a discussion and review of the memorandum of understanding between the City of Prescott and Healing Play, Inc., regarding the Fairy Wonderland Park, and an update on the riverfront assessor plat in regards to railroad property in the area. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Municipal building, 800 Borner Street.

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    Bigham Makes Announcement

    On Monday, Senator Karla Bigham released an announcement regarding her position as State Senator.

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    Among her accomplishments during her first term, Bigham has worked to pass additional funding for city and county services while providing direct property tax relief. Bigham also cited her support for the middle-class tax cut and direct tax relief for seniors receiving Social Security benefits as significant accomplishments this past legislative session. She stated that she is not done.

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    Bigham, a DFLer, was elected to the Minnesota Senate in a special election in February 2018.

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    Prescott Police Blotter Dec. 01, 2019

    From the Prescott Police blotter for the week ending December 1st, a suspicious person call brought officers to the 1100 block of Highway 10. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 38-year-old Hastings resident Janette Marie Randall on a warrant in Minnesota for failure to appear in court. Randall posted bail as the charge is processed. Officers responded to a report of a gas drive off in the 1000 block of Eagle Ridge Drive. Investigating officers completed the report, and the incident is still under investigation. And officers received a report of a domestic disturbance in the 900 block of Canton Street. Investigating officers spoke with a woman by phone who stated that no assistance was needed. Officers cleared the call. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Weekend County Jail Report

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, November 30th, Rosemount Police detained 30-year-old Rosemount resident Booker T. Jarrett, III, on a felony charge of 3rd degree burglary. Bail for Jarrett is set at $80,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court on the 3rd. Hastings Police arrested 33-year-old Baily Jo Miller on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Miller remains in custody as the charge is processed. And Rosemount Police apprehended 28-year-old Rosemount resident Kristen Barbra Remington on a felony charge of 3rd degree burglary, and two misdemeanor probation violation charges. Bail for Remington was set at $50,000 and she remains in custody. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Sunday, December 1st, Rosemount Police arrested 34-year-old Michael Paul Gale on misdemeanor charges of driving with a revoked license, and providing false identification to police. Gale remains in custody as the charges are processed. Dakota County Deputies apprehended 44-year-old Charles Lee Whittaker on a misdemeanor charge of failure to pay child support. Whittaker made an appearance in court on the 2nd. And Rosemount Police detained 33-year-old Hastings resident Tiffany Marie Wick on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs, and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, and bringing contraband into jail. Wick has been released from jail pending an appearance in court. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, December 2nd, 21-year-old Newport resident Ashley Marie Dewane was apprehended by Apple Valley Police on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Bail for Dewane was set at $500, and she appeared in court on the 2nd. Dakota County Deputies arrested 29-year-old Vermillion resident Matthew Joseph Franssen on a felony charge of false imprisonment, and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Franssen remains in custody as the charges are processed. And Rosemount Police detained 36-year-old Anna Marie Linebaugh on a felony charge of violation of an order for protection. Linebaugh remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 3rd. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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