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Ben Parks – News Director

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Hastings Country Club Rumors

Rumors are spreading around Hastings that Treasure Island has bought out the Hastings Country Club. According to the Country Club, these rumors are completely false and Treasure Island hasn't even approached them or spoke to them about purchasing the business. The club is still open, doing business, and hosting events.


New Playground Coming To McAuliffe Elementary

The students at McAuliffe Elementary will have something to look forward to when the new school year rolls around on September 2nd. Even though the weather has not been cooperating much this summer, a new playground at McAuliffe Elementary is underway and is projected to be complete for the Fall of 2015. McAuliffe Principal, Matt Esterby, with the playground details.

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Update to the Death of Carrie Olson

On April 5th, the body of Carrie Elaine Olson, of Davenport, Iowa, was found on a Ravenna Township resident's property. Olson was last seen alive on December 28, 2013, at a 7-Eleven Gas Station in Rock Island, Illinois. On July 18, Timothy J. McVay, was taken into custody on the charges of First Degree Murder and Concealment of a Homicidal Death in connection with the death of Carrie Olson. McVay was apprehended by the Rock Island and Davenport Police Departments in Silvis, Illinois. He was taken into custody without incident and is being held at the County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million bond. Rock Island State's Attorney,John McGehee, has the details of where this case is currently at.

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Colors Of The Season

"Colors of the Season" is an art exhibit that will be at the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center. On Sunday, July 27th from 2:30pm - 4:30pm, artist Beth Bacon will be available to talk about her work . Freedom Park Executive Director, Jessica Bierbrauer, has the details.

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United Way of Hastings Has Two New Board Members

The United Way of Hastings has two new board members, Norm Rogers and Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer. According to a press release:

     The United Way of Hastings welcomes Norm Rogers and Bryan Schafer to the Board of Directors. Norm Rogers moved to Hastings in September 2013. Norm is the Plant Manager for 3M Company in Cottage Grove supporting the Material Resource Division. He is originally from Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Norm just completed his 20th year with 3M Company and has lived in multiple states supporting 4 different manufacturing factories.

     Norm has two children-Jordan who is college bound and Trey who will be a freshman this fall at Hastings High School. Norm is involved in community relations and supports the education and athletic programs, primarily wrestling and football. Other areas of interest include outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, golfing, and hiking.

     Also fairly new to Hastings is Bryan Schafer. Chief Schafer is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement. He spent the past 22 years with the Minneapolis Police Department and was appointed as the Police Chief for the City of Hastings in November 2013.

     Chief Schafer received his bachelor's degree from Metropolitan State University and was instrumental in collaborating with community/criminal justice partners to influence juvenile justice reform in Hennepin County. This collaboration resulted in significant decreases in juvenile violent crime. Chief Schafer has also been recognized for promoting a standard of excellence that exemplifies law enforcement's contribution and dedication to the quality of life in local communities.

     Chief Schafer resides in New Richmond, Wisconsin, and served on the New Richmond School Board from 2006-2012. He enjoys spending time with his 2 children, ages 21 and 16. Chief Schafer stays active by motorcycling, snowmobiling, fishing, playing golf, and attending youth sporting activities.

     "We welcome Norm and Bryan to Hastings as well as to the UWH Board of Directors," said Mari E. Mellick, CAE, Executive Director. "Their perspectives and strong professional experience will help the United Way of Hastings as we engage in vision planning and setting the direction for the organization over the coming months. In addition, both Norm and Bryan have strong interests in youth and adult engagement which complements our work with Helping Kids Succeed."

United Way Executive Director, Mari Mellick, talks about Norm Rogers.

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Mellick goes over what makes Chief Schafer a good fit for the board.

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WESTconsin Credit Union School Supply Drive

From now untill August 2nd, WESTconsin Credit Union is having their 6th annual School Supply Drive. WESTconsin's Prescott location will be accepting any donations to help local students in need. All donations made to the Prescott location will stay in Prescott. WESTconsin E-marketing and Programs Specialist, Becky Michel, has the details.

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Rivertown Days

The 35th Annual Rivertown Days celebration was this past weekend. This fun event was put on by the Hastings Chamber of Commerce. There was live music, many different kinds of food vendors, a dog jumping show, carnival games and rides, the Hastings Sings Competition, and even a water show. There was a great turnout for the event with families and friends enjoying the beautiful weather by the river. Julie Olson was at Rivertown Days and talks about her experience.

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Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council Survey

Residents within a 50-mile radius of Hastings and Prescott are invited to take a survey that relates to housing for artists and their friends. This survey is not only for the benefit of the younger generation, but is applicable to people of all generations. It is important for the board of Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council to learn if there is an interest in affordable work and living space in Hastings. Richard Graham, HPAAC Board Chairman, has the details of the survey.

(Photo courtesy of

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You can take the survey here: Survey Link


Hastings Sings Winner is Samantha Kent!

The Hastings Sings competition featured six local ladies and had a crowd of almost 300 watching the final competition on Sunday at the end of Rivertown Days in Jaycee Park. In addition to the finalists, last year's Adult Division Winner Scott Stoneking performed a song from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, "Close Every Door", just prior to the announcement of the winner. The winner from Hastings Sings, Samantha Kent, will represent the city at the State-wide vocal competition Minnesota Sings in September. The runner up was Miranda Poncelet. Hastings Sings Producer, Kelly Spavin, goes over the event.

(Photo: Winner Samantha Kent (L) and Runner-Up Miranda Poncelet (R))

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YMCA Camp Spring Lake Family Night

On Thursday, July 17th, the YMCA Camp Spring Lake had a Family Night from 5:30pm - 7:30pm. The familes got to play games, make s'mores, and even ask questions about what their kids have been up to. Day Camp Director, Amy Rowan, explains what happens at camp.

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Jen Schonkwiler is the Lucky Hastings Local Who Found the Medallion

Jen Shonkwiler is the lucky Hastings resident who found the Rivertown Days Medallion during Edina Realty's Medallion Hunt. She had a Rivertown Days button so she will be getting the full $500 prize and has decided to donate her winnings to the youth program at Hastings United Methodist Church. Shonkwiler stated that finding the Medallion was more about the hunt, instead of winning the money. So donating it seems like the right choice. Shonkwiler goes over how she found the Medallion.

(Pictured: Kayla Schonkwiler and Jen Shonkwiler)

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St. John the Baptist School Has a New Principal

As of July 1st, St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion has a new principal, Molly Whinnery. She's been in education for many years. She started out as a kindergarten teacher for 11 years, because a principal in 1992, and has been a principal ever since. Whinnery goes over some of the ideas she has for the school.

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Algae Concern

The City of Hastings would like to remind residents that this is the time of year where bodies of stagnant water, such as lakes, ponds, and ponding basins, can form algae blooms that can be potentially hazardous for both humans and animals. While you're out enjoying the weekend with family and friends, please be cautious. City of Hastings Communications Coordinator, Lee Stoffel, with the algae details.

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The Rivertown Days Medallion Has Been Found!

The Rivertown Days Medallion has been found! The name of the person who found it was not released, but according to the winner, the Medallion was found near Hastings Middle School. We will have more information as it becomes available.


Hastings Bridge Lane Closures for Thursday, July 17th

On Thursday, July 17th, expect lane closures on both directions of Hwy 61 bridge between 4th Street and Hwy 10 because work crews will be testing the anti-icing system on the bridge.

    Southbound lane closed between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

    Northbound lane closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Don't forget-- Beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, July 21, the right lane will close on northbound Hwy 61 between 4th Street and the CP Railroad Bridge for bridge rail repairs. This closure will stay in place for three weeks. In addition to the lane closure, the sidewalk/pedestrian trail on the east side of the bridge will close. Please be patient during peak travel times. This project is expected to finish in August 2014.


Fire at 875 Bahls Drive

At 5:05am on July 15th, police and fire crews responded to a 3 story, 36 unit condominium building for a fire alarm at 875 Bahls Drive. Upon arrival, crews found smoke coming from a middle unit on the second floor. The resident of the apartment wasn't home so a forced entry was made to get inside. Crews found a small fire in the living room and a large amount of smoke in the rest of the apartment. Prior to the Fire Department's arrival, the building's fire sprinkler system activated and knocked down the fire. Because of the fire sprinkler system performance, all of the other residents were allowed back into their building approximately 2 hours after the fire. This is the second fire in this building, this year, both times the fire sprinkling system knocked down and contained the fire.


Rivertown Days Medallion Hunt Clues 1 & 2

The Rivertown Days Medallion Hunt now has 3 clues. Wednesday's clue can be found by stopping into Edina Realty or by listening to KWDA in the morning. The clues so far are: "Edina Realty has done it this time! Seek the Medallion without a dig or a climb. Stay in the City safe and sound, on land of the public the Medallion is found...Don't drive to the Medallion, that would be no fun. You are likely to find it on a walk or a run." If you find the Medallion, turn it in immediately to the Edina Realty Office. Daily clues to help you find the medallion will be heard on KDWA or stop into the Edina Realty office, on South Frontage road off highway 55. If you find the medallion, you'll win $500 if you have a Rivertown Days button or $250 if you do not have one.


Reuter Family Reward Increased to $10,000

It has been 3 weeks since Jason Reuter was murdered outside of a home in Hastings. The Reuter Family has decided to increase the reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of Jason's killer, or killers, to $10,000. If you have any information that might help this ongoing investigation, contact the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 651-793-7033 or the Hastings Police Department at 651-480-2300. Jason's father, Mike Reuter, comments on the investigation.

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Hastings Cheer America Team Fundraiser At Culvers

The Hastings Cheer America Team will be having a fundraiser at Culvers in Hastings from 5pm - 8pm on Tuesday, July 15th. The girls have been invited to participate in a competition in Las Vegas, on July 26. The funds raised will help the team with travel expenses. Cheer Mom, Tina Langenfeld, has all the details.

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Rivertown Days Medallion Hunt Clue 1

The Rivertown Days Medallion Hunt started yesterday, July 14th. This event is put on by Edina Realty every year and if you find the Medallion, turn it in immediately to the Edina Realty Office. Daily clues to help you find the medallion will be heard on KDWA or stop into the Edina Realty office, on South Frontage road off highway 55. If you find the medallion, you'll win $500 if you have a Rivertown Days button or $250 if you do not have one.

First Clue: "Edina Realty has done it this time. Seek the Medallion without a dig or a climb. Stay in the City safe and sound, on land of the public the Medallion is found."


Paint the Flying Flower

On Saturday, July 12th, the Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center had a Paint the Flying Flower event from 10am till noon. Freedom Park Executive Director, Jessica Bierbrauer, has the details.

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Hastings Sings

Hastings Sings will be having their single qualifying event held at 7PM on Wednesday July 16th at the Point Restaurant. This event will allow people to show off their singing talents and even win a prize. The Finals will be held on Sunday July 20th at 3:30pm on the Main Stage at Rivertown Days. Hastings Sings Organizer, Kelly Spavin, talks about the event.

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Tom Wright Drops Out of City Council Race

On Thursday, July 10th, Tom Wright announce that he will be dropping out of the race for one of the two open Hastings City Council At Large seats. According to an email Wright stated that his reason for dropping out is... "For personal and professional reasons I have decided to withdraw from the race. I've realized it's just not a good time for me as a single Dad with two young kids."


Right Lane Closure on Hastings Bridge

Beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, July 21st, the right northbound lane on the Hwy 61 bridge between 4th street and the Railroad Bridge will be closed. This closure will last for the next three weeks. In addition to the lane closure, the sidewalk/pedestrian trail on the east side of the bridge will also be closed. Please be patient during peak travel times and this project is expected to finish in August 2014. Kirsten Klein from MN DoT explains the reason for the closure.

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The City of Hastings Prepares for the Weekend Cruise-In

Construction preparations for this Saturdays Cruise-In will wrap up on Saturday morning. City Engineer, Nick Egger, talks about how the city has prepares for the Cruise-Ins.

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