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    Dedication By the Riverside

    The grand reopening of Levee Park with the dedication of the Rotary Pavilion was the place to be on Thursday afternoon with hundreds gathered for the ribbon cutting and official recognition for those who have made it possible to spend a perfectly lovely late afternoon along the mighty Mississippi. Mayor Hicks addressed the crowd perched along the stone amphitheater tiers with equal parts pride and accomplishment as the area filled with local residents, visitors and dignitaries of all kinds.

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    We will feature several of the comments and conversations we recorded at the celebration and find out what the community thinks of the newest hotspot down by the riverside. Also listen to part one of a special two part re-broadcast of the riverfront ceremony on Monday, Memorial day.

       

    Prescott School Levy Results

    In February the Prescott School District asked voters to provide funding for operating expenses in the amount of 1.46 million dollars. That levy was defeated. The school board and superintendent then rolled up their sleeves and took the reality of the loss of those dollars to the people and over the past 3 months, provided detailed education on just what it would mean to the school and to the community. From class cuts, staff reductions, program elimination and even the end of in town bussing for all students, the information that may have been blurred by funding for the new high school, was presented in a matter of fact method, one geared to show the impact of another No vote. On Wednesday, the question faced the community again, and this time Superintendent Dr. Rick Spicuzza felt the message was heard. In a late evening call to KDWA Spicuzza reveals the outcome.

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    With the preliminary uncanvassed totals of 1604 Yes votes and 603 No votes as reported late Wednesday evening, We compared them with the 778 No votes to just 744 yes votes that were cast in the February 17th event. Dr. Spicuzza tells us what the immediate effect will have on the district. More talks will be coming but he did have some details to share.

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    In breaking news from the Prescott School District, uncanvassed totals from Wednesdays levy vote announces a 73% majority of those voting have approved the levy which asked for 1.46 million in operating expenses for the city's schools. Dr. Rick Spicuzza thanks the community for investing in their school and hear just what is expected to happen next as we bring you the complete story of the supportive reversal in our next newscast.

       

    Bump Out Progress

    Early morning rains put an end to continued cement work along Downtown with colored inserts in the bumpouts nearing completion on Sibley Street at 2nd. The same inserts that were placed during the last go round, were deterioriating, with the decision to remove them during this phase in addition to those south of 2nd along Sibley to 3rd Street. Those have been removed and crews will wait until weather allows. The schedule calls for wrapping up this intersection with the flat concrete work in the middle of the street before moving east to the next cross street.

       

    Hastings Sings Radio Auditions Begin

    The Hastings Sings radio auditions have begun with our first contestant recording her entry on Monday afternoon. The method of auditions have been changed this year to provide a studio experience for those wishing to represent the city during this years Minnesota Sings event in September. Each singer , ages 15-25, who lives, works or attends school in Hastings, reserves a 15 minute recording time during the last week in May or the first week in June. They are interviewed as well, and each contestant is then recorded in the KDWA studio singing to a backing track. The public will hear their voices during the week of June 20-26 along with their interviews. The top vocalists will be announced on July 1st at 11:45 on KDWA. These singers will compete in the Hastings Sings Finals at Rivertown Days on Sunday July 17th. There is still time to sign up for an audition. Contact KDWA at kcasey@kdwa.com or call 651-437-1460.

       

    LeDuc Opens Season

    On June 4, 2016, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. the Friends of LeDuc and Historic Hastings will sponsor their Annual Rhubarb Festival at the LeDuc Historic Estate, 1629 Vermillion Street, Hastings, MN 55033. Rhubarb will reign as the main feature of this event - bunches of fresh rhubarb, potted rhubarb plants and baked rhubarb treats will all be offered for sale. Sharing the stage with rhubarb this year will be herbs. There will be demonstrations on how to use various herbs in salads and cooking and suggestions for which herbs to include in your own garden to provide sanctuary and food for bees and butterflies. A variety of potted herbs will be offered for sale as well.This family event also offers an opportunity to engage in art projects, story time, games and walks in the woods. The LeDuc chickens will be providing their usual entertainment and visitors may encounter costumed entertainers as well.Entrance to the LeDuc grounds is free. The LeDuc house will be open for guided tours at scheduled times and rates; information is available at www.dakotahistory.org or www.leduchistoricestate.org.

       

    Preparing To Celebrate

    In preparation for the Grand Re-Opening events at the Pavilion Thursday , some information on seating accommodations. Organizers are asking that Lawn chairs not be placed on the stone amphitheater seating, however blankets on the stones and the grass are fine. The area outside of the amphitheater seats are ope for chairs and blankets. A portion of the top level of the seating area will be reserved for wheelchairs. Parking will be marked and a reminder to observe all directional signs marking the detours along 2nd Street.The River Valley Band will begin with music starting at 4:30 followed by the official welcome by Mayor Hicks.

       

    Session Wrap Examined

    In continuing reflection of the failed bonding bill by the Minnesota Legislature, a voice from northern Dakota County District 52A Representative Rick Hansen, provided a first hand account of the local impact of the amendment he provided to assure the massive project which has West St. Pauls main thoroughfare, Robert Street now in the second phase of updating that has slowed the business district traffic to a crawl. State funding was figured into the project in anticipation of the session, which failed to deliver a bonding bill. Representative Hansen offered a handwritten amendment to provide crucial trunk highway funding for construction to Robert Street less than an hour before the midnight deadline, which speaker Daught deemed out of order.

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    Hansen states that the 2016 session is a wakeup call that reform and more transparent governance is required for the good of Minnesota. District 54B Rep.Denny McNamara also told KDWA that his constituents are voicing similar outrage on the unfinished business and lack of progress made for districts throughout the state. A special session is under consideration among House and Senate leaders, although Governor Dayton has not committed to it.

       

    Green Mill Supports Marching Band

    Today is another Green Mill for Good event this time benefiting the Hastings Marching Band. The Hastings Green Mill restaurant located at SchoolHouse Square 909 Vermillion St., will offer dine in or delivery that will help the band raise funds for their summer trip. In order to participate,you must print a voucher, with a link found on the KDWA .com website under community events today,Wednesday, May 25th. For each coupon redeemed, 20 percent of the total bill will be donated to the band. The Eat, Earn and give back event at Green Mill is available from open to close on Wednesday only. Find the link on the kdwa.com community events page.

       

    For Them March Mile Markers

    Preparations continue for the first For Them March, organized by a Hastings man, Tom Wright. In addition to walking from Red Wing to Hastings, via the Hwy 35 Great River Road route on the Wisconsin side of the river, mile markers will now be placed to remember fallen comrades. A laminated 8x10 will feature the photo and name of someone who was killed in action or a veteran who has passed away. There will be 28 markers in all, and Wright hopes to have all markers spoken for by tomorrow, Thursday, May 26th. Listeners who may wish to have their soldier appear on the markers should contact Wright on the For Them March Facebook page.

       

    News From Prescott Chief Krutke

    In updates from Chief Gary Krutke, more on a recent report. Law enforcement officials from Prescott, Hastings and Pierce County were called to a Prescott address recently on a report of a suspicious male. Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke says some local media outlets took license with the way they reported the incident.

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    The warm summer months also bring increased traffic through Prescott on the Great River Road. There have already been several motorcycle accidents in the area so far this year. Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke says his department will being paying extra attention to motorcycles coming through town.

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    McNamara Process is Broken

    With the time expired for the regular session at the Minnesota State Capitol and many issued left on the table, we heard from District Representative Denny McNamara a 14 year veteran of the political process. I asked for his impression of the session where little was decided

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    Though the outcome was far less than most Minnesotan expected,some area projects managed to garner some support. McNamara explains

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    Representative McNamara points to some legislation that awaits the Governors pen

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    Although a special session looks unlikely, there may be updates which we will bring to you as they happen.

       

    All Saints Party Recaps Success

    Organizers of the All Saints Music Festival have released the attendance numbers for last weekend's event and if you were there, so, it seemed was everyone in town. Patti Brown, who took care of ticket tallies, thanked everyone who came out in the perfect weather to enjoy the bands, the food and especially the support of a thankful community. An estimated 3,500 people filled the grounds of the Little Log village just south of Hastings and the five parishes who worked to bring it all together were weary, but very thankful for the support of generous volunteers and donors at all levels. Each parish will use their portion of the proceeds to fun youth ministries, faith formation, Catholic School Education and other parish priorities.

       

    From the MN Capitol

    In News affecting Minnesotans, the late night negotiations continued this weekend at the State Legislature, but at an early Sunday morning event in West St. Paul, time for a cup of coffee provided me with an opportunity to speak to District 52A Representative Rick Hansen. He shared his frustration with the political process that had resulted in the last minute stalemate on the majority of the work entrusted to members of the House and the Senate. Hansen looks at some possible causes including the construction on the Capitol which has limited the public contact this session.

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    More results from the actions, or inactions of the Minnesota Legislature and what impact it may have, will be examined in our continuing coverage later this week.

    The first of this sessions major spending bills was passed off the House Floor 123-10 early Sunday afternoon.

    First passed off the floor last year with a $2 billion price tag, the bill, now on its way to the Senate, proposes $257 million in tax relief over the 2016-17 biennium and $543 million in the subsequent biennium.

    Representative Laurie Halverson from Eagan is very concerned about one provision that allows 35 million in tax breaks to tobacco manufacturers,located outside the state of Minnesota, when many lawmakers are strongly opposed to the inclusion of what they view as backsliding against the work done to prevent the increase of new smokers. Halverson wanted the language removed from the bill which also contained a first in the nation student loan tax credit, credits for families contributing to 529 savings plans and expansion of tax credits for some veterans. We will have the result of that legislation later this week.

       

    Love Little Free Libraries

    A popular trend in and around our listening area is to erect an elevated tiny house filled with used books at the edge of lawns and near parks and other public places. The Little Free Library phenomenon began in Hudson, Wisconsin by Todd Bol, whose mother was a teacher. His tribute to her love of literacy was to make the first lending library filled with extra books for anyone to take, read, and replace or keep to share with others. A true grassroots endeavor, the popularity of the neighborhood story stations, was celebrated on Saturday at the Little Free Library Festival held in Minnehaha Park. At last count, the official number of these libraries is about 36,000, that are registered with Bol, by applying for a charter number that is placed on the world map list of registered locations. Prices range between 42 to 76 dollars that entitles the steward of your little library to a customized nameplate that is placed on your branch door. Many choose to make their own but it is possible to order one from the organization that resembles a large birdhouse with pitched roof, glass door and room for about 50 small books. The registration makes it possible to type in a city name and a list of libraries, complete with gps directions, which makes finding them easy. We found 10 in Hastings, 4 in Prescott, 5 in Cottage Grove and at least 20 more in nearby cities. That doesnt account for many other, unregistered houses which all have the same goal, to provide free, easy access to reading material that is free and always open. Find out more at the official website, www.littlefreelibrary.org .

       

    Hastings Fire Alarm Thursday

    Fire was discovered by a neighbor in a home at 4th and State Thursday afternoon. Several trucks from HFD responded and was able to extinquish the fire. No one was at home, however a dog did escape when emergency crews entered the home. It was reported that the dog has since been found. We will have updates on this incident in upcoming KDWA Newscasts.

       

    Contract Bid Goes To Pember

    The Hastings City Council awarded the 2016 Neighborhood Infrastructure Improvements project contract at its meeting on Monday night. Hastings City Engineer Ryan Stempski presented the winning bid to the council.

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    Legion Post Names New Manager

    The board of the Post 47 American Legion of Hastings announced Monday that a big change is coming to the Club and that it is now operating under new management. The New Club Manager is Joe Derezinski, who told me he is looking forward to the new challenge.

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    Joe says planning is in the works to implement several new ideas including a spaghetti dinner that will take place this Saturday, May 21st from 5 to 9 PM.

    He reminds us that the club is open to all

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    Also onboard is new Head cook Val Harrington, who will be placing the menu together.There is also news on summer hours.

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    Spring Band Concert And Awards

    The Spring Concert for the Hastings High School Bands was held Tuesday night and with the music performances also came the opportunity to recognize accomplishments made this year by students in the instrumental music program. Directors Jim Jacobsen and Duane Oldham presented the end of the year awards and also recognized the graduating seniors one by one. Honor band and solo ensemble awards were announced along with individual most improved and top musician awards in each of the three ensembles. The Percussion Ensemble also debuted the new Samba Drums in a lively piece that drew enthusiastic audience applause. Then it was time to announce the top awards beginning with the Woody Herman Award which was presented to two recipients this year- Seniors Abe Kummer and Josh Tank. Kummer was last years Drum Major and Tank intends to continue his education at Luther Collage pursuing a vocal and instrumental teaching degree. The Semper Fi Award was presented to a member of the Wind Ensemble who exhibited the always faithful always true, dedication to the program. That was awarded to Erin Smothers. Next came the Louis Armstrong Award for outstanding performance awarded to Senior Percussionist Julia Kneen. A hometown favorite, former Hastings Band Director Bob Caspersons Exemplary Musician Award is given to the musician continuing his well known commitment to excellence. Senior Lucas Fleugel received that prize. Then it was time for the top band award given for superb musicianship and overall excellence, the 2016 John Philip Sousa Award went to Josh Tank. The concert was the final performance for the seniors, however the rest of the ensembles will perform the traditional music at Hastings Graduation ceremony on June 10th.

       

    Police Open House

    The Police Open House, held in the afternoon shadows on the East lawn of Hastings City Hall on Tuesday, was brimming with a collection of law enforcement, city staff, county dignitaries and many local families and residents who came to meet those who are responsible for protecting and serving the community. I spoke with Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie who shared why he was there

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    Before he headed to the microphone, Mayor Paul Hicks comments that events such as this are important to the community.

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    KDWA will provide part of the presentation with Chief Bryan Schafer as host of a special Community InDepth this Friday.

       

    Top Teacher Named

    The end of the school year means many things, summer plans, last concerts and the selection of the Teacher of the Year. For the Hastings teacher receiving this years nod, it was a matter of starting at the very beginning. Kindergarten teacher Tom Brenny was nominated along with 10 others by Education Minnesota-Hastings, the union representing local teachers. A strong proponent of early childhood education, Brenny looks to the growing evidence that youngsters need preschool to function at the level necessary to excel from the very beginning. He enjoys the impact he can make on these little sponges, and acknowledges many students just need an environment where they can learn how to learn. That is what he tries to provide and has been doing so for the past 18 years, currently at Pinecrest Elementary. The selection means his name will be placed in the running for selection of the Minnesota Teacher of the Year. That winner will be announced in the fall.

    Driving Arrest Records

    In news from local police records: Impaired and Distracted Driving continues to take toll

    The Hastings Police Department made several DWI arrests over the weekend. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer says his department is working hard to change the culture of impaired driving.

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    Two separate accidents that took place in Prescott last week resulted in citations for inattentive or distracted driving. An early morning accident resulted in a 17 year old driver failing to observe a chain of events causing her to collide with a Lexus driven by Yvette Mann of Prescott. Mann had reduced speed to allow a 2014 truck owned by Centerpoint Energy to make a turn ahead of her. 17 year old Tessa Shields also of Prescott, hit the Lexus, causing considerable damage to her own vehicle and also to the Mann vehicle. In another morning accident, Joan Halverson of Hagar City was slowing for a similarly stopped vehicle when a Welch man, 25 year old Michael Friesen who was operating a F150 Truck struck her car causing severe damage to that car which was operating on Hwy 35 in Diamond Bluff. Each distracted driver was charged with inattentive driving.

    From the court records in Pierce county last week the report that 27 year old Edward James Sarnstrom of Prescott was taken into custody by Pierce County Police on a warrant for failure to appear in court and also for obstructing an officer. Brett Bundich, age 55 of Prescott was arrested by the Pierce County Sheriffs Department for being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated, and 65 year old Dennis Allen Frank also of Prescott wa arrested by Prescott Police for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

    Poppies Support Vets

    As Memorial Day approaches, Remembrance Poppies begin to bloom in the windows and on the counters of local businesses. These artificial flowers inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Field" have been used since 1921 to commemorate American soldiers killed in war. Barb Hamilton, President of the VFW Auxiliary in Hastings, says the poppies are also given away when receiving donations to help service members that made it home.

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    Levy Vote Approaches

    Local publications have been filled recently, with resident messages, both opposed and in support of the upcoming School Levy, proposing funding of a 1.4 million dollar shortfall in operating expenses for the Prescott School District. The vote which will take place next Wednesday, May 25th, has received attention since its first defeat in February and continues to stir strong feelings from both sides of the issue. Dr. Rick Spicuzza and the school board have taken steps to pare the budget, building closures, removing a dozen teachers as well as several elective classes, including middle school band, and, the most wide reaching, the end of bussing within the city itself. The board hopes these measures wont require application, but it will be the voters who determine that outcome, which is anticipated to draw high volumes of residents who wish to weigh in on the single topic ballot. KDWA will have the outcome of the vote on Thursday, May 26th in our news broadcasts.

    Prescott Group Eyes Bluff Site

    The city of Prescott has been approached by several Prescott area residents, asking them to consider another use of the former Steamboat Inn Property, which currently stands in a ragged, although improved state, after the building was demolished last November. Long awaited progress has been announced in another step closer to a development that would likely place some form of large structure back on the prime entry to the city. Bob Campbell is on record to produce a property called the Vista Croix which could combine dining, housing and possibly a hotel with underground parking on the long vacant site. There has been no formal response from the city to the request but suggestions by the group of a park or other community use was viewed to be a better use of the picturesque bluff. The group also asks that the proposal for a community owned use be fully explored before a final decision is made on the Campbell proposal.

       

    Stamp Out Hunger Totals

    Postal workers increased their loads over the weekend by collecting non-perishable food donations for the national Stamp Out Hunger campaign. Locally Hastings Family Service was the recipient of those collections. Resource Development Director Amy Sutton says donations this year were up by over a thousand pounds.

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    News From Hastings Fire Dept

    In the weekend incident report from the Hastings Fire Department, Chief Mike Schutt explained two calls with potentially dire results   

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    Despite the severity of the accident, Chief Schutt reports that a seatbelt did it's job.

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    Later that morning a do it yourself tree trimming took an unexpected turn

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    Chief Schutt warns of the dangers associated with trimming or removing trees or branches close to power lines.

    In our continued look at the Hastings Fire Department, Chief Mike Schutt told me of a very important event that his department lends their time to    

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    This is a busy week, as just after the High School Event, a training scenerio takes place near Red Wing. Schutt Explains.

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    Police Dept Open House Tuesday

    The Hastings Police will host their second annual Open House today between 4 pm and 7 pm at the Police Department with Sibley street blocked off between 3rd and 4th street. The community is invited to stop by and visit with police and fire personnel and enjoy lunch including a hot dog, chips, popcorn and beverages. This event is part of National Police Week and everyone is welcome to come and meet the men and women who serve our community everyday. Fire Chief Mike Schutt told us that they will also be on hand.

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    National Honor Society Three Mile

    A brisk walk on Saturday morning completed a busy year of projects and volunteering by the National Honor Society in Hastings. Their Walk-A-Thon, which began at 8AM was their way of encircling the community with a 3 mile procession beginning and ending at the Hastings High School. Among their many contributions this year was the extraordinary accomplishment of raising $22,400 for Gillette Children's Hospital in addition to the many large boxes of new toys taken to the St. Paul facility in April. The walk included 174 NHS members including 86 juniors and 88 seniors a variety of staff and support as well as at least one four legged mascot. You can see a group photo of the National Honor Society on the KDWA.com webpage.

       

    PoliceSeekSuspiciousMan

    The Hastings Police have information to share concerning the report by a Hastings youth who said he was followed home from school by a man who was described to be on foot, in his 60's with sunglasses, and wearing a leather jacket and boots. This occurred at about 3 pm on Monday, May 9th in the area of 15th Street West and General Sieben Drive. Anyone who may have seen someone matching this description or was in the area at that time are asked to contact the Hastings Police Department- 651-480-2300.

       

    Pierce County Law Enforcement

    In news from Pierce County Law Enforcement, planning for construction of the new Pierce County jail continues and the new building will have several benefits over the current facility including new technology, divided space for multiple needs and updated monitoring systems, which will provide communication between all areas of the building. Some of the changes will also improve safety for both inmates and staff while allowing enough room to house all inmates at the facility instead of shuttling some to other jails due to current overcrowding. The building is expected to be completed in 2017 and will be located next to the current ShopKo in Ellsworth.

    In a recent appearance before a group of the Prescott Kiwanis Club, Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, was asked to explain why civilians and not law enforcement personnel are currently handling dispatchers for incoming emergency calls. Hove addressed the issue as being one of practicality and economics. Hove stated that those trained for the position fill a need that most officers dont choose to do. That creates a need that, for Pierce County, at least, has most recently been filled by those outside the profession. It is also a matter of money, as officers would require a significantly higher pay rate than civilians. The terminology and specialized situations are a challenge for those not immersed in the profession, but Hove expressed confidence in the training afforded to dispatchers that will eventually bridge that gap.

       

    Prescott Chief Adds Officers

    Police Chief of Prescott Gary Krutke outlined the needs of his department in an appearance before members of the City Council this week. Krutke announced that the approval of a new full time officer would make it possible to begin to share some of the time intensive duties that his people are facing in light of two high profile cases in the county. He also stated that there are 2 part time openings which have generated some inquires and that he hopes to bring a wider diversity to the department including the possible inclusion of women to the current all male squad.

       

    Balsanek Won't Run for Legion Post

    Joe Balsanek is announcing that he will not be seeking a third term as Commander of Post 47 Nelson-Lucking Hastings American Legion. Balsanek is making the announcement prior to the upcoming Executive Board elections scheduled for the end of May so that Legion members have an opportunity to consider filing for the commanders position over the next few weeks. He made his announcement at the Legion Executive Board meeting May 9th. Balsanek has served as Commander for the past two years. Under his leadership he managed the post accounts, eliminating over $83,000 in debt load, bringing the post back to a positive balance. In doing so he would like to give credit to former club manager, Brenda Kromer, who helped reorganize the staff, vendor purchasing and menu. During Balsaneks tenure as Commander he saw to it that proper funding was provided for new upgrades to the building and made donations totaling over $10,000 to various non-profit community organizations. Commander Balsanek would especially like to thank John and Jim Poepl as well as the entire staff of Vermillion State Bank for assisting the post over the past two years. Balsanek would also like to thank the membership for giving him the vote of confidence and the honor to serve as commander these past two years. Balsanek is a retired 22 year veteran of the Air Force and Air National Guard. He also is the Ward 1 member of the Hastings City Council.

       

    Teachers Vote No

    The school teachers of District 833 have rejected a tentative contract agreement. In a roughly 55 to 45 percent margin, The United Teachers of South Washington County union turned down the district's offer on Tuesday. Of the union's almost 1300 members, 90% voted. Union leaders will have to review comments from teachers who voted against the contract before resuming negotiations. Teacher salaries that fall below the state average and are less than neighboring districtsand control over who is placed in certain teaching positions were two of the main points of contention. The proposed contract is for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. Teachers are currently working under the terms of a contract that ended in June 2015, because negotiators agreed to delay talks on a new two-year contract until after the November 2015 referendum. Several talks earlier this year failed to achieve consensus, and both side agreed to seek a mediators help. Talks resumed on their own before the scheduled mediation, reaching a tentative agreement that has now been rejected. The teachers union is the last bargaining group in the district to sign a current contract. District 833 serves over 17,000 students in South Washington County.

       

    Fishing Opener In Metro Too

    While heading north for the big fishing opener may be a Minnesota tradition, people living in the Twin Cities need not worry about missing out on quality angling if circumstances keep them at home. As far as major urban areas go, the Twin Cities metro region probably has no equal when it comes to combining big city amenities with top-notch fishing opportunities. That status is largely the result of the regions quantity and quality of water, encompassing a wide variety of angling opportunities. For starters, three of the states major rivers converge in the metro region: the Minnesota, Mississippi and the St. Croix. Flowing through the heart of the region, the Mississippis northern reaches are well-known as a top-notch bass fishery. Then theres Pool 2, the area between the dams at St. Paul and Hastings. A few decades ago, it was so polluted that bullheads could barely survive. Now its recognized as a world-class year-round catch-and-release fishery for walleye and sauger - thanks in large part to the federal Clean Water Act and state and local efforts to clean up the river. The St. Croix offers anglers the chance to hook Minnesotas largest and longest lived fish, the lake sturgeon: both a catch-and-release season and a fall season for harvesting one of these monsters with an appropriate tag (consult the regulations for details). All three rivers provide excellent opportunities for catfish, with the record channel cat having been pulled from the Mississippi in Hennepin County, and the record flathead harvested from the St. Croix in Washington County. Numerous smaller rivers and streams also flow through the region, including the Rum, the Crow and the Vermillion, a designated trout stream with a reputation for harboring lunker brown trout. For more information on where to fish in the Twin Cities metro region, visit www.mndnr.gov.

       

    Indictment In Passauer Murder Case

    Prosecutors in Ramsey County have added first-degree murder to the charges against Ryan David Petersen of Woodbury. The 37-year-old Peterson had been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Chase Passauer a native of Hastings, at a law office in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood.A Ramsey County Grand jury late Wednesday afternoon, indicted Petersen on a premeditated first -degree murder charge in the killing .Charges of intentional second-degree murder and a firearms charge were also levied against the man police say walked into a lawyers office and opened fire on the person in that law office, striking Passauer at least seven times with a semi-automatic handgun. Petersen had originally been charged with second-degree murder, which would have possibly resulted in a sentence of up to 40 years in prison. However, new disclosures from the accused mans family points to a planned action where Petersen supposedly told his children about getting rid of the murder weapon. A firearm which matched bullet casings found at the scene and also in Petersens home matched a weapon that was found in a lake, near property that Petersens family owned near Milltown, Wisconsin. The new charges could mean that Peterson would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Petersens lawyer had come to court on May 6th with the intention to plead guilty to the original charge of 2nd degree murder, but that plea was blocked due to a ruling to accept a prosecution amendment to seek first degree charges. A grand jury needed a majority from 12 members of a 23 person pool to return an indictment. By state law, only a grand jury has the power to indict for first-degree murder. Those proceedings were held in private. The defense has stated it could appeal to a higher court prior to a jury trial.

       

    Bees Struggle For Health

    Efforts of local beekeepers are still struggling to repopulate the honeybees responsible for pollinating fruit and vegetable crops. In findings that were released last week, reporting by a widespread survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture has indicated that the past winter was hard on bee colonies, and approximately 28 percent of keepers lost colonies compared to a 17 percent loss rate that is typical in any given season. Mites that attack bees are being considered as the main cause of colony collapse added to winter losses while spring pesticides and other chemicals containing neonicitoids top the list of preventable stressors on bee health. There are currently 2.7 million commercial colonies in the United States and many more which hobbyists keep to enjoy the honey and comb products this busy insect is known for.

       

    Reward Increased In Reuter Case

    The reward offered for information about the 2014 murder of Hastings father of 2, Jason Reuter has been raised to 30,000, revealed the Hastings Police Department Thursday. Reuter was murdered in the front yard of his home two years ago and despite several leads, there has been no conclusive evidence to who committed the crime. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or the Hastings Police Department. It is possible to remain anonymous by calling TIP411 or contact police at 651-440-2300.

       

    Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Summer

    Special recognitions will take place all summer long by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization providing a face to the names of those who have served. In June July and August exhibits will be on display at the Pleasant Hill Library, Mid Country Band, the Hastings City Hall and the Hastings American Legion. On June 11th as part of the Amber Alert Motorcycle Run, there will be Military Appreciate beginning at 9:30 AM at Dugarel's Bar and Grill. During Hastings Rivertown Days, July 15-17th look for observances at Veterans Park Athletci Complex with hot air balloon Freedom Flight with POW and MIA logo on display at the fields. At the Little Log House Pioneer Show on July 28th thru the 31st, there will be a display and also at the Dakota County Fair in Farmington on August 10th, Military Day and on August 11th, Senior Day. Be sure to support the volunteers who will man these events, giving information and connections to our military families.

       

    Ulfer CDA Settlement Announcedt

    A settlement has been reached following arbitration on behalf of former Dakota County Community Development Agency director Mark Ulfers. The County board Chairman Mike Slavik released the information that the county will pay 80,000 of the $115,000 Ulfers will receive in exchange for waiving all claims against the CDA as well as releasing the agency from further liabiltity. Ulfers was head of the CDA for 30 years prior to the firing last spring when allegations surfaced of several improper actions including unwanted sexual advances and creating a hostile work environment. When the county terminated him, Ulfers sued to receive more than 160,000 due as a severance, leading to the arbitration. The position has now been filled by Tony Schertler who was hired to oversee the projects and housing provided by the CDA. Ulfers has not made any indication as to his future employment status at this time.

       

    Red Rock Crossing Development

    A new development will begin to create a housing and retail hub that will center on land near the Transit Hub located at the crossroads of Highway 61 and I-494 in Newport. The Red Rock Crossing, will begin the four phase process of redeveloping that area to include housing, retail and infrastructure that will bring at market rate and senior apartments to the area which has not seen such expansion in more than 30 years. HRA Executive Director Barbara Dacy, unveiled the plan which may also include a business and office park, and hopes the first phase, with 42 units will be completed by 2018. Private developers, MWF Properties, will construct Red Rock Square, with an additional 3 phases that could bring up to 300 units in all to the land which has been part of a bigger vision for many years. Land parcels have been added to the project and all indications point to a growth in the northern border of the city, which would add to the tax base and marketability of the area. The entire four phase project is slated to take up to 10 years, with more discussion on the components to be decided along the way.(photo-Washington County)

       

    Supt Spicuzza Levy Update

    Superintendent of Prescott Schools, Dr. Rick Spicuzza appeared on a recent InDepth program to give updates and information on the upcoming levy that will take place on Wednesday, May 25th. The School Board has crafted a widereaching reduction to the budget which suffers from a million.seven dollar deficient after the levy failed approval. Dr. Spicuzza provides some history of the funding and it's benefits.

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    He explains some of those dramatic changes

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    The bottom line for the vote is described in this way.

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    Hear the complete conversation on an upcoming InDepth Program.

    Hastings Police Log

    From the Hastings Police reports: On April 26 at 5:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of 18th St. regarding a warrant service. Upon further investigation, 34-year-old Chad Douglas Stewart of Hastings was arrested for a department of corrections warrant and was booked at the Dakota County jail.

    On April 27 at about 9 p.m., officers were called to the 1400 block of Vermillion St. about a male with a warrant. Officers located the male, 33-year-old Christopher Carl Remley of Hastings and he was arrested on several outstanding warrants.

    On April 28 just after midnight, officers observed a vehicle going faster than the speed limit in the area of 18th and Vermillion streets and conducted a traffic stop. After further investigation, 28 year-old Donavynn Montrell Mathews of Waterloo, IA was cited for driving without a valid license and speeding. The vehicle was released to a valid driver.

    On April 29 at about 5 p.m., officers were dispatched to check the welfare of a female sleeping in a vehicle. The female was found to be intoxicated. 37-year-old Lauren Camille Mercier of White Bear Lake was arrested for DUI.

       

    Spring Fires on the Rise

    The past few weeks have seen a rise in the number of fires in the KDWA listening area. Strong winds and dry conditions have contributed to grass fires scorching 11 acres in Farmington, while ditch fires were reported near Stillwater, Woodbury and Cottage Grove. On Friday Evening a porch fire was noted in rural Cottage Grove, and just minutes later a brush fire, which may have been intentionally started, sent Hastings fire crews south to Ravenna Township. Before dawn on Monday morning,the Cottage Grove Fire Department was aided by Woodbury and St. Paul Park Departments in a house fire that did considerable damage to the twinhome in the 66oo block of 99th Street South. Fire crews on that call contained the flames, but the home is considered a total loss and there is damage to 2 neighboring homes as well. Everyone was able to escape the home, and the State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause.

       

    Garlough Teacher Optimist of Year

    The annual surprise crew from the Optimist Club of West St. Paul waited outside in the hallway Monday morning to make a very important announcement. Every student was seated on the gym floor of the Garlough Environmental Magnet School when Principal Susan Powell asked a squad of youngsters to circle the room and find the recipient. They paused in front of a very surprised Maria Pasquerella who was then led to the front where she received the honor of being named the 2016 Optimist of the Year. Her qualifications listed her as always seeing the good in every day, giving help and hope to everyone she meets and having the ability to see the glass half full- which by coincidence, is the way the West St. Paul Optimist Club provides services to youth in West St. Paul. President Chuck Spavin also invited Mrs. Pasquerella to ride in the convertible for the upcoming Celebrate West St. Paul Days Parade on May 21st. This is the 10th annual selection of the Optimist of the Year Award by the West St. Paul service organization.

       

    News From Hastings Fire Department

    The Hastings Fire Department will undergo some major communication changes beginning on June 1st. To be more efficient and effective, the dispatching duties once required by the Hastings Department will now be handled by the Dakota Commuications Center.Captain Tom Murray a 27 year veteran of the Department, first gave us some background in the current system

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    With the change that comes in June Murray explains the benefits

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    The Hastings Fire Department will be turning over dispatch responsiblity to the Dakota County Communication Center, Captain Tom Murray explains more on how personnel will be impacted by the change

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    In More HFD News, on an upcoming Indepth program Captain Tom Murray of the Hastings Fire Department , shares a lesser known danger involving carbon monoxide buildup. Not only is this a danger during the winter months but also as we move into summer. Captain Murray explains.

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    You can hear more from our Indepth conversation next week, only on KDWA.

       

    Explorers Represent Dakota County

    The Dakota County Sheriff's Department participated in the 41st Annual Minnesota Law Enforcement Explorer Association State Conference. Twenty members of the local squad were divided into six teams for the competitions in Academic, Skills Based, and Tactical categories. Men and women on the team took part in several types of testing including Bomb Teams, Burglary and Crime Scene aptitude, Traffic Crash processing, Rapid fire shooting, crime prevention and Search and Rescue exercises. Nearly 500 Explorers from all over the State were divided into teams and several first place awards were given to the Dakota County Explorers. Those competing, assisting and attending are listed below:

    Individual Awards:

    Nichole Gaphart- 2016 Officer Scott Patrick Memorial Scholarship

    Jordan Moses- 2nd Place, Rapid Fire Shoot Competition

    Harmony Zweber-Langer- 2nd Place, Job Interview (out of 86)

    Harmony Zweber-Langer- 1st place, 5K (women), 5th overall

    Academic Competition:

    Team Event- 1st Place, Media Violence: Lessons from Littleton

    Skills Based Team Events:

    1st Place in Bomb (Team A), Burglary (Team A), Crime Scene (Team B), Traffic Crash (Team A)

    3rd Place in Burglary (Team E), Crime Prevention (Team B), Crime Scene (Team A)

    4th Place in Search & Arrest (Team C)

    A Team: Gage Litzner, Jordan Moses, Lenny Gerten, Nick Cross

    B Team: Kelly Huntington, Harmony Zweber-Langer, Joseph Penny, Jonah Koeppen

    C Team: Erick Barrita, Dominc Scudera, Nicholas Stivers

    D Team: Jarrett Ebert, Zach Knuntson, Gavin Wenzel

    E Team: Mark Keeler, Elijah Long-Mcgie, James Trowbridge

    F Team: Nichole Gephart, Sofia Lozada, Trinity Meyers

    Advisors who teach, mentor and contribute plenty of time toward the program:

    Captain Dawanna Witt, Deputies Ryan Googins, Jon Grimes, Jordan Klug and Leondo Henry and Correctional Deputies Kent Themmes and Theresa Lambert.

    (Photo by Dakota County Sheriff Department)

       

    Prescott City Council Meeting Review

    The Prescott City Council held its regular meeting on the evening of April 25. Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand gives a recap of the meeting.

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    In Prescott School news, at the Prescott City Council meeting on Monday night, the Prescott School Board informed the council of its intention to hold another referendum in hopes that residents will vote to approve a levy to override the cap set by the State of Wisconsin on operating expense increases for the next four years. Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand says the board talked about some of the cuts that will have to be made if the referendum fails.

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       While the City Council can take no action on the issue, Brand says the referendum's outcome will impact the city.

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    Flushable Wipes Big Cleanup Cost

    Public Works Director Nick Egger shared some warnings on the use of a product that is causing a big problem with proper sewer operation. The sales of flushable wipes create issues for his department and some homeowners. Egger gives us more information.

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    Egger continues with the effects such products have on our sewer system.

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    A growing concern may even lead to legislation in the Minnesota House where Egger testified on the impact felt be cities due to the product use.(Photo provided by MPCA)

       

    Prescott Boaters Await Launch

    The Public boat launch in Prescott should be open for use this week. Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand says delays caused it to be open a little later than usual.

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    Brand says installation was further complicated by overeager boaters using the launch when it was closed.

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    News From Hastings Fire Department

    The Hastings Fire Department is saying farewell to a pair of longtime paid-on-call firefighters. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt says both men were assets to the department.

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    In other news ,April showers could be bringing more than May flowers. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt says the recent rainfall has probably brought enough moisture to allow the lifting of burning restrictions.

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    Chamber Compares City Water Fees

    The Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce released news on Tuesday of work they have done to further understand issues that impact economic growth in the city and what action should be to attract more business. A current topic of consideration is the assessment of SAC and WAC fees both by the Met Council and also by the City.

    Following a recent meeting of the Business Advocacy committee with members of the City and HEDRA, concerns that rates charged by the city were considerably more than in several surrounding communities. Some of the cities in the comparison include Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Rosemount, Apple Valley and Prescott, Wisconsin.

    Chamber President Kristy Barse explained the reason for the comparison

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    In two sample projects, one a 60 room hotel and the other, a major business, such as the Hastings CoOp Creamery, the fees were compared using a baseline the Met Council fees, which remain the same and the City Fees which varied widely. Barse expressed concerns that the increased fees have a negative effect when businesses are looking to expand or locate new business in Hastings. The results of the City survey will not be known until the end of the summer. President Barse is looking for feedback from the community and ask for input on a survey of their own that hopes to add to the discussion of how to create an attractive business climate for future growth. We have provided a link to the survey at the KDWA.com website.

       

    Hastings Man Wins Prince Guitar

    The success of the seventh annual Hootenany had many moving parts, from the generosity of the venues to the hard work of the organizers and of course the musicians who donated their time and the audiences which filled every nook and cranny for most of the evening. Another of the special facets to the event was the raffle of a special guitar that was procured by Joe Pettit. He told me that night,how it came to fill a fitting place in the fundraising

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    The next part of the story comes Monday when I bumped into the lucky winner of that guitar who told me he received a very loud telephone call late Saturday night which woke him out of a sound sleep. He couldn't hear anything except loud voices and louder music. Thinking it was a prank, he hung up and went back to sleep. The next morning he received another call wanting to know when his prize could be dropped off. Putting the pieces together, he remembered the phone call and discovered that his name had been pulled and the Hootenany committee had called to inform him. Tom Walt shared his proud photo of the guitar which he says will be much appreciated in his musical family.

       

    Weekend Crashes In Hastings Claim One Life

    Several crashes took place over the past weekend. Fire Chief Mike Schutt and Hastings Police Chief gave us the details in these vehicle crashes.

    A Hastings man was killed Saturday in a crash on Highway 61 south of Hastings. The call came just before one oclock early Saturday morning. Hastings Fire Department and the Dakota County Sheriff's Office responded. In a statement provided by the Minnesota State Patrol, Anthony J. Bruner, 35, of Hastings, was riding his motorcycle south on Highway 61 when he left the roadway. Bruner was thrown from the motorcycle. According to the State Patrol report, alcohol was detected at the scene and the victim was not wearing a helmet. Funeral services are pending with Caturia Smidt funeral home of Hastings.

    And the Hastings Fire Department responded to a pair of similar car crashes over the weekend that occurred in quick succession in different parts of town. Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt says there was a common denominator in both accidents.

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    Hastings Receives Bird City Designation

    Audubon Minnesota recognized the City of Hastings as the states first Bird City at the Earth Day Birding Festival on Saturday at the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Bird City is a unique pilot program to encourage urban bird conservation. The city is being saluted for their long-term commitment to creating bird habitat, reducing threats to birds, and engaging citizens in birding, bird conservation, and outdoor recreation. Bird City Minnesota is coordinated by Audubon Minnesota and modeled after successful programs in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Bird City Minnesota fosters civic engagement and locally led partnerships to create healthy communities for birds and people. Program requirements focus on habitat protection, improvement and creation, public engagement, and threat reduction. Communities that meet a specific number of best practices are eligible to become a Bird City. They can renew annually for as long as they continue their conservation work. Hastings is being recognized for increasing awareness of birds and special birding resources through the creation of the Hastings Birding Guide and checklist and for their promotion of local Important Bird Areas. The City is also being recognized for encouraging the use of native plants to create bird habitat in place of manicured lawn. To address risks to birds, the city prioritized bird-safety in the design of the new Highway 61 Bridge which uses a programmable low lighting scheme. Hastings has made changes to pesticide use policies and has made efforts to reduce climate impacts by reducing energy use and carbon emissions. Over the next six months, Audubon Minnesota will work with the pilot cities and other partners to assess the results of the initial pilot program.

       

    Prescott Pair Arrested

    Two Prescott men are in jail after being served a warrant to search their residence on Friday. 32-year-old Tony C. Sanders and 30-year-old Robert R. Gross both of Prescott were arrested when Prescott Police were issued a warrant to search their apartment in the 300 block of Dakota St. and found methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a large quantity of stolen items. The search warrant was the result of an investigation involving illegal drugs and stolen property from a business in Prescott as well as a business in the city of Inver Grove Heights.

       

    News From District 200

    News from the Hastings School District:

    The Hastings School Board continues to make adjustments to work with the district's shrinking enrollment and budget. At its meeting last week, ISD 200 Superintendent Tim Collins says the board did announce some position cuts.

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       Collins says just because they've announced a position cut now, doesn't necessarily mean the teacher won't be back in the fall.

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    With many neighboring communities presenting bond referendums to their residents for upkeep on school facilities, the Hastings School District is also looking at maintenance issues. ISD 200 Superintendent Tim Collins says the district will need to address similar needs in the near future.

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       Collins says in a district the size of Hastings, Facilities maintenance is a continuous cycle.

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    Cars And Construction

    Car enthusiasts are certainly marking their calendars for this summer's car shows, which are held in downtown Hastings. Parking is alway at a premium, so we asked Public Works Director , Nick Egger how the construction work will be structured when thousands of people will gather for the every other Saturday event. The Cruise Ins begin in June and Egger assures business owners and visitors the disruption will be carefully mitigated by scheduling and lots of advance planning.

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    Supporting First Responders

    House Representative and current Cottage Grove Police Officer Dan Schoen,has introduced a bill that would expand the list of occupational diseases to include PTSD. Representative Schoen wants legislation to reflect that the condition should be recognized as one experienced by first responders as a presumptive injury caused by traumatic events that public safety officials experience in the course of their work. Shoen states that In my career I have met too many public safety officials who have had to hide their need for help because they fear the inability to feed their families if they cant work, Schoen said. They are expected to deal with some of the worst situations in our communities every day, and this takes its toll. Far too often, administrators have treated them as problem employees rather than taking the time to find out what was wrong. We now know better. Some of the occupations listed in the bill include firefighters, paramedics, EMTs , members of law enforcement, correctional officers and others. A current environment filled with roadblocks and redtape prevent these responders from receiving proper care after a PTSD diagnosis. Schoen did praise the efforts of several organizations such as Blue Watch, a group formed by Minnesota Police officers and their families to support those in their ranks suffering with the effects of trauma related to their work. The bill, submitted with bipartisan co-authorship, was referred to the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee where it awaits a hearing. It has a companion bill in the Senate, sponsored by Red Wing Senator Matt Schmit.

       

    Tootsie Roll Weekend

    The Knights of Columbus are looking for folks with a sweet tooth as they Rolllll out their annual fundraiser this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Knights will have members at several Hastings locations- namely Coborns grocery in South Hastings, Walmart and also at Emilys bakery as they seek donations in exchange for a chocolaty Tootsie Roll. The Knights will also post Tootsie Roll distributors at the entrance to SEAS Church on Saturday Night at 4:30, and again on Sunday for the 8,and 10am and 6 PM Mass schedule. All proceeds from the annual project will be donated to local organizations that provide funding for developmentally challenged individuals including Special Olympics, the Hastings Sharks, Hastings High School Special Education, Lifeworks and Pro-Act. The Knights look forward to seeing everyone come out for this annual fundraiser and thank those who generously donate every year. If you have questions about the project, contact Keith Slavik or Greg Brady.

       

    Bailey Murder Trial Updates

    There will be at least one more preliminary motion hearing made in the murder case of Doug Bailey. Rose Marie Kuehni, has entered a plea of not-guilty in the murder which took place in November of 2015. The jury trial has been set for August 8th thru the 17th but the defendants attorney, Mark Gherty, recently filed a motion for a ruling on admitting character testimony on Baileys violent history and also a motion to compel discovery. In other updates, the 61 year old acquaintance of the defendant, Clarence Hicks, was charged with hiding a corpse. Disclosed information suggests that Kuehni and Hicks were romantically linked prior to the murder and that several actions and data from cell phones point to the discussion of killing Bailey. Another piece of information came from the Kentucky coroners report stating that Bailey was shot first in the back, then again at point blank range. Kuehnis statement of self defense contradicts that finding. Testing of materials involved in the shooting, a box of shotgun shells, revealed that male DNA were on some of the shells. Hicks told investigators that Kuehni had asked him to get rid of two boxes, but he denies the knowledge of what was inside. He did dispose of the boxes, which contained Baileys body and other possessions along a steep ravine in a remote Kentucky location. The trial will be held at the Pierce County Courthouse despite speculation that the defense might ask for a change of venue. A final pre-trial hearing will take place on July 17th.

       

    Pavilion Ribbon Cutting

    The grand reopening of Levee Park with the dedication of the Rotary Pavilion was the place to be on Thursday afternoon with hundreds gathered for the ribbon cutting and official recognition for those who have made it possible to spend a perfectly lovely late afternoon along the mighty Mississippi. Mayor Hicks addressed the crowd perched along the stone amphitheater tiers with equal parts pride and accomplishment as the area filled with local residents, visitors and dignitaries of all kinds.

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    We will feature several of the comments and conversations we recorded at the celebration and find out what the community thinks of the newest hotspot down by the riverside. Also listen to part one of a special two part re-broadcast of the riverfront ceremony on Monday, Memorial day.

       

     

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