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    Burke Sentenced In City Swindle

    In an announcement from Dakota County Attorney, James Backstrom, sentencing took place in a Dakota County Court this week in the States case against 55 year old Glenn Charles Burke, of Inver Grove Heights, who pled guilty to four felony counts of Theft by Temporary Control and two felony counts of Theft by Swindle in connection with the theft of large sums of money from October of 2012 through February of 2015 while Burke served as the airport manager at Fleming Field , employed by the City of South St. Paul. The state requested a sentence of 45 months in prison for this major economic crime, which is the presumptive sentence under Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Judge Martha Simonett however, dispositionally departed from the presumptive sentence upon finding the defendant particularly amenable to probation and sentenced Burke to 90 days in jail and probation for 10 years. Burke was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $132,012.23. Burke reserved his right to challenge the total amount of restitution at a hearing currently scheduled for September 20, 2017 at 9 a.m. According to Backstrom, it is intended that the City of South St. Paul recover full restitution for the significant financial loss that occurred.

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    Dakota County Tackles Homeless Need

    On Monday,on community Indepth, we feature two conversations with Dakota County representatives explaining how homelessness is affecting a wider demographic than previously known. Director of Social Services Andrea Zuber, Dakota County Housing manager Madeline Kastler and Dakota County Commssioner Mike Slavik provide some new information on the growing needs facing those seeking shelter. Commissioner Slavik explains why the effort is moving ahead at this time.

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    Kastler notes that shelter stays are becoming longer due to several factors.   

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    Tune in on Monday for more of this important discussion, on Community In Depth.

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    Torch Run for Special Olympics

    The annual Law Enforcement Torch Run took place this week, with members of the Hastings Police Department observing 10+ years as part of the Special Olympics event. The newest participant to join the Hastings Sharks was Police Deputy Chief David Wilske who biked from Hastings to Red Wing where a group of officers joined him to carry the torch through the city. Following the ride, officers met the Sharks athletes and celebrated with a reception at Roadside Park.

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    Dakota County Benefits From CTIB End

    A vote taken on Tuesday by the Dakota County Board of Commissioners dissolved the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB). The action means continuance the current quarter-percent sales tax and $20 excise tax on new vehicle sales at the same rate, but shifting the collection of such monies to fund much needed Dakota County transit and transportation projects, while providing a better return on investment for Dakota County taxpayers. According to Dakota County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Slavik, Leaving CTIB will help create a long-term, reliable structure to fund Dakota Countys transportation needs. with Dakota County revenue possibly used to fund regional transitway capital and operation costs such as the METRO Orange Line along I-35, METRO Red Line along Cedar Avenue, transit expansion, county and trunk highway projects, and regional trail projects. Since 2008, CTIB collected about $947 million in taxes overall with $122 million coming from Dakota County taxes. If CTIB votes to dissolve on June 21, the CTIB sales tax would end on Sept. 30th with the Dakota Countys sales tax set, then to take effect on Oct. 1st for the sole benefit of Dakota County Transportation projects.

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    More Views On Council Action

    The proliferation group homes where offenders would be allowed to reside, was one of the concerns voiced by residents that attended the Public hearing on the Ordinance for residency of Sexual Offenders and predators in the City of Hastings. Former City Councilperson Danna Elling Schultz, who represented Ward 4 until last year, commented on the effects of that practice.

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    Shultz was familiar with the conversation which began with the first Level 3 Predatory Offender that was relocated to the city while she was still on the council. Schultz noted a change in public reaction from that time to the present.

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    Safety Camp Fun And Function

    Safety Camp 2017 was in full swing on Tuesday, showing 3rd, 4th and 5th graders how to stay safe around water, traffic, fire and electricity. Members of the Parks and Recreation department along with the Hastings Police and Fire Departments coordinate the day-long camp to improve safety understanding by children who are rotated through each activity in a small group. I arrived to observe several of the campers exiting the Learn Not to Burn House, where instruction in Stop, Drop and Roll,smoke aversion and other safety techniques are taught in a realistic environment. Then it was on to the fire brigade team building exercise that raced a bucket of water from one end of the High School lawn to the other to fill up the trough. School safety officer Dave Bauer and his team had orange cones set up on the parking lot to show proper signaling, stopping and group ettiquette for bikers, roller bladers and other wheeled conveyances that use area roadways and trails. Each station featured equal parts instruction and fun, showing the 8-10 year olds the importance of safety to keep enjoying the summer.

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    Council Votes On Predator Ordinance

    One of three public hearings listed on the Hastings City Council agenda brought over an hour of discussion and attendance by three dozen residents, many who wished to weigh in on the proposed Predatory Offender Residency ordinance offered for a second reading and possible action by the council. Several residents offered personal viewpoints, beginning with a 52 year old Hastings woman who shared a terrifying account of a home invasion just 18 months ago, by a resident of a nearby group home and the effect the incident had on her life. Others from the community voiced their views on councilmembers being elected to preserve and protect the quality of life within the city they represented. One by one the pleas came to increase the limits of a proposed 750 foot buffer zone between schools, parks and licensed day care facilities and the potential locations where the Minnesota Department of Corrections can relocate level 3 offenders as provided by current Minnesota law. One woman, approached the podium after learning just that evening, that her home with within the termed white zones, those remaining areas of the city where no prohibiting factors existed, allowing temporary or permanent residency of level 3 offenders. She tearfully admitted to wanting to move. Chief Bryan Schafer presented the current mandates and perameters of what law enforcement can do to protect and serve, without encroaching on the constitutional rights of offenders who choose Hastings as their residence. City attorney Dan Fleugel provided legal opinion and explanations why the buffer zone should not be increased, as several had requested, to 1,000 feet or even 1,500 feet. A member of the Department of Corrections provided data that suggested the highest risk level prohibition does little to prevent a majority of offenses, most by those who do not have a record, a conviction or a predatory label attached to them and are statistically over 85% most likely to be a family member, acquaintance or someone known to the victim. Councilmember at Large, Lori Braucks, the chair of the public safety committee and who also has a legal background, read her 12 minute explanation of why she believed the residency ordinance would eventually be challenged by courts, resulting in unnecessary costs to be borne by the city in defense of flawed legislation. First term Ward 4 Councilmember Tina Folch, also on the committee, cited the constitutional limits of such ordinances, agreeing that Braucks voiced valid concerns of such limitations in relation to their legal defense. Ward 2 representative Lisa Leifeld, the third council committee member, looked to the responsibility of the council to represent the wishes of those they represent, noting if support of the ordinance prevented harm to just one child, it should be supported. After the final comments from both citizens and council, Mayor Hicks asked for a roll call to determine support. Each councilmember and Mayor Hicks voiced an AYE vote with the exception of Brauchs, who voted no. Ward 3 Councilmember Joe Balsanek was absent. The final action was to approve the ordinance with the language as written. It was approved to be added to the city charter becoming effective in July.

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    Make Music Day Updates

    In programming outdoor events, Parks and Recreation Event Specialist Paige Marschall Bigler knows it's alwasy a good idea to have a plan B. Wednesday's Make Music Day has been months in the planning so measures have been taken to make sure the show goes on.

    The daylong event begins at 7 am with dixieland music on the Hastings City Hall Square and continues thru the day at a variety of parks and other locations. According to Bigler, some alternative indoor venues will be available to feature the musicians that have donated their time and talents to be a part of this international event. The alternative locations will be posted on the Hastings City website as well as on social media and the KDWA.com community events page. The free musical performances are open to the public on this longest day of the year, and photos are welcomed on the KDWA facebook page to thank everyone for their part in this first annual celebration. Alternative locations for those event sites WITHOUT a pavilion for shelter include: Public Square- alternative rain location is the Community room in City Hall, second floor while the alternative site for performers at Oliver's Grove and Depot Park will be the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park. Levee Park, Roadside Park and Pioneer Park all have shelter areas to protect performers and guests if light rain is a concern. The Show Must go On!

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    Hastings Pool In Swim of Things

    The Hastings Family Aquatics center has reopened following two days of work to patch a section of the zero depth area found leaking into the substructure of the pool liner and shell. Facilities manager Theresa Faustini explained that the issue may have come from a combination of ground swells or shifting under the 20 year old shell that is set on top of miles of below-ground pipes and other equipment necessary to provide drainage and filtering for the popular city amenity. She is excited to have a qualified staff who are looking forward to a busy season.

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    Besides the new Family swims on Sunday afternoons that allow floatation devices for the first time at the facility, a large number of swimming lessons take place most weekday mornings. Faustini explained more about whats offered.

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    Coming out of those lessons on Monday morning, was the Lee Family. 6year old Brooklyn was wrapped in a giant towel after her lesson, where she loves to dive for rings. I asked her dad about her progress.

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    The Hastings Family Aquatic Center is located at 901 Maple Street.

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    Hastings City Council Updates

    The Hastings City Council meets Monday, June 19th,for a regular bi-monthly meeting. Mayor Paul Hicks provides a preview of the meeting.   

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    Because of the 4th of July, the meeting schedule in July for the Hastings City Council has been changed. Mayor Paul Hicks explains.

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    In continuing news fromt recent activities involving the Hastings City Council,Several members of the Hastings City Council attended the League of Cities conference that took place in Rochester last week. Hastings Mayor Hicks explains the focus of the conference.

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    He also explains some of the ideas

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    Crop Duster Helicopter Crash

    An unidentified crop dusting helicopter pilot was able to walk from the scene when the aircraft crashed on Thursday morning just south of Hastings in Marshann township. Hastings Fire Department responded to the call from the Dakota County Sheriff's Department in a field near 180th street and Lillehei Avenue. The pilot did exit the helicopter on his own, but was then transported to the trauma center of an area hospital. His name and condition were not released.

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    Filtration Construction Begins

    The temporary filtration system for the Cottage Grove Well number 10, located on 95th Street has begun. KDWA News spoke with Cottage Grove City Administrator Charlene Stevens and asked her about the progress of planning for permanent filtration of all of the City wells.

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    While the permanent filtration system is in the planning stages, the City has its engineers directing their efforts to the immediate issue.

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    The temporary filter for Well 10 is scheduled to be operational by July 25th.

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    Public Works Summer Plans

    As the neighborhood Infrastructure project gets underway this week, Public works director Nick Egger provides the location of this year's construction zone.

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    Egger also notes that antiques may be valuable above the ground, but in the case of functionable utilities, vintage plumbing can lead to lots of problems. He explains how the project will update the system.

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    Our two part program with Public Works Director Nick Egger will be featured next Tuesday and Wednesday on Community In Depth

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    Homes Damaged In Storm

    Rough weather has taken its toll on the Metro Area this summer, and the storm that moved through the Hastings Area around 1:30 am on Wednesday morning was responsible for damage concentrated between 15th Street South to the Vermillion River. The storm entered the city from the West with strong, straightine winds that were reported to reach between 60 and 70 miles per hour by the National weather system. The Hastings Fire Department reported calls of trees down and reports listed at least 8 homes with large trees falling on the roof resulting in damage. Numerous large trees and limbs were snapped with debris on properties in the area. XCel Energy told Chief Mike Schutt that nearly 1,500 people were without electricity following the event. Throughout the day, crews did line repair and most customers were reconnected by 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon. Several tree contractors are in the area to help homeowners remove fallen limbs and trees from their property.

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    Duplex Fire Total Loss

    Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt reported on an overnight fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning, that did extensive damage to a duplex located in the 300 block of West 5th Street with speculation that the fire may have been smoldering for several hours before being discovered. The two level structure presented a multi-pronged challenge due to remodeling over the years placing false ceilings and walls that allowed the fire to spread in the spaces. Chief Schutt noted that fire gained access into a ceiling that created a flashover condition in the kitchen of the main floor. Firefighters were ordered to cease offensive measures and began defensive operations from the exterior of the home. All occupants of the building were safely evacuated and firefighters resuced 3 family pets during the event. Cause of the fire has not yet been determined but the damage,a total loss, is estimated to reach $150,000 including the contents lost. This was a four alarm fire involving units from Hastings, Cottage Grove, Rosemount and Miesville.

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    Gov Support From Senator Schoen

    A statement was released June 8th, from the office of Senator Dan Schoen, in support of Governor Dayton's veto that seeks to bring Republicans back into negotiations. Using language that referenced the poinson pills, Schoen said that the tying of funding for the Department of Revenue to the tax bill was an egregious move that will result in Minnesotans facing an 800 million dollar deficit within four years. Schoen also noted that recipients of tax breaks and reductions were generally large corporations, big tobacco and estates of multimillionaires.

    His believes that Governor Dayton is using this authority to force legislators to come back and finish their work and put the needs of regular Minnesotans first. A government shutdown was a prime concern, said Schoen, and the decision to sign the bill was to prevent a repeat of just such a shutdown that took place in 2011. Senator Schoen supports Governor Dayton in vetoing this provision to require a return to the negotiating table.

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    SEAS Students Honored

    With the end of the school year at SEAS, several awards were announced beginning with the first everJunior Heart Award that was created by the student council to recognize one student from each of the Middle School Grades who represent the SEAS mission statement and shows kindness and respect to everyone in and outside of school. All middle school students were given the opportunty to nominate a fellow student to be considered by the council and middle school staff. The very first Junior Heart Award winner is Mary Bromberek. All felt she represented the ideals of such a title. Other awards were given prior to the last day as well. The Presidents Award for Educational Excellence recognizes academic success in the classroom. To be eligible, the 8th grade student selected, needs to have had all As in 6 th , 7 th , and 8 th grade, and achieved 90% or higher on the MAPS tests this spring in Reading or Math. Jon Kennedy, Nolan Myers, Sam Rabaey were named to that prestigeous group. The Presidents Award for Educational Achievement award is given to an 8 th grader who has shown tremendous growth, and demonstrated a commitment to learning in academics (despite various obstacles). This year's recipients were Ryan Sellars, Ben Siebenaler, Veronica Kaiser. Global Math and Science Awards support STEM Science, Technology, Engineering and Math studies as each year a donation is received that enables the school to recognize students for their high achievement and aptitude skills in each subject.   Maddie Franzmeier and Nolan Myers were given the Global Science award with Sam Rabaey and Veronica Kaiser recieving the Global Math Award. The St. Cecilia Award for Music was given to Benjamin Siebenaler for choir and Sam Rabaey for band.

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    Filters Fasttracked for CG

    In continuing coverage of water quality issues in Cottage Grove, Mayor Myron Bailey posted an update on social media following the meeting held on June 5th in Cottage Grove. Mayor Bailey relayed some of the particulars regarding the installation of the new filtration systems. According to the Mayor the city has already started site construction for the first water filtration system that will be located near Werner Electric on 95th Street South. The tanks are on order and should be delivered within 2 weeks. Completion of the first well is scheduled for July 25th. Mayor Bailey said it normally takes a minimum of 1 year to get a system like this up and running, and Cottage Grove is doing it in less than 3 months. The 2nd well filtration system will be behind the new Central Fire Station on 80th Street. Water restrictions will be removed upon completion of these filtration systems, according to Mayor Bailey, adding that payment for the filtration systems would be sought either from 3M through the consent decree between the state and 3M, or the Superfund. He stated that the City of Cottage Grove would not be responsible for funding the filtration systems.

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    New Owners For Newport Refinery

    The Western Refining facility in St. Paul Park has come under new ownership. On June 1st, the oil company Tesoro took possession of the refinery and will include it in a company-wide rebranding effort that will be completed in August. Tesoro and the St. Paul Park refinery will then be known as Andeavor. The refinery employs approximately 400 people and Tesoro states they will honor the current union contract with Teamsters Local 120, which was negotiated last December. Andeavor's website said operations are not expected to significantly change, and that they do not expect any immediate changes to community donation and initiatives in which the refinery has participated in the past.

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    Prescott City Council Agenda

    The Prescott City Council meets on Monday, June 12th for a regular bi-monthly meeting. Items on the Agenda include review and approval of various committee meeting minutes and recurring normal financial obligations on the Consent Agenda, approval of various licensing renewals, first reading of ordinances regarding the school district zone, use of public sewers, and controlling noxious weeds and lawn grass length standards. After the approval and welcoming of David Finley to the Library board, the Council will go into closed session regarding TIF Number 4. The meeting will adjourn after the Council returns to the open session.

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    Hastings HS Graduation Reflections

    Graduation ceremonies took place to quote one Hastings parent, as God intended , on Todd Field on Friday night. We posted photos earlier that day, to showcase one of the main ingredients, that being placement of a blanket on the bleachers to reserve your family space. By early morning bedspreads, quilts and blankets of all hues had been brought to the stadium, with those in the know also using masking tape to encircle the ends for security. The tape also served as a writing surface to place the family name on. I took a look at all the preparation involved in making the outdoor event go off without a hitch. Trucks and crews started early in the week with the assembling of the stage and on Friday more trucks brought chairs, choral risers and delicate band instruments to be used during the ceremony. I spoke with director Jim Jacobsen about the work it took to assemble everything in the middle of the field and then asked what he hopes the graduates will take with them from their time in the Hastings Music program.

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    We'll have more of our coverage of the 2017 Hastings High School Graduation on Todd Field in later newscasts. and be sure to check the KDWA Facebook page for our videos and photos of the walk to the stadium, some of the creatively decorated mortorboards, and some of those we spoke with before those hats were launched into the evening air.

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    One of the best parts of covering graduation night is going through the line as the graduates are nervously awaiting their entrance to the stadium. Lined up in alphabetical order, they adjust their hats, take selfies with their phones and look anxiously towards the stands. I tried to get as many voices as possible to find out what has been a highpoint for their high school career, where they are going next and which teacher may have made a big difference in their lives. First some of the favorite teachers.

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    I also asked Grace what she would always remember as she goes forward.

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    There were also a couple favorite memories.

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    Just before the line started to move towards the field, I asked Trevor if he was ready to go.

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    The last student also told me what she would try to take with her.

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    We thank all the students, parents and teachers that provided their view of Graduation 2017. Good luck as you start your new adventures.

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    Photo Courtesey of Kari McCord

       

    Amber Alert Cycle Run Recap

    The 15th Annual Amber Alert Motorcycle Run took off from Park Place Sports Bar on a steamy but wind swept morning. On Saturday, nearly 200 riders turned out to support the local effort. Ronnie Trejo notes that many of the riders come every year and the riders all know the cause in an important one. Chris Rush, from the Minnesota Bureau Of Criminal Apprehension, was part of her first Cycle Run.

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    Bikes and trikes of every possible combination of color and style readied for the 162 mile trek that would visit Prior Lake , Henderson and Apple Valley before roaring back thru Hastings on their way to St. Paul Park.

    I spoke to the Cammy and Mike Fisher from Red Wing who has added a wheel to their ride. The bright crimson trike provides them a sturdier and more comfortable ride and allows them to participate in rides which put lots of miles under their wheels. Mike explained how police in the towns they ride through help with traffic control

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    And Cammy has a special reason for supporting the ride.

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    The Motorcycle run is the major fundraiser for the local group who hope to collect 25,000 in support through the raffles, silent auction and registration fees. Those who don't ride can also help by attending a meat raffle or donate online through their website. www.mnamberrun.org.

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    Suspicious Person Reported Near SEAS School

    We have a late breaking news story that involved a suspicious truck driven near SEAS School on Thursday, June 8th at about 10:40 am. According to a letter sent to SEAS Students that afternoon by Principal of SEAS School Tim Sullivan, A man attempted to speak from the window of his truck to several children who were outside for recess, with No information on what he said however. A school aide approached the man who drove away quickly, even circling the block once more and driving the wrong way on Ramsey Street. There is no description of the make or color of the truck and Hastings Police were alerted, spending the remainder of the day providing more presence near the school Principal Sullivan explained in the letter, an over abundance of caution was used and at no time were children in contact with the person. If anyone has any further information of the incident please contact the Hastings Police or dial 911.

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    Suspicious Person Reported Near SEAS School

    We have a late breaking news story that involved a suspicious truck driven near SEAS School on Friday, June 8th at about 10:40 am. According to a letter sent to SEAS Students that afternoon by Principal of SEAS School Tim Sullivan, A man attempted to speak from the window of his truck to several children who were outside for recess, with No information on what he said however. A school aide approached the man who drove away quickly, even circling the block once more and driving the wrong way on Ramsey Street. There is no description of the make or color of the truck and Hastings Police were alerted, spending the remainder of the day providing more presence near the school Principal Sullivan explained in the letter, an over abundance of caution was used and at no time were children in contact with the person. If anyone has any further information of the incident please contact the Hastings Police or dial 911.

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    Murder Plea in Rosemount Senior Death

    On Tuesday, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Grant David Hendrickson, age 28 of South St. Paul, pled guilty today to one count each of Murder in the Second Degree (With Intent To Kill) and Attempted Murder in the Second Degree (With Intent To Kill), both felonies, in connection with the fatal shooting of Donald Joseph Hortsch, age 69 of Rosemount, and the attempted shooting death of a 26-year-old male on November 7, 2016, at the Dollar Tree store in Burnsville. The 26-year-old shooting victim (now age 27) was paralyzed below the waist as a result of being shot twice. One bullet intended for this victim, traveled through an aisle shelf and struck Donald Hortsch, who had been shopping in the store. The Judge accepted the guilty pleas and scheduled Hendricksons sentencing for June 19, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in Hastings. Hendrickson remains in custody without bail pending his sentencing.

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    Utility Rate Increases Explained

    The recent delivery of a comparative utility rate breakdown was received citywide this week. On the communication piece, a special edition created by the City of Hastings for Summer 2017, information was provided on the outcomes of the utility rate study, as well as answers to questions about variances in water usage fees for different types of customers. The fixed versus variable charges explains the price paid by all customers and additional tiered rates that are incurred by some of the larger users of city supplied water. Three other fees, fixed sewer charges, sewer usage charges and Storm Water charges are explained along with a credit system that allows for the new tiered breakout that shows a jump in fixed sewer charges to 14.66 per customer beginning on July 1st versus a previous rate of 1.50. Stormwater totals, are also fixed with a 15% jump in that cost. The study uses an average low level user at 6,000 gallons per billing period with a medium user jumping to 23,000 gallons. According to the report, high-use and commercial customers will find new rates apply as well. Reaction to the increases and possible effects on apartment rents, property development and existing business bottom lines will be explored in an upcoming newscast.

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    Bids For Alley Finish Rejected

    Despite the momentum that has propelled the Riverfront Rennassiance to become a destination celebrating a full year of use already, one part of the project remains. Termed RFR 3.1, the remaining tasks to complete the transformation came up short as evidenced in a presentation by Public Works Director Nick Egger as he outlined a snag in the bid received to renovate and update the alley between Sibley Street on the east and the Bridge on the West.

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    Eggers continued with some reasons given by the contractor.

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    The resolution was to send the project to the Council Planning committee for their recommendations on the next step.

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    Pierce County MC Crashes

    The Pierce County Sheriffs office reported that two motorcycles traveling together were involved in similar accidents when the bikes lost control on a gravel surface of a Pierce County road, causing each bike to crash, resulting to injuries to a Ramsey, Minnesota couple and an Elk River man. All were transported from the scene to the River Falls Hospital. The extent of their injuries were not known.

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    Training To Prepare HPD

    At the Hastings City Council meeting on Monday, June 5th, Chief Bryan Schafer presented an Audit Summary from the completion of examining current protocol that provides Hastings Police officers with additional training to better understand and handle the unique circumstances involved in processing incidents of Sexual Assault. The chief noted a marked deficit in training given during the educational process to incoming officers, resulting in less preparedness in the handling of the special circumstances of this type of crime.

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    Specified training came from The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) which provides leadership and resources for sexual assault programs and allies to prevent sexual violence while promoting a comprehensive, socially just response for all victims/survivors. The new training also collaborates with advocates to promote a more victim-centered response to sexual violence, and increase effective criminal justice. This prevention program takes action before someone is harmed, also enlisting input from policy makers and elected officials for laws and programs that fight sexual violence. Schafer also initiated the action to allow peace officers to be more complete in the reporting which is designed to increase the strength of cases for prosecuting offenders.

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    Fishing Contest To Benefit Amber Alert

    More details now on the 3rd annual Jason Carp Reuter fishing contest that will take place on June 24th. Organizers say the event is an opportunity to have fun fishing then bringing your big lunkers in to be weighed at the Coliseum in Hastings. An entry fee of just 20 dollars includes free food and the chance to have your fish win a prize of up to 1,000 dollars and a trophy to boot. Biggest Catfish takes home the thousand, with the biggest carp and Sheephead garnering 250 each. Free fishing for those 12 and under and a band will add to the festivities starting at 7 PM. All proceeds this year will be given to the Amber Alert Association. for more information, contact Mike Reuter, 651-253-8887. The event will take place rain or shine and you can fish anywhere.

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    New Deputy Chief Official

    At Monday night's Hastings City Council, Police Chief Bryan Schafer came forward to initiate the swearing in of new Deputy Chief David Wilske

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    Mayor Hicks then administered the oath of office and Deputy Chief Wilske's badge was pinned on by his 15 year old son Jack.

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    Volunteer Awards Announced

    Announcements made on Monday from Hastings community education Director Kari Gorr on the recipients of two community awards.

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    The Bernie McCoy Community Service award is given to an individual, agency or organization who has exemplified support and service to our Community Education program. This award is made in honor of Bernie McCoy who was a former Advisory Council member and Senior Center Advisory Council member. He was very active in the community and with Community Education for many years. Zoaunne Ratzlaff has been a dedicated volunteer helping with Turkey and SpringOBingo and donating prizes and distributing flyers so the events are always a big success.

    Receiving the Community Education Lifelong Learning Award ,Mike Reis was deserving due to teaching a wide variety of computer and technology classes on topics and devices that are relevant to today's personal and workforce needs. He also conducts numerous one-to-one private tech training sessions year-round. He conducts classes both day and evenings and makes himself available on a very flexible schedule. Mike was honored for his generousity of time and talents that gives back to the community by teaching something he knows well, to others.

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    Troopers Make Special Deliveries

    A quick trip down Highway 61 from St. Paul to Red Wing was serious business last month, for a new mom who was in need of a precious cargo. Lisa Jaeger and husband Brent, who live in Cannon Falls, had just witnessed the cesarean section birth of her son, when a medical emergency resulted in the need for a blood transfusion. Members of the Minnesota State Patrol received the special delivery instructions and the urgently needed blood was picked up in St. Paul and delivered via highway 61 to the Red Wing Hospital in a race against the clock, arriving in just under an hour after the blood order was given. The new parents, as it would happen, are both members of the State Patrol and the new family thanks their fellow troopers who made the trip, realizing they both had been involved in such emergency procedures, making them thankful for 2 special deliveries in one very exciting day.

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    Funding Cuts Impact Hastings Shelter

    With donations down from last years giving campaign, that decreased funding of millions from the Greater Twin Cities United Way will affect services that have been part of the Hastings area for many years. An important clarification with the news is needed concerning local involvement. Executive Director of the Hastings United Way, Mari Mellick points out that the local entity is governed by a Board of Directors made up of community members that either live or work in the Hastings area and that the local Community Investment Committee makes recommendations to fund area agencies, based on the donations received in 2016 by UWH. Those funds were allocated in March 2017 and did include 360 Communities Lewis House, a shelter for women and children. Mellick also stressed that UWH does not anticipate making cuts to 360 Communities Lewis House or other UWH Funded Partner Agencies. While the GreaterTwin Cities funding will impact many programs, those who provide services to persons affected by domestic violence say the 360 Communities will be forced to trim back the help they can afford to give. Although the shelters are continuously at capacity ,nearly $170,000 have been cut to the only domestic violence shelters that serve Dakota County. Three positions will be eliminated due to the cutbacks and volunteers who have helped with outreach will continue to fill in the gaps if possible. According to a recent conversation with Mike Slavik, board chair of Dakota County Commissioners, a committee has been formed to address the homeless needs of the area, but those services provided do not focus on individuals needing protection from a variety of domestic violence situations. Also at issue, is just where to locate such services due to some communities oppose placing this type of facility in their back yards.

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    Last Steps for GRL Site

    An addendum was made on the requirements to complete bid contracts for the removal of contaminated soil inside the former Hudson Sprayer building currently owned by HEDRA but in the last stages of transfer to owners of the Great Rivers Landing company. The adjustment concerned clarifying how the soil could be handled, where it would be taken once removed and the directive that bedrock and building foundation integrity must be preserved during the process. A total of 1231 tons of contaminated soil is yet to be removed from the interior of the building with an additional 325 tons of other debris slated to be taken out before the property can be cleared for transfer. The contaminated soil will then be trucked to a environmental soil disposal site in Rosemount. The final deadliine for potential bids is Wednesday with the bid award to be approved at the first City Council meeting on June 5th. The winning contractor would then have until June 23rd to complete the removal of contaminated soil. Contractors are also required to follow strict procedures that includes minimal use of water to prevent any transfering of contaminants into the nearby river. The work has been completed in the removal on the exterior of the building. According to the city,all work will be completed by June 23rd, with final transfer to follow.

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    School Facilities Committee Reports

    On Friday's Tim Collins Show more was explained on the recommendations made by the panel of volunteers who have spent weeks examining the needs of the district in the areas of building upgrades, facilities improvements and maintenence costs. The superintendent acknowledged that they will be turning to the taxpayers this fall.

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    He also acknowledged the donation of time spent during the past four months by the panel

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    The school board will make their decision on what those final numbers will be in their July deliberations. The state requires the information by the end of August to process then next budget .

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    Holiday Weekend On the Rivers

    The Memorial Day weekend was generally quiet along the rivers in the area. High waters resulted in a no wake restriction to be enacted on the St. Croix from Taylor's Falls to the confluence at Prescott. Traffic on the Mississippi was also diminished by choppy water, cool temperatures and intermittent rain showers. Upriver,however, a Sunday outing for one family involved a fire and explosion of their double decked yacht. The Dakota County Sheriff, south Metro Fire and local first responders were alerted that a boat was on fire under the Rock Island Swing Bridge in Inver Grove Heights. The boat's owner had just refueled his tanks with over 100 gallons of gasoline at the River Heights Marina, and when he started the engines, an explosion took place. An attempt was made to use an onboard fire extinguisher, but the fire spread too quickly and the owner was forced to abandon his ship, allowing it to drift away from the dock and the other boats. A quick thinking teen working at the pumps engaged the emergency gas shut off, preventing perhaps an even larger tragedy. The boat was fully engulfed in flames and thick black smoke and drifted under the bridge where it burnt itself out and slowly sank. An inspection on Monday of the bridge structure showed minimal damage and pedestrian traffic was re-opened at the end of the day. The boat's owner will now have to pay for the recovery of the craft, located in the middle of the channel just south of the bridge.

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    Vermillion Plan Seeks Perspectives

    An advisory coalition continues to invite the community at large to be a part of the preparation for the Vermillion Street Corridor Plan. According to City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee, the coalition will be responsible for guiding and overseeing the drafting of various elements of the Plan, working with city staff and and consulting team to oversee the anticipated 12 month planning process for the redevelopment within the corridor study area.

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    Mesko Lee also provided information on when the meetings may take place.

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    You can reach Morgan Hill at mhill@hastingsmn.gov to ask questions or receive an application before the June 14th deadline.

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    Highway 19 Closed For Construction

    A notice from Washington County and the City of Cottage Grove that Highway 19 at Innovation Road is now closed to allow for pavement removals and utility work to commence. Detours will take place during the construction that is expected to impact north and southbound traffic on Highway 19 and East Point Douglas Road with work around signage involving Jamaica Avenue and Highway 61 until the end of August when the project will be completed. For more information and a map of the affected area,select the link to view construction map.www.co.washington.mn.us/County19

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    Rural School Subject of Video

    Last week, 5th and 6th graders at St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion presented their passion projects as part of the schools project-based Maker Program. Projects included movies on rabbit care, racecar drifting, and promotion of the school; a new business for making stress-relieving slimes; creation of two utopian countries; and a robotics project involving the creation, programming, and coordination of three robots. These projects are the capstone of the schools unique Maker Program in which students draw from all their creativity, knowledge, skills, teamwork, and grit to create things of value. Over the course of the school year, the students created movies, wrote computer programs, built and programmed robots, and created graphic designs. The topics for the passion projects were completely decided by the students, who were encourage to follow their passions.Photo submitted.

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    Father Echert Presents Address

    At roadside park, this Memorial Day, many gathered to pay tribute to fallen soldiers from the distant past and also from recent conflicts. United State AirForce Lt Col. Father John Echert gave the Memorial Day address describing the experiences he had in service for those wounded in the Iraq War.

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    Father Echert ended his address with his wish for America.

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    Pastor Parish Pasch closed the cermony with a prayer.

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    Ceremonies were also held in Cottage Grove, Red Wing, Cannon Falls and Prescott. Dr. Scott Halverson provided a thoughtful address at St. Josephs Cemetery in Prescott. We feature portions of his presentation in our next news cast. You'll find photos of Memorial Day 2017 on the KDWA.com webpage.

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    Prescott Gathers for Memorial Message

    At the Memorial Day observation in Prescott on Monday, held following the parade former Malone School Principal Dr. Scott Halverson was asked to give the featured address. In the speech, he told of his hesitancy to accept the invitation, questioning his ability to find just the right words. But during that speech, he provided many instances of inspiration.

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    After the event I asked Dr. Halverson why he hesitated to accept

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    He also referred to the importance to teaching about the past.

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    Roadside Park Memorial Day Service

    Memorial Day 2017 saw skies turn from blue to steel grey with rain threatening. The ceremonies in several area communities continued,however, aided by some well placed colorful umbrellas. The program held at Hasting's Roadside park was preceeded by a flag ceremony that took place at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings. The crowd then assembled at the Park for the 10 am ceremony. While the audience may have been slightly less than attended in the brilliant sun of 2016, most planned for the unpredictable late spring weather and filled the lawns surrounding the Veteran's Memorial. The national anthem was sung by Gordon Gathright, then a wreath was placed on the memorial by the Post Commanders of the American Legion and VFS. An invocation was delivered by Pastor Paris Pasch followed by a greeting by Mayor Paul Hicks.

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    A reading was given by the winner of the 2017 Patriot Pen award. Sam Krehbeil wrote on the America he believes in

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    Rebecca Schill was this year's Voice of Democracy winner. She offered her view of what our responsibility to America is.

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    Father John Echert gave the Memorial Day address.He relayed the experiences he had in service for those wounded in the Iraq War.

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    Father Echert ended his address with his wish for America.

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    Pastor Parish Pasch closed the cermony with a prayer.

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    We will present portions of the ceremony that took place at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Prescott in our newscasts on Tuesday.

       

    New Bridge Breaks Ground

    The groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Friday for a new Red Wing Mississippi River bridge that will replace the Highway 63/Eisenhower Bridge, connecting Minnesota and Wisconsin. The two lane bridge carries nearly 14,000 vehicles across the Mississippi River each day. Construction is now underway with a projected completion date of August 2020. The project is a cooperative effort between MnDOT, WisDOT, and the City of Red Wing. The nearly 64 million dollar project is financed by Federal funding, 7 million dollars in Minnesota Bonds, more than a million dollars from the city of Red Wing and 27 million in funding from the State of Wisconsin. Once completed the bridge will span nearly 1,700 feet with two 12 foot lanes, and a 12 foot wide bike path. Area roadways are expected to have minimal closure impact, and detours will be announced as needed. Photo by MnDOT.

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    First Cruise In June 3

    The 2017 season of the Downtown Business Association Historic hastings Saturday Night Cruis Ins will begin this Saturday night with vehicle model year 1976 and older welcome to exhibit their pride and joy. Car show times are 5-9 pm along the streets and adjacent lots in Downtown Hastings and a wide variety of food vendors will be on hand as well as many downtown businesses for dining and other shopping opportunities. The 12th annual season is a grand time for families and the community welcomes everyone to attend. The cruise ins are held every other Saturday night with a special music fest also held on July 15th at the Rotary Pavilion by the River.

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    Senator Confident On State Budget Approval

    The 2017 Legislative session resembled a dramatic novel with twists and turns right up until the supposed end of a 3 day special session. And even that might not be the last word, as information was released from Governor Dayton's office Friday,that some points of the budget bill were worrisome and disappointing. On Friday, we contacted Senator Dan Schoen who voiced his confidence that the state budget bill would be passed.

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    Governor Dayton however, will review the bills beginning again on Tuesday.

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    Battle For Bentley

    A Hastings family invites the community to attend a Benefit for Bentley Mueller-Battle For Bentley. Bentley is just 18 months old, but has already experienced more than anyone should have to. He was born with 2 rare genetic disorders and has undergone surgery to remove a tumor caused by Beckwith-Weidman Syndrome. A benefit will be held to raise funds for the family-Kellsee and Dustin Mueller, son of Carol and the late Dave Mueller of Hastings. His Great Grandma Rose Sieben is hoping everyone will come out for the afternoon and help this little guy's family. Donations are appreciated and items for a silent auction, raffle, bake sale and other efforts. Financial donations are also being accepted at Mid Country Bank in Hastings. Ask for Deb. Call 651-437-6169 to donate. Or Call Carol for more information or to donate items for the auction. 651-274-0336.

       

    Newport Brewery Faces Upgrades

    The Opinion Brewery in Newport is under scrutiny by fire marshals, building inspectors and the city council for several fire and building code violations. According to published information the business is in jeopardy of losing its liquor license due to issues involving architectural and electrical concerns. A fire inspector's report advised the owners to add a third exit, fix electrical hazards and have additional electrical work completed. The initial inspection was completed September 2016, and fire inspectors, building inspectors and fire marshals have been working with the owners to resolve issues since that time. The owners denied not completing corrections to the building in a timely manner. Owner Derrick Lehrke said in a statement that, quote, we're just trying to keep doing business, so if there's something we're not doing that the city of Newport isn't happy with, we're just happy to stop doing that and continue on what is acceptable, unquote. Since new issues have been revealed by a recent architect's report, the city council on May 18th gave the Lehrkes more time to make corrections. The City Council has given the brewery until June 15th to begin the corrections.

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    Local School Is Video Focus

    A local, rural Catholic school became the star of a video production recently, that sought to capture the scenery and beauty that is a quintessential part of the elementary school that is St. John the Baptist located in Vermillion, just 5 miles from Hastings. Robert Reinke, owner of Majesty Creations, was the master of the camera shoot which was made possible by funding from the Richard M. Schultz Family Foundation at the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence. The goal was to produce a promotional video and the filmmaker totally immersed himself in understanding and then showing every facet of the small school from the playground to the busses and of course the teachers, staff and students themselves. Principal Dr. Mike Strommen was elated with the result, which gives a unique perspective of the experience, sometimes from a bird's eye view. Reinke employed the use of a drone to do some of the filming and the final product is one that provides those who see it, a better idea of what is offered at the school. Said Reinke, It was abundantly apparent that we were in the midst of a really special place, A link to the video can be found on the school's webpage. www.stjohns-vermillion.com.

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    Dakota County To Close Waitlists

    In a recent In Depth program, Dakota county commissioner Mike Slavik informed listeners about an impending deadline for those wanting to be included on CDA county subsidized Senior Housing wait lists. Commissioner Slavik explained that some people have been waiting for between 4-7 years for their name to come to the top of location availablilty lists.

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    The process is not something that can be accomplished online or by mail, due to the fast approaching deadline.

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    More details on the program can be found on the Dakota County Website.

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    LOOP Bus Adds SSP Link

    The fleet of LOOP busses has increased by one in another Dakota County community. Residents gathering at Central Square on Wednesday morning welcomed another transportion option in the city of South St. Paul and thanks to several sponsors, the Wednesday circulator bus will transport Senior Citizens to grocery stores, social services, city hall, the farmers market,the library and to pick up prescriptions at a local pharmacy. The bus is similar to the Tuesday edition in Hastings, but an additional piece-the coordination with nearby West St. Paul transportation- allows transfering to their bus, providing a link across Highway 52 to busy Robert Street businesses and medical offices. A large contingent of city officials and supporters hopped on the new conveyance that will operate for the cost of just 2 dollars per ride from 10 until 4.

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    Questions Continue On Water

    After Tuesday's announcement on water quality in Cottage Grove, more information is being released from representatives of those connected with the issue. A general statement was released late on Tuesday by Dr. Carol Ley, 3M's vice president and corporate medical director, which cites their belief that the advisory levels announced by MDH are overly conservative and that PFOS and PFOA exposure does not present health risks at levels typically found in the environment or in human blood. A settlement in 2007 with the State EPA and 3M involved a clean up of a dumping ground on 3M property and the installation of various drinking water protections for those in the east metro area. According to records, the cost to 3M for this remediation has been $13 million as of 2016. Nearly 7 years ago, in 2010, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit accusing 3M, also known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, of damaging natural resources, however that case is not expected to be heard until next year. "We err on the side of caution to protect the most vulnerable as best we can," said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, a Minnesota health commissioner. Current Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey has addressed the issue by taking one of the city wells offline until a carbon filtering system can be installed. Public Works personnel will also monitor the water usage now that an emergency water ban has been enacted. Residents affected by issue have been directed to attend one of two meetings that will feature more dissemination of information by the Minnesota Department of Health, city officials and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Those are scheduled for Tuesday, June 6, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Oak-Land Junior High School cafeteria in Lake Elmo and on Wednesday,June 7th from, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Cottage Grove City Hall.

    YMCA Honors Local Youth

    The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities recently presented Youth Thrive awards to 38 teen leaders across the metro area who have made an impact on their communities while demonstrating a commitment to the Ys core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Criteria that determined those chosen for the award included those who strengthen the Twin Cities as volunteers, peer leaders and Y team members. The Youth Thrive honoree from the Hastings YMCA was Hayden Schutt, a leader in the YMCA Youth in Government program. In 2018 he will serve as Youth Governor at the Youth in Government assembly held in January. Hayden is a person who peers and adults will turn to for guidance and leadership. He has shown that his passion for his work helps him engage those around him and impact the broader YMCA community.

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    Prescott Memorial Day Events

    The Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching. Plans for Memorial Day in Prescott are set and several opportunities for community remembrance will take place on Monday beginning with an honor guard from American Legion Post 61 of Prescott and the VFW Post 9060 of Pierce County traveling to perform 21 gun salutes at several locations including a 9AM salute at Legion Hall, the Prescott Nursing Home at 9:15 am, St. Marys Church in Big River at 9:30, St. Johns UCC in Oak Grove at 9:45, Mercord Mill Park at 10 am then a special ceremony between the bridges at 10:15. The Memorial Day parade begins at 10:30 traveling through town to the Veterans Triangle at St. Josephs Cemetery concluding with a service at 11:15. The Prescott Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Memorial Day Chicken Feed at Freedom Park with eat-in and take out meals available, starting at 11 AM.

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    Washington County Water Questions

    Wide reaching news developing Tuesday from the City of Cottage Grove. In response to a health-based advisory issued by the Minnesota Department of Health earlier in the day, members of the Cottage Grove council led by acting Mayor David Thiede, met for an emergency meeting to discuss what actions will be taken following the report involving the accepted levels of PFCs measured in groundwater within communities in Washington County. Area Cities listed in the advisory included Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury and St. Paul Park . According to a proclamation by the Mayor and City council of Cottage Grove, a local emergency was declared to alter well-pumping cycles in order to meet the daily needs of households and businesses. The proclamation continues that the sudden and unforseen situation was not anticipated and that all city departments will coordinate with resources available at county, state and federal levels. Representatives Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park, and Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, also issued a joint statement regarding the health-based advisory values for groundwater in the East Metro which impacts 120 private wells primarily in Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove not served by city water resources. Representative Jurgens also made this statement.

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    KDWA also contacted 4th District County Commissioner Karla Bingham, who served during the excavation of a former waste disposal area of PFC contaminents in 2009-2011. Commissioner Bingham noted that in March of 2007 then Governor Tim Pawlenty, signed into law bills authored by then Senator Katie Sieben,supporting health tracking and biomonitoring of chemical levels for persons whose water supply was likely impacted by the contamination that had been traced back as far as the 1940's from manufacturing byproducts of the 3M plant. Bingham stated the earlier work was in preparation for a future need.

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    Commissioner Bingham also suggested those affected stay connected to developing information.

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    In our next newscast, Senator Dan Schoen provides his perspective on what this will cost the affected communities and how that financial burden should be paid.

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    Get Summer At Y

    In an effort to provide a safe, friend and fun filled summer for area youth, The YMCAs new Get Summer program responds to parents worries and young peoples needs in a unique, innovative way and on an unprecedented scale.This summer the Hastings YMCA will offer 150 free memberships to youth entering grades 9-12. This program will provide local, flexible opportunities for high schoolers in the safe and fun environment of the YMCA. According to decades worth of studies, young people thrive on a mix of structured and unstructured time, and Get Summer provides that mix: The memberships will include, Free, full-access membership to the newly expanded Hastings YMCA, which includes a gym, a pool, a fitness center, fitness classes and multi-purpose spaces Full access to all 25 Twin Cities YMCA locations A safe space for teens to spend time and make new friends. Social and physical activity opportunities Opportunities to connect with caring adults   Leadership development and service learning opportunities and even a pathway to part-time jobs at the Y. The enrollment period runs June 1st - June 12th. Participants must register in person at the YMCA and complete an orientation. Orientations will run the weeks of June 12 and June 19th M-F 1:00-3:00. No pro-rating of family memberships will be offered for youth members associated with those memberships. Get Summer promotion is only offered to youth entering grades 9-12 in the 2017-2018 school year who have not had a membership within the past 60 months and is limited to the first 150 youth to sign up. For more information, visit www.ymcamn.org/getsummer.

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    Water Advisory Issued East Metro

    Today the Minnesota Department of Health issued updated health-based advisory values for two industrial chemicals present in groundwater in the East Metro area and in Bemidji. The updated values incorporate the latest scientific knowledge on exposure and health effects of the two chemicals, known as PFOA and PFOS. State of Minnesota health officials have identified about 120 private wells in the East Metro area, mainly parts of Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove not served by city water, with water that exceeds updated values for the contaminants. In addition, Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury, and St. Paul Park have a number of supply wells for their public drinking water systems affected by the updated values. All affected community public drinking water systems will be able to put in place interim measures that will provide drinking water at or below the new MDH health-based guidance. Drinking water with PFOA or PFOS, even at levels above the updated values, does not represent an immediate health risk. MDH scientists have updated the values to better protect developing infants and very young children. The values are designed to reduce long-term health risks across the population and are based on multiple safety factors to protect the most vulnerable citizens, which make them over-protective for most residents. State Representative Tony Jurgens assured constituents his office is available.

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    According to the MDH press release Cottage Grove may issue an administrative State of Emergency in order to manage interim measures, such as watering bans. The MDH states this is not a health emergency and the drinking water system will be able to meet the updated guidance.

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    Minnesota Session Extra Innings

    Before the final gavel came on the 2017 Minnesota Legislative session, Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka addressed the Senate, confirming that a special session would take place beginning at 12:01. Across the hall in the House, Speaker Kurt Daudt performed the official task of calling the members back into session.

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    The move was a formality, however, as the clerk then called for a recess until Tuesday Morning. Speaker Daudt then called for agreement on the recess

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    Members of the House and Senate will return Tuesday morning to complete remaining details in what are reported to be general agreements to the remaining 5 major bills including language for healthcare, k12 education, transportation and possibly a bonding bill. Goverenor Dayton has sent a 7Am deadling Wednesday morning to complete the special session District 54B House Representative Tony Jurgens provided comments just after the final gavel.

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    Representative Jurgens will speak with KDWA for a special wrap up conversation on his first term on community In Depth heard here on Wednesday.

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    High School Greenhouse Full

    The Hastings High School Horticultural Department has had a successful year of plant-growing operations, and they would like for KDWA listeners to share in their bounty. Hasting High Horticulturist John DeWall.

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    Car Rollover On Vermillion Monday

    News provided by A KDWA community contributor on Monday Morning, May 22nd of a car that was flipped onto its top due to unknown circumstances. The incident took place just before 11am at the 18th Street intersection with Hwy 61-Vermillion Street. According to witnesses at the scene, the driver and passenger were already out of the vehicle. No word yet from responders as to any injuries, the cause or if other vehicles were involved. KDWA will have more on this accident when available.

       

     

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