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    LeDuc WWl Program

    This Friday evening the Dakota County Historical Society invites the community to a presentation of Hastings in World War 1, part of the Hastings After Hours series at the LeDuc Historic Estate. Presenter Vicki Albu will guide visitors through stories and anecdotes about life on the homefront including several images from the Hastings area from 1917 - 1918 when the United States entered the war. Albu will also share stories of seven Gold Star Soldiers who did not make it home. Your reservation includes the presentation, snacks and light food, along with one free drink ticket. A cash bar will be available including beer and wine as well as non-alcholic options. A social gathering begins at 5:30, with the presentation lasting from 6:00pm - 7:00pm. Call 651-438-8480 to make a reservation. Tickets are 20 dollars or 15 if you are a Dakota County Historical Society member.

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    Shortened School Schedule

    District 200 called just the second snow day of the year to get their facilities back in order as sidewalks, parking lots and access roads were unclogged in preparation for a very short week. This week final exams for the First Semester at the High School will take place Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with Middle School conferences on Thursday and Friday. There is no School in the district on Friday. Next week is snow week,with the Variety Show at 7PM on Monday at the High School and the Instrument fair on Tuesday from 5-7 pm in the Music Pod , also at the High School. The Middle School Play is February 1st and Snow Week concludes on Friday with coronation held at 1:30 pm in the High School Gym with the Dance later that evening from 9:30-11:30 PM.

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    Point In Time Homeless Count

    Wednesday, January 24th is the annual Point in Time homeless count for Dakota County. HUD Staff and many volunteers will conduct a homeless count with the goal to identify how many people, on one night, are experiencing homelessness. Great effort for accuracy is stressed during the event,as numbers received through the count determines funding and development of housing resources to adequately meet community needs. Programs or services in Minnesota that interact with homeless persons such as food shelves, schools, free meal providers and other agencies, will be asked to complete a survey to properly account for those unsheltered or temporarily housed persons in Dakota County. The information gathered during Wednesday's Point In Time count will be used to develop mitigation plans and address outreach solutions and bridging programs to properly house those lack permanent shelter.

    Electronic survey link for Unsheltered (staying on the street, in a vehicle, camping, up all night...) 2018 MN-503 SMC Unsheltered PIT Survey

    Electronic survey link for Doubled Up (staying with families or friends due to no other place to stay) 2018 MN-503 SMC Doubled Up PIT Survey

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    Conflurnce Symposium Celebrates Rivers

    A symposium to commemorate 50 years of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will be hosted by Great Rivers Confluence on Thursday, February 15th, from 8:30 4 PM at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings. Listen to engaging stories of the St. Croix and learn how the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was critical to its preservation and remains essential into the future. Scheduled speakers are Julie Galonska, Superintendent of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Deb Ryun, Executive Director of the St. Croix River Association, Dave Drewiske Executive Director of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, and Ian Karl, Experiential Coordinator at Northwest Passage, Ltd. Cost is $25 per person for pre-registration, or $30 on the day of the symposium. A light breakfast and box lunch are included in the cost. Call 715-262-0104 for questions or to register and pay with credit card by phone.

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    City Digs Out

    The NIXLE notification system utilized by many in the Hastings area to provide emergency and time sensitive information such as snow emergencies, rebounded during the latest snow event, even reported to have called twice to inform subscibers that attention to parking procedures was required. Snow plows and city trucks spread out across the city and private plow services busily went about the task of clearing the way for businesess and citizens to get back to a normal schedule. The extended alert will only expire when all of the 105 miles of Hastings roads and streets are plowed fully from curb to curb, with many snow piles, yet to be eliminated. Snow totals in the KDWA listening area ranged from 8-12-to as much as 16 inches, as reported through many social media posts during the height of Monday's storm. District 200 used a precious snow day to get their facilities back in order as sidewalks, parking lots and access roads were unclogged in preparation for a very short week. District 200 will have an inservice day on Friday so the unusual 2 day week will be one likely remembered by students and probably parents as well.

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    City Expands Snow Emergency

    An update from the City as Monday's snowstorm continues into Tuesday.Communications director for the City of Hastings Lee Stoffel, provides some updates and explanations.

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    For those residents that use street parking in downtown, Stoffel has details on alternative parking

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    Public Safety will work in tandem with Public Works crews including ticketing and in some cases towing.

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    Stay tuned to KDWA for your latest information and Weather related updates.

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    Weekend Jail Log

    In bookings from the Dakota County Jail, on Saturday, January 20th, Hastings Police arrested 52 year old Melissa Joy Boyles on 2 counts of criminal vehicular operation and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol following a traffic stop. Early Sunday morning, January 21,Hastings police arrested 24 year old Hastings resident Brandon MIchael Nolen on several charges including Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence of Alcohol, 2nd degree driving while impaired, tampering with an ignition interlock system and operating an unregistered vehicle on public streets.

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    New Safety Director in CG

    The Cottage Grove City Council has appointed Captain Pete Koerner as the Citys next public safety director effective Feb. 24th.

    Koerner has been with the Cottage Grove Police Department since 1992 when he began work as a community services officer. He became a police officer in 1995, police detective in 2002, police sergeant in 2003 and deputy director and police captain in 2006. Over the course of his career he has held many specialty assignments including SWAT crisis negotiator and negotiations commander, use of force and Taser instructor and multi-family officer.

    A swearing-in ceremony will be held at the March 7 City Council meeting. Craig Woolery, the Citys current public safety director, announced his retirement in September of 2017.

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    Community Development Grants

    The Hastings City Council heard a request from Community Development Director John Hinzman to submit a Community Development Block Grant application to Dakota County for 2018. Hinzman estimated that the funding would amount to $68,580 and would be dedicated towards the Dakota County Community Development Agencys Home Improvement Loan Program. This program assists low and moderate income homeowners with making repairs and improvements. The average loan is approximately $25,000 and the CDA currently has two qualifying households in Hastings on a waiting list. The City Council approved the submittal of the application by unanimous voice vote at the City Council meeting on January 16th.

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    St Johns School Upcoming Events

    St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion will celebrate Catholic Schools Week beginning on Sunday, January 28th wih an all school Mass. Several events are planned to involve children and families in opportunities to explore the school as decisions are made for next year's registration. On Thursday, February 1st a Family Science Night will take place at the school, on Tuesday, February 6th a PreKindergarten Open house will be held from 6:30 to 8:30pm, with a Kindergarten Open House the next evening, Wednesday February 7th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Students of the school will display their science Fair projects on Friday, March 9th from 9-11:30 am. A Bingo Fun Day and Carnival will take place on Sunday, April 8th from 11am until 3 pm and A Family Dance Night is scheduled for Friday, May 11th from 6:30-8:30 pm. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact the school at 651-437-2644.

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    Bigham Continues Campaign

    On a recent edition of Community IN Depth, Candidate Karla Bigham continues her campaign for a District 54 Senate seat.

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    Hear more from Senate Candidate Karla Bigham in our archived podcast found under the News Tab on our website

    Conflict Comments For McNamara

    Citing a conflict of interest, State Representative Rick Hansen who represents South St. Paul has called on Senate candidate Denny McNamara to resign his position on the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council. McNamara who was appointed by Speaker Kurt Daudt, serves as a public citizen member on a council that recommends the spending of constitutionally dedicated funds. We asked Candidate McNamara for his perspective on the request

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    Prescott City Council Agenda Jan22

    The Prescott City Council will meet for regular business on Monday, January 22nd. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview.

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    Teachers Seek Contract Agreement

    Negotiation spokesperson for Education Minnesota, Jesse Nagel Holm ,described the ongoing contract talks that are underway in District 200. She notes that a 201 day lapse in contracture has taken place between nearly 300 teachers and the district due to a legislative decision.

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    The teachers' position is to provide the best education for their students.

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    Teachers will continue to negotiate, says Holm, with the intent to protect the benefits and compensation terms for all certified teachers in the District.

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    Holm provided some perspective in the continuing negotiations in nearly 300 certified teachers currently working in District 200. An appearance at the January 17th School Board Meeting was intended to draw attention to the 201 days since the last contract expired with no replacement agreements yet determined. I asked Holm, a teacher at the Hastings Middle School, what was the current status of the negotiations

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    Negotiations are needed every two years, according to Holm. She also agreed that progress is being made

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    More on the status of the Teacher Contract negotiations in our next newscast.

       

    Friday In Depths

    Friday In Depth Programs feature a timely visit from our favorite Doc of the Town Dr. Garrick Olsen who discusses throat issues and gives us a better understanding of strep throat, tonsillitis and the common cold. Also today, our conversation with KARLA BIGHAM DFL Senate candidate for District 54   She explains more about her reasons for wanting to represent her district, how she plans to enact necessary changes and her priorities as she speaks with voters in her door to door campaign. Then JOHN HINZMAN, Community Development Director for the city has some updates on projects underway or projected for the future of a growing community. The transfer of the Hudson building, development of south Hastings and efforts to connect with Metro based businesses. Bringing you local information everyday. on In Depth.

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    Future Looks Bright

    Community Development Director John Hinzman is our guest today on In Depth. One topic is how he sees retail development evolving.

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    We discuss historic priorities as well as new business and how Hastings is preparing to make room for both as we grow into the future.

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    Police Schedules And Training

    According to the Hastings Police Department a change has been made in shift scheduling for patrol officers. Beginning with the New Year, that department will now operate on twelve hour rotations versus an eight or 10 hour schedule. This is expected to enable more visibility as well as increased traffic enforcement especially in during morning rush hours. Hastings also partnered with Apple Valley and Rosemount Police to participate in a 4 hour course training for 19 sworn staff in Implicit Bias and Cultural diversity protocol that is required of all licensed police officers in the State by July 1st.

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    State Of City Preparation

    The annual Hastings State of the City Address has been scheduled for Thursday, February 1st. The address will be delivered at the Onion Grill with a luncheon. Mayor Hicks encouraged everyone to attend.

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    One topic the Mayor will address regards the Hudson Sprayer Building.

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    The doors open at 11:30 AM, with the presentation beginning at noon. Meal tickets are $15.

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    New Public Safety Hires

    The City of Hastings has announced that firefighter and paramedic Korey Ketchmark has turned in his resignation with the Hastings Fire Department. According to information released by the City, Ketchmark had been with the Hastings Fire Department since 2015, as both a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. In other city staffing news, the City announced the hiring of new police officer Samuel Beuch. Beuch, a certified field training officer, EMT, and certified Cooper law enforcement fitness specialist, comes to Hastings after a 5-year stint with the police department in Huron SD. Beuch reports for duty on January 29th.

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    The City of Hastings also congratulates firefighters Jeff Angel and Jonathon Buck who both recently passed written and practical examinations to be certified as National Registry Emergency Medical Technicians. Angel and Buck, along with Ryan Ernst, and Scott Wittl are now attending firefighter training sessions at the Northern Dakota County Fire Training Academy in Eagan for about the next 8 months.

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    In Depth Previews For Jan 18

    January 18th on InDepth, CINDY SMITH, curator of the Pioneer Room at Hastings City Hall. The Pioneer Room is the city's historical records room and museum. Hear about the boxes that were found in the basement of City Hall and the historical treasures inside them. The Pioneer Room is open to the public on Wednesdays from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm and Cindy can be reached at 651-480-2350. Then we talk with ALLAN POLLOCK, Director of Divorce Care at The Harbor Church in Hastings. Allan shares hope for healing from divorce through a 13 week program being offered at the Harbor. Also, changing seasons brings snow emergencies, road hazards and another reason to slow down for safety. Hastings Police Chief BRYAN SCHAFFER digs in to what we need to know to keep us and our vehicles safe this winter. Connect with NIXLE to stay ahead of the plow. www.hastingsmn.gov.

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    Allwine Indicted On Murder One

    A premeditated homicide case from Cottage Grove is set to move forward. The case against 44-year-old Cottage Grove resident Stephen Allwine is in the jury selection phase, which began on Wednesday, January 16th. A Grand Jury brought an indictment of first-degree premeditated murder against Allwine in March, who is accused of killing his wife, Amy. Allwine was initially charged with 2nd degree murder in November of 2017, but the subsequent investigation led prosecutors to upgrade the charges when evidence suggested that Allwine killed his wife after a murder-for-hire plot failed. If convicted, Allwine faces a mandatory life sentence for the crime.

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    Dakota Co Sheriff Log

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, Hastings police arrested 26-year-old Raymond Blake Norman, of Hastings, after a traffic stop on January 15th. Norton faces charges of possession of marijuana, driving after having his license revoked, and two counts of violation of probation. The charges are still under investigation. Frank John Rezny, 30, of Hastings, was detained by Hastings Police on the 15th. Rezny is being charged with assault and interfering with a call to 911. Rezny made his first appearance in court on the 17th, and the charges are still being processed. And, a traffic stop by Dakota County sheriffs officers resulted in the arrest of 36-year-old Welch resident Daniel James Schoen. Schoen faces charges of operating a vehicle with expired registration, possession of marijuana, carrying a pistol without a permit, and fleeing an officer of the peace. The charges are still under investigation.

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    School Security Examined

    School security issues are at the forefront of awareness in our society today. ISD 200 Superintendent Tim Collins recently discussed the issue of how the district locates and deals with security issues in the district.

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    The District uses a consulting firm to help them discover issues with security and how best to address them.

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    You can hear Superintendent Collins on Fridays throughout the school year on KDWA Radio.

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    MN Education Commissioner on In Depth

    On In Depth today, Mike Ruud has an elightening conversation on the state of education with Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius. He asks her about the priorities of the Department and who will benefit.

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    Cassellius also re-iterates the Governor's position on education readiness.   

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    Hear the complete In Depth program with the Commissioner today , only on In Depth.

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    Permit For Smart Ride Biz Denied

    The Hastings City Council met on Tuesday, January 16th, with public hearings and resolutions receiving action by the council. Vacation of the Right of Way for a small tract of land bordering the trail was approved to be included in the plat that will be owned by the Great Rivers Landing development when that sale is finalized later this month.

    Also resolved was a question for the owner of Smart Ride transportation service whose Type 2 Home Occupation permit had received a recommendation by the planning committee to deny the Type 2 Home Occupation permit for Smart Ride Taxi Service owned by Lee Zenner of 1165 Sherman Way. John Hinzman briefed the council on the history of complaints voiced by neighbors on the amount of traffic, the disruptive noise, especially late at night and the amount of street parking taken by contract operators of the taxi company. Zenner provided some background.

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    Council member Joe Balsanek asked what possible impact a denial would have

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    An answer came from John Hinzman.

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    A unanimous vote to deny the permit was then recorded. Zeller asked for some time to find parking arrangements. Mayor Hicks agreed to extend the Smart Ride owner 2 weeks, with relocation of business parking expected by February 1st

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    Prescott Police Report Jan 16

    From the Prescott Police blotter, a traffic stop on January 8th near the intersection of James and Pearl Streets resulted in the arrest of 23-year-old Prescott resident Joshua Michael Drier. Driers vehicle was pulled over for expired license plates. A plate check revealed that Drier was wanted in association with a disturbance call on January 3rd, and officers took him into custody. Drier faces charges of battery, and operating while intoxicated. An out-of-control student was reported at the Middle School on the 9th. Officers responded and were on scene until the student was transported to Childrens Hospital in St. Paul for evaluation. No charges or other action were listed for this incident. On January 11th, a tractor-trailer scraped a utility pole near the intersection of Campbell Street and Orrin road. Officers were able to locate the rig, and obtain information needed to forward to Excel energy. This incident is still under investigation.

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    Absentee Voting Begins

    Absentee voting begins today for the Minnesota Senate District 54 special primary election. In-person absentee voting will be available beginning at 8 a.m. at the following locations for Dakota County voters- the Dakota County Administration Center, 1590 Highway 55, Hastings; the Dakota County Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Ave., in Apple Valley; the Dakota County Northern Service Center, 1 Mendota Road W, in West St. Paul; at the Hastings City Hall, 101 Fourth St. E, Hastings and at South St. Paul City Hall, 125 Third Ave. N, South St. Paul. Information about eligibility, where to vote, applying for an absentee, voter registration, absentee ballot status and other information can be found at mnvotes.org. In-person absentee voting will close Saturday, Jan. 27. Hours that day will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dakota County Administration Center, Hastings City Hall and South St. Paul City Hall. The special primary election will be held Monday, Jan. 29. The special election will be held Monday, Feb. 12 which will decide who will represent the district following the resignation in December of Dan Schoen.

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    District Students Make Music

    The past weekend was a busy one for musicians in the District. Five 8th graders from SEAS school performed in the South Eastern division of the Minnesota Band Directors Association 6-8th grade Honor Band on January 13. More than 90 students from 40 schools across the southeast region participated. SEAS students included: Maggie Siebenaler-Flute, Ellie Klingner-Bari Sax, Ella Kelly-Alto Sax, Alex Talley-French Horn, and Christian Hedin-Percussion. Several members of the Hastings Middle School and High School also participated as well as those who took part in last weekend's music festival that included members of the choirs in the district. Rehersals and performances took many hours with instruction and clinics by some of the top band directors in the state. Coming up next on the musical calendar is a special performance by the Hastings 8th Grade Band on February 23rd for the Minnesota Music Educators Association to be held in Minneapolis. More photos provided by the schools can be found on the KDWA Facebook Page.

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    Search For Prescott Chief Begins

    The Prescott Police Commission met on Monday, January 15th with all members present including the newest board member, Ken McNiff. Also in attendance was Interim Police Chief Robert Funk, City Administrator Jayne Brand and Mayor David Hovel. The public portion of the meeting began with an abbreviated version of the wide ranging presentation that was made on January 8th to the Prescott City Council by Interim Chief Funk. It included several new policies and procedures that will be implemented or have already been upgraded in the time since late summer 2017, when the department experienced renewed scrutiny by several sources including the city council, local media and the public at large.

    The sole topic on the evening's agenda, however, was the decision to begin a formal search for the next police chief, including acceptance of applications from qualified persons interested in the position. The commission expressed interest in posting the position with the state chiefs of police site as well as other law enforcement options. A 40 minute closed door session was the next step.

    Just a few minutes into that portion, Mayor Hovel exited the meeting. His statements supported using an outside source to give perspective to all potential candidates for the position. A few minutes after that, City Administrator Brand and Interim Chief Funk also left the meeting. When the meeting was again open to the public, the commission announced they will post the position for 30 days, ending on February 16th. Applications will be accepted and the commission will engage volunteer assistance, as has occurred in the past, of those who have experience in the leadership postition. Candidates will then be vetted with interviews and further testing to get underway in March.

    President Bill Pryor told KDWA the board had the power to have hired a successor, but will, instead, make a more deliberate, fully-informed choice. He also noted that 2 new officers have been hired with a start date yet to be determined. They will be introduced at an upcoming City Council meeting.

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    Radke Shares Lifesaving Story

    An update to a story reported by KDWA news. A Hastings resident apparently suffered a heart attack on Friday, January 12th while shoveling his driveway. According to a report issued by Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt, two Hastings High School students, Sydney Radke and Addie Buck discovered the unresponsive person in the 1300 block of West 15th St. KDWA spoke with Sydney for her account.

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    Sydney said she learned CPR in order to work at a daycare last summer.

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    Chief Schutt stated that Hastings Police and Fire are very proud of the actions taken by Radke and Buck, as well as the responding officers, and that Radke and Buck are to be recognized at an upcoming City Council meeting. Sydney described the immediate response at school.

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    Share Your Super Experience

    Several thousand Minnesotans will be rolling out the frozen welcome mat for visitors that will flock to the 52nd Superbowl held on February 4th in Minneapolis. The effort is massive and will involve logistics ranging from transportation, entertainment, food service and especially security. The call has already gone out to private security sources as well as law enforcement officers who may choose to spend days off from their regular jobs providing all types of crowd control or celebrity protection. We'd like to know if any of our KDWA listeners will be working at making visitors feel at home by helping out in the weeks up to and after the big game. If you will be part of Crew 52, send us a little info and we'll feature some of your experiences in upcoming newscasts. You can share it on the KDWA Facebook page or email your highlights, lowlights, celebrity sighting or photos to soundoff@kdwa.com.

       

    NIXLE System Questioned

    Monday Morning Update-Those celebrating or mourning the Minnesota Vikings football win Sunday night may not have remembered about the automatic Snow emergency that is listed on the city website and was announced, according to a screen shot provided by the city, by the NIXLE notification system at 4:12 am on Monday morning. A standing ordinance for a snow emergency states that any snowfall over 2 inches, automatically initiates the need to remove vehicles from city streets until those streets are plowed curb to curb. Social media comment on Monday ranged from annoyance to anger, for those registered with the notice service, yet did not receive the notification. Comments left on the city's social media page referred to several instances of not receiving the message until 7 am, long after snow had stopped falling in the area. Tickets were reported to have been issued for vehicles in the affected plow area. Municipal lots were offered as the place to park until snowplows could complete the downtown area. The City response was that crews will be working on holiday time to address the removal of snow. No indication on the status of the NIXLE system, which serves several functions such as sports field conditions, cancellations of events, and other city notices.

       

    Hastings City Council Preview January 16

    The Hastings City Council meets on Tuesday, January 16th. Mayor Paul Hicks provides a preview of the meeting, and a bold prediction.

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    Joy Lutheran Celebration

    Joy Lutheran Church in Prescott will hold an annual meeting and party after the late service on Sunday, January 28th. There will be a light lunch served from 10:30 to11:45 with the party and meeting starting at 11:45am. The congregation will look back at 2017 and celebrate with a fun video and look ahead to where the leadership thinks God is leading in 2018.

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    Prescott Poet Prevails

    A Canadian literary and art magazine has named Prescott author Tasslyn Magnusson as the first-place winner in a poetry and fiction contest in 2017. The magazine, called Room, extended the honor to Magnusson for her submission of a 20-part poem cycle that she had submitted to the magazine simply for publication. She was unaware the poetry had been included in the contest until the Room told her that her work was on the list for the contest. Magnusson said she was initially shocked about the contest submission, but the shock turned to excitement, and she acknowledges the award as a validation of her work, as the poems were very personal to her. Magnusson and her husband have lived in Prescott since 2004.

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    Hastings City Council Agenda Preview Jan 16

    The Hastings City Council meets on Tuesday, January 16th. Mayor Paul Hicks provides a preview of the meeting, and a bold prediction.

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    Man Found Unresponsive

    On Friday morning near the intersection of 15th Street and Westview Drive a man was found to be unresponsive on the sidewalk. According to a news tip provided to KDWA, a local teen found the man and began to administer CPR while emergency services were enroute. Police on the scene had no comment, and the cause of the emergency and condition of the man are both unknown at this time. KDWA thanks listener Gerald for the information.

    Friday, Jan 12 Update- Emergency crews were on the way due to some quick thinking and action by two Hastings High School students Sydney Radke and Addie Buck who discovered the man in the snow. Fire Chief Mike Schutt reported that when police officers arrived, CPR was already being administered to the patient by Sydney and Addie. The officers took over, using their AED to shock the patient. Due to the below zero temperature, rewarming of the patient was critial in the life saving measures undertaken by first responders. The patient regained a pulse inside the ambulance and the students were credited with saving the man's life. Early CPR and use of the AED were parmount to the positive outcome from the event. The department plans a special recognition for the pair at an upcoming city council meeting.

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    Council Consent Agenda

    The next Hastings City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 16th due to the Monday observance of Martin Luther King Junior Day. One of the items on the consent agenda will be to accept the resignation from Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jolyn Augesen. An appointment has been requested to fill that position. Bruce Karnick is looking to take over those volunteer responsibilities. Also on the consent agenda is the acceptance of the feasbility and assessment report and to order public hearings involved with the 2018 Neighborhood Infrastructure Improvements project the second phase of utility replacement and upgrades involving sewer and water lines in the area between 6th and 9th Streets and west of Vermillion. The project is expected to begin in late spring and carries a pricetag of just under 3 million dollars. A public hearing will be held on February 5th with an assessment hearing for March 5th.

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    Ready Set File

    The Minnesota Department of Revenue will open state individual income tax filing season on Monday, January 29th. For the benefit and convenience of Minnesotans, this is the same day as the Internal Revenue Service. The filing deadline to submit 2017 income tax returns is Tuesday, April 17th, 2018, rather than the traditional April 15th date. This is also the same deadline for Federal returns. Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly reminds taxpayers that protecting Minnesotans refunds and ensuring the right refund amount goes to the right person is the Departments top priority. Electronic filing and choosing direct deposit is the most secure way to get your refund. Last year, over 2 million Minnesota taxpayers used electronic software to file their taxes. Free electronic filing is available for Minnesotans meeting certain eligibility requirements. You may qualify for free tax preparation help from IRS-certified volunteers at locations across Minnesota for your federal and state income tax returns. Qualified taxpayers are age 60 or older, have a disability, speak limited or no English, or have income less than $54,000 per year. Most free tax preparation sites are open Feb. 1st through April 15th. And, taxpayers will be able to track their refund by using the Department of Revenues Wheres My Refund system. Get the latest news and updates from the Minnesota Department of Revenue by following the department on Facebook and Twitter.

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    Dak Co Jail Bookings Jan 9

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, Hastings Police detained 41-year-old Hastings resident Michael George Crapson on January 9th in response to a domestic disturbance call. Crapson faces a charge of assault and is scheduled for a first appearance in court on January 11th. A traffic stop on January 9th resulted in Hastings Police arresting 39-year-old Hastings resident Joseph Lee Friendshuh on misdemeanor charges relating to driving under the influence of alcohol. The report indicates Friendshuh also refused to submit to testing. The charges are still under investigation. And, the Sheriffs Office reports that 41-year-old Oakdale resident Michael Paul Nolen was arrested by Eagan Police on the 9th. Nolen is charged with 8 felony counts of mail theft and a felony charge of auto theft. Nolen is being held without bond as the charges are being processed.

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    Senate Candidate Forum

    The Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce held a meet and greet with candidates Karla Bigham and Denny McNamara, who are running for the Minnesota State Senate seat recently vacated by the resignation of Dan Schoen. Karla stressed that property tax payers are carrying a large burden

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    Denny McNamara, candidate for the MN State Senate seat recently vacated by the resignation of Dan Schoen, recently shared some comments about his desire to restore voters confidence at a meet and greet session hosted by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.

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    The meet and greet was held at River Oaks Golf Course.

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    Building Lockdown For Dakota County Technical

    Wednesday Afternoon 4PM Update -A full building lockdown was initiated at Dakota County Technical College, near Rosemount on Wednesday, January 10th just after 2 pm. Communications were sent by social media and also by text with everyone in the building, which is located on Hwy 42 just east of the city. Those inside were told to lock doors and turn off all lights until an all clear was signaled. Cell phone video and photos taken by those in lockdown showed armed law enforcement in the hallways. A continuous facebook message was sent by the official school site, confirming that it was not a drill and those in the building were to stay in hidden position. Those having classes were told not to come to the school which started Spring semester on Monday. Just after 3 pm, an all clear was distributed online with no formal statement given as of this report. We will connect with the school for an update and press statement and bring that to you as soon as possible. The Dakota County sherif's department and Rosemount Police acknowledged the all clear signal with the message that the campus was safe. The classes for the remainder of the day were scheduled to return to normal, however students were asked to communicate with their instructor if the incident would preclude them from class attendance.

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    Lakela Asks Council For Action

    A Prescott resident has once again expressed his opposition to the manner in which the city has responded to his claims of mistreatment by Prescott Police. Jeffery Lakela, appeared before the Prescott City council on January 8th, reading a detailed letter questioning the legality of an offer he received from Prescott city attorney Philip Helgeson. Lakela has had ongoing contact with Prescott police beginning in 2014 involving more than one incident which he states shows a pattern of inappropriate conduct by several Prescott officers.

    Following an October appearance at a Prescott Police Commission meeting, Lakela was issued a Harassment citation by Interim Chief Funk in response to questions asked by Lakela of employees at a business that uses video cameras to document events in their store. Lakela contends that video taken of him was purposefully erased to prevent him from proving his case.

    Lakela is acting as his own legal representative and received an offer from the city to amend the harassment charge that carries a $510 fine, if he will change his plea from Not Guilty to that of No Contest to a Disorderly Conduct Charge, meaning Lakely would admit to actions he believes are completely untrue. That admission would reduce the fine to $187, which Lakela would be required to file before January 20th and pay for in 60 days or be subject to suspension of his operating privileges for up to one year with a warrant issued for his arrest.

    Lakela views the offer as a retaliatory move by police intended to punish him for speaking out. He again asks the Police Commission and the City council to hold the officers responsible.

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    Getting Ready To Learn

    The Hastings MOMS Club sponsored a Youth and Preschool Fair at the Hastings High School commons on Tuesday evening. More than a dozen preschool choices as well as youth centered activity representatives were there to answer questions and give information to families looking to begin their child's education. We talked with St John the Baptist Catholic School spokesperson Julie Strommen who was pleased with the turnout.

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    I asked her how soon parents will need to decide.

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    River Town Treasures

    Rivertown Treasures announces their sale for the week of January 15th through the 20th. The store will feature children's clothing, size infant through 20 at 50% off, with certain exclusions applied. Rivertown Treasures is the market outlet for Hastings Family Service, and is located at 301 2nd Street East. For questions, contact Hastings Family Service or Rivertown Treasures at 651-437-7134.

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    Planning Commission Denies Permit

    The Hastings Planning Commission reviewed a request for a home occupancy permit for a business headquartered in a residence on Sherman Way during the Commissions meeting of January 8th. According to information presented at the meeting, the business has been found to be in violation of several ordinances relating to home-based businesses in Hastings. During the public comment period of the hearing neighbors spoke in support of the business and applicant, but stated it is not compatible with a residential setting. The business was a taxi with multiple vehicles that were observed arriving at the home at all hours. They explained that the residential character of the neighborhood has been negatively affected by the business. Planning Commissioners were supportive of the business operating in town, but also commented that the business model isnt compatible with a residential neighborhood, and voted to not recommend the permit. The issue will now go before the full City Council on January 16th.   

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    Hoschette Offers Parting Words

    During Prescott City Council member Jack Hoschette's final council meeting, he took time to address Interim Police Chief Robert Funk, expressing his gratitude for the work conducted by his department. Hoschette relayed his disappointment in media sources for bringing what he viewed was undeserved scrutiny to the department. He then stated that although his term was ending, he would approve media coverage of law enforcement engaging with local youth to give some positive PR to the department. Hoschette, who resigned in December, then suggested that a downtown, walk in police office would be helpful to better connect with the public in addition to the station that is currently located on the hill behind the Prescott Municipal building.Interim Chief Funk replied that the idea was interesting and worth consideration. Hoschette suggested that the former Most Pharmacy would be a good location.

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    Interim Chief Looks Ahead

    At the January 8th Prescott City council meeting, a lengthy presentation was given by Interim Police Chief Robert Funk. Included was an update on the status of possible hires that are in the process of vetting and hope to be completed by Early February. In the report, Funk looks to reorganizing the workflow method which divides work duties to officers who have strengths in certain areas of a case.

    Funk notes that in the past officers have worked outside their areas of expertise, causing delays in processing all aspects of a case. He wishes to implement a team approach that divides case tasks and calls on selected individuals to process certain aspects such as interviewing, evidence handling and investigation instead of attaching one officer to handle their case independently. An overview of

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    Interim Chief Robert Funk was asked to provide a review of the past year, as well as a proposal for improvements for the department going forward. One of the items addressed was the current status of the City's Body Worn Camera policy. Funk informed the Council that the previous policy was suspended at the end of June as the cameras purchased by the department were not being used as they were ineffective, of poor quality and difficult to operate.

    According to a statement by the President of the Police Commission, that committee approved their use 100% of the time officers engaged with the public. That was not what was taking place, however. Funk states that the department purchased 10 Axon brand cameras in December, with the goal to rewrite policy to address privacy issues, employee responsibility, public access, security of data storage, retention of data and employee access to stored files on the server.

    Development of the policy, says Funk, is underway with language from similar city ordinance being adopted to secure a solid understanding of when and how they will be used. Council member Maureen Otwell also asked about current policy for use of force and if the public will have any input that determines acceptable use of force withing the department and whether individuals shown on body cam video would have access to viewing it in preparing a defense against charges. Funk said policy would require disclosure of video evidence to both parties in a legal dispute, but he could not affirm that the public would always have access to the data. That policy is currently beging crafted, said Funk.

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    Frozen Pipes Seasonal Hazard

    Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt reports that a number of recent calls to the Hastings Fire Department have been for water damage, due to frozen pipes. Chief Schutt provided a timely reminder to be aware regarding water pipes.

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    Prescott Police Report Updates

    The New Year started off with the Prescott Police being called to Freedom Park, just after midnight on January 1st. Upon arriving at the park, officers issued warnings to persons who were in the park after hours, and in possession of fireworks. The blotter report does not indicate any citations were issued, and the case has been closed. An individual setting up a new mobile phone caused officers to respond to Hill Ridge Court on the 2nd. The investigation revealed that during the set up of the phone, emergency services were inadvertently called. And, an anonymous citizen delivered a found wallet to the station on January 4th. Using information contained in the wallet, officers attempted to contact the owner and left a message to come to the Station to retrieve their property.

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    From the Prescott Police blotter, officers were dispatched to an accident on January3rd near the intersection of Gibbs and Cherry Streets. The report indicates that the vehicle did not impact one another, but the vehicle driven by 20-year-old Prescott resident Nathan James Keil was unable to stop at the intersection, causing a vehicle driven by 50-year-old Jeffery Wayne French, of Prescott to strike the curb, causing damage to his vehicle. Keil received a citation for driving too fast for conditions. A traffic stop near the intersection of Cherry and Dakota Streets resulted in a citation issued to 33-year-old Prescott resident Joseph Daniel Young for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt. And, 35-year-old Prescott resident Donald Lawrence Blanchard was arrested after he was pulled over for speeding on Lake Street. Other charges filed against Blanchard include operating with a suspended license, no current registration, no insurance, and speeding. The charges are still being processed.

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    From the Prescott Police blotter, a report of a disabled vehicle brought officers to the 400 block of Elm Street. Investigation into the report resulted in a citation issued to 49-year-old Prescott resident Marvin Edward Dearborn for an automobile storage restriction violation. On January 4th a reportedly stolen vehicle was located near the intersection of willow and Monroe Streets. Officers impounded the vehicle and the investigation continues. And officers were dispatched to the River Heights Motel on January 6th to investigate a report of an injured male in the lobby. As a result of the investigation, Timothy Joseph OBrien, 56, of Prescott, and 57-year-old Hastings resident Gerald Arthur Anderson were arrested on various charges, including battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting an officer.

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    Kids Fish Free

    The MN Department of Natural Resources reminds winter sports enthusiasts that the weekend of January 13th to the 15th is a free weekend for ice fishers with children under the age of 16. During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing. Before heading out, anglers or spearers are reminded check ice conditions locally. A great start to the weekend is the Ice Fishing Preschool Story Time for children aged 2 to 5 at Carpenter Nature Center on January 12th, from 10 to 11 AM. Visit carpenternaturecenter.org for details.

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    Sheriff Dept Holiday Helpers

    Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie has announced that the staff at the Dakota County Sheriff's Department concluded a highly successful Holiday Charitable Donation campaign within the Department. According to the Sheriff's newsletter, the Department was able to adopt a veteran at the MN Veterans Home, a Family through Hastings Family Service's Project Share program, and a teenager through Neighbors Incorporated's Community Action Partnership Program. The Sheriff's department provided material donations to Communities Armful of Love, Toys for Tots, and Operation Christmas Child. The Program Services Director for the Sheriff's Office was instrumental in contacting agencies, organizing, and shopping for wish list items, as well as wrapping and delivering gifts. The Department also participated in a packing event for Feed My Starving Children and bell ringing for the Salvation Army at the Cub Foods in Hastings. (Photo provided by DCSO- pictured are staff members Terri Eggleston, Sergeant Matt Schuster, Detective Amber Hentges, Captain Dan Bianconi and Sergeant Scott Durdall.)

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    Police Pursues Fleeting Driver

    On Friday afternoon, January 5th, traffic across the Hastings bridge was disrupted as a late model black Pickup was witnessed being pursued by several agencies as it crossed from Washington County heading into Hastings. According to several sources that saw the procession, the truck was seen going through the intersection at Hwy 61 and Hwy 10 just north of the city at a high speed,traveling south with several squads from Ramsey county, Dakota County and Hastings Police following the truck which continued over the bridge and down Vermillion until it reached the 10th street intersection at Todd Field, where it turned left , again disregarding traffic signals, and continued east. Two community contributors shared what they saw with KDWA, each noting the vehicle in question was traveling well in excess of the posted 35 mph limit as it passed other cars winding its way south towards Red Wing. No statement yet available from enforcement at the time of this broadcast,on those involved, the reason for the pursuit, or the outcome of the participants.

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    Hoschette To Resign

    The City Council of Prescott will hold its first regular meeting of 2018 on January 8th. One item on the agenda is the formal acceptance of the resignation of Alderperson John Hoschette from the Council. As previously reported by KDWA, Hoschette cites personal time constraints for his resignation. The City Council is expected to approve the appointment of Robert Daugherty to replace Hoschette.

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    MN Vehicle Title Backlog

    A visit to nearly any Minnesota license bureau for purposes of transfering a vehicle title, securing new tabs or plates or even making a small change to the paperwork involved in registering a vehicle has proven a test of patience for customers and DMV workers alike. And that patience has worn thin for lawmakers who question MNIT personnel on when answers will be found. The culprit for a massive backlog estimated to be nearly 300,000 Minnesota vehicle titles, is MNLARS, a new computer system implemented in July of 2017.The new system, with a current cost of $93 million dollars has failed to allow for timely, accurate paperwork, necessary to document the transfer of vehicle ownership and the collection of fees involved with the licensing of Minnesota vehicles. The impact and cost associated with the system's dysfunction, has touched everyone in the state over the past 6 months. Members of the Minnesota Senate Transportation Finance and Policy committee continued to press IT representatives for a timeline of when the situation will be righted. They are still waiting for that answer. Some information is provided at the dps.mn.gov website, including forms that can be submitted if you have not received a title on a purchased vehicle.

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    Dakota County Shelter Reservations

    The time to select the perfect place for a party, graduation, reunion or other special event in a Dakota county park has come around again. The 2018 picnic shelter reservation sign up begins at 8 am on Monday, January 8th. All throughout the County a wide variety of event accomodations can be reserved providing your next get together with a picture perfect place to gather.Picnic shelters are rented by the day, and reservations must be made at least 21 days in advance Online reservations will begin on the 8th with remaining dates and availability information also listed for Shelters on a first come first served basis. Picnic shelters can be rented for use between April 1, 2018 through Oct. 31, 2018, with the exception of the Lakeview Deck in Lebanon Hills Regional Park. In April and October, the water will be shut off when temperatures are below freezing.Follow the link found on the Dakota county parks website or click on the link found on the kdwa.com community events page.For picnic shelter booking questions, please call 952-891-7000. To check availability and reserve online, visit www.dakotacounty.us and search under picnic shelter rental. To make a reservation, visit: http://tinyurl.com/jhpvl5h

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    Identity Theft Tops Charges

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, an investigation into allegations of identity theft led the Washington County Sheriffs Department to arrest 29-year-old Hampton resident Christopher Jon Eggers. Eggers is charged with 1 felony count of identity theft affecting more than one victim, with the amount of loss to the victims less than $2,500. The charge is still being processed. Hastings Police responding to a report of theft detained 42-year-old Omar Kwabena Walford on January 2nd. Walford is being charged with the theft and also fleeing officers, both on foot and by vehicle. Charges are pending.

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    Parking Restriction Approved

    The Hastings City Council took up the issue of a parking restriction on the 100 block of Tyler Street, near the Artspace Lofts during the City Council meeting on January 2nd. The parking restriction was requested by Graphic Design to ensure there is enough room on the street for delivery trucks to access the loading dock at the building. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger briefed the Council on the problem.

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    Mr. Egger fielded questions from the council in regards to availability of parking for business access versus residential need and availability of spaces in municipal lots. The resolution to enact a No Parking restriction for 5 parking stalls across from the Graphic Design loading dock from 7AM to 5 PM for Monday through Friday passed without a negative vote.

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    Geo Bee Winner

    Saint Elizabeth Anne Seaton School 8th grade student Ethan Greene has won the National Geographic Bee recently held at the school. The bee, held on December 20th, was the first round in the 30th annual National Geographic Bee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world around them. School champions from around Minnesota, including Greene, will take a qualifying test, with up to 100 of the top scorers being eligible to compete in the state Bee on April 6th. State winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Bees national championship rounds May 20-23. The first-place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and an all-expense paid Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour II.

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    Show Choirs Debut

    The Hastings Show Choir preview on January 2nd was the first opportunity for parents and friends to see the hard work undertaken by members of Divaz, Upstage Revolution and Riverside company as the competitive season gets underway. From the brightly colored hues of the uplifting Riverside company to the tangerine attire of Upstage, each group received thunderous applause from the capacity crowd. The all female Divaz showed their very first audience that they are ready to take on competitions that will take place in Eau Claire, Onalaska and Fridley with Riverside traveling to LaCrosse and Omaha as well. The next performance in Hastings will be at Swingin on the River on February 10th.

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