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    Public Hearing Storm Water Permits

    The Consent Agenda for the October 15th meeting of the Hastings City Council includes a request to order a public hearing for an annual storm water pollution prevention plan. According to the submitted request, the Federal Clean Water Act requires communities to submit for a permit to discharge storm water into receiving water bodies. The permit typically spans five years, and is intended to reduce pollutants from not only storm water discharge points, but also from overland runoff.

    Minimum Control Measures specified in the permit include Public education, outreach, participation, and involvement, detection and elimination of illicit discharge, and construction site runoff control. According to City Engineer Ryan Stempski, this hearing will not address the recent situation regarding E. Coli in the City drinking water supply. The Public hearing for the new permit is requested for Monday, November 19th.

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    Dakota County Proposed Budget

    In his most recent newsletter, Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins reported that Dakota County's 2019 proposed budget will increase the property tax levy by about $2 per month on the average-valued home in Dakota County. This is a 2.6% increase, which is the smallest proposed increase of any county in the metro area, and will go mainly toward inflationary costs, mandated services required by the state or federal government, and addressing growing challenges, like juvenile crime. The County's final budget still needs to be approved in December and, by law, can only go down, not up. Commissioner Atkins went on to state that Dakota County has the lowest county property taxes per person of any county in Minnesota. A typical household in Dakota County pays $250 less in county taxes than the metro average.

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    SA Now Speedway

    It has been announced that SuperAmerica gas stations will be rebranding to the Speedway Gas Station brand as part of a merger between SuperAmericas parent company, Andeavor and Marathon Oil Company. The announcement came as a result of Marathon CEO Gary Heminger revealing to Fox Business the combined company, now the largest refiner in the U.S., will take a Speedway platform coast-to-coast. There are about 170 company-owned SuperAmerica locations and 114 franchised stores largely in Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to the company, with over 2,000 employees in total. Regular SuperAmerica customers are asked to transfer their rewards card balance at speedway.com. The company also says SuperAmerica gift cards will no longer be accepted, and gift card holders are asked to call 1-800-428-4016 to have balances refunded.

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    United Way of Hastings Seeks Board Members

    The United Way of Hastings is seeking individuals interested in serving on its Board of Directors for 2019. This is an opportunity for individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of others in the Hastings community. Board members support the work of the UWH and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Terms for Board members are three years and they are eligible for re-election for one additional term.

    Meetings of the Board of Directors are held six times per year with Board members also serving on UWH committees. If interested in serving on the UWH Board of Directors and/or for a complete description of Board member qualifications and responsibilities, contact Mari E. Mellick, CAE, Executive Director, at 651-438-3337 or mari@unitedwayofhastings.org . A letter outlining your interest and qualifications should be received by October 31st.

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    Chlorinization Protocol Considered

    Following the September 22nd declaration of a boil water advisory due to E.Coli bacteria contamination, the Minnesota Department of Health completed a level 2 assessment and then recommended that the City give serious consideration to permanently chlorinating the system. According to a presentation that is slated to take place at the October 15th city council meeting, Hastings is just one of three municipalities over 10, 000 in population in Minnesota that doesn t have a permanent disinfection system.   

    The City Council held a workshop on October 1, 2018 with Staff and MDH to debrief the public on the issue. After consideration of the recommendation, the City then implemented a low- level chlorination throughout the entire system which began on Monday, October 8th. Additionally, staff has begun the preliminary work to bring a consultant on board to assist with the long term disinfection review and analysis. The anticipated financial impact of those decisions will be provided to the council at a future, unspecified date. At least one candidate for city office, Danna Elling Schultz, has stated her postition following the decision, suggesting that chlorinization may not be the only solution and that alternative methods could be employed.

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    Axelson Receives 18 Years

    A conviction from 2008 for a Hastings resident has resulted in a 2018 sentencing for charges filed in a U.S. District court. Forty-two year old Paul Lewis Axelson received an 18 year sentence after pleading guilty in February of this year to one count of receipt of child pornography. According to a St. Paul publication, Axelson had been convicted in Dakota County of possession of child pornography as well as 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim between the ages of 13 and 15 years of age.

    Axelson was then arrested in 2016 while on parole from the original charges, where he was found to have used software to distribute child pornography which is a federal offense. Court documents showed that more than 100,00 images of child pornography were found by an electronic division of law enforcement in the examination of the subject's computer. We hope to feature comments from Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom's office on the conclusion of this 10 year criminal resolution in an upcoming newscast.

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    County Corridor Survey Funding Request

    On the Consent Agenda for the Hastings city council meeting for October 15th is the resolution to support Dakota County's 2019 through 2023 Capital Improvement program that requests $75,000 to be contributed towards the $375,000 fee of the cost of a corridor study along County Road 46 between Pleasant Drive and Highway 61 to determine the most promising configuration that would address the long term transportation needs of this roadway. Work recommended by the studey is expected to begin in 2020. The resolution calls for support of the county's plan to use transportation sales and use taxes on the project as part of the 5 year capital improvement program.

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    Prescott Tourism Survey Extended

    The deadline for Prescott residents and business owners to submit a survey that will determine opportunities for expanding the area's appeal to residents and or vistitors. The Desitination Assessment survey offers just 5 questions that will give the committee a better understanding of the community's attitude regarding interest in attracting visitors and realizing the economic impact it may provide. The surveys do not require the respondant to identify themselves. Resident surveys are availble at the Municipal building with time extended until October 31st to return yours.

    A slightly different survey was distributed to area businesses which concentrate of economic questions pertaining to tourism and promotions that should also be returned by the new deadline. The information received will be considered in future decisions to maximize the opportunities that networking with State and county tourism resources for the benefit of Prescott.

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    Alley Completion Moves Closer

    A review of recent progress made in the alleyway behind the 100 block of 2nd Street in downtown Hastings. According to a synopsis provided by Public Works director Nick Egger, Comcast crews have completed installation of their new underground system, it has been activated, and the old overhead facilities are now off of the poles. Work still to be done will be dependent on access to some of the buildings to remove any non-functional old equipment. New underground electrical service will soon be completed with service to individual buildings also, nearly completed.

    Conversion has been finished for all but one building in that area. Also, Xcel Energy has installed meters in the large electrical service panels that provide service to those buildings with protetive pylons installed to prevent vehicles using the alleyway from coming into contact with the new equipment. Egger notes that CenturyLink crews will be next to convert their current wiring to the underground service system, which will take between 2-3 days.

    Some finishing work by XCel Energy will conclude with the existing pole being removed once all utilities have been moved underground. CenterPoint Energy will then arrange for final modifications to be made to the gas pressure equipment that was installed, with construction of a structure to follow that will protect it. The homestretch of the nearly 5-month-long process, the last in the Riverfront Renaissance , will be completed with restoration and landscaping work and reopening of the newly constructed alleyway.

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    Prescott Council Meeting Review Oct10

    Following a postponement of Monday's Prescott City Council Meeting, a quorum of the council, with just Alderperson Otwell absent, met on Wednesday night, October 10th, with several topics on the agenda. The consent agenda was approved as presented with the next item of business reports of standing committees. From the finance committee came the request to approve 4 desinated signers and counter signers for city accounts. The Planning Commission will meet on the first Monday of the month. For the Public Works committee, a change order was made for a request of $3,900 additional dollars for a water latteral to be installed at orrin and Linn Street.

    A pay request for the 1st installment due Schlessler construction in the amount of $157,229 was approved with recommendation from Cedar Corp, the city's engineering firm. The 3rd but not final pay request for the Public Works building for $19,142 was also approved. The city will , however, retain 5% from Pember Construction until the punchlist is satisfied. That project is nearly completed.

    Several upcoming meetings were set for remaining committees- a personnel committee meeting on Tuesday, October 16th at 6:30 pm; a police commission meeting on Wednesday, October 17th at 6:30pm, the Industrial and Economic committee meeting on Thursday, October 18th at 7 pm and a parks and public property meeting on October 24th at 6:30pm. Prior to the council moving into closed session to deliberate action to be taken in the 5th TIF District, Prescott resident Thomas Langenfeld brought several concerns to the attention of the council. We will cover those comments in our next newscasts. When the council returned to open session, the public was informed that no action was taken on issue before them concerning TIF District 5.

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    Dakota County Arrest Log Oct 10

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report, Dakota County deputies arrested 34-year-old South St. Paul resident Meghan June Blaiser on felony charges of 1st degree sale of drugs and child endangerment, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of a firearm. Blaiser is being held without bail as the charges are investigated. Hastings police detained 34-year-old Hastings resident Gerald Edward Bolster on a misdemeanor count of violation of an order for no contact. Bolster is scheduled to make an initial appearance for the charge on the 12th.

    Dakota County deputies also arrested 48-year-old Vermillion resident Ken Kelleher on a felony and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Kelleher remains in custody pending the investigation. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty under due process of law.    

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    Prescott Completes Bike Station

    The Prescott Chamber of Commerce responded to the opening of the trail connecting Prescott and Hastings by installing a bike repair and welcome area next to the Welcome and Heritage Center in Prescott. The bike area has a repair station, bike rack, bench, drinking fountain, and bottle filler, with a stair channel to be added for moving bikes up and down the stairways near the bridge. The bike station was planned and funded by the Chamber, the Prescott Foundation, the Prescott Daze Committee and the City of Prescott.

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    Photo provided by the Prescott Chamber of Commerce

        

    Snow Business Workshop

    Facility maintenance staff and snow and ice removal contractors are invited to learn sensible salting practices to save money, protect lakes and rivers and keep parking lots and sidewalks safe at a free parking lot and sidewalk maintenance workshop on Friday, Nov. 9, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The workshop will be at the Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Ave. in Apple Valley. Attendees may attain MPCA Level 1 Certification in Snow and Ice Control Best Practices. Pre-registration required by Oct. 24, register by email at environ@co.dakota.mn.us, or call 952-891-7000.

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    Minnesotans Navigate Medicare Changes

    With the start of Medicare open enrollment on Oct. 15, the Minnesota Board on Aging's Senior LInkAge Line is prepared to help Minnesotans navigate significant changes to Medicare plans. The MN Department of Human Services reports that due to a change in federal law, Cost Plans, a type of Medicare plan popular in Minnesota, will no longer be available in 66 counties for 2019. This means that about 375,000 affected Minnesotans on Medicare will need to change plans. Senior LinkAge Line, at 1-800-333-2433 and via chat at SeniorLinkAgeLine.com, is available to help Minnesotans on Medicare weigh their plan options by providing them with comprehensive, unbiased Medicare counseling.

    Senior LinkAge Line has temporarily extended its business hours and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays. Senior LinkAge Line, is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging in partnership with Minnesota's Area Agencies on Aging. Senior LinkAge Line provides help to older Minnesotans, all Medicare beneficiaries, and their families and friends by helping them connect to local services, find answers and get the help they need.

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    City Well Refurbishment Bids

    Bids were opened on October 10th with 2 companies seeking to receive the contract by the city of Hastings for the refurbishment of Well Number 5. A bid of 61,125 was received by EH Renner and Sons while a bid of 74, 310 was received by Keys Well drilling. The bids are preliminary and will be tabulated for final posting on Friday, October 12th. Oct 12 Update and Clarification: According to Public Works Director Nick Egger, the refurbishment is part of a standard maintenance schedule, with the cost and timing of the work provided for in the 2018 budget. There is no correlation between the refurbishment and recent water quality issues. We appreciate the City's information to clarify this report.

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    Senator On Residential Regulations

    During the Fall Festival in South St. Paul on October 6th, State Senator Karla Bigham was asked about possible legislative reaction to shooting incidents in South St. Paul and Hastings that involved residents of residential treatment centers.

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    The Legislature returns to session on January 8th.

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    Council Hears From Residents

    During the meeting of the Prescott City Council on Wednesday October 10th, two residents appeared before them to offer comments and statements during the public comment portion of the agenda. The first resident, Thomas Langenfeld, began by asking that 2 political signs, which he believes to be larger that what is allowed under city ordinance, be removed from their current location on Highway 10. His next topic was the continuation of a prior issue, policing and traffic control during the motorcycle flood run. Langenfeld believes the city should shut down Broad Street and detour traffic, similar to what is done during Prescott Daze.

    The continuing issue of the Vista Croix financial arrangements for a $25,000 debt owed the city for the demolition of the building at entrance to the city, was the next item. Langenfeld voiced his disapproval that the company received a full year of interest free funding and an additional, and unwarranted, year to begin to pay that figure back at 6% interest. He stated that the developers have not made good on their plan to begin construction, the site was left a severe eyesore and the city is no closer to having the property back on the tax roles than they were 3 years ago.

    His final comments involved the bridge. He suggests that by using TIF incentives and other supports, manufacturing company relocations have resulted in a large increase of the number of industrial vehicles and trucks using the bridge, exceeding the capacity and having a detrimental effect on the structure. Langenfeld believes that the bridge was not designed for the current amount of industrial use. There was no feedback from the council, as is the practice during public comments.

    Lee Olson, also recounted an update from a conversation he had with the Wisconsin State Patrol in regards to the backups on the bridge due to maintenance work. He told the council he has documented the traffic tie ups caused by the construction and believes the problem could be mitigated at the intersection by local police officers during the 4-5:30 pm timeframe. He states that State patrol has been made aware of the project and they would not prevent the city's decision to utilize local resources to control traffic. Again, there was no response, nor action required by the council.

       

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    Flood Insurance Tips

    On Tuesday's In Depth, Mo and Dan spoke with local insurance agent Brian Schommer, and the topic was flood insurance in light of the recent amounts of rainfall in the area. Schommer dispelled a common myth about flood insurance.

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    Insurance experts recommend getting a review of coverage to ensure the best chances of recovery from potentially catastrophic events.

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    HERO Center Progress

    State Senator Karla Bigham attended the Fall Festival in South St. Paul on October 6th, and was asked by KDWA News about progress on the new HERO Center. We asked Senator Bigham when construction would start.

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    The facility is expected to cost between $19.4 and $19.8 million to construct, and is anticipated to be completed by the fall of 2019.

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    Incentive For Hastings Employees

    Working in Hastings might be good news for your 401(k). According to research from financial technology company SmartAsset, using data from the United States Department of Labor, Hastings based employers are among the leaders in Minnesota at matching 401(k) contributions. The study showed that among Minnesota cities, Hastings ranked 6th in employer-matched contribution percentages, at 46 percent, with an employer contribution index over 50. The rankings are a factor in SmartAsset's study on the places with the access to the best 401(k) plans, which analyzes investment performance and administrative fees in addition to employer contributions.

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    Economic Debate On TIF 5

    The Prescott Industrial and Economic Committee will meet in a closed session on Thursday, October 18th to deliberate a proposed business project in Prescott Tax Incremental Finance Zone #5. Specific details of the deliberations have not been made public, however, the agenda does indicate the Committee is expected to return to an open session to take action on items discussed in the closed session. The meeting will be held at the City Hall, 800 Borner Street.

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    HPD Arrest Log Oct 9

    From the Hastings Police blotter, officers were called to the 1600 block of Spring Street to investigate a report of past action fraud. The victim indicated being the victim of 16 fraudulent transactions throughout the Metro Area since the middle of September. Officers noted the information for investigation. An accident at the intersection of Ravenna Trail and Glendale Drive resulted in the arrest of 39-year-old Hastings resident Nicolle Marie Trombley on charges of driving while intoxicated, criminal vehicular operation, failure to obey a stop sign and no proof of insurance. And a report of a suspicious person brought officers to the 400 block of Lock and Dam Road. Officers located and arrested 41-year-old Hastings resident Stacy Michelle Nilson on a charge of driving while intoxicated. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott Police Log Oct 09

    From the Prescott Police blotter, officers were recently dispatched to the river to investigate a report of a disabled boat in the water. Officers were not able to locate any craft in distress on either side of the river, and attempts to contact the person that made the report were unsuccessful. The investigation has been suspended. Officers conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of Borner and James Streets for a vehicle with no headlights. Officers determined that the teen-aged occupants in the car were involved in petty acts of throwing toilet paper. Officers were subsequently called to a residence on Flora Square to investigate a house that had been TPd. The complainant indicated that no action was being sought against the suspects, and officers located the suspects, who were warned for being out past curfew. And a neighborhood noise complaint brought officers to the 100 block of north Gibbs Street. Officers noted loud music and a large bonfire at the residence in questions. Officers instructed those at the residence to tone down the music and extinguish a burning 5 gallon container of gasoline.

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    Pierce County Adjusts For Budget Balance

    A special budget review meeting was held on September 28th in Pierce County where adjustments were made in the 2019 budget which was reported to be nearly $100,000 over the balancing point. In order to retain the department requests for next year, some managing of current expenditures needed to be made.Jeff Holst is the county chair and head of the committee who expressed confidence that needs will be met if departments identify priorities that will allow for balancing to take place. Employee additions such as a social worker for the Department of Human Services, a civilian dispatcher in the sheriff's department, more hours allowed for the medical examiner and a treasurer property lister were questioned by the committee as to justifiable rationale by those departments. Careful reframing, instead of program or personnel cuts, for several request items then directed outlay funds to cover them, allowing the budget to come back into balance, as is required. A net county levy of nearly $20 million dollars will be finalized in November by the Board of Supervisors.

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    Cemetery Tour Offers Living History

    On October 20 Oakwood Cemetery in Hastings, Minnesota will come alive with costumed performers portraying characters from past centuries. Mary Adams, C.P. Adams' first wife, will greet visitors and invite them to accompany her as she makes her way around the cemetery. Mahala Felton, Sarah Caleff, and Lisette Fischer will share their stories with Mary, and because she dies so young, they introduce her to James Akers and John Peller, both men having served in the Civil War with Mary's husband, General Charles Adams. "More Grave Truths: Women, Babies and War" is sponsored by Friends of LeDuc and Historic Hastings. Tours are scheduled for 1:00, 2:15, and 3:45 p.m. Each tour is limited to 25 persons. Admission is $5.00 per person and proceeds will go toward upkeep at Oakwood Cemetery. Tickets are available online at brownpapertickets.com, keywords More Grave Truths: Women, Babies, and War, or contact Shirley Dalaska at 651-373-8899.

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    Dakota County Jail Bookings Oct 7

    Arrests summarized from the Dakota County Jail booking report include 33-year-old Rosemount resident Anthony Francis Storchak by Rosemount police on 3 felony charges of 5th degree possession of marijuana, a felony charge of assault, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Storchak remains in custody pending an initial appearance in court on the 9th. Dakota County deputies detained 46-year-old Michael David Papa on a felony count of 4th degree assault of fire department official, and misdemeanor counts of reckless driving, 5th degree assault, and 2 misdemeanor counts related to DUI. Papa is being held without bail as the charges are processed.

    Dakota County deputies also arrested 33-year-old Dazey ND resident Timothy Charles Lang on misdemeanor charges of 5th degree possession of marijuana and fleeing police, and a felony charge of being a fugitive from another state. Lang is being held without bail 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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    Event Packs 3 Million Meals

    Feed My Starving Children set an ambitious goal over the past weekend to pack 5 million meals at a mobile pack event at the HealthEast Sports Complex, in Woodbury. After sessions on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday, the final tally for meals packed came to 3,305,448. According to information published by Feed My Starving Children, the meals will go to feed 9,056 children for a whole year. The charity reports that, because of the distribution network set up through local, in-country organizations, over 99% of the meals sent to areas in need reach their intended destination. To learn more, log on to fmsc.org.

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    Dakota County Sets Budget Priorities

    Chairperson of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, Kathleen Gaylord, expressed her priority for human services in the 2019 Dakota County budget, with a focus on helping the homeless through providers, such as Matrix Shelters.

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    The comments came during the South St. Paul Festival held October 6th.   

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    (Photo provided by Dakota County)

    Dakota Co Chair Gaylord On Budget

    During the South St. Paul Fall Festival October 6th, Chairperson of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners Kathleen Gaylord responded to a question regarding 2019 budget priorities for the County.

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    The location for the new SMART Center is proposed for the area of Highways 52 and 55, and Concord Boulevard, in Inver Grove Heights.

    CG Welcomes Orange Theory Fitness

    The vacant Payless Shoe Source Building in Cottage Grove has been announced as the new location for a fitness center in town. According to information published in the South Washington County Bulletin, OrangeTheory Fitness plans to open the facility this fall. OrangeTheory Fitness is based out of Florida, and currently has 1,000 facilities nationwide, with another 500 slated to open soon. The Cottage Grove franchise will be run by Trace Martin, who also owns the OrangeTheory Fitness facility in Woodbury. An open date has not yet been set.

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    (Photo Courtesy of City of Cottage Grove)

    Rosemount Teacher Suspended

    An unnamed Rosemount teacher in Intermediate School District 917 has been placed on administrative leave after the District office received complaints that the teacher posted on Twitter over the weekend allegedly suggesting that newly-named Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh be killed. According to published reports, the tweet from the now-suspended account is quoted as saying "So whose gonna take one for the team and kill Kavanaugh?" On Monday morning, District Superintendent Mark Zuzek posted on the District Website that the District had received the complaint, and placed the employee on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation into the allegations. Citing data practices rules, Superintendent Zuzek has not released name of the teacher.

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    Fire Department Open House Tuesday

    October 8th through the 13th is Fire Prevention Awareness Week, in addition to the Open House that will take place Tuesday night in Hastings and on Thursday night in Farmington Draw area firefighters have visited several schools, assisted living facilities and other community housing to get the message out to everyone how to prevent fires from harming you or your family. Some things families can do on their own is to create a map of your home with input from all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.

    Once you have a plan, be sure to practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cant help them and make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find. One thing to remember is when exiting a home where fire is present, close doors behind you as you leave - this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.

    Once you get outside, stay outside. Never, ever go back inside a burning building.For more information, visit the NFPA website at www.nfpa.org, and be sure to attend the open house in a community near you.

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    County Parks Feature Fall Folliage

    The saying goes that there's no place like home. For those who live in Dakota County, a bounty of brilliant fall foliage is right down the road, with fall colors at area parks nearing their best viewing opportunity. Trails and Greenways, overlooks and river bluffs provide great vantage points while biking, hiking, canoeing and camping. Some of the top spots offering spectacular views are Portage Lake at Lebanon Hills Regional Park where stands of sugar maple trees are stunning. In Spring Lake Park Reserve and the Mississippi River Trail bike riding and walking on the Mississippi trail is another prime spot.

    There are river overlooks along the Big Rivers Regional Trail showcasing the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The Big Rivers Regional Trail is at 1498 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights. Empire Lake at Whitetail Woods Regional Park offers a rustic boardwalk that surrounds the lake located in Farmington. Entrance to all Dakota County parks is free. For park and trail details, outdoor programs and other information, visit www.dakotacounty.us/parks.

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    Photo By Bob Nasvick   

       

    Prescott Council Meets Oct 8

    The Prescott City Council meet for regular business on Monday, October 8th. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview of the meeting.

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    City Begins Water Chlorination

    According to a mass mailing sent out Saturday by the City of Hastings, low-level chlorination will begin Monday, October 8th for the entire water distribution system. This is a preemptive move, that will be the next step in the research now underway to install permanent disinfection options for the City of Hastings Public Water system. The level is safe for humans and animals to drink, to cook with and the bathe in . The city is actively working to explore options that is in response to the Level 2 assessment made following testing by the Minnesota Department of Health after the E.Coli Bacteria detection on September 22nd. They were unable to pinpoint the exact source of that bacteria and the DOH has strongly recommended that the City work to implement a permanent disinfection solution that involves chlorination. A report on decisions regarding the available options will be provided to the City Council mby the end of the year along with a feasibility Study. Residents with questions on the process should view communications on the City's website- www.hastingsmn.gov/water

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    The Hastings Fire Department had an early-morning call on Friday. According to information released by Fire Chief Mike Schutt, A little after 1 AM, police and fire responded to a detached garage fire in the 200 block of West 5th Street. Upon arrival, the structure was fully involved in fire, with most of the roof collapsed. The garage, and its contents, including a car and motorcycle are a total loss. Additional heat damage occurred to a residential home across the alley, a neighboring garage located within several feet of the building fire, and another car and trailer parked in the driveway close to the garage. There were no injuries to any responders or residents. The incident remains under investigation, but appears to be unintentional in origin. Chief Schutt also stated that during this incident, crews also responded to a medical emergency in Ravenna Township.

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    Library Readies For Transition

    Although the Pleasant Hill Library building is closed until next spring for a major remodel, the temporary satellite location is now in the process of being readied for resumption of library services that will begin on October 15th. The Temporary location at the Westview Mall in Hastings, will be the place for many of the typical library uses, checking out materials, picking up and dropping off of requested publications, use of computers , access to periodicals and lots more. One thing that will change is the location for some of the library's activities, due to space concerns. Several of the upcoming programs will be held at the Hastings YMCA, the Hastings Arts Center, Tilden Center and at Mississippi Terrace. Please check the Dakota County Library website for updates during this transitional time.

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    Paws In Park Recaps Highlights

    At Thursday afternoon's Paws in the Park event, nearly 50 pets and their people joined the fun at the Hastings Rivertown Dog Park. Vendors and service providers were on hand to answer questions about food, medical care and even adoption options in the area.

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    The owner of Emotional Rescue, a local group of foster families, introduced me to a pup that had suffered a broken back which resulted in paralysis to it's back legs. Ajax is a wheelie pup, using a specially made cart which gives him the freedom of movement, despite his injuries.

    Shannon Tarr, the founder of the organization brought Ajax to the event to share their story and introduce their special mission to others.

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    Emotional Resuce relyies on foster families to house and care for the animals until a fur-ever family match can be made. She also has a soft spot for dogs in dire need.

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    UWH Volunteers Make World of Difference

    A two part In Depth interview with Hastings United Way Volunteer coordinator Amy Schaffer will air Tuesday. We find out how volunteers of every age pitch in to make a difference.

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    They also plan outreach to get others involved.

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    Tune in Tuesday for In Depth.

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    DNR Honor For Ireland

    Dakota County resident Carl Ireland, of Apple Valley, has been recognized by the MN DNR for his 60 years of volunteer service as a firearm safety instructor for the DNR. Ireland, who had been in the U.S. Army Reserve, began his firearms safety career in 1958 after learning about a Boy Scout group in Richfield that wanted to provide its scouts the opportunity to be certified in firearms safety. He's been the lead instructor of the Apple Valley firearms safety class since 1976 and intends to continue on as long as he's able.

    DNR Southeast Metro Regional Training Officer Chelsie Leuthardt and Conservation Officer Joe Kulhanek presented Ireland with his award. DNR Enforcement education program coordinator Jon Paurus stated "Volunteers are an essential part of our firearms safety program", adding that the commitment Mr. Ireland made to training others in the safe handling of firearms and ethical conduct afield is inspiring. Minnesota has offered firearms safety training since 1955.

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    (Photo Caption: Pictured L-R: Firearms safety instructor Steven Short, Carl Ireland, firearms safety instructor Paul Bjorkland, Conservation Officer Joe Kulhanek, Nic Wolf of the Apple Valley Police Department, and Southeast Metro Regional Training Officer Chelsie Leuthardt (kneeling). Courtesy MN DNR)

    Pierce Co Accident Injures Four

    An accident on Sunday, September 30th, sent four people to the hospital. According to a press release issued by the Pierce County Sheriff, at approximately 9:53am authorities responded to the area of 650th Street north of County Highway EE in the Township of Hartland for a two vehicle crash with injuries. Scene investigation determined a 2000 Buick Century operated by John M. Farrell Jr, 69 of Bay City, WI was traveling northbound on 650th St. when the vehicle briefly left the roadway while negotiating a curve, lost control and slid sideways into a southbound 2011 Buick Lacrosse driven by Richard W. Scharpen, 73 of Red Wing, MN. Elaine M. Scharpen, 73, also of Red Wing, and Patricia L. Snider, 65 of Bay City, WI were passengers in Scharpen's vehicle.

    Farrell was transported by air ambulance to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with undeterminded injuries. Richard and Elaine Scharpen, and Patricia Snider were transported by ground ambulance to the Mayo Health Systems Hospital in Red Wing, also with undetermined injuries. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was assisted on scene by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Ellsworth Fire Department, the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service, the Red Wing Fire Department, and Life Link III air ambulance.    

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    County Prop Taxes Due Oct 15

    Dakota County has issued a reminder that property taxes on Dakota County real estate for the second half of 2018 are due Monday, Oct. 15. Property taxes can be paid online, by phone or by mail. Mailed payments must be postmarked by midnight Oct. 15 to be considered timely. Payments can also be made in person at the three County Service Centers. According to a County press release, pursuant to state law, the County will assess a penalty for late payments. The penalty depends on the tax amount, property classification and when the payment is made. Penalties are listed on the back of property tax statements that were sent to residents earlier this year. For more information, call the Dakota County Property Information line at 651-438-4576 or visit dakotacounty.us, keywords pay property taxes.

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    Dakota County Launches App

    Finding information about Dakota County on an Android phone just got easier, with the new Dakota County App, now available at the Google Play Store. Use the app to quickly connect with important content about where you live, work and play. The free application has been designed collaboratively with many Dakota County service areas, and in a similar design to the iOS version, to provide rapid access to the most popular online content.

    For example, users can check for upcoming library events, search for park locations, and quickly locate property tax information. The app allows for the creation of personalized answer threads, which are then available for swift retrieval at any time. The initial release of the application directs user to existing online content about libraries, parks, property taxes, public assistance and the Sheriffs Office.

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    Hastings Officer Named In Fatal Shooting

    Late on Thursday, October 4th, we learned that The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified the officer who discharged his weapon during an officer involved shooting incident in Hastings on Monday, October 1. Officer Geoff Latsch has been with the Hastings Police Department for three years. He was first sworn in by Chief Bryan Schaffer on July 20th , 2015. According to a city representative, has been placed on standard administrative leave. In the press release from October 4th, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office has also officially identified the deceased as Keagan Lee Johnson-Lloyd, 23, of Rochester, who died of multiple gunshot wounds. The BCA crime scene personnel recovered a box cutter blade at the scene of the shooting.

    As we reported this week, body cameras worn by the two Hastings Police officers captured the incident which took place on the street at 15th and Walnut Streets at just after 6 PM. When the officer involved shooting investigation is complete, the BCA will turns its findings over to the Dakota County Attorney's Office for review, then once the investigation is deemed inactive, most data will be available for release to the public.

    The Hastings Police Department continues to investigate the stabbing incident, involving a second resident from the group home facility, with assistance from the BCA.

    There was no information on the identity of the second officer at the scene who did not fire their weapon.

    It was also learned Thursday, that the director of the Spirit Recovery Center, Pam Schmitt, confirmed that Johnson-Lloyd had resided at the Sibley Street residence for 6 weeks and was one of 5 adults currently living at the home. It was not disclosed, however, how the residents are regulated or whether public safety measures will change in light of this incident.

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    Homecoming Highlights From Johnson

    During last Friday's Tim Collins show, Hastings High School Principal Mike Johnson was asked about some design aspects regarding the new artificial turf planned for Todd Field. Specifically, Mr. Johnson responded to a question of whether or not the need to refresh the on-field graphics before homecoming would continue.

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    Mr. Johnson stated that this would probably be the last year for the homecoming tradition of refreshing the on-field graphics. Hear the Tim Collins show, live on Fridays during the school year, with a rebroadcast on Monday.

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    Students Shop Around For Higher Ed

    The college fair held at the Hastings High School Wednesday night, provided students and their parents with a wide array of choices and opportunities to speak with representatives from colleges and universities that offer a multitude of post secondary options to consider. Jody Geib is the school's career counselor and she was enthusiastic about the event and how so many took advantage of this local resource.

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    The Fowler family is in the process of finding the best fit for their student. We'll feature their comments on an on location In Depth at the Student College Fair coming up this week right here on KDWA

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    Council Approves Roof Cost Addition

    During the City Council meeting on Monday night, the City Council of Hastings approved a change order to the roof replacement project at the LeDuc Historic Estate. The change order adjusted the cost of replacing the finial and cresting currently installed on the top of the tower roof. According to information submitted by City Planner Justin Fortney, the condition of the finials and crest were assumed by visual inspection using binoculars, and subsequent physical inspection after a mild windstorm determined the need to replace the elements, due to the use of poor quality wood. The estimated cost for the change is $4,750, and Mr. Fortney stated that the City is working with a matching grant from the MN Historical Society for $107,550 for this project. The Change order request was included on the Consent Agenda for the meeting.

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    Equity Innovation Labs Set

    The Equity Innovation Labs are a series of community engagement sessions with hands-on learning as part of the Equity and Inclusion initiative that got it's start last Spring. Five sessions will be held at the Dakota Pines Banquet Facility, 2015 Westview Drive with free childcare available to parents who are attending the sesion. YMCA KidStuff programming will be in charge of that. Each session will last from 6-9pm with the inital meeting set for Tuesday, October 23rd. Food will be available for purchase and the entire community is encouraged to be part of this learning and growing opportunity.

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    Still Waiting On Corner

    A third autumn is underway, with still no change in the landscape on the corner of Hwys 10 and 35 in Prescott. No revelations, either, on the part of those who have proposed a multimillion dollar development that would include a marina, restaurant, bar and upscale condos or hotel to be placed on the Prescott corner where the former Steamboat Inn once stood. With the nearby Lake Street construction to get underway next year, I asked City Administrator Jayne Brand if the projects might overlap. Brand doesn't see those designs or construction being an issue, even if they were to happen at the same time.

    The proposed Lake Street construction, Brand noted, will only go as far as where Lake Street comes out on Highway. She also states that the Vista Croix will have to work directly with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on their project since the DOT has jurisdiction over their exits and entrances. The city will, however, have to work with the DOT on portions of their project as Lake Street ends on Highway 10 as does Ellen Street.

    In a related question, I also wanted to know if there was a deadline for the Vista Croix developers to retain the Class B liquor license, reportedly on hold from a decision made by the Council. Brand states that a Council decision granted them the application for June 2018 to July 2019, and reminded us that the license has not been issued. She also says that there have been other businesses who made a request with the 2018-2019 application for a Class B Liquor License. Those licenses are limited in number,by the population density of a city, with a set number allowed per capita. It was not known when Vista Croix may get underway.

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    Narrow Lanes Slow Bridge Traffic

    According to social media posts on Wednesday afternoon made by the Prescott Police department, traffic woes continue during the bridge maintence currently underway at the entrance to the city from Minnesota. Highway 10 was blocked in all directions on at least two occasions this week where semi trucks turning onto the reduced width access have gotten hung up on the concrete shoulder curbing. Wis DOT anticipates at least one more week of the slowdown before the situation should be relieved.

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    Prescott Chamber Meeting Oct Part 1

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce met on October 3, in the First National Bank Community Room called to order by President Lisa Johnson. Treasurers Report was read and announced that exactly 100 members are now on the roster. The Ambassador report was given and members Julie, Tara, Jeremy, Penny, Amber worked on some projects down by the Welcome and History Center. A ribbon cutting will take place On Tuesday, the 9th at 12:30 at the Chamber office. Old business began with the Bike Trail Project with news that the work is almost completed except for some remaining signage. A Ribbon Cutting will be announced soon.

    A report on the Calendar raffle showed good results with thanks to everyone who sold and purchased tickets. Moving on to a recap of Prescott Daze with discussion on how to attract more school marching bands and festival royalty to attend the event. A possible reason is that Prescott currently does not have a royalty group that participates in other parades. The New Teacher Luncheon received a good turnout in the event co-partnered with the Kiwanis Group. More from the October 3rd recap of the Prescott Chamber meeting in our next newscast.

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    Marked For Demo

    The handwriting, on in this case , pink spray painting in on the walls of the former bank building just below the Hastings Bridge. The structure has been methodically hollowed out of interior components and it shouldn't be long before the demolition will begin. New owners have worked with city planners and have submitted their plans to construct a publicly shared parking facility that will serve customers who visit downtown and the clientele of the soon to be contructed Confluence Center at the site of the former Hudson Sprayer building. Work is expected to get underway yet this fall.

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    Investigation By BCA

    October 2 Update-The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating an officer involved shooting incident that happened on Monday evening in the City of Hastings. The BCA is investigating the incident at the request of the Hastings Police Department. According to the BCA, Hastings police officers were investigating a stabbing incident that had occurred at a group home around 3:40 p.m. Monday. When officers arrived the suspect had already fled the scene. Hastings police reports and the BCAs preliminary investigation indicate that shortly before 6 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call from a person who had spotted the stabbing suspect near 15th Street and Highway 61. Two officers responded and immediately located the man walking on the 1500 block of Walnut Street. At one point during the encounter, an officer discharged their firearm, striking the man, who died at the scene. No one else was injured, and there is no ongoing threat to the public. Body and Squad Car cameras were in use at the time. The medical examiner will identify the deceased once the autopsy is complete and family notification has been made. The Hastings Police Department is investigating the earlier stabbing incident.

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    Council Approves Candy Crawl

    The Hastings City Council was asked to consider a request for a Candy Crawl on 2nd Street for Halloween. City Administrator Melanie Mesko-Lee presented the proposal.

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    The representative for businesses in the area, Nathan Kranz filled in some of the background information for the request.

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    The proposal to block the street for the event passed without a negative vote.

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    Tourism Builds On Success

    Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau President Kristy Barse recently reported to the Hastings City Council regarding the Chamber's activity over the past year, including the reworking of the Bureau's Tourist Guide.

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    Barse also stated how the Chamber prioritizes its focus.

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    Barse made the presentation during the City Council meeting on October 1st.

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    Barse then presented the Chamber's Annual Report to the Council. Barse indicated three key points identified by last year's tourism study from the U of M that would be most effective for increasing tourism in Hastings.

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    Barse also advised the Council on the Chamber's initial strategy in light of the report.

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    The projected budget for the Tourism Bureau for fiscal year 2018-2019 is $53,000.

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    Matrix Shelter Hiring

    With the Matrix Emergency Shelter set to open on November 1st, Matrix Housing Services has announced the need for a temporary full time Shelter Manager, and several temporary full and part time, and on-call shelter advocates to staff the shelter during the 2018-2019 season. The Shelter Manager would be expected to work from early afternoon into the evening and occasional weekends. Training sessions for shelter advocates are scheduled for October, as the shelter will open for service on November 1st. Interested persons are asked to forward a resume and cover letter to TalentScout@MatrixHousingServices.org .

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    Cannon Falls Thanks Volunteers

    In the aftermath of the windstorm that swept through Cannon Falls on September 20th, the City of Cannon Falls wishes to thank all of the volunteers and City crews that came to help with the cleanup event on September 28th. According to a press release issued by the City, there were over seventy-five volunteers and more than 25 City personnel from the cities of Inver Grove Heights, Hastings, Pine Island and Red Wing, in addition to twenty City of Cannon Falls staff. The City expressed gratitude to the Salvation Army who provided a canteen vehicle to serve breakfast, snacks and lunch for all. With a number of locations still needing debris clean-up, City crews will be working on removing the remaining brush over the next couple of weeks. Residents who lack the means to move brush to the curb, please contact the Cannon Falls Police Department, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm at 507-263-2278. The Police Department has access to the CrisisCleanup.org website and, after determining the specific need, can add locations requesting volunteer assistance. The Cannon Falls Police Department reminds residents to report anything suspicious that they may see or hear as soon as possible so an officer can investigate. The easiest way to report suspicious activity is by calling 911.

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    Cottage Grove Green Garden Awards

    The City of Cottage Grove has selected the residential and commercial recipients of the Citys 2018 Green Garden Awards. Kent and Nicole Raymond, of 93rd Street South, and St. Lukes Lutheran Church on Hinton Avenues received the awards. Each received an engraved metal garden plaque on a stake as their prize. All entries were judged on specific criteria of overall appearance, plant arrangement and variety, uniqueness, creativity, environmental aesthetics, and upkeep. The Green Garden Award has been awarded annually since 2007.

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    Pierce County Approves PACE

    The Pierce County Board of Supervisors conducted a first reading and approved a resolution authorizing the county to enter into a joint powers agreements with the PACE program at its monthly meeting on September 25th. PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a statewide program which allows homeowners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and water conservation projects. The board also heard the first reading to an ordinance which would amend county code to include such an agreement with PACE.

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    Shelter Returns This Winter

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