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    CG Arts Commission Welcomes Artists

    The Cottage Grove Arts Commission held a gathering on Tuesday evening in City Council Chambers at City Hall. The session was touted as a celebratory night for the Arts Commission and their talented guests. The Artist of the Month Mary Franz sang two autumn themed songs, the Path to Poetry Winner Judy Lawhon read her summer themed poem, and selected artists Sara Endalew, Erica Snyder, and Rachel Barkow presented their art that will be on display in city hall conference rooms. The Cottage Grove Arts Commission meets at 7 PM on the first Tuesday of each month.

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    Police Chase Crosses State Line

    On Wednesday, November 13th at about 1:24 PM, the Washington County Sheriff's Office advised the St. Croix County Emergency Communications Center in Wisconsin that, along with the U. S. Marshals, the WCSO were in pursuit of a suspect who was wanted for kidnapping/sexual assault. According to a press release, WCSO deputies engaged the suspect as he fled MN into WI over the new St. Croix River bridge, and headed south through Hudson. A Washington County Deputy was able to perform a Pursuit Intervention Technique on the suspect's truck. The suspect was taken into custody by law enforcement officers and was transported to Regions Hospital by Lakeview EMS and the custody of the U.S. Marshal's Office. The U.S. Marshal Service identified the suspect as 51-year-old Jeffrey Morgan Groves. The case remains under investigation.

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    BCBS MN Senior Survey

    A new survey from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota looked at what seniors, throughout the state, value in their relationships, and how they view the impact that deep relationships have on their own lives and health. The company's Doctor Mark Steffen describes some of the results.

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    Doctor Steffen also describes the survey's recommendations.

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    The survey is being released as part of this year's open-enrollment period for Medicare. To learn more, visit Blog.BlueCrossMN.com.

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    Mid Morning GTM Day Update

    In an update for Give to the Max day issued mid-morning on Thursday, Give MN Director Jake Blumberg reported that $9.7 million had already been raised in the statewide effort to fund charities and nonprofit organizations. The rate of donations was reported at over one donation per second, and over 4,200 organizations received financial support. Black Dirt Theater in Hastings was announced as a winner in the #TweetToTheMax contest, and Blumberg commented that Give to the Max Day 2019 is off to a tremendous start, thanks to the continued generosity of donors from around the globe.

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    Dredging Funds Released

    On Thursday, U.S. Reps Angie Craig, Betty McCollum, and Ron Kind announced that they have successfully secured emergency funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address the impacts of this spring's devastating floods along the Mississippi River. In a press release, the representatives stated that the funding was disbursed in response to a letter the representatives sent in September pushing the Office of Management and Budget to distribute the $100 million previously allocated through the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, which was signed into law in June. As a result of the severe flood season last spring, the Mississippi River and other rivers along the Inland Waterway System have heightened sedimentation in river beds. Every year, the system is responsible for one-sixth of the nation's intercity cargo and 25% of foreign exports. In order to maintain this level of economic operation, the Army Corps of Engineers must increase dredging efforts to overcome rising sediment levels, allowing barges to navigate successfully.

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    Cyber Attacks Moving To Small Business

    Small businesses are becoming increasing targets for cyber attacks. Dave Hall, of Sharemarq, explains.

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    Big corporations are now less viable targets.

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    Hall advises that even small companies and individuals can benefit from cyber security partners.

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    For more information, visit ShareMarQ.com.

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    County Jail Report Nov. 14, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, November 14th, Hastings Police arrested 40-year-old Rosaura Rebecca Banuelos on a felony charge of possession of stolen or counterfeit checks. Bail for Banuelos was set at $2,500 as the charge is processed. Farmington Police detained 43-year-old Randolph resident Charles Phillip Langeness on a felony charge of harassment, and misdemeanor charges of carrying a weapon in a public place, and 4th degree damage to property. Langeness remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 15th. And Hastings Police apprehended 39-year-old Cottage Grove resident Juan Manuel Perez, Jr, on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Perez was booked and released pending an appearance in court. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott School District Report Card

    On November 12th the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) released the annual statewide report cards for the 2018-19 school year. According to the report, Prescott School District has earned the designation of Exceeding Expectations. The Prescott School district has earned an Exceeding Expectations rating for the past four years when the DPI changed the calculation formula. Prescott High School and Middle School also earned an Exceeding Expectations rating while the Malone Elementary School again earned a Significantly Exceeds Expectations rating. Dr. Rick Spicuzza, superintendent commented, "We are extremely proud of our staff and students. As a district, we continue to improve and implement new instructional practices and our results indicate that we are making a difference in the learning outcomes for our students". The DPI Report Cards are intended to help all schools and districts use academic tests to target improvement efforts to ensure students are ready for the next educational step, including the next grade level, graduation, college, and careers.   

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    Today Is Give To The MAX Day

    Today kicks off the donation season in Minnesota with Give to the Max Day, and Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is one of the many nonprofit organizations taking part in the day of giving. Each year, marketplace scams cost the U.S. economy more than $50 billion according to BBB research, and many of those who fall victim to scams are between 18 and 24 years old. That's why BBB's Foundation is working with local high schools and colleges to help educate young adults to become more informed and aware of scams targeting them. Other local nonprofits will also benefit from Give to the Max Day, including Hastings Family Service, The YMCA, and United Way of Hastings. Donate to your favorite cause or charity at GiveMN.org.

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    Local Girls Place In Speech Competition

    Meaghen McManus of Woodbury, Mary Kracht of West St. Paul, and Olivia McNair of Ottertail received first, second, and third prizes, respectively, at the first Speaking Proudly competition. The oratory contest for high school girls was held at the State Capitol on October 26. The prize money totaled $1750. Seventeen contestants were selected in response to the topic, "A Republic if You Can Keep It: Rising to Benjamin Franklins Challenge." The event was sponsored by Metro Republican Women. Thirty-four judges consisting of speech teachers and well-known political leaders arrived throughout the day to judge various rounds so the girls had a chance to get feedback from a variety of professionals. The Speaking Proudly website provided encouragement and guidelines for students and training for judges. Contestants were identified only by a number to allow judges to focus strictly on the merits of the speech content and delivery.

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    Results Of Shooting Investigation Released

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom has completed his review of a case of an officer-involved shooting in Eagan on July 2nd, which resulted in the death of 23-year-old Isak Aden. According to the facts of the case reviewed by Backstrom, the shooting was the result of a standoff lasting more than three hours, with Aden refusing to comply with numerous directives to abandon his firearm. Authorities on the scene developed a plan to distract Aden and subdue him. When the plan was executed, three flashbang devices were deployed to distract Aden and close in on him, while other officers attempted to disable Aden with less-than-lethal munitions. When the flashbangs detonated, Aden lunged for his gun, then stood up, and raised his weapon in his right hand. Five officers fired their service weapons, fatally injuring Aden. According to the report, the time between deploying the flashbangs and Aden being shot was about 6 seconds. Backstrom stated that, after a thorough review of available information, including officer testimony, and body and dash cam footage, Eagan Officer Jacob Peterson, and Bloomington Officers Matthew Ryan, Anthony Kiehl, Adam Stier, and Daniel Nelson were legally justified in their use of deadly force in this case.

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    Newport FD Responds To Fire

    The Newport Fire Department reported responding to a fire, overnight on Tuesday, at the Red Rock Motel, in Newport. According to a post on social media, an electrical fire overnight at the Red Rock Lodge was contained to, in, and around a ceiling fan in the building. An accessible and working fire extinguisher, along with quick action by employees prevented this from being a much larger fire. The Newport Fire Department thanked the St Paul Park Fire for their assistance.

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    County Requests Variance For New Signs

    At a regular meeting on Tuesday, the Hastings Planning Commission deliberated a requested variance for updated signage at the Dakota County Government Center on Highway 55 in Hastings. City Planner Justin Fortney provided a summary of the request and staff's recommendation for approval. Commissioners discussed language of the signs, locations, sizes, and use of the variance. The Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval of the request. The City Council is scheduled to review the request at the November 18th meeting.

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    Plan Commission Reviews Density Guidelines

    The Hastings Planning Commission discussed changes to allow additional density in historic structures at a meeting on Tuesday. City Planner Justin Fortney provided a summary of the potential ordinance change and a summary of the Planning Committee of City Council meeting discussing the topic. Commissioners discussed the minimum size limit for calculating allowable density, notification requirements, whether an ordinance change should be considered in lieu of considering density increases by variance. The Commissioners agreed to hold a public hearing and formally consider adoption of the changes. A public hearing before the Planning Commission would be tentatively scheduled for December 9th. No other action was taken.

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    UWH Now Providing Meals For HS Students

    United Way of Hastings has announced that, in collaboration with 360 Communities and Hastings High School staff, they are now providing weekend meal packs for students at Hastings High School. The weekend meal kits can be prepared by the student, contain vital calories, and are shelf-stable. UWH works hard to pack as much nutrition in the kits as possible, while meeting storage and cooking criteria. In a news release issued by United Way of Hastings, generous donations from the community enable UWH to provide packs to almost 160 students a week. Meals are available for the public elementary schools, Hastings Middle School, the Area Learning Center, and now the high school.

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    County Jail Report Nov. 13, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, November 13th, 33-year-old Rosemount resident Ryan Lindsey Burrill was apprehended by Burnsville Police on a felony charge of illegal possession of a weapon, and two counts of felony 5th degree possession of drugs. Burrill remains in custody, and made an appearance in court on the 13th. Rosemount Police detained 34-year-old Rosemount resident Andrea Marie Hayes on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Hayes remains in custody as the charge is processed. And Hastings Police arrested 45-year-old Hastings resident Patrick Michael Tchida on two felony charges of assault, and misdemeanor charges of 5th degree assault and 4th degree damage to property. Combined bail for Tchida is set at $2,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court on the 14th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Artist Sought For New Mural

    The Arts movement in Hastings continues to gain momentum, from the formation of the Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council and Black Dirt Theater, to the grand opening of the Hastings Arts Center and the ArtSpace Hastings River Lofts, a 37-unit live/work complex for artists and their families located in downtown Hastings near the Mississippi River. The City of Hastings recognizes this energy and the City Council approved plans for a Public Art Grant pilot program to support public art that is free and accessible to everyone. The initial wave of funding for this program ran through December of 2017. The Public Art Task Force is now accepting proposals for an external wall mural, to be located on the north-facing wall of Hastings Family Service, located at 301 Second Street East. The theme of the project is "Our Growing Diversity: Welcoming the Future". Interested artists should review the Call for Art and mural specifications, which can be found at HastingsMN.gov. The deadline for entries is Friday, December 6th, at 4:30 PM.

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    Maiden Rock Man Charged

    59-year-old Maiden Rock resident Lonnie Seipel has been charged in Pierce County with one count of 1st degree sexual assault of a child. According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, on July 1st, PCSO deputies responded to a call for possible sexual assault of a minor at a property owned by Seipel. Officers learned through a third party that the mother had accused Seipel of the misconduct after she witnessed suspicious activity, and the victim later stated that Seipel had touched her. Seipel made an appearance in court on November 4th, and was released on a $25,000 bond, and instructed not to have contact with either the victim, or the victim's mother.

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    ProAct Celebrates 50

    More than 200 people attended the 50th Anniversary Open House celebration for ProAct in Red Wing on October 24. Chamber Ambassadors, and The Red Wing Port Authority were joined by a past executive director, former board members, former staff, families and many others. Another exciting aspect was a Minnesota House Resolution of congratulations from Rep. Barb Haley which she signed, along with the Speaker of the House and the Chair of the Rules and Legislative Administration. Sen. Mike Goggin of Red Wing was also on hand and shared some kind words in support of the organization. ProAct, Inc. is an organization dedicated to serving people with disabilities and other challenges with a wide range of services that enhance employment skills and self-sufficiency capabilities.

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    Vets Celebrated In Vermillion

    Members of VFW 295, VFW 1210, American Legion, American Veterans, and Hastings Veterans Home, came together in celebration of Veterans Day, at St. John the Baptist Church, in Vermillion. According to veterans advocate Dean Markuson, approximately 100 were in attendance for the ceremony, which included the folding of the colors, honors, readings, and the in ranks inspection of the troops by the students. Markuson stated that the high point of the celebration was the honoring of a spouse, whose husband, a decorated World War II veteran, had passed away. His entire family was present and were presented a beautiful Arts and Crafts piece. Hastings Lyle Russell VFW Post 1210 received a personalized handmade card, with all of the signatures of the students.

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    Red Wing Home Fire Claims One

    A man has died after a fire broke out Sunday morning in Red Wing, Minnesota, firefighters say. According to the Red Wing Fire Department, crews were called at 8:19 AM to the 1200 block of Phelps Street for a report of a fire. Crews later learned that someone may still be inside the burning home. Firefighters found flames on the front porch and in the living room with heavy smoke throughout the first and second floors. On the first floor, crews were able to find a victim, later identified as 25-year-old Ocean Christofferson, and remove him from the home. Paramedics worked to start CPR and transported Christofferson to Red Wing Mayo hospital where he was pronounced dead. A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist Ocean's father, Darwin, pay for funeral expenses as well as rebuild his home which was considered a total loss. The GoFundMe page has raised more than $8,000 in just one day, according to a friend of the family. To view the GoFundMe, please visit the link provided here.

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    Wis DVA Grants For Veteran Assistance

    On Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary Mary Kolar announced $250,000 in grants to 13 registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that provide financial assistance or other services to Wisconsin veterans and their families. In the Western WI area, Workforce Resource, Inc., of Menomonie, has been awarded $17,116 to implement workshops for veterans to improve job readiness. The organization serves the training and employment needs of at-risk youth, low-income and unemployed individuals in Wisconsin. The WDVA is proud partners with more than 1,000 community and nonprofit organizations across the state, forming a network that has resulted in thousands of in-need veterans receiving vital assistance and resources.

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    New Tree Planted At City Hall

    After 6 hours of digging through limestone with a backhoe and hammer, a beautiful 18 foot evergreen tree has been planted on the north lawn of Hastings City Hall, that will be lit up for the winter season. Mayor Mary Fasbender commented on placing the tree.

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    The tree was donated by Ron and Gary Stoudt of Green Acres, and installed with the combined help of the Stoudts, Mike Wagner, of Wagner Construction, Frank and Mike Frost, of Nova Frost Construction, and Scott Zuzek, of Precision Landscaping. The tree will be lit on Saturday, November 30th at 6:30 PM.

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    Prescott Students Participate In Drama Rama

    Students from Prescott School District participated in the Drama Rama Festival at Amery Middle School on Saturday, November 9. The festival was comprised of students from Prescott, Osceola, Amery and Baldwin-Woodville. Prescott brought 6 teams made up of 43 actors from grades 3 through 8, and participated in either the Published Manuscript or the Extemporaneous categories. During their 6-10 minute performance, teams were judged on voice, character, stage movement, and overall interpretation of their play. Each team was awarded points and either a Blue or Red Ribbon. They also received feedback from the judges on their performance. The Prescott teams garnered 2 first place awards, 4 blue ribbons, and two red ribbons.

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    County Jail Report Nov. 12, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, November 12th, Washington County deputies arrested 24-year-old Vineetha Raynell Adams on a misdemeanor charge of not carrying proof of insurance in a vehicle. Adams remains in custody pending a transfer to Washington County for processing. Washington County Deputies apprehended 39-year-old Joel Milburn Lindgren on felony charges of receiving stolen property and 5th degree possession of drugs. Lindgren remains in custody as the charges are processed. And 23-year-old Rosemount resident Jordan Michael McCullum was detained by Inver Grove Heights Police on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs and two misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence of a controlled substance. McCullum made an appearance in court on the 12th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Washington County K9 Teams At Nationals

    Washington County Deputies Steve Bell, with K9 partner Beck, Kevin Jadwinski, with K9 partner Viking, and Clay Evens, with K9 partner Maia, attended the 2019 United States Police K9 Association patrol dog trials in Okaloosa County Florida. The teams traveled to Florida to test their skills along with approximately 100 of the best K9 teams from around the U.S. and Canada. Washington County Deputies were also joined by Deputy Josh Stenseth with St. Croix County in WI, and Deputy Jim Gotham with Goodhue County. The combined team represented USPCA Region 18. According to a WCSO post on social media, some of the notable finishes were Deputy Bell and Beck, who took 1st place in national championship obedience, with the only perfect score, Deputy Evens and Maia, 2nd place agility, and Deputy Jadwinski and Viking, 4th place agility. The team finished 2nd place overall for top regional team. Sheriff Starry expressed congratulations to the team for their fine efforts.

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    (Photo: Bell, Beck, Jadwinski, Viking, Evens, and Maia. Source: WCSO)

    Oak Ridge Manor Bazaar Recap

    The Oak Ridge Manor Bazaar was held on Saturday, and KDWA spoke with Common Bond Property Manager Al Risberg, regarding the event.

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    The Bazaar ran from 8 AM to 2 PM, with prizes, sales, a silent auction, and a turkey giveaway every hour. Proceeds benefited the Oak Ridge Manor.

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    Wang Sentenced

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Xueyan Wang, age 41 of Inver Grove Heights, was sentenced on Thursday to 65 months by Judge Ann Offermann in connection to Wang's role in promoting prostitution at the business she owned which was identified as Herb Spa, a massage parlor in Inver Grove Heights. Wang pled guilty in September to two counts of Prostitution in the Second Degree. As part of her sentence, Wang was also ordered to pay $2,000 in penalty assessments and register as a predatory offender. Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorneys Cassandra Shepherd and Caitlyn Prokopowicz who prosecuted the case. Backstrom also thanked Inver Grove Heights Police Department for their prompt and thorough investigation of this case.

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    PAFEA Plans For Future

    At a meeting on November 7th, the Prescott Area Fire and EMS Association approved an EMS Service Contract between the association and River Falls EMS to provide services through the end of 2020. According to the meeting minutes, River Falls EMS director Jason Stroud discussed the current state of affairs, and the rising cost of providing service, contrasted against the decline in fees collected from service calls. The association approved the process of selecting a new provider starting in 2021, with a request for bids to be published on November 8th, and due on December 13th, of 2019. The association hopes to have a contract for 2021 in place by the end of January of 2020.

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    Plan For Prescott Daze Moving Forward

    The process of moving Prescott Daze into its own stand-alone organization will continue on Monday November 18th, when the Prescott Health and Safety Committee deliberates the proposal in a regular meeting at 5 PM. The subject of moving Prescott Daze to a stand-alone organization was first presented in September, when the City was looking into obtaining insurance coverage for the event. In a letter, Spectrum Insurance Group advised the City to consider the move, citing liability and coverage issues. The Health and Safety Committee will forward their recommendation to the Common Council for further action.

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    County Board Weighs In On Water Issue

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners will deliberate a resolution during today's regular meeting to send a letter to the Commissioner of the DNR expressing the County Commissioners' objection to Empire Builder Investment's plan to export bulk amounts of water from the County. According to the meeting agenda, the DNR recently reviewed a Preliminary Assessment Application from Empire Builder Investments, Inc., for withdrawal of up to 500 million gallons of groundwater per year from two proposed wells north of the City of Randolph. The proposed water use was to transfer the potable water via rail for bulk sale to customers in the western United States. The letter would express potential concerns with future water availability due to population growth based on Metropolitan Council's water availability projections, as laid out in Met Council Master Water Supply Plan projections, county residents being opposed to transporting Dakota County water resources to other states, and request the DNR develop legislative action to restrict any bulk exportation of water resources from Minnesota. The Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 9 AM, at the County Government Center in Hastings.   

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    County Jobs Week Of Nov. 11, 2019

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a criminal attorney, a circulation services supervisor, a deputy chief information officer, a program associate, a senior program service assistant, a public service associate in the Service and License Center, a capital projects management project manager, and a reserve deputy. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Prescott Weekly Blotter Nov. 10, 2019

    From the Prescott Police blotter for the week ending November 10th, a driving complaint near the intersection of Broad and Kinnickinnic Streets resulted in a citation issued to 63-year-old Prescott resident Amy Sabelko for failure to stop for an unloading school bus. A traffic stop in the 1100 block of Hwy 10 resulted in the arrest of 46-year-old Prescott resident Jeremy Richard Lorenz on a charge of operating while intoxicated, 3rd offense. Lorenz was booked and released from the Pierce County Jail as the charge is processed. And officers responded to a disturbance call in the 200 block of South Young Street. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 26-year-old Prescott resident Nathan Anthony Holton on a charge of disorderly conduct. Holton remains in custody at the Pierce County Jail pending an appearance in court. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    County Jail Repor tNov. 09, 10, 11, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, November 9th, Farmington Police arrested 26-year-old Lakeville resident Trenton Don Hawkins on a misdemeanor charge of failure to notify a property owner after a property damage auto accident. Hawkins was released on bail pending an appearance in court. 33-year-old St. Paul Park resident Christopher William Jung was detained by Ramsey County Deputies on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Jung remains in custody pending a transfer to Ramsey County for processing. And Dakota county Deputies apprehended 30-year-old Farmington resident Lyndon C. Kinney on three misdemeanor charges of violation of an order for no contact. Kinney was booked and released as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Sunday, November 10th, Hastings Police detained 30-year-old Cottage Grove resident Ivan Ulisse Guerrero on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful ouster or exclusion by a landlord. Guerrero has been released from jail as the charge is processed. Dakota County Deputies apprehended 31-year-old Hastings resident Leon Edward Mastel on a felony charge of false imprisonment, and misdemeanor charges of assault and interfering with a call to 9-1-1. Mastel is being held without bail pending an appearance in court on the 13th. And South St. Paul Police arrested 22-year-old Oakdale resident Ana Marie Elizabeth Smith on felony charges of theft and financial transaction card fraud. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, November 11th, Dakota County Deputies apprehended 44-year-old Wade Thomas Brown on felony charges of receiving stolen property and 5th degree possession of drugs, and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license. Brown remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 13th. Farmington Police detained 29-year-old Farmington resident Jesus Rosas Lechuga on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Lechuga is scheduled to appear in court on the 12th. And Dakota County Deputies arrested 34-year-old Bryan Michael Penrose on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Penrose was booked and released as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    County Jail Repor tNov. 09, 10, 11, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, November 9th, Farmington Police arrested 26-year-old Lakeville resident Trenton Don Hawkins on a misdemeanor charge of failure to notify a property owner after a property damage auto accident. Hawkins was released on bail pending an appearance in court. 33-year-old St. Paul Park resident Christopher William Jung was detained by Ramsey County Deputies on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Jung remains in custody pending a transfer to Ramsey County for processing. And Dakota county Deputies apprehended 30-year-old Farmington resident Lyndon C. Kinney on three misdemeanor charges of violation of an order for no contact. Kinney was booked and released as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Sunday, November 10th, Hastings Police detained 30-year-old Cottage Grove resident Ivan Ulisse Guerrero on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful ouster or exclusion by a landlord. Guerrero has been released from jail as the charge is processed. Dakota County Deputies apprehended 31-year-old Hastings resident Leon Edward Mastel on a felony charge of false imprisonment, and misdemeanor charges of assault and interfering with a call to 9-1-1. Mastel is being held without bail pending an appearance in court on the 13th. And South St. Paul Police arrested 22-year-old Oakdale resident Ana Marie Elizabeth Smith on felony charges of theft and financial transaction card fraud. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, November 11th, Dakota County Deputies apprehended 44-year-old Wade Thomas Brown on felony charges of receiving stolen property and 5th degree possession of drugs, and a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license. Brown remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 13th. Farmington Police detained 29-year-old Farmington resident Jesus Rosas Lechuga on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Lechuga is scheduled to appear in court on the 12th. And Dakota County Deputies arrested 34-year-old Bryan Michael Penrose on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Penrose was booked and released as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    Webb Injured In Accident

    On Thursday, November 7th at about 12:35 PM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a male subject who was injured by a silo auger located in Spring Valley. According to a PCSO press release, the individual was identified as Andrew Webb, 21 years old from River Falls. Webb was transported from the scene by Life Link Helicopter to Luther Mayo Hospital in Eau Claire, with undetermined injuries. Assisting the PCSO at the scene was Menomonie Ambulance Service, Elmwood Ambulance Service, and the Spring Valley Fire Department.   

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    Rosemount Buckthorn Removal

    The City of Rosemount is working with Great River Greening to coordinate having a private contractor remove and control woody invasive species in Carroll's Woods and Schwarz Pond Park. The focus of the project will be buckthorn removal. Work that is to be performed will have a visible impact on the parkland but it will have a positive impact on the natural environment. According to a City of Rosemount news release, buckthorn removal will start in mid to late November with hand cutting near the park property lines. Forestry mowing will begin once the ground is appropriately frozen to a minimum depth of 6 inches. The project is being funded by grants provided by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and Dakota County. Please call the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Department at 651-322-6000 with questions.

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    DHS Awards Grants

    Just as temperatures have begun to drop and homeless Minnesotans are finding themselves in greater need, the Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded nearly $3 million in Emergency Services Program grants to strengthen shelter services and increase outreach to people living on the streets. According to a DHS news release, the grants are going to 25 organizations in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Greater Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature approved the one-time funding during the 2019 legislative session. It supplements $1.7 million already appropriated to the Emergency Services Program. Locally, the Scott-Carver-Dakota Community Action Program Agency is receiving $100,000 for additional motel vouchers, increased stay durations, and expanded housing navigation services in Scott, Carver and Dakota counties.

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    Red Wing Bridge Ready For Traffic

    The new Highway 63 Bridge connecting MN and WI at Red Wing is nearing completion. Red Wing emergency responder vehicles will travel across the new Red Wing bridge to celebrate the start of traffic on the structure when it opens in mid-November, according to MnDOT and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Once traffic begins on the new bridge, ongoing work into 2020 will include lighting and bridge aesthetics, as well as the pedestrian and bicycle path. The contractor, Zenith Tech, Inc., will begin demolition of the older structure after traffic begins on the new bridge. Other work on the project in 2020 will include completion of the connecting roads on the Wisconsin side and removal of the road that connected to the 1960 bridge. A larger community celebration in Red Wing to mark the project completion and dedication of the new bridge is being planned in late summer of 2020.

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    Committee Continues Tour

    The MN House Capital Investment Committee will continue to gather information for the 2020 bonding bill and visit several sites in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and Twin Cities suburbs from November 12-14. Scheduled stops in the KDWA listening area include the Ramsey and Washington Co. Recycling and Energy Center, 100 Red Rock Road, and an Inflow and Infiltration driving tour and a stop at a lift station, both in Newport on Wednesday, November 13, and a Public Safety and Greenway Improvements presentation in Rosemount at 5300 Pine Bend Trail, and a stop at Inver Hills Community College, in Inver Grove Heights on Thursday. Committee members will see infrastructure needs firsthand and receive presentations on various projects for possible inclusion in the 2020 bonding bill.

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    County Center Seeks to Upgrade Signs

    On Tuesday, November 12th, the Hastings Planning Commission will consider a request from Dakota County to amend a sign variance request from Visual Communications, an agent for Dakota County, and make a recommendation to the City Council. The Dakota County Public Service Center campus is nearly 50 acres in size, contains several county functions, multiple large buildings, numerous building entrances, and has nearly ten different driveway entrances. In order to get visitors to their intended location, there are many wayfinding signs around the campus. They were likely installed prior to the current sign code which was adopted just over 15 years ago. The signs are fading and need to be updated. According to the meeting packet, the zoning code allows directional signs to be 4-feet tall with up to two square feet of signage. The main purpose for including directional signs in the code was for entrance and exit signs at driveways. Campus wayfinding signage was likely not contemplated in the sign code. In 2013, the Regina Hospital and Allina Specialty Clinic campus were granted a similar variance request for campus wayfinding signage due to their unique situation.

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    County Jail Report Nov. 08, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Friday, November 8th, 24-year-old Rosemount resident Dreanna Jean Manypenny was detained by Eagan Police on a felony charge of possession of burglary tools, and a misdemeanor charge of theft. Manypenny is being held without bail and made an appearance in court on the 8th. Hastings Police apprehended 54-year-old John Gary Moon on a felony charge of fleeing police, and misdemeanor charges of DUI and refusing to submit to chemical testing. Moon made an initial appearance in court on the 8th. And Hastings police arrested 40-year-old Chance Amos Thern Schwersinske on a warrant from Stearns County for misdemeanor theft, and two misdemeanor probation violation charges. Schwersinske remains in custody as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Local Woman Missing In India

    Hastings native Elizabeth M. Mann, a University of Minnesota Twin Cities student, and daughter of Chad and Cassie Hoffman Mann, went missing on November 7th, in Aujuna, Goa India. According to a page set up on Facebook to aid in her rescue, Elizabeth, described as 5'11, 135 lbs, with blond hair, blue eyes, a nose ring, and having a flower tattoo under her right arm, a globe tattoo on her ankle, and a snake or serpent on her leg, has been traveling on her own, anticipating attending a yoga retreat. A video camera outside the hostel where she was staying recorded her leaving early on the morning of Nov 7, walking out of view and not returning. She left her cell phone and belongings behind in her room. Authorities in India have talked to a man that had been harassing her earlier in the week. The U.S Embassy, Anjuna's local authorities, and MN Senators are working hard to locate her. The authorities are also investigating the man that has been targeting her. Information is said to be unclear if she is on her own, or was taken by this man. Anyone with information or who has heard from Elizabeth on or after November 7th, is asked to contact FindLizM@gmail.com.

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    Gardeners Deliver To Food Shelf

    Ahead of the Holiday giving season, Newport on the Move reports that Newport Giving Garden gardeners have generated 1730 lbs of produce from the Giving Garden for the Friends In Need Food Shelf for 2019. According to a post on social media, the group stated that even though it was a cold, wet spring and early fall, the club topped last year's 1572 lbs. This is their 3rd year at the new site and they're growing some new crops including garlic, rhubarb and watermelons. Historical data show that the garden club began the project in 2011, delivering 729 pounds of food to the shelf, and had the largest food delivery in 2016, at 2,023 pounds.

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    Public Hearing Set For Licenses

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 9 AM on Tuesday, November 26, in the Dakota County Board Administration Center in Hastings, to receive comments on 2020 off-sale liquor license applications. One applicant, Simman LLC, dba Castle Rock Bar and Grill, has applied for renewal of their off-sale liquor license. Interested agencies, groups or persons attending the public hearing have the right to provide written or oral comments. Copies of the relevant ordinance can be requested from the Dakota County Public Services and Revenue Division, 651-438-4247. Prior to the public hearing, written comments may be addressed to Public Services and Revenue Division, 1590 Highway 55, Hastings, MN, 55033.

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    Robbery Results In Federal Charges

    A June 13th robbery at a laundromat in River Falls has resulted in an indictment passed down against the suspect by a Federal Grand Jury. According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release, 49-year-old Larry Darnell Armstrong of Minneapolis was indicted on one charge of robbery of the business on June 13th. The news release also notes that the Federal Grand Jury was involved because the laundromat is engaged in interstate commerce. The indictment states Armstrong's alleged accomplice brandished a gun during the robbery. Armstrong faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

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    New Fence For Briggs Frey Field

    The Prescott Plan Commission deliberated a request for fencing and placing of signs on the Biggs Frey Varsity Softball Field at a regular meeting on November 4th. According to the meeting minutes, there is currently a non-permanent fence around the field. The plan is to put up a new fence and to have advertising signs on the fence. The signs would be 4 by 8 feet, and there would be 30 to 40 signs. The signs would be made of the same material as the signs which were placed at the baseball field. The signs have a life of about 5 years. Information presented to the Commission indicates the signs could potentially generate $21,000 in advertising revenue over a 3 year period. Wind screens would also be installed on the back side of the fence, and possibly shrubs. The fencing is scheduled to be constructed before Thanksgiving and the signs next spring. The Commission recommended approval of the project.

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    Planned Development Goes Before Commission

    At a public hearing held by the Prescott Plan Commission, Commissioners received comments from the developer and local residents concerning a rezone request from Pine Ridge Hillside, LLC, to rezone property in the Filkins-Harris Addition. Jim French, developer for the property, presented the request for rezoning from R-1 Mixed Residential to Planned Unit Development. The proposal is for 54 lots within the subdivision. The lots have been sized to help reduce the cost for putting in infrastructure. The houses will be affordable in the $250,000 to $270,000 range. Comments from local residents centered on lot size, whether the plat should remain as set out in 1979, amount of green space, and storm sewer capacity. Commissioners expressed concern about twin homes on slabs, the possibility of streets being vacated, and stormwater. The developer did state that this plan is for rezoning and they still have a number of issues they need to address, and assured the Commission that the smaller plot size would help to lower the cost of infrastructure needs, by spreading the cost over more individual plots. The Commission recommended approval of the rezoning request by unanimous voice vote.

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    WisDVA Unveils Tribute To Women Vets

    The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Museum, and Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a unique educational exhibit on Thursday highlighting the military service of dozens of Wisconsin women veterans. The "I Am Not Invisible" traveling exhibit, featuring 32 banners measuring 6 feet tall with portraits of Wisconsin women veterans, was unveiled during a formal ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol. According to a WDVA press release, there are about 30,000 women veterans living in Wisconsin, or about 12 percent of the state's veteran population. With the new exhibit, Wisconsin becomes the latest state to participate in the IANI project, which was initiated by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, in February 2017, as a way to increase awareness and dialogue about women veterans. The exhibit will be on display inside the Capitol's rotunda through Nov. 15, at which point it will be available to the public as part of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum's collection of traveling exhibits. To book an "I Am Not Invisible" tour, visit the museum's traveling exhibit page.

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    ProAct Names New Controller

    ProAct, Inc. offering person-centered services that enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities, has named Aimee Sandy as the new controller, filling a post that was held by Pat McGuire for 27 years. He retired in earlier in the year. According to a press release from ProAct, Sandy, who lives with a mild case of cerebral palsy, was attracted to ProAct by its services for those with disabilities. Sandy was previously an accounting director for Lutheran Social Services, where she handled financial statements for the board of directors and prepared for fiscal audits and filings. Before LSS, she was the financial manager for Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, where she prepared monthly financials and had payroll responsibilities. In addition, Sandy has experience with Target Corporation and Ernst & Young, LLC. As a finance professional, she is focused on the future for Minnesota nonprofits. Sandy said it is prudent for organizations like ProAct to develop additional funding sources to prepare for possible interruptions in government funding. ProAct, Inc. is headquartered in Eagan and has additional operations in Red Wing, Shakopee, Zumbrota, and Hudson.

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    Specialized Hunt Scheduled For Miesville Ravine

    In an effort to manage deer population, Dakota County Parks will conduct special deer hunts in Miesville Ravine Park November 7th through the 17th for hunters using shotguns, and December 7th through 15th for hunters using muzzleloader weapons. According to the Dakota County Parks website, controlling deer populations contributes to natural reforestation and reduces damage to agricultural crops and landscaping. Reducing deer populations also improves the parks' habitat for other wildlife that benefit from diverse ground and shrub layer plants. Hunter applications for the Miesville Ravine hunt were processed by the DNR, and hunters were required to attend special orientation sessions in October.    

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    Power Line Upgrade Through Lebanon Hills

    Site preparation for the Great River Energy transmission line improvement project in Lebanon Hills Regional Park is underway. Parks staff worked with Great River Energy to minimize impacts within the park, but all trees between the existing transmission line and Cliff Road have to be removed. Construction of the new line will occur throughout the winter and be completed by spring 2020. Great River Energy will fund restoration of pollinator habitat beneath the utility line once construction is complete. This project will also allow the existing utility line that runs north-south through the park, east of Holland Lake, to be removed and the land beneath the line to be restored.

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    County Jail Report Nov. 07, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, November 7th, Hastings Police arrested 37-year-old Cottage Grove resident Lindsey Rayanne Carter on a misdemeanor charge of financial transaction card fraud. Carter was booked and released pending an appearance in court. Rosemount Police detained 33-year-old Rosemount resident Raileus Cervante Huguley on misdemeanor charges of violation of an order for no contact, violation of an order for protection, and contempt of court. Huguley made an appearance in court on the 8th. And Hastings Police apprehended 19-year-old Pine City resident Gage Anthony Mortenson on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Bail for Mortenson is set at $3,000, and he made an appearance in court on the 7th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Shooting Suspect And Officers Identified

    More details are now being released in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting in Cottage Grove on Monday. Authorities have released the name of the suspect, and the officers involved in the shooting. According to information, investigators say Noah Ante Erickson, 34, of White Bear Lake kidnapped a woman at gunpoint from the parking lot of her Maplewood workplace at about 6 AM on Monday, forcing her to drive them to her St. Paul home. Erickson bound both the woman and her roommate and assaulted her roommate, police said. He then left the scene in the roommate's car. Erickson abandoned the woman's car in the Hidden Valley neighborhood in Cottage Grove. He carjacked a second vehicle at gunpoint from a man in that neighborhood around 8:30 AM. At this point, police trying to find him had converged on the neighborhood. When Erickson fled in a third vehicle, he drove around police barricades and across yards, eventually crashing into a tree several houses away. After crashing the vehicle, Erickson left the car and exchanged gunfire with police before turning the gun on himself. He died at the scene, according to a news release. The BCA identified the two officers who discharged their firearms during the confrontation as Cottage Grove Police Capt. Gwen Martin and Woodbury Police Sgt. Omar Maklad. Both are on standard administrative leave. The case remains under investigation.

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    Pollinator Habitat Grants Offered

    High school students in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin can help establish habitat for imperiled insect pollinators and monarch butterflies as part of a pollinator habitat grant program offered by the Sand County Foundation. Agriculture and science educators in the three states are encouraged to apply for $1,000 grants to involve their high school students in raising native wildflowers and transplanting them in rural areas. According to a press release issued by the foundation, insect pollinators are essential for crop pollination and ecological diversity. In recent years their numbers are low partly due to loss of native wildflower habitat, especially in the agricultural landscape. In response, Sand County Foundation, a national nonprofit conservation organization, began offering a pollinator habitat grant program for high schools. Successful applicants will receive about 600 seedlings of five native wildflower species in March. Students must raise the plants in school greenhouses, transplant them to appropriate sites in the spring, and maintain and monitor the plants through the summer. Teachers will receive a training webinar and a $1,000 cash award paid to school districts or FFA chapters to offset project expenses. The deadline to apply is December 9. To apply, visit SandCountyFoundation.org/SchoolGrant.

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    (Photo: Mick Mulloly of Clinton FFA plants a native wildflower on a southern Wisconsin farm. Courtesy Sand County Foundation)

    Sam-Farrow Sentenced

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Sopearvy Ogbondah Michelle Sam-Farrow, age 21 of St. Paul, was sentenced on Wednesday to 50 days in jail and probation for five years by Judge Michael Mayer in connection with a drive-by shooting in South St. Paul on the evening of August 28, 2017. Judge Mayer also ordered restitution in an amount to be determined. Sam-Farrow pled guilty on August 26, 2019, to one count of making terroristic threats. A total of five individuals were charged in August of 2017 with one count each of drive-by shooting toward person or occupied motor vehicle or building, and assault in the 2nd degree with a dangerous weapon. The other four defendants are Tyrone Lamar Farrow, Erik Dontez Poe, Cheridan Bree Redmond, and Juan Carlos Rojas, all of which pled guilty to the charges in their own cases. Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Jessica Bierwerth who prosecuted the case, and thanked the South St. Paul Police Department for their investigation of this case. Backstrom also thanked the Police Departments of West St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota Heights, Eagan, St. Paul, the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, and the Minnesota State Patrol for their assistance with the case.    

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    ISD 196 School Board Results

    In the election to fill four of the seven at-large positions on the School Board of Independent School District 196, the Dakota County election results page indicates that Joel Albright, Jackie Magnuson, Sachin Isaacs, and Cory Johnson have been elected to the Board. The website reports that 22,599 votes were cast in the election, out of 99,856 voters registered, for a 22.6% voter turnout.   

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    ISD 196 Referendum Passes

    The ISD 196 Levy Referendum on the ballot for November 5th has been approved by voters in the District. According to the Dakota County Election Results page, votes for the referendum were 14,380, compared to 8,314 against. The referendum would revoke the existing operating levy of $940 per pupil, which was approved by district voters in 2013, and replace it with a new 10-year levy for $1,567 per pupil, an increase of $627 per pupil. The ballot question would raise an additional $19 million per year, plus annual inflationary increases. The net tax impact of the proposed question would be $25 per month increase, or $300 per year increase, on the average-value home in the district, which is $286,500. The results of the balloting are still unofficial.    

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    ISD 833 Posts Election Results

    District 833 voters filled three open School Board seats in the November 5 election. Melinda Dols, and Simi Patnaik, both of Woodbury and Louise Hinz of Afton will join Tracy Brunnette, Katie Schwartz, Sharon Van Leer and Patricia Driscoll on the board in January. The three newly elected members will each serve a four-year term. According to the State Election results website, 32,604 votes were cast out of a total of 63,565 eligible voters, for a turnout of 51.2%. Election results are unofficial until canvassed.

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    Cottage Grove City Council Results

    In Cottage Grove, for the Special election to fill the vacant Council member at large seat, candidate Justin Olsen received 1,890 votes, to opponent Roman Kreeger's 392 votes. According to the Election Results page of the MN Secretary of State, there were also 32 write in votes. Results of the election indicate that 2314 votes were cast from a voter pool of 22,689, for a voter turnout rate of just over 10%. Results of the election are unofficial until canvassed.

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