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Ben Parks – News Director

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Meth In Prescott

The drug culture is starting to become a problem in Prescott, mainly with methamphetamine. The most noticable group in the area using the drug are individuals between the ages of mid-20s - mid-30s, but Prescott police have even arrested people in their 50s using the drug. Prescott Police Chief, Gary Krutke, addresses this issue.

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Hike at Sand Coulee

On Saturday, August 9th at 8:30 - 9:30am everyone is invited to go Hike the Confluence with Freedom Park Naturalist, Jessica Bierbrauer. This hike will be taking place at Sand Coulee Scientific and Natural Area in Hastings. This is a free program put on by the Great River Road Visitor and Learning center, but donations are always welcomed. Bierbrauer, with the details of the hike.

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Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Becomes PRO-10 Certified

On Tuesday, July 29, Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery had a celebration for it's 2,400 contract employees, for helping the refinery to become the first ever PRO-10 certified worksite.   To become a PRO-10 certified worksite, at least 75 percent of a companys contracted construction workers must complete the education course within the first year of implementing the program. The course consists of 10-hours of professional development tailored for the construction and building trades with a focus on communications, customer relations, diversity, and safety classes. Director of Public Affairs, Jake Reint, talks about the workers who went through this program.

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Rescue at the Vermillion Falls

On Wednesday, July 30th, the Hastings Fire Department responded to a call around 4:20pm about a report of an individual going into the river just above the first falls near the old dam by ConAgra. According to an email from Hastings Fire Chief, Mike Schutt, to Mayor Hicks, the City Council Members, the Public Safety Advisory Commissioners, and the Rural Fire Partners:

     "Police and Fire just returned from a very challenging rescue at the Vermillion Falls. A male victim went into the river just above the first falls near the old dam. When we arrived, he was on the north side of the river right at the crest of the large falls. Our only access was through the Ardent Mills (ConAgra). Once we reached the victim, it was very challenging to remove him from the water. Once we got him onto some rocks and back-boarded, crews had to raise him about 8 feet onto an old working platform. From there, it was another 15 feet to get him inside of the mill. Both raises were straight up. The whole process was a very physically demanding, task oriented process. The patient was transported to St. Paul Regions Hospital.

     Today, every police officer and firefighter on scene put forth an enormous amount of effort in a collaborative rescue operation. I am very proud of what both departments accomplished there today."

Assisstant Fire Chief, John Townsend, goes over the rescue.

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First Annual Ride United

The United Way of Hastings 1st Annual Ride United Motorcyle Ride and Poker Run will be on Saturday, August 30th. The ride will begin at noon at the Point Restaurant, and there will even be a Party Bus for people who don't have a motorcycle but still would like to participate.

United Way Executive Director, Mari Mellick, has all the details.

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American Legion Post 47 Membership Drive

During August the Hastings American Legion Post 47 is having its annual membership drive. All veterans of the American Military Services are eligible and invited to join Hastings Post 47. Annual dues are just $40 and the Hastings Legion serves the community with 90 percent of its donations going to local groups. Family members of veterans can also become affiliated with the Hastings Legion in different ways. Wives, daughters, granddaughters, mothers and sisters of veterans can join the Hastings American Legion Auxiliary for just $25 annually. Sons, grandsons, fathers, brothers and husbands of veterans can join the Sons of the American Legion with annual dues of $13. All applications for Legion membership, the Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion can be picked up at the Post 47 clubhouse located downtown on the river and across the street from Levy Park on Sibley Street or by contacting 1st Vice Commander Bob Metcalf at 651-238-4752 or 651-437-8026. According to Commander Balsanek there are over 3,000 veterans living in and around Hastings and Post 47 wants to make them feel welcome and honor them for their service to our country. All Legion members volunteer their services without pay for the good of the organization. Post 47 of the American Legion appreciates the support of Hastings community with its charter as a full-service non-profit organization with a restaurant, pub, patio and banquet room available to the public.

3rd Annual Brett's Bash

The 3rd Annual Brett's Bash fundraiser for autism will be taking place on Saturday, August 16th, from 5-9:30pm at the Hastings Country Inn. Brett's Bash raises money for Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is an organization that raises funds to support funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure of autism. They also raise public awareness and its effects on individuals, families and society, and bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of the disorder. Co-Coordinator,Brian Schommer, with the details.

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New Phone Scam

According to the Better Business Bureau, there is another new phone scam going around. Here's how the scam works: Your phone rings and you see your name and phone number pop up on caller ID. If you answer, a computerized message claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates. In some cases, consumers are informed they can supposedly opt-out of future calls by pressing "1". People who do so can count on receiving more calls of this nature from other shady telemarketing firms. Any action consumers take tells fraudsters that a phone number is 'good' and that number is added to phone lists which scammers then sell to other scammers. The practice of using technology to alter or disguise the true number of an incoming telephone call is known as "spoofing," and its use is growing among criminals who also use this technique to pretend they are calling from a well-known company or government agency. By hijacking the names and phone numbers of organizations with which you are familiar, the callers attempt to gain your trust in hopes they can trick you into handing over personal or financial information. So, please be aware of who's calling you. If something seems wrong or a little "off", dont' answer. Just let it go to voicemail and delete the message.


The Langenfeld Foundation Raffle

The Langenfeld Foundation is giving away two tickets to see former Beatle, Paul McCartney, in concert at Target Field. The concert will be on Saturday, August 2, at 8:00 PM. All you have to do is donate between now and August 1st. By donating your name will be entered into a raffle for a chance to receive this thank you gift. This is a great opportunity to help wounded warriors and people with special needs at the same time. The Langenfeld Foundation Founder,Paul Langenfeld, talks about how to donate and the raffle.

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National Night Out

The Hastings Police Department is encouraging neighborhoods across Hastings to organize a National Night Out gathering on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. National Night Out is an annual event that involves neighborhoods, businesses, and civic groups coming together with their public safety providers and local government officials to increase community connections and to heighten crime and safety awareness. In previous years, National Night Out gatherings in Hastings and surrounding communities have included events and activities such as: Block parties, cookouts and potluck dinners, neighborhood recognition of a "Neighbor of the Year"

   , visits by police, sheriff, and fire personnel, and even youth activities and organized games. Hastings Police Chief, Bryan Schafer, with some details.

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Relay For Life on August 1st

On Friday, August 1st, Relay for Life will take place in Hastings starting at 6pm at the High School. This event is to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. Relay For Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park, or fairground. Events are up to 24 hours long, and because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times. According to the Hastings event web page on Friday, July 25th, there are 16 teams, 154 participants signed up, and has raised $13,267.36 to help in the fight against cancer.


AFS is Looking for Host Families in the Hastings Area

The American Field Service, better known as AFS, is currently looking for host families, for exchange students, in the Hastings area for the 2014-2015 school year. There are currently 25 students who require a host family in the East Metro area. These students come from all over the world. If you're interested in being a host family or would like more information about AFS, check out their website AFS East Metro Team Chair, Anne Mellesmoen, with the details on hosting an exchange student.

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Dakot County Deputies Will Be Carrying Narcan On Duty

This Fall, Dakota County Deputies will be carrying around a drug call Narcan, while on duty. This drug is used in opioid overdoses to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system, and allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally. Narcan is a non-addictive, prescription medication and only works if a person has opioids in their system. Although it's traditionally administered by emergency response personnel, this drug can be administered by minimally trained people, which makes it ideal for treating an overdose in people who have been prescribed opioid pain medication and in people who use heroin and other opioids. Dakota County Sheriff, Dave Bellows, talks about this drug.

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Hastings Country Club Rumors

Rumors are spreading around Hastings that Treasure Island has bought out the Hastings Country Club. According to the Country Club, these rumors are completely false and Treasure Island hasn't even approached them or spoke to them about purchasing the business. The club is still open, doing business, and hosting events.


New Playground Coming To McAuliffe Elementary

The students at McAuliffe Elementary will have something to look forward to when the new school year rolls around on September 2nd. Even though the weather has not been cooperating much this summer, a new playground at McAuliffe Elementary is underway and is projected to be complete for the Fall of 2015. McAuliffe Principal, Matt Esterby, with the playground details.

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Update to the Death of Carrie Olson

On April 5th, the body of Carrie Elaine Olson, of Davenport, Iowa, was found on a Ravenna Township resident's property. Olson was last seen alive on December 28, 2013, at a 7-Eleven Gas Station in Rock Island, Illinois. On July 18, Timothy J. McVay, was taken into custody on the charges of First Degree Murder and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in connection with the death of Carrie Olson. McVay was apprehended by the Rock Island and Davenport Police Departments in Silvis, Illinois. He was taken into custody without incident and is being held at the County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bond. Rock Island State's Attorney,John McGehee, has the details of where this case is currently at.

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Colors Of The Season

"Colors of the Season" is an art exhibit that will be at the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center. On Sunday, July 27th from 2:30pm - 4:30pm, artist Beth Bacon will be available to talk about her work . Freedom Park Executive Director, Jessica Bierbrauer, has the details.

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United Way of Hastings Has Two New Board Members

The United Way of Hastings has two new board members, Norm Rogers and Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer. According to a press release:

     The United Way of Hastings welcomes Norm Rogers and Bryan Schafer to the Board of Directors. Norm Rogers moved to Hastings in September 2013. Norm is the Plant Manager for 3M Company in Cottage Grove supporting the Material Resource Division. He is originally from Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Norm just completed his 20th year with 3M Company and has lived in multiple states supporting 4 different manufacturing factories.

     Norm has two children-Jordan who is college bound and Trey who will be a freshman this fall at Hastings High School. Norm is involved in community relations and supports the education and athletic programs, primarily wrestling and football. Other areas of interest include outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, golfing, and hiking.

     Also fairly new to Hastings is Bryan Schafer. Chief Schafer is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement. He spent the past 22 years with the Minneapolis Police Department and was appointed as the Police Chief for the City of Hastings in November 2013.

     Chief Schafer received his bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University and was instrumental in collaborating with community/criminal justice partners to influence juvenile justice reform in Hennepin County. This collaboration resulted in significant decreases in juvenile violent crime. Chief Schafer has also been recognized for promoting a standard of excellence that exemplifies law enforcement's contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities.

     Chief Schafer resides in New Richmond, Wisconsin, and served on the New Richmond School Board from 2006-2012. He enjoys spending time with his 2 children, ages 21 and 16. Chief Schafer stays active by motorcycling, snowmobiling, fishing, playing golf, and attending youth sporting activities.

     "We welcome Norm and Bryan to Hastings as well as to the UWH Board of Directors," said Mari E. Mellick, CAE, Executive Director. "Their perspectives and strong professional experience will help the United Way of Hastings as we engage in vision planning and setting the direction for the organization over the coming months. In addition, both Norm and Bryan have strong interests in youth and adult engagement which complements our work with Helping Kids Succeed."

United Way Executive Director, Mari Mellick, talks about Norm Rogers.

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Mellick goes over what makes Chief Schafer a good fit for the board.

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WESTconsin Credit Union School Supply Drive

From now untill August 2nd, WESTconsin Credit Union is having their 6th annual School Supply Drive. WESTconsin's Prescott location will be accepting any donations to help local students in need. All donations made to the Prescott location will stay in Prescott. WESTconsin E-marketing and Programs Specialist, Becky Michel, has the details.

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Rivertown Days

The 35th Annual Rivertown Days celebration was this past weekend. This fun event was put on by the Hastings Chamber of Commerce. There was live music, many different kinds of food vendors, a dog jumping show, carnival games and rides, the Hastings Sings Competition, and even a water show. There was a great turnout for the event with families and friends enjoying the beautiful weather by the river. Julie Olson was at Rivertown Days and talks about her experience.

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Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council Survey

Residents within a 50-mile radius of Hastings and Prescott are invited to take a survey that relates to housing for artists and their friends. This survey is not only for the benefit of the younger generation, but is applicable to people of all generations. It is important for the board of Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council to learn if there is an interest in affordable work and living space in Hastings. Richard Graham, HPAAC Board Chairman, has the details of the survey.

(Photo courtesy of

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You can take the survey here: Survey Link


Hastings Sings Winner is Samantha Kent!

The Hastings Sings competition featured six local ladies and had a crowd of almost 300 watching the final competition on Sunday at the end of Rivertown Days in Jaycee Park. In addition to the finalists, last year's Adult Division Winner Scott Stoneking performed a song from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, "Close Every Door", just prior to the announcement of the winner. The winner from Hastings Sings, Samantha Kent, will represent the city at the State-wide vocal competition Minnesota Sings in September. The runner up was Miranda Poncelet. Hastings Sings Producer, Kelly Spavin, goes over the event.

(Photo: Winner Samantha Kent (L) and Runner-Up Miranda Poncelet (R))

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YMCA Camp Spring Lake Family Night

On Thursday, July 17th, the YMCA Camp Spring Lake had a Family Night from 5:30pm - 7:30pm. The familes got to play games, make s'mores, and even ask questions about what their kids have been up to. Day Camp Director, Amy Rowan, explains what happens at camp.

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Jen Schonkwiler is the Lucky Hastings Local Who Found the Medallion

Jen Shonkwiler is the lucky Hastings resident who found the Rivertown Days Medallion during Edina Realty's Medallion Hunt. She had a Rivertown Days button so she will be getting the full $500 prize and has decided to donate her winnings to the youth program at Hastings United Methodist Church. Shonkwiler stated that finding the Medallion was more about the hunt, instead of winning the money. So donating it seems like the right choice. Shonkwiler goes over how she found the Medallion.

(Pictured: Kayla Schonkwiler and Jen Shonkwiler)

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St. John the Baptist School Has a New Principal

As of July 1st, St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion has a new principal, Molly Whinnery. She's been in education for many years. She started out as a kindergarten teacher for 11 years, because a principal in 1992, and has been a principal ever since. Whinnery goes over some of the ideas she has for the school.

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