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    MNDot Interchange Plans For 52

    Our InDepth conversation with First District County Commissioner Mike Slavik delved into the controversy surrounding the proposed interchange changes made by MnDOT that will have impact on Dakota County travelers. A comprehensive overview of the subject is given by Commissioner who attended at town hall meeting on the subject in Hampton where more than 150 residents of the county attended to give their view on the work designed, according to MNDot, to reduce traffic fatalities at these highway intersections. Slavik described the principal effect of MnDOT's plan.

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    Hear the entire InDepth program on Monday.


    Dakota County Verdict Guilty

    In news from Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, age 56 of Elko, was found guilty on six counts of Deprivation of Custodial and Parental Rights. From April of 2013 until Novemeber of 2015, Grazzini-Rucki took ,then hid two of her daughters which was in direct violation of a custody order issued by a District Court Judge. Bail for Grazzini-Rucki has been set at 100,000 dollars without conditions and 50,000 dollars with conditions. Others were also charged in the concealment of a minor. Gina Schmit Dahlen and Douglas Craig Dahlen, relatives of Rucki are accused of concealing the whereabouts of the girls, and giving false information when questioned about them during the 2 year search. According to the complaint, Rucki had delivered the girls, then 12 and 14 to the Dahlen's home 4 days after they were reported as runaways. The allegations suggest the girls remained with that couple until found in November of last year by US Marshals. The Dahlen's and another defendent, Deirdre Elise Evavold are scheduled to face trials in the coming months. Rucki's next court appearance will be in late September in Hastings, where sentencing will take place.


    Parks Celebration Success

    The Parks celebration at the Riverfront on Thursday brought families and friends out to hear some music, have a bite to eat and enjoy the cooler temperatures along the river. We met Ruth and John who agreed that the area is certainly much more appreciated and utilized now that the improvements are completed. They were glad to share their Park experience.

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    The couple is eagerly awaiting the completion of Oliver's Grove park, one they have missed since construction began. Ruth was especially glad to know that a water feature would be incorporated into that venue, and she can't wait to have everything accessible once again.


    Connecting Counties

    Construction continues on the trail that will connect Dakota and Pierce County using a clear cutting method to carve a path thru the wooded area just north of the Kings Cove marina. Bulldozers and graders area working to move trees and create access just beyond what some may have known as the old Peanut line railroad tracks. The project which began this summer , will eventually have an alphalt foundation as it snakes along the base of the cliffs all the way to Prescott. The route comes thru the trees still technically on the Minnesota Side and it is not completely clear how and where the trail will cross Hwy 10 to connect further east all the way to Kinnikinnic State Park.



    Summer Sunset Seranade Concert


    On a recent InDepth program, local musician Pete Likes told us about the Summer Sunset Seranade Concert that will take place in August. The reason for the event is not only to say sayonara to summer, but also to raise funds for a very special cause. He explained what the Blue Star Connection is.

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    The concert will be held on Tuesday, August 9th beginning at 7 PM at the Hastings Rotary Pavilion located in Levee Park. Summer's Sunset Seranade will feature a slate of local musicians, Pete Likes, Casey Likes, Randy Rolloff, Brian Schommer, Fungi, Valentine Johnson, Hank Neland, Michelle Sieben, Terry Crisp, Betsy Moenkedick, The Fenders, Gary & Pat, Gary McAlpin and more who will perform a wide variety of musical styles and selections.More information about BSC can be found For more information concerning Summers Sunset Seranade, contact Pete Likes at 651-437-2703 or

    Listen to this story with NEW audio link below.

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    Prescott Emergency Notification System

    The City of Prescott maintains an emergency notification system that can be found online at the City website. This is a different system than the one used in Hastings. The Prescott system has emergency categories posted online such as power outage, water outage, water main break and road closures. These are listed by date and highlighted with a flashing red globe on the website homepage. Residents who wish to receive texts about the emergency situations, can sign up with the Notify Me system. A link is found on the emergency page at


    FurEver Families Found

    The weekend was a busy one for volunteers and staff at Hastings Animal Ark. They participated in the nationally organized Clear the Shelter Day with the goal to place many deserving animals with qualified families. The seven hour open house was busy despite drenching rain accompanied by claps of thunder that provided some challenges for some nervous adoptees. I found a mother and two daughters that had traveled from Eagan that morning, paitently waiting some final paperwork that would release a 6 year old lion-shaved tortoise shell cat named Ariel to her new family. I found out the effort they had undertaken to make sure this feline would be a good match for their home. Mother Cheryl explained.

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    She also shared the importance of considering the animal's needs as well as the current family stability for a successful transition.

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    This is a sentiment that Amy Lauria,communications director expanded on

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    Animal Ark considers the event a success noting that their goal of 2,000 dollars were raised to fund the services of a new behaviorist that will join the team next month as well as the 23 animals, including Ariel, who were place in a FurEver family or held for a future adoption. Lauria thanked everyone who attended and gave information to those considering adoption from this local resource.    

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    Hastings Stray Pet Info

    Several reports of found dogs were listed on the recent Hastings Police log. Found animals are taken to Shamrock Pet Hospital in Rosemount to await reclaiming by their owner. Owners are strongly encouraged to microchip their pet, which reduces the time it may take to get your animal back to you. Shamrock Pet Clinic is the resource used by animal control in Hastings. Impound fees are charged as well as per day boarding until the animal is reclaimed. After just a couple of days the total fees can top 100 dollars with a 10 day limit on unclaimed pets before they will be transferred to another facility or rescue. All fees from impounded Hastings pets are paid at Hastings City Hall prior to retrieving you pet. Lost Pets of Minnesota, is a state wide resource to check if your dog or cat goes missing. Residents of Hastings who are missing a pet, should contact the Shamrock Pet Clinic at (651) 423-3565. The Clinic is located at 14390 S Robert Trail Rosemount, MN 55068.

    Friends of Mississippi Report

    Friends of the Mississippi River in partnership with the National Park Service's Mississippi National River & Recreation Area unit (MNRRA) will present the "State of the River Report," for a current updated look on the health of the Mississippi River. This report was first released in 2012 and its purpose is to provide the greater Minnesota Community about the status and trends of key indicators of river health highlighting the swimming, fishing, aquatic life and emerging contamination issues facing the river as well as priority solutions for each. This special evening at the Science Museum of Minnesota as we launch and present this newly updated report. The State of the River Report will provide a clear, concise snapshot of the health of the Mississippi River. The event will include conversations from Asian carp to bacterial contamination, eagles to swimmability, water quality experts will cover key trends and emerging issues that impact the river as well as provide an overview of potential solutions to protect our river and its watershed. The second half of the event will feature a hosted conversation or panel discussion on additional water quality issues involved in the making of the report. If you have any questions regarding this event, you are encouraged to contact Volunteer Coordinator, Amy Kilgore, at 651.222.2193 x31.


    National Night Out Neighbors Ready

    The Hastings Police Department encourages neighborhoods across Hastings to organize your own National Night Out gathering on Tuesday, August 2. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. Anyone wishing to organize a National Night Out event should register their event with the Hastings Police Department by contacting Officer David Bauer at 651-829-1088 or via email at

    All registered events will be visited by a group from the Hastings Police and Fire Departments, in addition to other local representatives but you must be registered by August 1st to be included in the appearance schedule. Requests to block streets or alleys must also be made prior to the event with times and locations of any traffic impacts to be noted and approved by public safety officers. Additional ideas for creating your block party or resources on how to plan an event can be found at


    Pierce County Pups Get Better Life

    From a tragic story we brought you earlier this year comes some good news. In a case from rural Wisconsin where Stuart West was charged with 117 counts of animal neglect , the Humane Society rescued dozens of maltreated breeding animals and several litters of yellow labradors from his unlicensed property in Pierce County on April 27th. Dozens of people waited in line on Monday to provide some of these dogs a better life. Adoptions were held following several weeks of medical care provided by the Minnesota chapter with several of the older animals not yet ready to be placed in adoptive homes. The charges followed a raid on the West property where 53 live animals were found with no access to water, and little food , housed in small, filthy crates some with multiple animals in each. West has yet to face the court's decision on those charges.


    Candlelight Tribute On Hastings Bridge

    A Hastings community group is hosting an event that will take place to honor and support those who are sworn to protect and serve. The event is called Let's Unite by Candlelight with the gathering planned to take place on Friday, July 29th. Renee Thompson and Patty Carrier are the co-organizers of this effort to recognize and support law enforcement with this community gathering. The group will meet on the north side of the City Hall Building at 4th and Vermillion at 8 PM. The schedule calls for those assembled to walk onto the east sidewalk of the bridge as a group and then spread out from end to end and release balloons at 9PM followed by a moment of silence . At 9:15 candles, glowsticks or lanterns will be lit as those assembled will light the night in a show of support. Participants will independently walk back to the courthouse lawn. Signs of support are also encouraged. The goal is to light the bridge with a line of supporters from south to north. Patty Carrier, one of the coordinators of the event told me where the idea began

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    Everyone is invited, but children should be accompanied by an adult for safety and Walkers only please, no wheels other than strollers or wheelchairs for the safety of all.

    Hastings Lost Pet Info

    Several reports of found dogs were listed on the recent Hastings Police log. Found animals are taken to Shamrock Pet Hospital in Rosemount to await reclaiming by their owner. Owners are strongly encouraged to microchip their pet, which reduces the time it may take to get your animal back to you. Shamrock Pet Clinic is the resource used by animal control in Hastings. Impound fees are charged as well as per day boarding until the animal is reclaimed. After just a couple of days the total fees can top $100 with a 10 day limit on unclaimed pets before they will be transferred to another facility or rescue. All fees from impounded Hastings pets are paid at Hastings City Hall prior to retrieving you pet. Lost Pets of Minnesota, is a state wide resource to check if your dog or cat goes missing. Residents of Hastings who are missing a pet, should contact the Shamrock Pet Clinic at (651) 423-3565. The Clinic is located at 14390 S Robert Trl Rosemount, MN 55068.

    Hastings Star Gazette Is Relocating

    In news today, a news source is relocating their headquarters. The Hastings Star Gazette is moving from South Hastings to a new location. Gazette Editor, Katrina Styx, fills us in.

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    She also gives the reason for the move.

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    Fraudulent Activity Alert

    From the Hastings Police log, comes a story of fraudulent activity. Officers received a call from a party that had sold items on Craigslist and received a check greater than the sale amount. The selling party sent the remaining difference amount back to the buyers through a Western Union check, however the check was later deemed as fake and the selling party lost out on 1,350.00 dollars. The scam is currently under investigation by the caller's bank.

    Citizens Academy Announced

    On a recent community in depth, Police Chief Schafer announced a new season of the Hastings Police Department Citizen Academy which is an eight-week long program that will give you the unique opportunity to step behind the scenes and learn about the role of a police officer in our community. In this informative and hands-on learning environment, academy participants will be instructed by over a dozen different officers, investigators, and supervisors on such issues as patrol operations, traffic stops, DUI, use of force, and more. It is our hope that this academy will create a greater understanding of police work and how the Hastings Police Department serves its community. The Citizen Academy is open to anyone over the age of 18 who either live or work in the City of Hastings. The class size will be limited to twenty participants, and applicants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis and will be subject to a background check prior to acceptance.

    The program is held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. between September 29th and November 17th 2016.

    If you are interested in the HPD Citizen Academy, find the application online at due back to city hall by September 20, 2016. For additional information, contact Detective Matt Hedrick by phone 651-775-5849 or by email


    HFS July Donations Needed

    The last days of July mean that time remains to help those in need through Hastings Family Service. All donations to Hastings Family Service in July receive a proportionate match from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless. To date, a little over $12,000 has been raised. We were surprised with a $10,000 gift of stock at the beginning of July last year so we are a little behind the totals of last year, said Sutton. Stock gifts do not happen often, but they can be a great way for donors to make a big difference and also receive some tax benefits.

    There is still plenty of time left in July and according to Sutton, every single dollar makes a difference. HFS can purchase food from Second Harvest Heartland at 14 cents/lb, so every $10 can buy 70 pounds of food and a gift of $30 can feed a family of three for a week. Summer tends to be a time of increased need at the food shelf because school is out, yet a time of decreased donations because people are busy with summer activities and vacations. The Summer Matching Challenge from Open Your Heart began five years ago to help food shelves bridge that gap. All gifts postmarked and checks dated by July 31st will qualify for the match. Online donations can be made at and must be made by midnight on July 31st. HFS is grateful to the community for keeping the food shelf stocked with great variety of foods that bring struggling families nutrition and relief.


    Hastings Public Safety Dept Updates

    Public Safety updates for the City of Hastings-The Hastings Police Department reported that the City's partnership in the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Unit continues to be a worthwhile investment. Recently, the department was notified they would be receiving the 2016 National Association of Counties Achievement Award. It is the second award the unit has received. Hastings PD is the 3rd largest user of their services and statistics released this week showed convictions in family violence/domestic related cases increased from 49% to 94% and guilty pleas increased from 54% to 87%. The evidence that is revealed from electronic media extracted by this Unit is proving exceptional value. The Hastings Fire/EMS staff recently completed a two-day FEMA evaluation on Radiological Decontamination. The first day involved a full day exercise at the Emergency Operations Center and the second part was an evening exercise performing a complete decontamination process of both vehicles and individuals. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided lots of positive feedback from the comprehensive assessments.


    Hardrives Seek Expansion Approval

    Hardrives, Inc, is proposing to add an asphalt blending plant to their UMore Park location in Rosemount, Minnesota. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for the proposed project, and is making the document available for public comment through August 10. The EAW is meant to describe the ways in which the proposed project could affect air, water, land use, and habitat, as well as potential community impacts, such as odors, noise, dust, and vehicle traffic.The new plant will include eight above ground storage tanks which will contain liquid asphalt, chemical additives, and blending agents needed for asphalt manufacturing.The public is invited to review and comment with their thoughts on the EAW, which is available at The MPCA will use the comments it receives to evaluate the potential for significant environmental effects from the project, and to decide whether a more comprehensive environmental review is needed. If you have any questions you can contact Patrice Jensen who is overseeing public comments on this project at 651-757-2343.


    Downtown Detours East End

    Work was completed just in time last week to open the downtown streets to those attending Rivertown Days activities. Although several orange coned areas remained, the majority of cement street work was complete and all streets were passable, including those needed for the Grand parade on Sunday. In the upcoming week, concrete curb and gutter will begin on the Sibley and 3rd Street intersection as well as continued miscellaneous work within Olivers Grove Park, which will undergo a complete transformation before the end of the year. Reconstruction will begin on the northern half of the Tyler and 2nd street intersection and concrete pavement repairs will be made in several areas on Ramsey Street south of 2nd. One major change will be traffic patterns, that will close the northern half of the Tyler and 2nd Street intersection. Traffic flowing to and from the east side of the Railroad Tracks will be diverted around and under the railroad Bridge using 1st Street. Emergency access to the east side of the tracks will occur by access through alleys. Two temporary one way sections will be assigned to streets off of 2nd with signage to instruct the short term changes necessary to complete concrete work and some remaining pavement repairs.


    Chamber President Barse RTD Recap

    During the cleanup process on Sunday Night, I took a few moments of time from Chamber President Kristy Barse who shared her initial reactions to the weekend.

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    I also asked if there was anything that surprised her about this first time at the helm of the logistics for Rivertown Days

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    One task that Base undertook alone, however, was riding a giant duck down the Vermillion River with 5 opponents to see which duck was the swiftest. We find out the Chamber President has even more talents as she left the others in her wake.

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    We'll feature more of our coverage of Rivertown Days events coming up all this week.


    Old Fashioned Pedal Power

    One of the events at Rivertown Days that required some old fashioned muscle was the Pedal Tractor Pull where youngsters put everything they had into pedaling a heavy skid as far as their little legs could take them. Owner Eric from the River Valley Tractor Pull spelled out the novel way to win at this competition- work for it.

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    I wondered if potential contestants could prepare for next year, Eric assured me there was

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    The photo was taken of 4 determined lads who were positive they each would take home first place in their age category.


    Bell of Liberty Joins POW Balloon

    More highlights from this year's schedule of Rivertown Days events. On Friday evening, a very special event took place at Wilson park. Terry Throndson provided an opportunity to view a replica of the Liberty Bell as well as the display of a crane that hoisted a 30 foot by 20 foot American Flag. His efforts accompanied the POW/MIA Hot Air Balloon that welcomed a long line of participants to tethered flights in the wicker basket attached to the gigantic black balloon with the emblem of an eagle, barbed wire and a single tear. They are not forgotten was emblazoned on the balloon which brought visibility to the fact that thousands of American Soldiers' whereabouts are unaccounted for. We'll feature more of his story on an upcoming InDepth and hear how he and his wife of 44 years travel thousands of miles at their own expense to bring the Liberty display to communities for a presentation on patriotism as well as serving families at funerals of servicemen and women as the ultimate sign of respect, tolling at services all over the Midwest.


    YMCA Glow Run Fun

    The Hastings YMCA hosted their 3rd annual Glow run in conjunction with the 15th annual Nick Clare Memorial run last Thursday evening, July 14th. With three different runs available to participants, the event was well attended and Member Services Director, Melissa Morris provided a recap on the success of the event.

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    Morris also shared what the event funds will be used for.

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    Flood Waters Starting to Recede

    Many businesses and even cities are feeling the effects of the high water that continues to make it's way from the deluged north downstream. Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours are closed due to the unprecedented high water and the Stillwater lift bridge was closed for a time this weekend due to waters threatening the motors that make the historic bridge operate.The National Park Service has closed all of their access points due to hazardous conditions on the St. Croix River and some are calling this a 1,000 year flood. They have never seen a single storm raise the St. Croix river like this. The water, although beginning now to recede, will take time to work it's way back into it's normal path. Those with reservations at river affected campgrounds or other attractions, should call for current information and possible impact to your plans. The high water has affected many, even your local radio station. KDWA AM and FM relies on it's transmitter tower, located in east Hastings, to bring our signal to listeners. Water surrounding the tower now measures nearly a foot, the highest water level recorded this late in the year. (Photo Provided by Bryan Massman)

    Hastings Sings Names Winners

    For those listeners who heard each of our Hastings Singers this year as they were presented on KDWA, the time has come to divulge the winner and runner up who were chosen from the seven finalists performing at Jaycee Park on Sunday afternoon. Several hundred in the audience gave lots of support to each contestant. The finalists, Maria Ramos, Savanna Alvarado, Katrina Walt, Sara Mendoza,Cheyenne Steinbruckner, Anna Brown and Bailey Alter performed one song each and special guest Amber Feind, the very first winner of Hastings sings, performed 2 songs while the judges deliberated. Then it was time for the big announcement.The judges selected Anna Brown as the Runner Up and for the second time in as many years, Bailey Alter received the top score. Bailey and Anna, both advance to Minnesota sings in September. I asked Anna what she thought of the competition and hearing herself on the radio for the audition process.

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    Then we heard from repeat winner, Bailey.

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    The winner received 50 dollars and the runner up 25, but the chance to win much bigger prizes at the next level appealed to both ladies who were congratulated by Mayor Paul Hicks as he invited them both to lunch prior to their appearance at Minnesota Sings. Photos of the event are posted at and on the KDWA Facebook Page.

    Pictured are Bailey, Maria, Cheyenne,Anna,Sara,Katrina and Savanna.


    Hastings Rivertown Days Information

    Hastings Rivertown Days is here with event offerings for all. This year's festival as a variety of activities held in a variety of locations including Veteran's Memorial Levee, The LeDuc Historic Estate, and of course, Jaycee Park. Many new events are scheduled this year including a Community Church Service that will take place thanks to hosts Christ's Family Church and will be held on Sunday Morning at the Rotary Pavilion. Also, new this year is an exciting display on the river on Saturday afternoon when Midwest Jetpack will show off their thrilling water exhibits featuring water powered jet packs that send fliers 50 feet in the air over the river. The Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce offices will close at 3 p.m. Friday, July 15. Rivertown Days Information on all events can be found online at or at the information booth at Jaycee Park or the Satellite booth at the LeDuc Historic Estate. Listen to KDWA for updates, weather, and emergency information regarding the weekend.


    National Weather Services Warns High Water

    With the significant rainfalls over much of Minnesota during the summer so far, the National Weather Services is projecting the Mississippi River to rise around the 14.5 foot stage over the coming weekend and falling slowly thereafter. Although this will produce high water levels right here in Hastings, this would not be considered a flood stage. If the river levels follow the projected forecast, the water would come within about 6 inches or so of covering the old steps at the Veterans Memorial in Levee Park. Those steps have historically been a good gauge for the community because the flood stage is reached when the water reaches the top of those steps. With it being Rivertown Days weekend this weekend, residents and visitors near or in the water are encouraged to be safe and aware as strong currents and floating debree may create hazardous situations for those enjoying the festivities this weekend.



    Emergency Services Responses to Comcast Phone Outage

    On the evening of Tuesday, July 12, a massive Comcast phone outage shut down service in several major areas of the country with frustration with the lack of coverage in some areas for up to 10 hours.KDWA asked local emergency services representatives to find out what is done to keep information flowing. Chief Mike Schutt from the Hastings Fire Department responded to our question about our dependence on cell phone reception.

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    He did have some suggestions for a similar situation, should it occur.

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    Prescott Police Chief Gary Krutke was asked for their protocol.

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    We are not aware if this type of situation is part of the current survey on disaster preparedness but will pose that question to Hastings Chief Schafer on a future broadcast.


    Pokemon Go Craze

    On news we brought you the international phenomen of the Pokemon Go craze, which seems to have seeped into just about every demographic with it's phone app software challenging players to collect them all. Them are the 150 or so animated characters who magically appear and disappear in a virtual reality screen on a players phone. No sooner than we aired the story, then I had the chance to observe the magnetic draw for myself in a visit to Levee Park on Wednesday evening. In the space of 30 minutes I counted more than 50 participants in individual hot pursuit of these characters, scattering young and old across the lawns and trails in constant motion to discover new locations and bonus prizes with an occasional squeal of I found one or Over here wafting through the air. The players climbed steps, scaled lawns and even stood on tip toe to capture an elusive figure. I talked with a couple who were challenging their children to find Picachu , Bulbasauer or Charizard before it got too dark. So there they were, fresh air, brisk walking, challenging minds and bodies. Just don't spoil the fun by telling them it's exercise.   


    New Changes with Hastings Animal Ark

    Animal Ark of Hastings is gearing up with some news they are adding to their history of compassionate care of animals that are available for adoption. Amy Lauria announced last week that several decisions have been made to increase the viability and visibility of this no-kill shelter, which has it's roots in Hastings. The board of Animal Ark recently decided to hire a professional dog trainer, Your Dogs Best Friend, to socialize and work with our more challenging canine cases. They have named Lorraine Royal, the new shelter manager. Lorraine, who was previously the senior animal care specialist is an Animal Ark veteran. They have also appointed a new volunteer coordinator, local Hastings resident Lauren Erickson, to help organize our volunteers and step up their schedule of outreach events. And to fill in the visibility piece, they have retained a crackerjack publicist, Spotlight Business Solutions, to get the word out on those events. One of the first opportunities the public will have to see these new staff in action, is the Clear the Shelter Day, taking place on Saturday, July 23rd from 10am until 5 pm. You can find out more about that event at



    MPCA Released Polluted Water List

    The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released on Wednesday, July 13, the updated list of polluted bodies of water in the state of Minnesota The list represents an assessment of how well lakes and streams support fishing, swimming, and other beneficial uses. Water bodies that fail to meet standards are considered impaired and this assessment is mandated by federal law, which requires cleanup studies for each impaired water body. Fish, aquatic bugs and people are at risk in many lakes and streams across Minnesota with problems that include high mercury levels that limit consumption of fish because of its toxicity, high levels of phosphorus that cause algae and bacteria than can make water unsafe for swimming. The draft list totals a little more than 4,600 impairment bodies of water with 582 new listings this year alone with Lake Rebecca, Lake Bllyesby, and the Vermillion River among others making the list for Dakota County. Patrons should be aware of their contact with polluted water and should reduce their use of chemicals on lawns that end up in our Minnesota watersheds. For more details and the complete list of impaired bodies of water, visit the agency website at and search impaired waters.



    Treasure Island Resort Casino Expansion

    The island is calling for more of the popular Treasure Island Resort and Casino, located just 16 miles south of Hastings. A Treasure Island spokesperson has announced another major expansion to the property. Groundbreaking took place on Tuesday for the 86 million dollar project that will add 300 new hotel rooms, renovate the current lobby, add a new restaurant and bar as well as a larger water park. The first phase will be completed by the end of 2017 with a full renovation of the Buffalo Tower in 2018.


    Highway Construction Slows Traffic

    Traffic woes continue on North bound 61 as well as west bound Highway 10 as construction crews are adding right turn lanes to the Wisconsin artery at 61 in front of the former Point. Traffic was backed up significantly due to lane narrowing as traffic crept north at midday on Monday. the former Point property which is attached to a Holiday station store, is still standing, albiet empty, over a year since the loyal customers celebrated its last days. The property to the north is also undergoing a major transformation with the former park and ride now razed and bulldozers leveling the corner in preparations for the upcoming build. Although the details of the replacement of the station are not known, much of the area should see a change before the new building is erected, including the extension of Highway 10 west into the residential area around the Tree House Landscape business. That longtime fixture is set to stay, becoming an island as the new road encircles its perimeter. The road project is expected to last until October.


    Senator Metzen Dies

    Senator Jim Metzen, a 42 year member of the the Minnesota Legislature passed away Monday night, following a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Metzen, 72, was instrumental in the development and support of the South St. Paul community, a leader in the DFL party and a strong voice for small communities and hard working people. Last November a celebration was held at the iconic Croatian Hall in South St. Paul as the Senator was right in his element shaking hand with politicos such as former Governor Tim Pawlenty, Amy Klobecher and Mayor Beth Baumann who recognized Metzen's dedication for the many causes he championed and his efforts to improve the hometown he loved. Metzen had been named the Grand Marshall of the recent Kaposia Days Parade, and although frail, beamed non-stop from the car as shouts of thank you came again and again from those who lined the curb. Funeral services for Senator Metzen are pending.


    Comcast Phone Outage

    The massive Comcast phone outage that shut down service in several major areas of the country was still largely unresolved as of late Tuesday evening. Businesses felt the pain with those callers to affected numbers receiving a message that it was a non-working number. We made calls to the technical support line several times during the day, at one point waiting on hold for nearly 2 hours.

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    Local businesses took to social media, airing their outrage at the loss of communication while those subscribers needing emergency services were left without answers, hearing busy signals to any call attempted. KDWA was affected for several hours, with service finally restored just before 10pm. There has been no explanation provided as to the cause of the disruption.


    Principal Vortherms Ready for Move

    The Big Move is now underway at the New High School in Prescott. The week will be filled with a schedule of transfering the needed supplies and equipment from the old to the new. Principal Dave Vortherms provided KDWA with an exclusive tour thru the new facility and we will take our listeners along in 2 special In Depth programs this week. As they transition the equipment from school to school, the adminstration asks that you not park near the building or enter the perimeter of either school while it is underway. Also, Prescott Public Safety remind everyone there is no parking , except in the case of an emergency, on Highway 10 or in any lane of traffic. KDWA will bring you photos and interviews with those involved in the BIg Move in our broadcasts this week and also online at


    Hastings Family Home Fire

    A four alarm fire took place in the afternoon on Friday, July 8, in East Hastings which took the resources of four communities to contain the blaze and keep it from spreading to vegetation surrounding the rural home. The fire was kept from spreading due to resources provided by fire departments of Miesville, Hampton, Cannon Falls and Hastings. The location of the fire was the east end of 4th street in East Hastings, sometimes referred to as the Bottoms. The limited accessability and lack of hydrants complicated the effort which was brought under control after several hours on the scene. The home, owned by the Majeske Family, was deemed a total loss. No other structures were involved and no one was injured in the blaze. The cause of fire is under investigation.


    Hudson Great Rivers Landing Project Update

    A comprehensive update has been released on the Hudson/Great Rivers Landing Project Update. The Purchase and Development agreement has been signed by all parties, however, resolution of some issues remain in order to transfer the property. The City has completed a Section 106 Review of historic impacts (as required to use the 600,000 dollars EPA Cleanup Grant). The EPA has found the environmental impacts will not pose an adverse effect on cultural resources. The Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has until July 21st to review and concur. They do not anticipate any issues. Once SHPO has signed off on the Section 106 Review, EPA funds can be expended for soil cleanup and soil vapor remediation, including Exterior and Interior Contaminated Soil Excavation. As the crawlspace areas of the building contain contaminated soils, original bids exceeded the estimate of the engineer due to the uncertainty and methodology for removal. That contract will then be done in two phases. The first will be to remove the flooring to better examine removal procedures, with work to be completed by August 12th. Once removed, further testing will be done to gage just how much soil must be removed from the interior of the building. The second phase contract will be let in August, with remediation completed by mid-September. There are several more items on the list including Soil Vapor as a concern for the product. Final design of a vapor intrusion mitigation system is underway to remediate soil vapor beneath the building and a Lead Based Paint Grant that had been submitted to the Metropolitan Council was denied. Those involved with the project must find other methods to abate or encapsulate that paint. Confluence has submitted plans for the parking structure, landscaping and soil grading for the Planning Commission and City Council to review in July\August. Architectural Approval must be received by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPPO) as well as the US Park Service Plans have been submitted to both parties in order to satisfy Historic Tax Credit requirements. Letters from both have been received with the developer is working through details to secure approval. Even with the list of approvals to receive, the City stated they anticipate that Confluence will take possession of the property in October.


    (Photo courtesy of the City of Hastings)

    New Steinway Has Arrived

    Hastings Arts Center owners, Sarah and Travis Lockwood, are overjoyed with the arrival of a new instrument making them feel like proud parents. This particular bundle of joy weighed in at nearly half a ton and took several grown men to carefully install it in the middle of the Arts Center Stage. The fundraising for the newest addition began almost as soon as the doors to the Center opened nearly 16 months ago, with the Lockwoods anxious to complete their musical family. The 1929 Steinway and Sons grand piano is now home, following a trip across the county and the future for the new addition will begin right away with eager piano students of all experience levels standing in line to play the exquisite instrument that assures many years of musical memories will include the sounds of the Steinway.


    Cottage Grove Helps Small Business

    City of Cottage Grove Economic Development Director Christine Castello outlined a new approach by the city that will address several parcels of land in their business park. While several new businesses have recently expanded or moved to that area, efforts to court smaller businesses is underway that will focus on readying 3-5 acre parcels for shovel ready designation. This plan aims to provide attractive entry opportunities for smaller companies to relocate their business to Cottage Grove lessening the major hurdles that may derail smaller companies from taking the next step.


    Counterfeit Cash in Northfield

    The Northfield Police Department was notified that someone is attempting to cash in fake 100 dollar bills to local businesses, in exchange for smaller tens and twenty dollar bills. Sgt. PT Haider says they are looking for a silver Dodge sedan with Illinois plates and two people. The female, described as a black woman about 5 feet to 5 feet 1 with a nose ring is going into Northfield businesses while the driver waits. They have hit a total of four so far. Investigators are actively searching for the vehicle and occupants at this time. If you see a vehicle matching this description, or the suspects, please contact the Northfield Police Department at 507-645-4477.


    Downtown Construction Continues

    More progress has occurred on the street and sidewalk reconstruction in downtown Hastings. Currently in its 5th week of summer rehabbing, the bumpouts of the intersection in front of the post office has been completed, including the decorative and stamped sections. The majority of the concrete in the intersection was poured with several feet of open area needing to wait until after the weekend Cruise In. Spot concrete removal work occurred on the south side of 2nd Street in preparation for joint and curb repairs and the old red concrete strips were removed along 2nd Street from Sibley to Ramsey. Excavation and prep work was begun that will prepare the spaces for boulevard tree pits. There was also some miscellaneous work within Olivers Grove Park, but that is listed on a different timeline than the rest of the street due to the plan's unique features, including a water source. Public Works Director Nick Egger surmised that completion will probably not be fully realized until early Fall. The multitude of visitors for the Saturday Night Cruise In on July 9 were met with just slightly less obstacles as the project continues toward it's completion of much of the 3 block target area in time for Rivertown Days.


    Prescott Discusses Trail Process

    The counties of Dakota, Washington and Pierce will one day be connected with the project that is taking existing bike and walking trails from the west side of Dakota County, cross the Hastings Bridge into Denmark Township and skirt along a former railway line into Wisconsin with a much anticipated pathway of access. The Minnesota side of the project is well underway and Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand explains what it will take to make the project work as it comes into downtown Prescott.

    Click here for audio

    Transportation Project Progress

    The community survey that ended on June 23rd has provided finer definitions of what local residents are hoping to expect from local transportation resources in Hastings. DARTS Director of Transportation, Courtney Whited, released the results of the survey, which gave a better picture of how such a resource should be created. Funds from a number of sources will be used as seed money to get the project of intercity transportation underway, perhaps as soon as late August. This type of transportation will be achieved by small buses, which will run in a set route on one day of the week, most likely stopping at shopping areas, medical and dental offices, the library and other community resources chosen from the survey top picks. The library, senior center, parks, downtown and other locations were listed as desirable stops along the citywide route. The project has 10,000 dollars pledged from the City of Hastings and DARTS itself but needs double that amount to initiate the first year of service for Hastings. The chosen day and even the hours have yet to be determined, but results from the survey indicate a possible round trip cost of 3.00 dollars is generally what riders could pay to hop on board. The partners of the project still have issues to iron out, but hope that providing transportation within the City will serve the part of the population that do not own transportation of their own.

    Minnesota State Parks and Trails New License Plate

    Following a week of online voting, during which more than 30,000 votes were cast, Lt. Governor Tina Smith announced the winner of the contest to design a Minnesota State Parks and Trails license plate. The winning plate features an image of a canoe on the water, surrounded by the four seasons of Minnesota. Smith said that this new license plate allows Minnesotans to invest in the future of our parks and trails, and proudly demonstrate that commitment on their vehicles. The artwork for the plate was submitted by a Coon Rapids artist. The design of Michelle Vesaas received the most votes from among three finalists. The new license plate will be available from the Department of Motor Vehicles this fall as part of the ongoing celebration of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. Cost to display the plate will start at 60 dollars, plus tax and includes a one-time 10 dollar fee for the plate itself and a minimum 50 dollars contribution which can be renewed at that cost each year. An added incentive to purchasing the plate, it provides their owners with unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for the year, replacing the need for an annual vehicle permit a savings of 25 dollars. Proceeds from license plate sales will help fund the operations and maintenance of Minnesota State Parks and Trails.


    Large Blaze Claimed Residence

    A four alarm fire took place in the afternoon on Friday, July 8 in East Hastings which took the resources of four communities to contain the blaze and keep it from spreading to vegetation surrounding the rural home. The fire was kept from spreading due to resources provided by fire departments of Miesville, Hampton, Cannon Falls and Hastings. The location of the fire was the East end of 4th street in East Hastings, sometimes referred to as the Bottoms. The limited accessibility and lack of hydrants complicated the effort which was brought under control after several hours on the scene. The home, owned by the Majeske Family, was deemed a total loss. No other structures were involved and no one was injured in the blaze. The cause of fire is under investigation.


    Carpenter Nature Center Recieves Grant

    Carpenter Nature Center announces they are the recipient of a three-year habitat improvement grant from Outdoor Heritage Fund of Minnesota. The project will involve removing European Buckthorn from 48-acres of scenic river bluff property and ravine habitat on the Minnesota Campus. As visitors you will notice habitat restoration professionals cutting and treating this invasive shrub. Prescribed burns will be employed to help re-invigorate the native plants, dormant in the forest floor, that have been out-competed by the aggressive, invasive buckthorn. As biologists learn more about the compounding negative impacts buckthorn has on our ecosystem we are excited to begin this project, which could not have been undertaken without funding from the OHF. Once this rich habitat has been cleared of buckthorn we hope to see resurgence in native plants, a healthier amphibian population and increased habitat use by native bird species including Red-shouldered Hawks. The Request for Proposals from habitat restoration contractor companies will remain open through July 27, 2016. If you work for a company looking to undertake this project, please contact for more information.

    Swindle Case Update

    The South St. Paul former airport manager 54 year old Glenn C. Burke of Inver Grove Heights, made an initial appearance in a Hastings court Wednesday where a judge set bail for Burke at $150,000 without conditions. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Burke has been charged with seven counts of theft by swindle in actions that reportedly took place between 2009 and 2015, and total more than 108 thousand dollars. Burke currently works as manager of the Anoka County airports in Blaine and Crystal. Reaction from former co-workers and city employees range from disbelief to anger in the revealing of the investigation conducted by the South St. Paul Police Department. Fleming Field in St. Paul is one of several small airports who serve private and corporate clients who rent space to house planes or use the landing field for a refueling stop. That airport recently underwent major upgrades and improvements to it's facilities and business has increased in recent years, moving the city owned resource closer to profitable operation for the first time in many years. Burke appears in court next on Sept. 21.

    Smead Names New President

    After eighteen years at the helm, President and CEO of Smead Manufacturing, Sharon Avent, has named her successor to lead that company into the next chapter of its successful history. A fourth generation of the family, son Casey Avent, has taken over as president as the elder Avent will continue on in the CEO position, planning to work with her son to continue the family tradition of offering organizational products as a leader of records management systems, filing products and a complete catalog of products for use in home and office. The company, has been based in Hastings since 1906, anchoring a business community with a history of employing thousands of local workers during its 110 year history.


    Council Approves Engineer Consultant

    The Council also considered a solution brought by Public Works Director Nick Egger and the City Engineer, Ryan Stempski, to accommodate the workload presented during this year's construction season that includes numerous projects related to Phase three of the Riverfront Renaissance , the Vermillion River Regional Greenway Trail project, the Veterans Home Sanitary Sewar project and the Neighborhood Infrastructure improvements along Bailey Street. The city has struggled, without success, to fill two Engineering Technician positions that have been vacant since 2015 and the increased workload is surpassing the staff on hand. The alternative solution suggested would be to hire temporary help thru resources provided by independent engineering consulting firms. Quotes were requested from three firms which had a history of working with the City and an inspector was selected to provide watch over the remaining work as well as assisting Dave Chalmers with the Neighborhood Infrastructure project when warranted. This solution will result in a cost of 640 billed hours to the city at 84 dollars per hour for a total of 54,000. The City then approved the transaction reallocation of $54,000 from several funding sources for staff salaries and benefits to help pay the Expert and Consultant Account paying for this inspector which utilizes funding budgeted for the unfilled position during the past year. It was noted that another attempt at filling the position will be made this fall.


    River Rules Get City Input

    During the Hastings City Council Meeting that took place Tuesday evening,One item that was moved to the Community Development section of the Hastings City Council Agenda was the request to submit a letter that contained a series of comments and amendments to proposed rules for the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area set by the Minnesota DNR. These rules will provide a standard for river cities to determine setbacks and construction policies as it relates to setting environmental regulations designed to protect the river.

    John Hinzman provided the responses contained in the letter to council prior to the meeting and Councilmember Schultz asked about impact on riverfront development.

    Click here for audio

    Hinzman provided a further explanation

    Click here for audio

    Councilmember Alongi also spoke about his unique dual role in this matter

    Click here for audio


    The Letter was approved to present as written. It was also pointed out that all Minnesota River cities face DNR scrutiny and are providing their own suggestions for the river rules. Hinzman theorized that it would be at least a year until these regulations might be put into effect.


    River Rules Get City Input/B>

    During the Hastings City Council Meeting that took place Tuesday evening,One item that was moved to the Community Development section of the Hastings City Council Agenda was the request to submit a letter that contained a series of comments and amendments to proposed rules for the Mississippi River Critical Corridor Area set by the Minnesota DNR. These rules will provide a standard for river cities to determine setbacks and construction policies as it relates to setting environmental regulations designed to protect the river.

    John Hinzman provided the responses contained in the letter to council prior to the meeting and Councilmember Schultz asked about impact on riverfront development.

    Click here for audio

    Hinzman provided a further explanation

    Click here for audio

    Councilmember Alongi also spoke about his unique dual role in this matter

    Click here for audio


    The Letter was approved to present as written. It was also pointed out that all Minnesota River cities face DNR scrutiny and are providing their own suggestions for the river rules. Hinzman theorized that it would be at least a year until these regulations might be put into effect.


    Airport Manager Faces Charges

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Tuesday that Glenn Charles Burke, age 54 of Inver Grove Heights, has been charged with seven counts of Theft by Swindle in connection with the theft of large sums of money from May of 2009 through February of 2015 from the City of South St. Paul. Burke served as the airport manager for the City for nearly 20 years. The allegations contained in the criminal complaint against the longtime city employee, include the opening of an account where over 108 thousand dollars were purportedly diverted from payments made for fuel, hangar rental and other airport functions into personal use transactions detailed on a credit card in his name.Burke turned himself into South St. Paul Police Tuesday and he will appear in Dakota County Court today in Hastings. Dakota County District Attorney James Backstrom stated his effort is to identify the total of the funds in question to determine the amount owed to the City of South St. Paul.

    Hastings Sings Finalists Announced

    As you may have heard the live announcement was made Friday morning naming the seven finalists that will be advancing in the Hastings Sings 2016 amateur vocal contest. The radio auditions were something different this year and we hope you enjoyed hearing the talented voices that auditioned right here at KDWA. We congratulate Anna Brown, Sara Mendoza, Maria Ramos, Bailey Alter, Katrina Walt, Sheyenne Steinbreckner, and Savannah Alexander for being chosen to sing one more time at the conclusion of River Town Days on Sunday, July 17th. Singers must contact Kelly at KDWA to confirm their spot and receive Finals info.These singers will compete to represent Hastings at Minnesota Sings, the statewide competition held in September. (pictured is one of our finalists, Maria)


    Firework Viewing Details

    The tradition continues at the Dakota Pines Golf Club, as many will gather on Monday night for the 4th of July fireworks display sponsored by Vermillion State Bank. The holiday pyrotechnics have a viewing of many thousands, with residents in nearby Miesville, Cottage Grove and even across the river in Prescott who have reported to be able to enjoy the noisy lighting of the night's sky. If you are looking to come out at dusk and view the lighting display, here are a few details. The Dakota Pines Golf Club is located at the corner of Westview Drive and 15th Street at 2015 Westview Drive Hastings, MN 55033 and visitors to the course to watch the fireworks are encouraged to park on sidestreets surrounding the venue.


    Downtown Construction Update

    The work in downtown will resume after the holiday, on Tuesday July 5th, following a week of progress that was delayed somewhat due to strong thunderstorms. Curb and gutter was poured at the intersection of Ramsey & 2nd Streets to form the outline of the bumpouts. Flat concrete work was started within the bumpouts and foundations were replaced for select light poles at that intersection. Beginning with Flat concrete work continuing within the bumpouts, including installation of the red decorative and stamped sections. A start of select concrete work, and continuation of storm sewer work will take place within Olivers Grove Park. Preparations will start to be made for concrete street pavement. The public works department anticipate some of this concrete to be poured by the end of the week. Weather permitting, they remain intent on having the intersection concrete completed during the week of July 11th, reopening the intersection of Ramsey and 2nd Streets right before Rivertown Days. There may then be a possible start to removal of the old red concrete in the boulevards along 2nd Street from Sibley Street to Ramsey Street. As always you can stay up to date with continued progress here on KDWA or visit the City's website at


    Motorcycle and Boat Float Accident

    A followup to a story we reported on earlier in the week on the air, the driver of the SUV that was towing a boat, whose water float mat flew off and caused that motorcycle accident, has come forward, taking responsibility for the unsecured load. Kyle Gundersen, a resident of Menominee, Wisconsin, contacted the Highway Patrol, after he saw news reports of the accident where the driver hit the water toy and was thrown from his motorcycle along the highway. He realized his involvement when he arrived at his destination missing the yellow rolled up water pad. No word yet on possible charges for hauling an unsecured load. The motorcyclist suffered minor injuries in the mishap and credits his heavy riding jacket and helmet for making the difference in the outcome of this story.

    Big Moves with the Prescott School Board

    The Prescott School Board is continuing it's transition process to prepare for a very different looking school year to come. In a lengthy June meeting, board members hammered out the details in advance of the BIG move, planned to begin July 11th. Not only will a brand new high school be part of the district, but several of the staff will be changing as well. The Board approved the resignations of several teachers, coaches and support staff as they begin to restructure the positions that will start back to school in a reassigned building layout. New and returning hires were approved as well, with discussion continuing on custodial and STEM positions. The shift also approved new wiring in a four year plan that would upgrade the electrical needs of the former High School, adding CAT5 and other technically needed support as well as traditional upgrading of original power schematics. The new intermediate school, housing grades 3-5, will be purchasing playground equipment for students who still factor recess into their day.


    Nine Employer of Excellence Awards Given

    Nine Dakota County organizations were recently given Employer of Excellence awards by the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board. Organizations recognized from Burnsville were Bankers Equipment Services, Custom Drapery and Blinds by Esch, Firefly Credit Union and Valley Natural Foods. The other businesses recognized were MRCIWorksource of Rosemount, Anchor Bank and Living Well Disability Services both of Egan, Post Consumer Brands of Lakeville and lastly Carlson Capital Management of Hastings. The purpose of the program was to recognize some of the best employers in the local area and provide vital information to companies about the practices they use to attract and retain employees. Congratulations to all those recognized for their employment efforts.



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