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    HHS McQuade Honored By Rotary

    The Hastings Rotary celebrated the student of the month for December at their weekly meeting. Lauren McQuade attended with members of her family as well as the Hastings HS teacher who nominated her. Carly Hyatt chose to honor Lauren citing her abilities in academics and other school related activities, as well as her strong moral compass and willingness to serve as reasons she is such a worthy recipient of recognition. The qualities found in the Rotary's four way test

    were also those exemplified by McQuade, said Hyatt and the honor is one that will acknowledge her hard work and service. Lauren will attend college next year for study in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. The Hastings Area Rotary recognizes a District 200 High School Student during each month of the school year. They meet weekly at Green Mill in Hastings.   

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    (Photo provided by Hastings Area Rotary Club)

    Project Share Helping Hands Needed

    Holiday giving is in the air, with Executive Director of Hastings Family Service Chris Koop telling KDWA that additional help is needed to make sure Project Share families are served.

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    Koop notes a few guidlines for those lending a helping hand.

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    Hastings Family Service is located at 2nd and Tyler in Downtown Hastings.

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    Newport Sets Budget Priorities

    The 2019 budget fund balance for the City of Newport has been set at just over $2 million. The budget includes setting aside funds for the rebuilding of the City Hall and Fire Department, which are projects not yet scheduled, but necessary, due to the age of the structures. The City Council approved a levy increase of 4%, and resident will see an approximate $10 increase on the city portion of their property taxes. Other items in the budget include wage increases, repairs and a security system for the public works building, a roof for the library, and firefighting gear.

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    Building Community With Equity Labs

    Nearly 75 Hastings community members gathered at the Dakota Pines Golf Club on November 27th continuing the process of creating a more Inclusive Hastings. During the first part of the meeting, the group viewed three different videos relating to how different people see, experience, and talk about the concept of race. These videos, plus a review of six current Hastings stories and case studies provided the foundation for small group discussions. The second part of the meeting focused on the Empathy phase of so-called Design Thinking. The group discussed three themes chosen at previous listening sessions that define areas of opportunity for Hastings. The areas are Community Conversation, Cultural Competence, and Trust and Safety. The evening concluded with a focus group style discussion. The next Equity Innovation Lab is set for January 15th at the Dakota Pines Event Center. All are welcome and encouraged to participate.   

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    Rosemount FD Reports Explosion

    Around 12:30 PM on Tuesday December 11th, Rosemount Police and Fire Departments were notified of an explosion in the area of Dellwood Way and Dellwood Court. According to sources, initial reports indicated something inside the garage at the residence exploded, trapping one person in the garage. There were also reports of heavy smoke coming from the garage. The Rosemount Fire Department arrived to find a 2 story structure with heavy damage to the garage. Firefighters secured the scene and conducted a search of the dwelling to see if there were any additional people in the dwelling and also monitored the residence for gas readings. Crews remained on scene until 2 PM to assist police and the Fire Marshal with the investigation. The name of the person in the garage and reports of injury have not been released.

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    (Photo Source: Facebook)

    Dakota County Jail Booking Dec 12

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, Hastings police arrested 23-year-old Hastings resident Shaavon Nethellen Orzell Hall on a felony charge of 5th degree assault. Bail for Hall has been set at $700, and he remains in custody. 55-year-old South St. Paul resident Steven Leslie LaFontaine was detained by officers in South St. Paul and faces a felony charge of assault, and 2 misdemeanor charges of assault. LaFontaine is being held without bail as the charges are processed. And Dakota County deputies arrested 47-year-old Sturgeon Lake resident Daniel James Peden on a felony charge of assault and a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of marijuana. Peden remains in custody pending a court appearance on the 13th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    Business Update For CG

    The new Planet Fitness facility in Cottage Grove has opened to the public. According to a post on social media by Mayor Myron Bailey, the new gym is up and running, and the Mayor has been invited to a VIP tour of the new McDonald's restaurant building, slated for Tuesday, December 18th. Sources indicate that the new McDonald's should be open for business in January. Rounding out new business news in Cottage Grove is the Muddy Cow, located in the old Ruby Tuesday's building, which is also hoped to be open sometime in January.

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    Holiday Hours At PH Library

    School will be out for the holidays soon and the Dakota County Library System reminds everyone that all of the library locations will be closed Monday and Tuesday, December 24th and 25th. The libraries encourage patrons to plan ahead to check out plenty of books, movies and magazines, or "Nature 2GO!" kits to keep kids from getting restless while they're off school. If you are too busy to stop by the library, it is always open online. Visit the Cloud Library and browse to download popular, age-appropriate children's fiction and nonfiction-books all for free.

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    Hanson Hired at OSEL

    Our Saviour's Evangelical Lutheran Church has announced the hiring of a permanent Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. According to the church's newsletter, the position was awarded to interim director Amy Hanson, who has been involved with the church for most of her life. Hanson brings a wealth of experience working with non-profit groups, marketing, and strategic planning, and has a passion for getting congregants of all ages involved in outreach and service to the Community. Hanson's other area of responsibility will be to work with the Pastoral Staff to develop an educational program for youths to guide them in their journeys of faith.

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    (Photo Source: Our Saviour's Evangelical Lutheran Church)

    Afton Museum Seeks Funding

    The Afton Historical Museum has announced plans to add a weekend day of operation for 2019. Currently, the museum is open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 6 PM, and feedback from the public indicates difficulty with the ability to visit the museum during these times. To that end, the Afton Historical Society hopes to raise $8,000 by December 31st, both to assist with additional hours, and to cover other normal overhead costs. Donations can be made by clicking on the donations tab at AftonHistoricalMuseum.com. Donations are tax deductible. For questions, contact the museum at 651-436-3500.

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    HEDRA Meeting Agenda Dec 13

    HEDRA will meet tonight ,December 13th, at 6 PM at Hastings City Hall. On the agenda under business will be to authorize the signature for a real estate option agreement in Block 1, which is the proposed cidery business Panache, looking to build in the space behind the Artspace Lofts. In reports and other information, on the agenda is an update on the Great River Landing, progress on economic development services, recognition of Artspace Hastings Lofts, commercial vacancies and a vacancy in a position for HEDRA itself. Commissioner Pam Denning will also be recognized. The meeting is open to the public.

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    Augustana Merger Brings Name Change

    Tuesday's interview with Paul Luitjens, the Administrator of Augustana Care Hastings included some new information about changes coming to this local facility and what impact it will have on their future.

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    Luitjens notes that the name change will take effect in early 2019. Augustana Care is located at 930 West 16th Street and provides long term care as well as short term, respite and rehabilitative care as well.

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    Pierce County Studies Tourism

    The Pierce County Economic Development Corporation has received a Joint Effort Marketing grant of $13,144 from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to develop a new brand, and marketing material to attract visitors to the area. Pierce County EDC is using the grant money to fund a study that began in early December to identify unique tourism assets, and visitor perceptions and how they align with current marketing efforts. Data from 2017 indicate that business sales in Pierce County related to tourism generated $53.4 million, and $3.3 million in state and local taxes, and supported over 430 jobs.

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    Afton Museum New Years Wish

    The Afton Historical Museum has announced plans to add a weekend day of operation for 2019. Currently, the museum is open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 6 PM, and feedback from the public indicates difficulty with the ability to visit the museum during these times. To that end, the Afton Historical Society hopes to raise $8,000 by December 31st, both to assist with additional hours, and to cover other normal overhead costs. Donations can be made by clicking on the donations tab at AftonHistoricalMuseum.com. Donations are tax deductible. For questions, contact the museum at 651-436-3500.

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    Old Fashioned Christmas Service

    A wonderful time reported by staff and residents of Augustana Care Hastings for their annual Old Fashioned Christmas program that featured traditional music, scripture of the Christmas story, a message of hope Gordon Gathright, Chaplain for Augustana tells us more.

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    and a room filled with battery powered candles.

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    A photo of the program can be found at kdwa.com

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    Community Farewell For Mayor Hicks

    The community turned out Wednesday evening for a farewell presentation to honor Mayor Paul Hicks who kept busy with handshakes and hugs as well wishers gathered in the 2nd story community room to reminisce and celebrate his 28 years of service to the City of Hastings. Several speakers including collegues and former councilmembers shared gifts,quotes and inspirational messages. Police Chief Bryan Schafer.

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    Former councilmemberTony Alongi offered a suggestion following the unveiling of a customized street sign presented by Public Works Director Nick Egger. The sign read Paul Hicks Avenue.

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    Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik thanked Hicks for his mentorship.

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    The Mayor also recognized the Queen Mum, his mother, who sat proudly in the front row,as someone who supported and championed him through each venture and campaign.

    and with all oking aside, many of the memories and tributes were heartfelt, such as the admiration from one of the newest members to the council, Tina Folch.

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    Hicks will preside over his final City council meeting on December 17th.

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    Holiday Tradition Warms Hearts

    Every little bit helps, is certainly true at Hastings Family Service at this time of the year. From church donations to office collections to Saturday's Santa on the Farm at the Bremer's, the generousity of neighbors and friends is something that brings smile after smile. On Tuesday, Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special delivery to HFS bringing 97 pounds of food and $773 that will be used to purchase milk for the food shelf. According to a spokesperson for the dairy farm, more that 150 vehicles drove through the display of inflatable and carefully painted figures which take days to assemble into the winter wonderland that seems to grow every year. Trimmed with Lights, ornaments more than a mile of extension cords, the festive crew say its all worth it and they thank everyone for their great support. They had the best turnout yet and look forward to doing it all again next year.

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    Photo Provided by Bremer Farm

    Changin Riverfront Focus

    Continuing the report from the decision made at the Monday Night Hastings Planning Commission meeting, more perspective given by Commissioner Lisa Siebenaler on the importance of the river. As she noted, that perspective has shifted.

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    She says there is more to do, with additional areas east of the bridge another prime location for development.

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    Siebenaler and others look to collaborative discussions that keep the revered resource in mind as more changes come to this rivertown.

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    Dakota County Jail Log Dec 11

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, police in South St. Paul arrested 32-year-old South St. Paul resident LaTreece Ann Alexander on a misdemeanor charge of malicious punishment of a child. Alexander has been booked and released as the charge is processed. Rosemount police detained 34-year-old Charles Earl Clubbs, of Moose Lake on 2 felony charges of 5th degree possession of amphetamines, and misdemeanor charges of possession of hypodermic needles, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving with a revoked license. Clubbs remain in custody as the charges are investigated. And Hastings police arrested 33-year-old Hastings resident Dallas Matthew Kreider on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Kreider has been released from jail pending an initial 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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    Prescott Park Priorities Presented

    During Monday evening's Prescott City Council meeting, the Council heard a report from the November 11th Open House held to get public input on priorities for improvements to public areas in Prescott. As previously reported by KDWA, the project areas deemed most in need of attention were the Highway 10 bridge, the Public boat landing, and a trail to Freedom Park. The Council reviewed each of these priorities and discussed possible avenues for financing. Seth Hudson of Cedar Corp reminded the Council of one source.

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    Grants from the State and other sources will also be considered for financing.   

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    Tobacco Compliance Fails

    On November 28th, reports by Hastings Police of compliance failures for 2 businesses which sell tobacco products. The legal age for purchasing tobacco products in the city is currently 18. The report states that employees from one business in the 200 block of 33rd Street and one in the 1200 block of South Frontage Road failed to prevent a person represented to be under 18 from purchasing tobacco products. Each location may have an unspecified penalty assessed.

    City ordinances may assess financial penalties to those who hold a tobacco sales license. Tobacco sales licenses are issued for a period of one year. Suspension or revocation of a sales license may also be invoked depending on the record of compliance failures. At least once per year, police conduct unannounced compliance checks at each business that holds a municipal license. The clerk providing the sale may also be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Those charged may deny the charges and request a public hearing before the city council.

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    Area Under Air Quality Alert

    The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an Air Quality Alert for a large portion of central Minnesota with the KDWA listening area included in the alert. This means recreational fires and open burns are not permitted at this time. The fine particle concentration is elevated and an alert is called to allow those sensitive to such conditions to avoid exposure. The alert expires at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 13th. Those people with preexisting lung or heart disease, the elderly, children and those participating in activities that require heavy or extended exertion are advised to use caution when alert status is announced.

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    Tobacco Sales Violations

    On November 28th, reports by Hastings Police of compliance failures for 2 businesses which sell tobacco products. The legal age for purchasing tobacco products in the city is currently 18. The report states that employees from one business in the 200 block of 33rd Street and one in the 1200 block of South Frontage Road failed to prevent a person represented to be under 18 from purchasing tobacco products. Each location may have an unspecified penalty assessed. City ordinances may assess financial penalties to those who hold a tobacco sales license.

    Tobacco sales licenses are issued for a period of one year. Suspension or revocation of a sales license may also be invoked depending on the record of compliance failures. At least once per year, police conduct unannounced compliance checks at each business that holds a municipal license. The clerk providing the sale may also be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Those charged may deny the charges and request a public hearing before the city council.

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    Hiring Event Today

    Career Force MN is hosting an onsite hiring event at the West St. Paul Workforce Center, on Tuesday, December 11th, from 1 to 3 PM. Bring your resume and interview with representatives of a wide variety of employers, such as Hy-Vee, Augustana Elim Care, and Endeavor Air. Career Force MN encourages you to get out of the cold and into a new job! The workforce Center is located a 1 Mendota Road West.

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    Hastings Police Report Dec 8

    From the Hastings police blotter, a traffic stop in the 1400 block of Vermillion Street resulted in the arrest of 31-year-old Hastings resident David Alvin Thomas for multiple warrants, and charges of 5th degree drugs, tax evasion, and driving after revocation. Officers were called to the 1200 block of Vermillion Street for a report of counterfeit money. Officers initiated an investigation that remains open at this time. And a traffic stop near the intersection of Ravenna Trail and Glendale Road resulted in the arrest of 34-year-old St. Paul resident Kelsey Marie Burton on an outstanding warrant. Burton also received a citation for providing false identification to police. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    First Snow Tags 68

    The snow emergency declared in Hastings on December 1st kept officers of the Hastings Police Department busy. According to a blotter report issued by the department, officers issued 68 citations for vehicles parked in violation of the snow emergency ordinance. The report indicates no vehicles were towed in the emergency. The City of Hastings offers a free notification service for such events, with instructions to sign up for the Nixle system on the City website at HastingsMN.gov

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    County Reports On Stewardship

    At a special meeting scheduled for December 11th, Dakota County Commissioners will hear a report on natural resources stewardship in the County. According to Physical Development Director Steve Mielke, Dakota County protects and maintains natural resources as a service to residents of the County. In partnership with others, Dakota County protects, restores and maintains environmentally sensitive and ecologically important natural resources. The County does, however, hope to secure assistance from the State Legislature for nature-based education and recreation, and support with a 2019 Outdoor Heritage funding recommendation from the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for $2.5 million to the County for land protection and restoration.

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    Amber Alert Fundraiser Welcomes Santa

    That Jolly ol' Santa Claus was in great form on Sunday as he made a stop at the Amber Alert Breakfast held at the Coliseum. While some excited youngsters waited their turn in line, other enjoyed eating pancakes and playing with the free toys which were handed out to them by Santa himself. Deb Trejo, a personal friend of Santa filled us in on the work of this local fundraising team.

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    She notes that the Santa breakfast is a highlight of their year.

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    The group fundraises to supports costs charged to have highway signs alert motorists of missing or endangered children. Each event is manned by volunteers who donate time, resources or skills to raise funds all year round. They hold meat raffles several times a year and host a Motorcycle Run and car show every year in June. The public is always encouraged to volunteer at an event or contribute funds to the Minnesota Amber Alert , Box 84, Hastings, 55033.

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    Holiday Helping Of Community

    Hastings was pleased to be chosen again this year as a stopping place for the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

    One of the purposes for the Canadian Pacific Holiday train stop, is to allow the presentation of a great gift for Hastings Family Service , a monetary donation that is used to provide a happy holiday for families through Project Share and the adjoining Food Market. Each year, Mayor Hicks and Executive Director of Hastings Family Service Chris Koop appear on the platform to welcome the train, crew and musicians and thank them for coming.

    Mayor Hicks is a big fan.

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    Koop reminisced about years past

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    This year the amount on the giant check was an amazing $4,500. Koop shares her appreciation at this blessing.

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    This train has 63 stops along it's midwest route and they are not afforded to every city along the line. Hicks and Koop are grateful that Hastings continues to be a spot that is recognized the great giving that takes place in this community.

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    Prescott City Council Previews

    The Prescott City Council will meet Monday, December 10th for their regular meeting, beginning at 6:30 pm. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a look at the meeting agenda.

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    The Prescott City Council may determine to have only one meeting in December. City Administrator Jayne Brand explained to KDWA News what is likely to happen concerning a second meeting in December.

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    The City Council will likely make that decision at Mondays City Council meeting.

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    ProAct Helps With Holiday Recycle

    A local nonprofit organization working with people with disabilities is asking for the public to recycle old Christmas lights with them. ProAct has set up a number of drop points in Hastings for old and unwanted lights. ProAct spokesperson Aaron Hustedde explains.

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    Lights can also be brought to the Joint Maintenance Facility/Parks and Rec Office, at 920 10th St. W, in Hastings.   

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    (Photo courtesy ProAct)

    Holiday Sized Blood Drive

    The American Red Cross continues the holiday tradition of hosting the 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive, Minnesota's largest, one-day Red Cross blood drive. The blood drive gives area residents the opportunity to share their good health while helping boost the blood supply prior to the holidays. The 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive will be held Thursday, Dec. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Inwood Oaks, 484 Inwood Ave. N, in Oakdale. All who come to give blood will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

    Donors will also enjoy live holiday entertainment and food, free parking, complimentary gift wrapping and visits from Santa throughout the day. In addition, donors will be entered to win hourly prize drawings including a 40-inch HD TV and a HP laptop computer. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. To make an appointment for the 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive, donors can use sponsor code "12 hours" on the Red Cross Blood Donor App, online at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

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    Homestead Status Registration Deadline

    New property owners or qualifying relatives who changed their residence during the past year and use that residence for homestead before December 1st of this year, must apply for homestead status with their county assessor by the deadine of December 17th. Those who wish to classify property as homestead that was otherwise classified must apply with the Dakota County Assossor's Office to receive the homestead credit for property taxes payable in 2019. Property owners who sell their home, move or no longer qualify for the homestead classificiation are required to notify the County Assessor within 30 days of that homestead's change in status. A penalty is incurred if this is not done. Also, Agricultural property and residential property relative designation differs slightly and applications can be completed online at the Dakota County Website with questions answered by Dakota County Assessing Services at 651-438-4200. www.dakotacounty.us and search homestead application.

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    Arrests In Dakota County Dec 5

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, police in Hastings arrested 40-year-old Prescott resident Tiffaney Mary Fisher on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of marijuana, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Fisher remains in custody pending an initial appearance in court on the 7th. 55-year-old Richard Lee Skramstad, of Prescott was arrested by Scott County deputies on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Skramstad was booked into the Dakota County Jail for transfer to Scott County. South St. Paul police arrested 26-year-old Wendell Dwight Zoch, of South St. Paul, on misdemeanor counts of tampering with a motor vehicle and theft. Bail for Zoch has been set at $1,000 and he 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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    City Seeks Deputy City Clerk

    The City of Hastings has posted a job opening for a Deputy City Clerk. The City seeks an individual with excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. Municipal government experience and elections experience are desired. The job application deadline is January 13th. For complete details and application forms, go to HastingsMN.gov.

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    Holiday Wish List For CNC

    The Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center has a Holiday Wish list for items needed at the Center. Items on the list will help to keep animals warm, the trails clear, and Center naturalists well equipped this winter. A donation of goods or materials allows CNC to save money and provides more funds for educating children and protecting habitat. The CNC Wish list is posted on Amazon.com, keywords Carpenter Nature Center in the list finder.   

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    Charges Filed In Toddlers Death

    21-year-old Red Wing resident Adam Michael Peter Travis faces multiple felony manslaughter and child endangerment charges stemming from the death of a 2-year-old child following a Nov. 28 incident in Red Wing. According to a criminal complaint filed in Goodhue County, Red Wing police officers were dispatched to a residence on East Third Street in Red Wing after 8 p.m. Nov. 28 on a report of a child choking on food. Travis, who stated he was the child's stepfather, reportedly told police the child was eating chicken nuggets and started to choke. He said he called 911 after unsuccessful attempts to remove the blockage. The child was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing and later St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester in critical condition.

    An initial medical exam in Rochester showed the child sustained a brain injury. Tests determined the child was brain dead and would not recover. The child was pronounced dead Nov. 29. An autopsy concluded the child sustained injuries consistent with being shaken, pushed or struck against a hard object, and were not the result of life-saving efforts by paramedics. During a follow-up interview, Travis told police he was watching two children at the house Nov. 28 while playing video games with a friend, though he changed his recollection of the incident multiple times during the interview. Eventually Travis was given a doll and he allegedly demonstrated how he shook the child, telling the detective that he did not try to kill the child. Travis is scheduled to make his next court appearance Dec. 19.

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    (Photo Courtesy Goodhue County Sheriff)

    Blood Drive Half Day Event

    The American Red Cross continues the holiday tradition of hosting the 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive, Minnesota's largest, one-day Red Cross blood drive. The blood drive gives area residents the opportunity to share their good health while helping boost the blood supply prior to the holidays. The 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive will be held Thursday, Dec. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Inwood Oaks, 484 Inwood Ave. N, in Oakdale. All who come to give blood will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Donors will also enjoy live holiday entertainment and food, free parking, complimentary gift wrapping and visits from Santa throughout the day. In addition, donors will be entered to win hourly prize drawings including a 40-inch HD TV and a HP laptop computer. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. To make an appointment for the 12 Hours of Giving Blood Drive, donors can use sponsor code "12 hours" on the Red Cross Blood Donor App, online at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

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    UWH Appreciates Workplace Giving

    Intek Plastics, Inc., experienced a high participation by its employees during the recent Intek Plastics and United Way of Hastings annual giving campaign. According to a United Way of Hastings press release, employees at Intek Plastics were a good example of community members coming together to support the greater good and have fun at the same time. Employees participated in several events such as penny wars, jeans day, and grilling out. Many employees chose to impact student hunger by donating 1,152 food items for the UWH's weekend student food program, Food4Kids. In addition, donations and pledges rose to over $9,000 this year, an approximate $3,000 increase from last year. The annual giving campaign for UWH officially ends on December 31.

    While many United Way chapters have experienced a decrease in workplace giving over the last few years, UWH hopes that giving will be strong through the last day of the year. It's not too late to have your business contribute. If you would like to offer employee giving and see the benefits that giving back provides to your business, contact Executive Director Mari Mellick at 651-438-3337.

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    Prescott Chamber Seeks Nominations

    The Prescott Area Chamber is seeking input on nominations for Educator of the Year as well as those for Community, and Business Awards for 2018! Nomination forms are listed online or pick one up at the Prescott Chamber office. They seek businesses, citizens or organizations that have made an impact on the Prescott community this year. You may respond to one or all of the categories with your selections with nominations due by December 31, 2018. Winners to be announced at the Chamber Annual Dinner on February 6th.

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    Prescott Police Assignment Discussed

    The Prescott Personnel Committee met on December 4th with chair Maureen Otwell joined by Rob Daugherty, Dar Hintz, Police Office Chief Doug Ducklow, Officer in Charge Eric Michaels and City administrator Jayne Brand. The topic of discussion was to review the job description for School Resource Officer and that of Investigator.   Alderperson Hintz asked about the previous Investigator position with Michaels explaining that the previous Investigator position was given as a job assignment and not an actual position. The department has been posting openings for part -time officers and have not received applications for these   positions, so for this reason, the two parttime positions could be combined into a full time job.

       It was then asked how   investigations are now being handled with Michaels responding that each officer handles their own investigations. A result of this is that time has been pulled away from when an Officer can be out on patrol. Chief Ducklow has also taken some cases requiring further investigation and follow up. Alderperson Otwell asked if there is going to need to be additional training for either position. It was stated there would need to be training for evidence tech, Miranda rights and forensics interviewing. It was noted the Chief will also need to track the cases.

    Alderperson Otwell voiced concern about the time commitment required for both   positions.   Officer Michaels stated if there is a major investigation the officer may not be able to work in the   school district during this time but someone from the department would be available for the school. The committee also acknowledged that the school district would be paying for 50% of the wages for 9 months and that this position would have a flex schedule. In addition, there will need to be a side letter for this position for the Union.     

       It was noted that the school district would have a part in the hiring of the School Resource Officer, however, the final decision will be made by the Police Commission. As they concluded, Alderperson Otwell suggested the job descriptions be written as if they are two separate positions. Several suggestions were then made from the committee for the job descriptions. There was no timeline set for continued discussion or action by the committee.

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    Rosemount Council Public Reception

    The Rosemount City Council will host a public reception for Council members Mark DeBettignies and Shaun Nelson, whose terms in office will end this month. The reception will take place on Tuesday, December 18, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall, 2875 145th Street West. Members of the public are invited to greet the Council during the informal event. Council members DeBettignies and Nelson will be formally recognized for their service during the Council meeting that follows the reception at 7 p.m. Council member DeBettignies has served four terms, totaling 16 years, on the Rosemount Council, and was a Planning Commissioner before that. Council member Nelson is completing one term.

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    Prescott Planning For Parks

    The Prescott Parks and Public Property Committee held a meeting on December 3rd that reviewed information regarding an open house on November 11th to gather public input on priorities for parks during 2019. Cedar Corporation representative Patrick Beilfuss presented a report that indicates public priorities were replacing the stairs coming off the Highway 10 bridge, constructing a trail to Freedom Park, and replacing the stairs and courtesy dock. The committee had discussions on how the projects could be funded. Sources for funding include grant possibilities from the Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation, and other agencies.

    The committee also discussed the need to start meeting with the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation to explain the projects and gain departmental support. The Committee also recommended that the first project would be the trail to Freedom Park. The courtesy dock and green space would be the second or alternate project. It was also agreed that doing a painting or mural and lighting under the bridge would be a good project, which could be completed in 2019. These recommendations will be brought to the City Council for consideration.

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    Local Airman Part Of Honor

    U. S. Navy Aviation Technician Airman Cameron Childs of Inver Grove Heights participated in a day-long gun salute honoring President George H. W. Bush on Tuesday. According to a press release issued by the Navy, Childs was one of eight honor guard members who participated in the salute that started at 8 AM, with one gun shot every half hour until 4:30 PM. The gun was mounted at the pier at the Washington Navy Yard. The gun salute was one of the first military honors visible to the public in Washington D.C. for former President Bush, a decorated Navy pilot during WW II who passed away Nov. 30 at his Houston, Texas home at the age of 94.

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    (Photo: Courtesy U. S. Navy. Childs is third from the left)

    Mn Care Renewal Reminder

    The Minnesota Department of Human Services reminds Minnesotans with MinnesotaCare that they need to complete their annual health care renewal forms as soon as possible to ensure consistent care in the new year. According to a news release issued by the Department, renewal forms were mailed to more than 62,000 MinnesotaCare members throughout the state. These members must verify their continued eligibility for the health care program to continue their coverage in 2019.

    After members return the renewal form, DHS will notify them by mail whether their coverage is renewed, they need to provide additional information or they are no longer eligible for the program. DHS has several resources available to members in the renewal process. The Department website includes frequently asked questions and a checklist to walk members through the renewal process.

    Members can also call the MinnesotaCare help line at 800-657-3672 or 651-297-3862 Monday-Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM. Members should wait two weeks after returning their renewal form before calling DHS to find out the status of their renewal. This helps to ensure that DHS can answer any questions a member may have.

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    Council Approves Hwy 316 Concept

    The Monday evening meeting of the Hastings City Council included a report from Molly Kline, South Area Engineer with MnDOT, who also presented a request asking the Council to consider a Resolution of Support of the MnDOT Highway 316 Recommended Scope of Improvements. The City and MnDOT have been working on a scoping study for the past 12 months, gathering public input, and meeting with business owners to develop a recommended project scope for changes to Highway 316, which is scheduled for construction in 2021. The recommendation focuses on ability to access Highway 316, safety, lack of pedestrian and bicyclist facilities and traffic speeds. Council discussion focused on topics of lighting of roundabouts and segments of roadway, access and removal of left out turns, safety, traffic speed, and gratitude expressed to MnDOT and City staff for their public engagement and work on design. The Council approved the resolution by unanimous voice vote.

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    Dec 4 Dakota County Jail Bookings

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, Dakota County deputies arrested 42-year-old West St. Paul resident William Walter Borgan on felony charges of 2nd and 3rd degree burglary, 5th degree possession of marijuana, 2 counts, and receiving stolen property, and misdemeanor charges of violating an order for no contact, 4th degree damage to property, and driving after having his license revoked. Borgan remains in custody as the charges are processed. Farmington police detained 29-year-old Colton James Brooks, of Prior Lake, on a felony charge of financial transaction card fraud. Brooks is being held on $10,000 bail as the charge is investigated.

    Hastings police arrested 61-year-old Thomas Richard Yurek, of Hastings, on a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of marijuana. Yurek was booked and released pending an initial 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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    Understanding Closed Door Sessions

    Following a recent Prescott City Council meeting, comes a very thorough response to our questions, posed to administration about the use of closed session meetings. As we have reported several types of meetings including police commission, city council, planning commission and others, use a closed session agenda, where the public including the media, is required to leave the meeting. This practice, has been a source of questions and many public calls for transparency. The City Administrator of Prescott, Jayne Brand, recently provided a complete description on the need for such closed discussion. Some examples of which are topics of negotiation for land purchases, employee conflicts or contract terms, but can also involve the process involved in those and others where no action other than continuance takes. This allowance is assured by Wisconsin State Statute and exists in some form in most states in this country.

    Brand confirms that the subject matter of a closed session may be made public, only if no exception to public disclosure is allowed such as when the reason for the closed session is no longer applicable, such as disclosure when the negotiations involved in the closed session are completed and a final resolution has been reached . When a governing body comes out of closed session and then directs a person to take some action, that action generally is in furtherance of the reason for the closed session and not necessarily subject to public disclosure at that time. She states that sometimes there is no action, it is just a discussion to inform the members of that group on the topic or issue. There is no legal requirement to divulge such information, and as such, a governmental body meeting is trying to come to a conclusion that , in this example, is best for the City of Prescott. Brand also acknowleged that minutes of closed sessions are kept as they are required by law. Those minutes and other electronic and written communications are considered closed until a decision has been made.

    If information from a closed session is deemed to be available for public disclosure, an open records request can then be made by anyone in the public as well as by media sources to further information needed for reporting purposes. Public requests for information discussed in closed sessions of government, school boards and other public entities, can be made but depending on the status of the topic, there may be no requirement for the session to comply. Brand allows that all government entities must have confidential means to decide on issues so that the best decision can be made , but acknowledges that the public's need to know can also affect the outcome of deliberations, negotiations and investigations that are part of the process of governing others.

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    Dakota County Jail Booking Dec 2

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, police in Hastings arrested 22-year-old Hampton resident Justin Robert Bereta on a misdemeanor charge of theft and a felony charge of probation violation. Bereta remains in custody as the charges are processed. Rosemount officers detained 40-year-old Faribault resident Zachariah Daniel Wilson on misdemeanor charges of possession of hypodermic needles, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstructing the legal process, and a felony charge of probation violation. Wilson is being held without bail as the charges are investigated.

    Hastings Police arrested 18-year-old Hastings resident Cory William Wolters on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Wolters is being held without bail pending his initial 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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    Disaster Aid Approved

    The Prairie Island Indian Community will receive $31,576 in state disaster aid as a result of windstorms in the area during the end of September. According to a press release from Governor Dayton's office, aid from the Contingency Account will reimburse the tribal nation, along with eight other counties in the area, for public infrastructure repairs and clean-up costs associated with the storms. Under Minnesota law, the state will reimburse 75 percent of eligible costs for public infrastructure repairs and clean-up, with local governments responsible for covering the remaining 25 percent. The total in aid for the counties and the Prairie Island Community is just over $3,652,805.

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    Prescott Students Drama Rama Results

    Prescott student actors in 3rd through 8th grade participated in the Amery Middle School Drama Rama Festival on Saturday, November 10. Prescott brought 47 students in 7 teams to participate in the Published Manuscript or Extemporaneous categories. During their 6 to 10 minute performance, Prescott Middle School and Malone Intermediate School students were judged on voice, character, stage movement, and overall interpretation of their play. Teams have been practicing with their volunteer coaches for five or six weeks. The Festival was comprised of students from Prescott, Osceola, Amery, and Baldwin-Woodville. Each team was awarded points and a place ranking as well as given feedback from the judges on their performances. Thirteen students received Actors of Merit awards, and one team brought home a first place plaque.

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    (Photos: Courtesy Prescott School District)

    Dakota County Retries Luby

    A 61-year-old South St. Paul resident,Thomas Michael Luby, is back in Dakota County Court for a retrial of charges he faces for the 2015 killing of Kelly Ann Anderson. In 2016, Luby was convicted of 1st and 2nd degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which he appealed, due to claims of incompetency by his defense lawyer. The Minnesota State Supreme Court overturned the convictions in 2017, citing that his defense attorney had made the unprofessional error of essentially conceding guilt without his Luby's consent. The new trial started with jury selection on Monday, and requests for comment on the case by County Attorney James Backstrom were not answered, citing the ongoing trial.

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    (Photo Source: Dakota County)

    Preview Dec 3 Council Agenda

    The Hastings City council meets in regular session on Monday Night, December 3rd. Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks has a preview of the agenda.

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    City Farewell To Outgoing Mayor

    The City of Hastings will recognize the work done by outgoing Mayor Paul Hicks who personally has the details for the event to share with residents and friends.

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    The event takes place at Hastings City Hall.

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    Winter Warning From Fire Chief

    After responding to a barn fire on November 30th, Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt comments on the common practice of using warming lamps and tank heaters in barns, sheds and other structures to keep animals comfortable.

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    Tim Collins Show Rebroadcast

    Monday, December 3rd, on KDWA a rebroadcast of the Friday November 30th Tim Collins show which also included Hastings School Board chair Lisa Hedin. The program , now in its 15th year, airs each Friday morning during the school year and features topics important to the district, its students, its staff and administration. The program that is recorded from November 30th,includes several callers who wanted to weigh in on the decision made by the school board following their disciplinary action for misappropriation of funds against HHS Varsity Wrestling Coach and Assistant Principal Josh McLay.

    The format for the program welcomed live calls with many more emailing their questions about the decisions made regarding McLay's status , the reasons for the action and the impact on the district going forward. The programmed 19 minute segment will air at 30 minutes past the hour and also be posted on the KDWA.com homepage.

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    Ready Set For Snow

    A reminder from the City of Hastings about the criteria for tagging and towing during snow emergencies. In the city of Hastings a snow emergency requires vehicles to be removed from all city streets until they are plowed curb to curb. Municipal lots may be used and residents can be alerted by signing up with NIXLE.com An automatic snow emergency begins when 2 inches of snow has fallen. View the city webpage for more information and a parking map showing municipal lots.

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    Riverfront Renaissance Comes To End

    Communication from Public Works Director Nick Egger at the City that the final details have now been completed for the Riverfront Renaissance as the alleyway behind the 100 block of 2nd Street formally opened on Friday Morning. The Parking Stripes have been painted in the American Legion parking area. Global Specialty Contractors, the project lead has performed final cleanup work which includes the landscaping and sod replacement and CenterPoint Energy subcontractors have constructed the enclosure around the gas system pressure monitoring equipment. Completion of the steel roofing on top of this structure is all that remains. Traffic is now able to access the alley and the completion of this project is appreciated by residents, businesses and visitors to downtown.

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    Prescott Police Commission Interviews Candidates

    The Prescott Police Commission met on Saturday, December 1st to interviewing candidates for position of Police Chief. On Wednesday the 5th, the commission will meet in closed session to determine candidates for police officers. Inteviews for both opportunities will fill open positions in that department with positions expected to be filled in the next few weeks.

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