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    Hastings Choirs Tops Twice

    Another exciting weekend in the new Show Choir season. Hastings prep choir Upstage Revolution directed by Michelle Braun and co-directed by Hastings Alum Nick Lehey traveled with the Varsity group, Riverside company to the Onalaska Show Choir Classic on the 14th to compete in the second week of the 2017 season. Upstage received the top prep group award on their first competition of the year. Riverside Company bested a tough field of shows to make a sweep of all possible caption awards for the 3rd consecutive year. Director Lin Warren , Co-director Jen Fox and Back Up Band Director Jake Bohlken were thrilled with the Grand Champion award as well as best vocals, best Band, and best choreography. The school will send Riverside Company to the Competition of Excellence at West Side in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28th as the season continues. The All girl Divaz group will start their season on February 4th at the Eau Claire Memorial Winterfest as they join Upstage and Riverside on the road. Photos and on-location reports were provided by Kari McCord our KDWA community contributor.

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    Local 4H Group Gives Gift of Warmth

    Eight members of the Dakota County Top Notchers 4-H Club in Vermillion made 18 tie-blankets and sewed 12 pillowcases for patients of the University of Minnesota Childrens Hospital recently. Club members applied for a 4-H Bernie Beadle grant and used the money to purchase supplies for the blanket portion of their project. Patients admitted to the hospital are given these soft, comfortable items to make them feel more at home.

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    Schools Delayed 2 Hours

    SCHOOLS DELAYED-KDWA reports that all District 200 Public and Parochial Schools will be delayed 2 hours on Tuesday, January 17th due to ice and snow conditions in the KDWA listening area. Once again, all district 200 Public and Parochial Schools and buses will start 2 hours late on Tuesday morning, January 17th due to weather conditions. Please stay tuned to KDWA for any updates or changes if they become necessary.

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    DCSO Citizen Academy Registration Opens

    The Dakota County Sheriffs Office has announced it will host the annual Citizen Academy, taking place over six consecutive Thursdays starting on February 16th, and concluding on March 23rd. Each session will run from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on each of those Thursdays.

    The Dakota County Sheriffs Office Citizen Academy is an educational and informative program that allows citizens the opportunity to learn about the issues that face law enforcement efforts in our community. The program will provide insight into the philosophy and operations of the Dakota County Sheriffs Office. The program also helps our residents better understand police work in their community and develops stronger ties between our community and Sheriffs Office. Some of the issues that will be covered during the six weeks include; the history of the Sheriffs Office, use of force, traffic stops, laws of arrest, criminal charging process, judicial process, role of the County Attorney, SWAT Team, taser demonstration, canine demonstration, crime scene processing, internet crime, and overview of the Dakota County Jail.

    Also, using state of the art virtual reality training technology, candidates will have the opportunity to experience simulated scenarios where they must choose whether or not to exercise the use of deadly force. This is the first time the Citizen Academy has offered this type of training to its members.

    Those citizens who are interested in attending the Dakota County Sheriffs Office Citizen Academy or would like more information, please contact Captain Jim Rogers at 651-438-4751 or jim.rogers@co.dakota.mn.us by February 9th.

    All applicants will be subject to background investigation prior to being accepting into the program.

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    Prescott Fire Department Plans for Future

    Prescott Fire Department tackles several issues at the recent Prescott Fire and EMS Board meeting. They addressed issues that have been discovered with two Fire Department buildings under their jurisdiction. The Oak Grove Fire Hall has had 2 dehumidifiers installed to help with mold issues and the roof at the main Fire Hall in Prescott needs to be repaired or replaced. The board has received a bid for the roof from Johnson Construction and is waiting for a bid from Durand Builders. The Fire and EMS Association and the Prescott City Council will finalize details of the maintenance concerns when all necessary information is gathered.

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    The Prescott Fire and EMS Board has taken up the issue of fees for fire inspections of new construction. The current fee is 600 dollars and the Board is debating whether this fee is adequate or if another fee structure is needed. Ideas being considered include fees based on the value of the new building, or the possibility of not charging a fee. The board will finalize their decision at an upcoming meeting.

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    Prescott Fire Chief Tom Lytle reported to the board that due to the anticipated retirement rate in his department, the current roster of 38 people in the department should ideally be increased to 42 to 45 members to cover the expected vacancies. Chief Lytle also recommended that rolling stock be updated, including replacing the fire truck currently assigned to Station 2 in Oak Grove.

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    New Years Day Bomb Scare Update

    A New Years Day 9-1-1 call that initiated a response from the St. Paul Police bomb squad has been given a bit more of an explanation. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer provides an update.

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    An official report is expected sometime next week.

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    Congressman Lewis Authors First Bill

    Representatives from Minnesota are also speaking in Washington. Congressman Jason Lewis introduced his first bill, the Reforming Executive Guidance (REG) Act, H.R. 462, for which he gave some rationale for the action.

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    An exerpt of his purpose for creation of the bill was provided from his speech on the House Floor .

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    Congressman Davis was appointed the Senior Freshman on the Budget committee earlier this week

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    LockDown Thursday In Hastings

    Update on Thursday Morning LockDown Incident in Hastings.

    Thurs-Jan 12 10AM-A new update, now, from the Dakota County Sheriffs Department regarding the incident that happened about 8:30 AM Thursday(this) morning at the Dakota County Government Services Center. Buildings in the Services Center camp were placed on lockdown after a deputy reported hearing an individual shouting in the parking lot that he had a gun. After investigation,37 year old Chance Amos Thern Schwersinske was taken into custody and found to be intoxicated, but not in possession of a weapon. Nearby Hastings High School was also placed on lockdown for a short time, due only to the close proximity to the Government Services Center. Schwersinske was questioned and later released without being charged. The School was also notified that classes could return to normal just after 9 am and the official statement concludes there was never any direct threat to students or staff there.

    The following audio file is a statement provided this afternoon by District 200 Superintendent Tim Collins.

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    Thurs- Jan 12 9 AM- Hastings High School was placed in lockdown Thursday morning as a precaution due to a report of an individual at the Dakota County Government Center who was overhead saying he had a firearm and was going into the Government Center building. The situation was quickly resolved and the lock down was ended. The individual at the Government Center did not possess a firearm when taken into custody but was intoxicated. The threat was never directed at the Hastings High School, but the lockdown was initiated due to the close proximity of the high school to the Dakota County Government Center. Calls placed by KDWA Radio to the High School this morning,have not been returned.

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    Busy Weekend For Hastings Police

    The Hastings Police Department had a busy weekend. Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer recaps the events of the weekend.

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    Chief Schafer encourages common sense when it comes to consumption of alcohol.   

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    Looking At Future Of Vermillion Street

    The heart of the downtown business district in Hastings has outlasted the construction hassles following nearly 8 years of redevelopment beginning with the replacement of the Hastings Bridge.Now some are turning their focus to the Vermillion Street Corridor. From traffic to aging roadways to aesthetics of property, the highway that also serves as a main artery thru the center of residential property has drawn interest as well as concern. With the level of traffic, projected to top 40,000 vehicles per day by the end of this decade, the multi-use roadway may also benefit from some retooling. Councilmember Mark Vaughan spoke about the future and how the comprehensive plan is involved.

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    We have asked for more feedback from those businesses and residents who would be in the first ring of those impacted with their Vermillion Street property and we will continue that discussion in future broadcasts.

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    CIty of Hastings Staff Update

    More changes for the staff at the City of Hastings. According to City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee, the City's Finance Manager, Rebecca Petersen, has submitted her resignation. The search will begin for her replacement this week. A job offer has also been accepted for the position of Building Permit Technician. Jane Toenjes, is retiring on January 27 after being with the City since 1985. The new employee will begin on Monday, January 23. In other City staff updates, conditional job offers have been extended to 2 candidates for part time positions in the Police Department as Receptionists. That decision will be made by the end of the month. The postition of a part time Property Room Technician, responsible for maintaining the integrity of evidence and property that moves in and out of the Police Department is in the process of going thru the 37 applications that were received for the job. A job offer will be made soon.

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    NewDirectorForCommunityEducation

    In a message received from Superintendent Tim Collins, a new Director of Community Education has been selected. Kari Gorr will follow the current Director Mary O'Brian as the next Director who comes from a similar position working for the past four years in the Tri-City United School District which includes the cities of LeCenter, Montgomery and Lonsdale in Southeastern Minnesota. Gorr has also received many leadership awards and came highly recommended as a qualified coordinator who gained valuable experience in previous positions in Northfield as well as with Minneapolis Public Schools. She is also the Dance Team Coach for Tri-City United and will complete the season with that team as she transitions to taking on the many duties involved with the District 200 Community Education Position.

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    HFS Offers Cold Weather Resources

    The extended cold snap has depleted the supply of warm winter coats that Hastings Family Service distributes to those in need. At the top of the list are 2xl sized mens winter coats. A majority of the need is for men and they also continue to seek good , used mens winter boots of all kinds to supply to those who spend their time outdoors. Chris Koop, Executive Director of Hastings Family service also provided information on emergency, temporary shelter that has been offered for single adults residing in Dakota County. Members of the Easter Lutheran Church congregation of Eagan, will offer a temporary shelter for those who are experiencing homelessness. These neighbors must be a Dakota County Resident and cannot have an open case for Public Assistance in another county. For questions, contact the Dakota County Housing Crisis Line. 651-554-5751. Those adults with children should call this number for alternate support for temporary shelter. After business hours, contact Dakota County Crisis Line at 952-891-7171. Transportation to this site, which is expected to be offered until mid January, may be arranged from the Hastings area by Hastings Family Service. Call them to find out options for transportation. 651-437-7134. During regular business hours.

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    Riverside Company Starts Promising Season

    Last week's preview show for all three Hastings show choirs was the official beginning to the season, however, the first competition took place on Saturday for the Varsity choir, Riverside Company. The choir, directed by Lin Warren with assistant director Jen Fox, choreographer Stephen Todd and Back up Band Director Jake Bohlken, left Hastings at 4AM for the 5 hour bus trip to Ankeny, Iowa, the first stop on a 6 performance season schedule. The Prep Division Upstage Revolution and all Girl Divaz groups will begin their season in upcoming weeks. Riverside Company competed last, a perk that is given to the top choir from last year's event. They moved into the finals competition,coming in 2nd just behind Johnston Innovations from Des Moines . They would compete again after dinner,as one of the top 6 from the day's performances finding themselves in the precarious 5th time slot just after 9 PM. Everyone waited for the announcement was made just after 10PM,with the news that Hastings Riverside would receive 1st runner up behind a very strong Johnston Innovation group who would be named Grand Champion at the Ankeny Centennial . Riverside returned nearly 22 hours after leaving for a very long, but very satisfying first appearance in the young season. Thanks to community contributor Kari McCord for staying in contact and providing updates for those of us back at home. Riverside and Upstage Revolution will be on the road again on January 14th as they travel to Onalaska, Wisconsin for the next competition. Photo provided by Kari McCord.

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    YMCA Ten Years In the Making

    A formal recognition of the recent expansion done by the Hastings YMCA was capped off with a ribbon cutting on January 4th.Representing the City of Hastings, Councilmember Mark Vaughan, expressed his support of having this kind of resource in our city.

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    Todd Siewert, CEO for Star Realty and Siewert Construction is also the Capital Campaign Chair. He provided an update on some unfinished business, that being a small remaining balance of 42 thousand. Siewert shared his view on that campaign and its challenges.

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    The campaign will continue until the funding is complete, according to Siewert.

    One of the longtime members of the YMCA board, Hastings businessman Bruce Goblirsch,also had praise for the recent expansion that completes the vision for a top-rate health and recreation facility to be brought to the city of Hastings

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    Citizen Seeks Ordinance Clarity

    In the closing segments of the first City Council meeting for the year, a citizen asked to speak to an issue concerning winter parking and towing practices. Ed Soltau, who resides near City Hall expressed his frustration for a series of tickets and towing of his vehicles during the past year as well as during recent snow emergencies.

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    The nixle system has been widely publicized as the electronic notification system for the city, but users must opt in using a smart phone or by email, Mr. Soltau has neither of these resources. He also queried the council on common ordinances and how a citizen can easily determine what the rules are where terms are not addressed by public signage.

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    Mayor Hicks responded that he would seek more information from the police department and call Mr. Soltau with answers to his parking questions. A lengthy list of pending amendments to city ordinances are provided on the City Website-www.hastingsmn.gov. However there is not a list posted of each current ordinance or fees associated with any infraction relating to those ordinances.

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    OBrien Announces Change

    In news Wednesday from District 200, longtime school board member and current chair,Vince OBrien has announced a change.

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    OBrien noted that although the decision was difficult,it was also an opportunity he could not pass up. OBrien has lived in Hastings for nearly 28 years. His wife Amy, and their children are looking forward to the move which OBrien describes as one that will draw on his years of experience involved with teaching associated with his career in the legal field. He also says the decision was not an easy one.

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    O'Brien will relocate to the Denver, Colorado area at the end of the January, with his family to join him at the end of the school year. He also informed us that Superintendent Tim Collins will appoint a replacement for him to fill out the remainder of his term on the board. No comment yet as to who that might be and also who will serve as chair upon his departure. We will have an extended conversation on an upcoming edition of Community InDepth on the news District 200 School board chair Vince O'Brien will be leaving that position for a move to Colorado.

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    New Dog License Ordinance Approved

    At last night's Hastings City Council meeting, an amendment to the City Charter was approved that will now allow dog owners in the city to purchase a permanent dog license. According to a city source, approximately 550 dog licenses are issued in the typical calendar year that covers two years. Each of those licenses were processed by city staff and each license required the documents to be provided that proved rabies vaccinations were current. Given the new terms for licensing, the cost of between 12 and 20 dollars per dog will now be raised to 35 dollars for the one-time fee. We contacted Hastings Veterinarian Doctor Diane Brown for her thoughts on the subject.

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    The change was suggested to reduce administrative time taken to handle requests for dog licenses.

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    More Details on Hastings Bomb Scare

    KDWA spoke with Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt for a recap of a reported bomb threat on Sunday over the New Years weekend in Hastings.

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    Chief Schutt also explained why the St. Paul Police Bomb Squad was called in.

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    The incident is still under investigation.

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    Eyewitness Provides Account of Bomb Squad Visit

    KDWA Community Contributor Exclusive-A New Years Day drama played out for families in a South Hastings Apartment building who viewed the evacuation required of several nearby homes near 35th Street West. According to an eyewitness, at least 7 police and sheriff vehicles were seen blocking off the area near the home with multiple fire trucks and ambulances. According to the witness who resides in the apartment building near the scene, the next to arrive was the St. Paul bomb squad and a member of that squad was seen dressed in full protection gear carrying a pole with some type of retrieval mechanism. The officer used that to bring out the bomb and bring it to the receptacle on the squad trailer. A large claw then picked up the item, transferring it into a steel box. The unit then departed without further action. Action continued for approximately 4-5 hours. It is not yet known if anyone was taken into custody or what the charges will be. We thank Kyle Johnson, for his community contribution to this story. Our followup with Hastings Public safety will be featured onair and on our website when completed. Photo featured courtesy of Kyle Johnson.

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    Year In Review Monday Newscasts

    KDWA News In Review Top Stories from 2016

    Click on Audio Link to hear Newscast in Order Listed Below

    MONDAY NEWSCAST A

    Opener for Special YIR

    HFS July Fundraiser Big Success

    Artspace Start meeting underway

    Groundbreaking for Allina new Clinic-Mayor Hicks

    Big Power Outage Snarls Hwy61 Traffic

    Disclaimer- Year in Review

    2.6Million in GO bonds issued in Hastings

    Halloween Party at HHS Scary Good Fun

    Wizard of Oz Production Recap BDT

    Closer for Special YIR

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    MONDAY NEWSCAST B

    Opener For Special YIR

    Predatory Offender Public Meeting Disclosure

    Smead President Avent steps aside for next Gen

    Disclaimer - Year in Review

    Jack Hines Auctioneer Hall of Fame induction

    New Commander Fletcher at Legion

    RiverTown Days Tractor Pull Life Lessons

    Farmington Fire Chief named Award

    Holiday Train visits Hastings

    Closer Year in Review

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    NewsCast C

    Opener For Special YIR

    Expenditures from of Hastings city budget

    Helping Military Families in our community

    Thanks to Prescott Daze Volunteers

    HHS Graduation Recap

    Diane Lind Retires from Dak Co Emerg Dispatch

    Disclaimer- Year in Review

    Warren receives Teacher of Excellence Award

    Riverboat Cruise Recap

    LeDuc Civil War Weekend Recap

    CLoser for Special YIR

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    Year In Review Sunday Newscasts

    KDWA News In Review Top Stories from 2016

    Click on Audio Link to hear Newscast in Order Listed Below

    SUNDAY NEWSCAST A

    Opening for YIR

    Raptor Security System new for Dist 200 Schools

    Bridge Gathering Blue Lite to Unite

    DARTS Debuts LOOP Bus

    Middle Disclaimer for 2016

    Passing of Mike Bauer

    HFS July Fundraiser Recap Amy Sutton

    Majeske Fire Four Alarm Loss

    Closer for New Years Day Recap

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    SUNDAY NEWSCAST B

    Opener YIR

    Hwy 61 and 10 Reconstruction Causes headaches

    Community Ed Mary O'Brien to Retire

    Kuehni Receives light Sentence in 2nd Trial

    Disclaimer for YIR Special news

    Commish Slavik Explains Road Closures to 52 by MNDot

    RTD Medallion Finder donates winnings to HPD

    Newport Mayor Gherety will not run

    Hastings Bridge Designers recieve award

    Financial Director Named for Regina Hosp- Scheppers

    Solar Garden gets Sunrise Green Light at Cottage Grove

    Closer For New Years Day Review

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    SUNDAY NEWSCAST C

    Opener YIR

    District 200 Special Ed Super-Advocate Award Winners

    St John's Principal Strommen Completes Fundraising Marathon

    Disclaimer for YIR Special News

    KDWA Tuck receives Silent Raider Award

    Preparing for HFS Project Share- Director Koop

    Emerald Ash Borer Found in Hastings

    Majeske Home Fire 4 Alarm Blaze

    Passauer Murder Verdict Announced

    New Years Closer for YIR REcap

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    Year In Review Saturday Newscasts

    KDWA News In Review Top Stories from 2016

    Click on Audio Link to hear Newscast in Order Listed Below

    SATURDAY NEWSCAST A

    Opener for Special YIR

    New Prescott HS-Tour with Mr. Vortherms

    Passing of DCSO employees Dave Gustafson and Marge Hendrickson Nistler

    HFS Chris Koop Defines Mission

    Seven Seals Award given to City of Hastings

    Disclaimer- Year in Review

    Retirement of Dak Co Commish Nancy Schouweiller

    Prescott Police Chief Krutke Fights Drug Swell

    Death of Senator Jim Metzen

    Closer for Special YIR

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    SATURDAY NEWSCAST B

    Opener for Special YIR

    New ER at Regina Hospital

    Katie Sieben will not run for re-election

    Sail Away Cafe Closes replaced by Lumberyard Pub

    Chief Schafer Polar Plunge

    Breaking News =Auto Chop Shop Chief Krutke Prescott Bust

    Disclaimer of YIR

    Artwork for Public Art Task Force

    New Fire Chief for Hampton

    SEAS Selects Heart of School Award- Gleik

    RiverFront Renessiance Phase 3 overview- Nick Egger

    Give Kids a Smile UWH Project

    Closer for Special YIR

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    SATURDAY NEWSCAST C

    Opening YIR

    Prescott Bonding Levy Finally Passes

    Officer Murr Receives Compassion Award

    Sentencing of Peterson in Passauer

    Park HS Principal Timmerman departs

    ArtSpace Plans evolve

    Prescott Arts Walk

    Disclaimer of YIR

    Allina Clinic Groundbreaking

    Raptor Security System

    Balsanek Emergency Planning for City

    Close of YIR explanation

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    Great River Road Center Receives Donation

    The Great River Road Visitor Center in Prescott was recently the recipient of a 150 dollar donation provided by the Ellsworth Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Order of the Eastern Star supports nonprofit and charitable organizations throughout Pierce County. The donation was made in recognition of the Visitor Centers leadership role in environmental education. Pictured are Dennis Donath, a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and a Mississippi River Parkway Commissioner, personally presenting the donation to Visitor Center Executive Director Jessica Bierbrauer. The Great River Road Visitor Center has programming focused on history, natural resources and preservation of the Confluence area. Check their website www.freedomparkwi.org for the full schedule of events.

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    Heater Blamed For Newport Fire

    A Newport family remains displaced from their home after a Christmas Eve fire. A fire started on the second floor of the home at 1671 Third Ave., around 3:40 p.m. Dec. 24, with first responders arriving about three minutes later. Newport Fire Chief Steve Wiley said the fire was contained to the second floor, and the firefighters were able to knock it down in less than 15 minutes. First responders were on site for about three more hours chasing hot spots, doing salvage and helping the homeowner, Wiley said. The exact cause of the fire is unknown, but it is thought to have started in the vicinity of a space heater. There were no injuries. Gas, electricity and water are all shut off while insurance adjusters and contractors survey the damage. Wiley said the second floor is a complete loss, but the first floor could be salvaged. Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park also responded to the fire; 25-30 first responders were on site. First responders also retrieved the familys cat. Wiley said the Newport Fire Department had just completed the relatively new basic animal rescue training Dec. 20. He said they would have gotten the cat out anyway, but that the training was beneficial. Public safety officials remind you that space heater usage carries a number of risks in your home. Some of the items to be aware of include never operating a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for possible damage. Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping. Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.

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    LIfetime Dog Licensure Debated

    At the January 3rd, 2017 Hastings City Council meeting a second reading and public hearing will consider an amendment to the city code to grant lifetime dog licenses. Currently, dog licenses are issued for a period of two years. A lifetime license would still require owners to keep dogs inoculated against rabies during the term of the license. Methods of enforcement of this provision seem unclear at this point. According to a memo to the Council from City Attorney Daniel Fluegel, the City hopes to conserve administrative time spent on dog license renewals by offering the lifetime licenses.

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    Prescott Seniors New Gathering Place

    The Prescott Foundation recently presented a 3,000 dollar grant to the Prescott School District in support of a new facility for Prescott area senior citizens to meet and socialize. Called The Gathering Place, the site is located in the lower level of Malone Intermediate School. The City of Prescott also provided a grant of 5,000 dollars to the effort. Prescott School Superintendent Dr. Rick Spicuzza feels the location provides an opportunity for a great partnership between the students and seniors. According to Dr. Spicuzza measures have been implemented for the safety of the students and guests, allowing for efficient and safe use of the facilities. He also is optimistic about the intergenerational aspect of the partnership, calling it a unique and valuable experience that is a win-win for the community, staff and students of Prescott.

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    Shop With Cop Brings Glad Tidings

    The Prescott Police Department provided several local children for the chance to Shop with a Cop where officers paired up to take them shopping just before Christmas. From riding in a squad cars to sharing a pizza party after shopping, the kids and their families were full of smiles and laughter as they wound in and out of the aisles of the ShopKo in Ellsworth. Riding in a squad car and seeing the cool tools that the police use to protect and serve, gave the kids a look at the people behind the badge. Several photos of the gathering are shared on the KDWA Facebook page. Officer Bryan Massman is shown with a youngster who was very happy to be chosen to be part of the program.

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    Special Six Part Story on ALICE Training

    Special Six Part Weeklong News Series - ALICE SecurityTraining in District 200 Schools

    This week KDWA News will feature a multi-part four day series of reports focusing on the results of the ALICE Training session that was attended by more than 800 District 200 staff, administrators, teachers and members of law enforcement on December 22nd. Tim Collins, Superintendent of District 200 Schools begins today with an introduction to the participants and his personal reaction to the scope of the training.

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    Collins spoke about the sobering reality of the subject.

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    We'll continue with our series on the ALICE Security Training all this week, providing the community with the Superintendent's commentary on this monumental undertaking.

    Part 2 of our six part story on the ALICE Training session that was attended by more than 800 District 200 staff, administrators, teachers and members of law enforcement that was held on December 22nd. Tim Collins, Superintendent of District 200 Schools provided details and significance of this project and now continues with more of the techniques and participant reaction to this unprescedented type of safety preparation. In this segment Collins describes the current protocol that calls for a variety of responses.

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    More on the ALICE training that took place in District 200 schools in our comprehensive series all this week in our KDWA newscasts.

    Part 3 of our six part story on the School District training that provided nearly 800 participants with current techniques to address an active shooter emergency should it take place in one of the system's schools. Superintendent Collins informs us of the realities behind what is known about this complex issue.

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    He also shared a fairly low tech, but effective response technique

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    Part 4 in our six part story- examining the ALICE preparedness safety training experienced by District 200 staff on December 22nd., there are levels that determines who teaches whom. The program began with two Hastings administrators and the most recent session involved more than 800 staff, teachers and members of local law enforcement. As the system involves more people and levels, Superintendent Collins talks about what is next.

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    We're continuing our special series this week on the training done to prepare Hastings Schools in the event of an active shooter. We'll have more on our next newscast.

    Part 5 in our six part story- as we continue to review the recent training session that taught techniques of the ALICE System to nearly 800 people who attended the all day instruction held at Hastings High School. ALICE, an acryonym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is a system that teaches basic skills to increase suvirvorship in the case of an active shooter. The system provides detailed techniques to those in institutional settings where people may be a target for attack. This training does not come without it's critics, however, as schools especially report concern on the part of parents who find the Counter portion, meaning possible engagement with the attacker, as a dangerous protocol that could have severe repercussions if the action involves students. High Schools do training that involves, in some cases, instruction on how to disarm an attacker or ways to rush the person and overpower them. Superintendent Collins spoke to this concern.

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    That engagement is only suggested as a possible choice in the settings where students are generally age 14 and above

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    Our series reports will continue all this week as we find out more about the ALICE System and how preparing can be the difference between life and death.

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    Part 6 of our six part story- We conclude this extensive and expanded look at the ALICE Security training with Superintendent Tim Collins.The ALICE emergency training provided to District 200 staff and administrators in December used several scenarios such as the envelope exercise. Superintendent Tim Collins explained how this training would prepare teachers and students to respond.

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    The training is not a cookie cutter method and Collins notes how critical team problem solving factors in.

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    The training is not without detractors, however, with some concerned that such training creates unneccessary fear and compromises the feeling of security among students and staff alike. Proponents disagree, taking the view that preparation of this type can be used to face any kind of emergency and that team planning is worth the time to develop. Training in District 200 will be ongoing and involve students in the next phase. We will follow the evolution of the training and hear from those involved.

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    Flower Power Congratulations

    The so-called Hastings Flower Bomber struck again this week. Local artist David Cook planted his iconic four-foot tall artisinal flowers outside Hastings Dental Associates in honor of the retirement of Dr. Stephen Humbert. Hastings Dental Associates Office Manager Brenda Buck recounts the reaction to the so-called flower bombing.

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    Dr. Humbert has retired after 37 years in dentistry. The Hastings Dental Office will continue to be operated by Dr. Trent Anderson and their staff of experienced technicians.

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    SEAS Students Toy Drive

    Saint Elizabeth Anne Seaton 8th graders are collecting items to donate to Sharing and Caring on January 18th. There are currently almost 450 children living in the Sharing and Caring transitional home called Marys Place. When new families move into this facility, Mary Jo Copeland provides each family some toys for the children. They are specifically in need of new Matchbox cars, new board games new Barbie dolls, new Beanie Babies, travel size hygiene items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant. Contact St. Elizabeth Anne Seaton School at 437-3098 for more information.

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    HHS Students Travel To Inauguaration

    Hastings High School is taking its 4th trip to the East Coast with 41 students to observe the Inauguration of the President of the United States of America. Hastings High School Social Studies teacher Scott Smallidge is heading up the trek.

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    The group departs on the 19th of January and returns on the 24th.

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    Seven Seals Awards

    Hastings Automotive, Lyle Russell VFW Post 210 and the Hastings Star Gazette will each receive a Seven Seals Award during a Hastings Chamber of Commerce Mob Luncheon scheduled for January 18th. The Seven Seals award is the broadest and most inclusive award given by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense national committee. The Seven Seals award is given in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes the ESGR mission. The location of the Mob Luncheon will be provided on the Chamber of Commerce website the day before the event.

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    Sounds Of the Season

    The 2nd annual Community Christmas Pageant and Singalong was held on Sunday afternoon, December 18th at the Hastings Arts Center. More than forty area youth ages 5-18 told the Nativity story through song and the reading of scripture passages. A large creche was filled with diminutive costumed animals representing the donkey, cow, sheep,and dove who followed Mary and Joseph to the manger to be honored by shephards, wise men and angels. Piano accompaniment was provided by Pat Dymaceck and KDWA's Mo was the program director.Those in the audience were also invited to participate in the show by joining in the singing of traditional Christmas carols and prior to the pageant, prelude music was provided by several students of Blessings Academy performing selections as the guests were seated.

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    Winter Storm Impact On Hastings

    In the snow emergency of December 10th to the 13th, the City Of Hastings reports that the citys 6 plow trucks drove 1,378 miles to clear 210 lane miles of city streets, 97 cul-de-sacs were cleared using bi-directional tractors, 30.5 tons of salt were applied and the operation took 214 man hours to complete. The City also used its newest large snow blower to remove dozens of truckloads of snow from the downtown area. The City is happy to say that the tag-team approach to snow removal with downtown building owners worked very well, due in part to the reconfigured corner bump-outs of the downtown streetscape.

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    KDWA also spoke with Hastings Police Chief Mike Schaffer for an update on police activity during the wintery weekend.

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    Chief Schaffer encourages the use of snow emergency alerts from the city.

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    You can sign up for alerts by logging on to the City of Hastings website at hastingsmn.gov.

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    Greenway Trail Progress

    Last night the Hastings City Council approved Consent Agenda items for pay estimate number 5 for the Vermillion River Regional Greenway Trail Project and pay estimate number 7 for Riverfront Renaissance Project Phase 3. The Greenway Trail Project pay estimate totals 229 thousand 900 dollars and is for payment of excavation and concrete work performed by Fitzgerald Excavating and Trucking, Inc. The Riverfront Renaissance pay estimate totals 72 thousand dollars for various construction related tasks. The work was completed by the Pember Company.

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    The Vermillion River Regional Greenway Trail project also reached a construction milestone recently. The construction finished major component assembly of the bridge on the trail when a two-piece prefabricated steel truss was delivered and set in place on the abutments and pier. The project is now on hiatus until Spring, when a concrete deck will be laid on the bridge and completion of the approach and other restoration tasks are scheduled to be completed

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    Hastings Fire Dept Award

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department has learned that it received the 2015 Life Safety Achievement Award from the National Association of State Fire Marshals. Qualifying fire departments recorded zero deaths in residential structure fires or a 10 percent reduction of fire deaths from the prior year. Additionally, award recipients documented active and effective fire prevention programs as well as a commitment to reducing the number of house fires in the community. Hastings Fire and EMS Department is one of 160 departments nationwide to receive this prestigious award.

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    Few Options for Dakota County Homeless

    Winter is challenging for everyone but those who don't have permanent housing, can face dangerous situations, especially when their choices are limited to living in vehicles or other places exposed to the elements. Homelessness is not just an issue for innercity neighborhoods, but evident in nearly every county of the state. Individuals and families with small children often spend the days in public venues such as libraries, malls and other locations that give protection from the weather, but nighttime is frequently without options, and Dakota County does not have a permanent homeless shelter that can give temporary or long term acommodations on a drop in basis. We contacted Hastings Family service to find out what the homeless community can do to stay safe.

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    HFS can provide several resources and connect

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    If you are aware of someone experiencing homelessness, contact Hastings Family Service to determine the best way to get help.

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    KDWA Radio Chosen Business of Year

    A festive office holiday pot luck on Friday,turned into a full out celebration when President of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce Kristy Barse walked through the door with a giant bunch of blue and gold balloons with a breaking news story. She then announced that KDWA Radio had been selected as Hastings Business of the Year. Owners Dan and Barb Massman , whose 25 year tradition of keeping listeners up to date on the latest news, weather, sports displayed equal parts joy and disbelief. This small family business was chosen in the year that also brought the addition of an FM Station signal and a satellite sales center, with several new employees. Those were among the factors that led the committee to choose them to receive one of just three annual awards. The others, Educator of the Year and Volunteer of the Year will be revealed in our next newscasts. The Massmans will receive their official recognition at the Chamber Dinner on January 19th at Treasure Island Resort near Red Wing. Barb and Dan credited their supportive family, employees and, of course, their listeners, for the honor bestowed on them and are proud to provide this service to their community.

    Preparing For Winter Weather

    The area is preparing for another round of winter weather. Some tips on things to do before the need arises include ideas for home and away.Residents who live near elderly neighbors should check in with them periodically during severe winter weather that may cause power outages. Have phone numbers nearby and prepare for time without electricity. Rural neighbors who use wells, are dependent on electricty to pump the water. Keep gas tanks filled and place warm clothing in a moisture proof tub in the trunk along with a couple bags of water softener salt crystals. They serve a dual purpose-giving some weight for better driving control and also to provide traction by melting ice if you become stuck. And slow down- black ice can be hiding, especially at intersections where idling traffic can create an accident that can be just waiting to happen.

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    City Budget For 2017 Nears Adoption

    The end of the year means finalizing the budget for the City of Hastings. City administrator, Melanie Mesko Lee provided KDWA with a look at the process of budgeting and how the annual task is accomplished, beginning with a look at the funds that make up the budget.

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    There are also fees. Lee explains the difference.

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    She also noted that a balanced budget is mandated

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    One topic that has received a significant amount of interest , is charges for utility costs borne by residents and business owners alike in the city of Hastings. In our InDepth conversation with City Adminsitrator Melanie Mesko Lee, we discover how economic timing distrupted the equation used to set those rates.

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    Due to the changes, a new formula was needed to maintain the utility. Lee continues.

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    The rate study was begun with council personnel that has changed due to the November election. She provides information on why the study is slated for even more delays.

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    You can hear the complete InDepth conversation On-air or online at www.kdwa.com

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    BreakAway Arts Winter Wonderful

    The schedule of the BreakAway Arts building is as varied as the guests. While downstairs classes in Painting, sculpting, and paper making are offered, upstairs in the new cafe, a bit of breakfast or a bite of lunch fits the bill all the while feeling the creative influences that are everywhere. Sweet and savory choices are displayed through the great glass cases and a line of spirits and cordials reflect in the mirrored bar reminding visitors there is something special to be discovered here. Owner Mecca Page looks at the many facets of this new Hastings jewel and is continually honing the presentation to be a custom fit for those who enjoy a casual, yet upscale vibe that has become a must see stop on any downtown trip. Although the Cafe is dark Sunday and Monday, a nice list of reasons to visit include the first Friday evenings in January through April welcoming the Black Dirt Improv troupe, several author readings are part of the mix, the 3rd Thursday of each month with Open Mic, the 2nd Thursday for Open Poetry Mic and some selected Saturday afternoons featuring Tea and Tarot Reading. The corner location at 111 East 3rd Street is easy to spot with the Hastings-based Gumby and Pokey statues created by local artist Dale Lewis a popular place for photo ops and his accompanying piece, a giant cup holding an eight foot painbrush is an artistic invitation to drop in. For more information, contact them at www.breakawayarts.com

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    Eagan Officer Cleared In Derek Shooting

    In word received late on Thursday from the office of the Dakota County Attorney, A Dakota County Grand jury has concluded that Eagan Police Sergeant nathan Tennessen was legally justified when he used deadly force in the shooting death of Justin Lee Kulhanek-Derks, age 37 of Eagan on August 28th of this year. Initially, three officers arrived at the apartment complex located at 1284 Ironwood Lane after multiple 911 calls reported a person firing a handgun from a vehicle parked outside. When officers arrived the suspect's vehicle then attempted to leave the area ignoring repeated verbal commands for him to exit the vehicle and Derks fired shots towards the officers, with a witness stating one bullet caused the ground just in front of the officers to explode. Sergeant Tennessen then fired at Derks, striking him in the head and causing his death. Officers found a 9mm handgun in the suspects left hand. Toxicology tests conducted as part of the autopsy revealed he had a BAC of .17 at the time of his death. For the officer to have been charged in the use of deadly force in the line of duty, the State must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force was not justified. The Minnesota BCA served as lead investigator and the Apple Valley, Mendota Heights and Bloomington Police Departments as well as the Minnesota State Patrol aided the Eagan Police Department at the time of the incident. Dakota County District Attorney James Backstrom confirmed that Eagan Police did not use body cameras and none of the squad mounted cameras captured this shooting

    incident.

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    Augustana Health Care NRA Helpers

    In a recent InDepth program with Augustana Health Care of Hastings executive director Kay Schumacher, the challenging employement climate is one her staff is hoping to improve by looking at open positions in a new way.

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    Schumaker acknowledges that health care is a career with many considerations

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    Anyone interested in learning more can contact Heidi Flaten at 651-480-5915.

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    Railway Transport Hubbub Continues

    Plans to bring water back into a Grey Cloud Island channel have been stalled according to those who attended a meeting on December 7th, in Cottage Grove. According to Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg, construction of the bridge on County road 75 will be delayed until the full impact of the development to be constructed by the BNSF Railway expanding their transport hub has been determined. Other concerns including traffic increases and noise have been raised by those living near the project that is slated to begin in 2017. A private citizen sold land to BNSF that will allow storage of vehicles delivered by rail and by truck transport to the area on the south side of Hwy 61 on Grey Cloud Island Drive. A large parking area will be relocated slightly and some sound averting earthen berms in response to public concerns made to the railway for mitigation of noise impact made by transport traffic, that could add more than 60 deliveries per day to vehicle traffic on area roadways. The county also received an update from the railway that a request for an environmental assessment worksheet has been rejected citing a similar survey was done in 2004 with no major changes in the area that would warrant another study. The decision on the County Road 75 bridge is expected after the first of the year with a final design of the expansion for BNSF made in early spring.

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    PEEP Mobile Spotting

    Not very often a frigid Minnesota Day is brightened by wintery sunshine AND a giant PeepMobile which was caught catching a ride on a transport Wednesday Morning. One of our frequent community contributors sent their unexpected photo to KDWA, always on the look out for news and photos of our listening area. Send your interesting or surprising news or community photos to news@kdwa.com

    LOOP Adds Stop to Tuesday Route

    A new addition to the LOOP Bus route schedule. Transportation Director Courney Whited released the information this week that the LOOP Circulator bus will make a stop at the Dakota County Administrator Center every third Tuesday beginning on December 20th. Scheduled stop times are 9:41, 10:41, 11:41, 12:41 and 1:41. The stop will connect clients with the Dakota County WIC program which is located in Room 1A in the lower level. Hastings can also call one day in advance to schedule a customized pickup at their home. Contact Whited for more information at 651-234-2290. The Loop Bus began in September and offers a 5 hour route each Tuesday between 9am and 2 pm for riders to increase their mobility options.

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    Christmas Thieves Hit Farmington Area

    Reports of some very anti-holiday spirit that took place in Dakota County last weekend, first the Dakota County Sheriff's Office and Farmington Police are continuing their investigation into the theft of most of the proceeds from the Heritage Village Christmas event that treats visitors to a turn of the century old fashion Christmas in the decorated village each December on the Dakota County Fairgrounds. Evidence of the break-in is being examined, but the volunteers who dress as 19th century villages, shopkeepers and townsfolk were stunned to learn of the robbery. An estimate of nearly 8,000 dollars was taken, money used for upkeep of the village to continue the popular tradition. And just up the road, 5 dozen Hampton Township mailboxes showed signs of having mail stolen or tampered with in a series of reports throughout the area on Saturday. Authorities noted holiday cards and letters were found in the snow suggesting the culprets were looking for checks, gift cards or other valuables sent for the holiday season. If anyone from the community can provide information on either crime, call the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, 651-438-4700

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    Captital Improvement Plans Include City Hall Rehabbing

    A look at the recently published list that may be part of the next 5 year capital improvement plan for the City of Hastings includes at least 2 projects that top 7 figures. City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee describes the largest items which may include a 7 million dollar rehabbing of the The Hastings City Hall and painting of one of the city's 5 water towers.

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    According to information found on the city's website, these items as well as renovating the Police Station, would be submitted for funding in the next bonding cycle for the Minnesota Legislature.

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    That bill was not passed in 2016, resulting in many municipal committees uncertain how to complete underfunded projects already underway. LGA which stands for Local Government Aid may also be used, but there is no accurate prediction on securing those monies. I asked if structural needs were immediate.

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    The 2017 city budget will be presented for final approval at the December 19th City Council meeting.

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    Cottage Grove Family Home Fire

    A Cottage Grove family has been displaced after a fire Saturday caused major damage to their home. Emergency workers received a report at 4:27 p.m. of a possible garage fire at 8204 Ingberg Court, Cottage Grove Fire Chief Rick Redenius said. The fire quickly spread from the detached garage to the home. A report indicated one of the residents was transported to a hospital for a minor burn. Initial reports indicate the garage is a total loss. It is unclear whether the homeowners will be able to renovate the home. The cause of the fire is under investigation. A neighboring house also sustained damage to its exterior as some siding was melted. There were about 30 personnel from four departments who battled the fire, as Cottage Grove had help from St. Paul Park, Newport and Woodbury Fire Departments. There were no reports of firefighter injuries. Crews were on scene about four hours, then returned at about 11:30 p.m. to extinguish a hot spot. They finally cleared at about 1:30 a.m., according to Washington County emergency dispatch. Updates reported additional flareups continued through the weekend into early Monday to the home which also housed the family business.

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    Holiday Train Stops In Cottage Grove

    The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made its annual stop in Cottage Grove on Friday, December 9th. In the cold of the evening people came out to see the train, hear the music, but most importantly, to donate food and money to Friends in Need Food Shelf. Cottage Grove Holiday Train Committee co-chair Mary Slusser said they entered Friday with about $55,000 raised for Friends in Need. Slusser updated KDWA with running totals through Monday.

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    Canadian Pacific announced its own $10,000 toward the local food shelf during the event, putting the committee closer to its $90,000 goal. Donations will continue to come in for the next couple of weeks.

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    Pictured is just one of the many community checks donated during the event.

       

    District 200 Seeks Community Guidance

    One of the topics on Today's rebroadcast of the Tim Collins show, was the incidence and handling of harassment and bullying in District 200 Schools. Despite a heightened awareness of the practice, there is only so much that can be revealed when such a complaint is made, but any behavior which threatens another student or staff member will be taken seriously. Superintendent Collins shared the fine line that is walked as reports involving students or staff are all subject to data privacy laws which don't allow administration to provide information about how a particular incident was handled or if it was resolved. Each person involved in the event will be questioned and parents are informed on any action involving their own child, but frustration often builds when questions remain about consequences or discipline followthrough. Collins also shared the concern that students may not reveal negative actions by others for many reasons and that the best response is to address such behavior immediately, so that the issue can be dealt with before it is repeated or worsens. Staff are educated to look for signs in students that indicate they are targets of harrassing or bullying behavior and in the Middle School an anyomous Listening Locker is a place that anyone can place a note to let councelors know about a wide range of things, from personal problems to a concern that might need attention. All students are encouraged to share any incidents of harrassment or bullying with a trusted adult right away so that proper action can begin.

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    During the rebroadcast of the Tim Collins Show, the Superintendent reminds listeners of the important work yet to be done to determine the priorities of facility care within the district. A group of 15 community members are needed to help decide which buildings and projects are first in line with upkeep that is needed throughout the district. Collins explains how you can help.

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    He also shared how important these decisions are, citing the middle school as an example.

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    Anyone interested in helping with this effort should contact the District 200 office,   651-480-7000.

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    Pair of Events Benefit HFS

    The Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train made a stop in Hastings on Thursday night. KDWA spoke with Hastings Family Service Executive Director Chris Koop for a recap of the evening.

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    Donations are still accepted.Please contact Hastings Family Service at 651-437-7134 for more information. http://www.hastingsfamilyservice.org

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    In conjunction with the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train program, Hastings Family Service has been awarded $5,000 from Merchants Bank. Hastings Family Service Executive Director Chris Koop explains.

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    Hastings Family Service is located at 301 2nd Street East. A link to their website is provided at KDWA.com.

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    http://www.hastingsfamilyservice.org/

       

    Drugged Driver Endangers Kids

    From the Dakota County Sheriff's office comes more information on a vehicle pursuit that took place Wednesday night. Another departmet decided to terminate the pursuit after learning the driver had 2 small children in the vehicle as well. When the driver then entered Dakota County, at over 100 mph, their deputies were aware of the child and did not initiate a pursuit. The resolution was the vehicle involved then traveled into a field where it became stuck. The driver was then seen fleeing the vehicle alone in bare feet where that person was then arrested . Once in custody, the driver admitted to being under the influence of methamphetamine and was aware they were being sought in connection with an active Wisconsin Department of Corrections warrent. Deputies involved also provided care for the children following the incident.

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    HFS Holiday Train Heroes

    Thursday night's visit from the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train may have been cold with single digit wind chill temperatures but the reception of the muliticolored string of 9 decorated railcars were warmly received by the crowd that gathered around the portable stage car, featuring brave musicians who provided entertainment in the open air. Santa also made an appearance and dignitaries from CP presented an incredible donation of $4,500 dollars to representatives from Hastings Family Service Food Shelf that will help with make the holidays even brighter for families in need. And a special update was made on Thursday from Merchants Bank who conducted the Swipe out Hunger campaign. Congratulations to Hastings Family Service, winner of the $5,000 grand prize this year. They ended with 2,091 total votes, 989 votes ahead of second place Hunger Task Force of La Crosse. And there is still time to adopt a family. Check with Hastings Family Service about how your family can help a local family have the very best of holidays.

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    Proposed Property Tax Rate Explained

    In a story previously reported on KDWA, the Hastings City Council is looking to approve the 2017 city budget, which includes a preliminary proposed tax rate of just over 62 percent. This is a proposed property tax rate, and, although seemingly high, is actually not as steep as it may sound. According to Hastings Financial Manager Rebecca Petersen and information from the MN Department of Revenue, essentially, your home is not taxed at its market value, but through tax code calculations, a value of tax capacity is established. Using an example of a home hypothetically valued at 116 thousand dollars, a tax capacity can be established at 892 dollars. The tax rate is then applied to that 892 dollars. In this example, the 62.27 percent tax rate would generate a net tax of just over 555 dollars on the hypothetical 116 thousand dollar home. The City Council cannot readjust the tax rate above the preliminary proposed tax rate. Links to more information can be found below. http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/propertytax/Documents/hmve-taxpayers.pdf

    https://www.hastingsmn.gov/city-government/city-budget

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    County Connecting Trail Awaits Spring

    The trail that will connect Washington County and Pierce County begins at Highway 61 and continues along the old peanut railway along the south side of the bluff all the way into Prescott. This summer was a productive time with much of the route cleared and basic buildup of the trail completed , leaving an earthen path that spans nearly 5 miles. Some of the path has been covered with asphalt, with the majority awaiting paving in the spring. The developers will have some work to do next spring to complete the new trail including shoulder finishing remaining before non-motorized travelers will be allowed to use the path. The project coordinator, Devin Kubic reminds those who hoped to explore the path prior to that time, that the trail is officially closed until all aspects of the trail are completed. He also stated that ATV's,motorcycles,snowmobiles and other motorized vehicles will not be allowed on the trail.

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    HPD Expands Body Cam Program

    At the December 5th Hastings City Council Meeting, Chief Bryan Schafer recounted the overview of a fully outfitted force bringing the number of body cameras to 23, outfitting each patrol officer . Schafer addressed the concern made with the original implementation regarding the security of data collected when the cameras were employed. Legislation this summer addressed this concern by ruling that such data is deemed private, not public and is subject to review only by the law enforcement body as well as the subject, or private citizen, who is featured in any content captured on the footage. Four reasons for release of the data beyond that are when an officer discharges his firearm, when use of force results in significant bodily injury, at the subject or victim's direct request or in the active investigation of an serious incident. The approval will mean that camera and related equipment costs will be included in the 2017 budget.

       

    Farmington Fundraiser Spreads Holiday Cheer

    A big thanks to everyone who came out on Tuesday night to support the Farmington Police and Fire Department in the fundraiser held at the new Bourbon Butcher Restaurant. A packed house took part in the event which raised over $12,000 that will be used to purchase lifesaving equipment Automated External Defibrillator or AED's and also gifts for Toys for Town. A friendly competition was held between Police Chief Brian Lindquist and Fire Chief Jim Larson, with the Farmington Fire Station raising the most. The Bourbon Butcher will continue to accept toys during the next week for the Toys for Town program and will also donate a dollar to be given to the AED fund for each specially created Fire House Burger sold until the end of the campaign. The Rotary Club of Farmington also donated fifteen hundred dollars to the Toys for Town effort on Monday. The wrapping of the collected toys will take place at the Farmington High School on Saturday, December 17th. Volunteers are welcome to attend. Photo provided by Farmington Police Dept.

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    2017 Preliminary Budget Adds Up

    The 2017 Hastings City Budget was discussed at the City Council meeting on December 5th. The budget carries a preliminary proposed tax rate of 62.27 percent, a preliminary total levy of 12 million 960 thousand dollars and a preliminary total budget of 31 million 195 thousand dollars. Further adjustments to the proposed levy may not exceed the preliminary tax rates. According to the Finance Committee the median home value for 2017 is 184,600 dollars and would pay an estimated 1024 dollars in property taxes. The committee also states the budget is operationally balanced and makes use of available Local Government Aid for one time projects and initiatives. Hastings obtains half of its operating revenues from taxes, 40 percent from charges for services and the remaining ten percent is collected from other sources, such as licenses and permits, special assessments and intergovernmental aid. Operating Expenses break down to 36 percent for public safety, 24 percent for public works, debt service 17 percent, culture and recreation 12 percent, general government 10 percent and 1 percent for economic development. The budget is expected to be adopted on December 19th at the next City Council meeting.

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