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    Flag Day Ceremonies

    Flag Day, on June 14th, is set to be celebrated in Hastings this year in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Volunteer Service Coordinator Sue Register, with the Hastings Veterans Home explains.

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    The veterans at the home are also asking the public's help in nominating community members to receive a "Flag Award" for displaying their flag properly at their business or residence. To nominate a residence, call (651) 212-8812.

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    This Old Horse Runs Without The Roses

    Hastings' own This Old Horse, a sanctuary facility for retired, rescued, and recovered horses, annually holds a fundraiser for their non-profit organization in conjunction with the Kentucky Derby. Because the Derby was postponed to September, due to COVID-19, this Old Horse decided to have a virtual fundraiser instead. Nancy Turner, founder of This Old Horse, commented on the results of the event.

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    Learn more about the organization at ThisOldHorse.org.

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    Stoffel Reflects On City Position

    Hastings Communication Coordinator Lee Stoffel, who will be stepping down from her position on May 27th, recently spoke with KDWA regarding her 7 years with the City of Hastings. She commented on her perspective of the city's development during her time here.

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    She will be taking up a similar position with the City of Rosemount.

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    Her new position will start in early June.

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    Inmate Diagnosed With COVID

    The Dakota County Sheriff's Office has reported that an inmate at the Dakota County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate, who has not been identified, was arrested by a Dakota County Deputy for Gross Misdemeanor DUI on May 16. He was symptomatic when he was jailed and according to information released by the DCSO, per protocols, was placed in an isolation cell. The suspect was in isolation the entire time while in custody, having limited contact with staff and no contact with other inmates. He was released from jail on charges on May 20. DCSO officials have notified Dakota County Risk Management, Minnesota Department Public Health, and the employees of the Sheriff's Office. Instructions have been provided on what they have done and will be doing to limit exposures and test DCSO personnel who may have had contact with the inmate.

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    Jurgens Questions Plan

    On Wednesday Governor Walz unveiled new guidance for re-opening businesses throughout the State of Minnesota, and the news was not good for bars, restaurants, and churches that were expecting to safely welcome back residents who wanted to visit their facilities. State Representative Tony Jurgens said that while he understands why the Governor is choosing to move cautiously, he does not understand why he continues to pick winners and losers.

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    Bishops Allow Mass

    The Catholic Bishops of Minnesota, along with many people of faith, were disappointed in Governor Walz's May 13 announcement that he would end the Stay-at-Home order to allow more commerce but prohibit religious gatherings of more than ten people. Diocese leadership has attempted to work collaboratively with the Walz Administration up to this time, seeking the guidance of the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Public Health to help us strengthen specific safety protocols based on the statewide plan. According to a letter sent to local churches, the bishops of Minnesota are united in their conviction that they can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both religious duties and accepted public health and safety standards. Therefore, we are giving parishes permission for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass on Tuesday, May 26, which will give us time to be ready for the celebration of Pentecost on May 31. Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols published for sanitation and social distancing and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church. No one will be obliged to attend, as the bishops of Minnesota will continue to dispense from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

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    Aid Bill For Farmers Introduced

    On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig and colleagues on the House Agriculture Committee introduced legislation to address the urgent issues facing America's agriculture economy and food supply chain caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Specifically, the Farming Support to States Act would provide states access to $1 billion in immediate, flexible funding to ensure farmers and rural businesses have the tools needed to respond and rebuild. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin, was among a group of Senators that introduced companion legislation in the Senate. According to a press release from Craig's office, plummeting agricultural prices have forced many farmers and processors to make tough choices. These large-scale financial losses have the potential to rapidly shrink agriculture and rural economy, and direct assistance provided this year only covers a small portion of the losses at stake. The USDA would allocate funds to all states and territories, with substantial funding targeted to states based on their contributions to regional and national food systems.

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    Mayor Supports Closure

    Coming on the heels of Monday night's Hastings City Council decision to keep the Family Aquatic Center closed for the summer, Mayor Mary Fasbender spoke with KDWA and reiterated the reasoning presented at the meeting as to why the Center should not open this year.

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    It should be noted again that the Council also voted to open all city playground areas for use, with social distancing guidelines in place.

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    Lakeside Cemetery To Place Markers

    With larger Memorial Day events being curtailed around Hastings, the tradition of placing flags and standards on veterans graves at Lakeside Cemetery will continue. This year, the cemetery board will be without their number one organizer, Pete Mollick, who passed away earlier this month after a short battle with cancer. KDWA talked to Sharon Bauer of Lakeside Cemetery about their tradition of placing flags for Memorial Day.

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    Lakeside Cemetery is located at 920 Nininger Road.

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    CFHS Sets Grad Ceremony Procedure

    With a moratorium for in-person graduation ceremonies this year, local institutions of learning are having to get creative in honoring graduating students and celebrating their accomplishments. Retiring Cannon Falls teacher Anne Mellesmoen explains how High School graduates will be honored there.

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    Communities in the KDWA listening area have been conducting parades and other activities to honor graduating seniors.

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    Question Raised At Council Meeting

    At Monday evening's Hastings City Council meeting, the Council held a discussion of an agenda item regarding Hastings' request to Dakota County regarding incentives to offset local costs for solid waste collection. During the course of the discussion, Council member Mark Vaughan questioned the action of Council member Tina Folch in seconding a motion for approval of the agenda item, as she is employed by the City of Red Wing, where Hastings' solid waste is processed. KDWA has attempted to contact Council member Vaughan regarding his concerns, but he has not responded. It should also be noted that Council member Vaughan, who is the Civic Arena and Aquatics Manager for the City of Eagan voted in the majority to close the Hastings Aquatic Center for the summer.

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    Pierce Co. Buildings Remain Closed

    Pierce County has announced that County office buildings will remain closed to the public until further notice. Despite the end of the Safer at Home order, COVID-19 is still a threat to public health. According to a County press release, when the time comes to begin reopening Pierce County buildings, the public will be notified accordingly. Citizens are encouraged to receive services that they can by phone and other means of technology, but County staff will provide in-person services for those in need. For those needing in-person services, contact the necessary department to schedule an appointment. Contact numbers for Pierce County Departments can be found on the Pierce County Webpage.

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    USDA To Assist Farmers

    On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America's farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA's Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need. Beginning May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), will be accepting applications from agricultural producers who have suffered losses.

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    MN DVA Sets Virtual Memorial Day Celebration

    The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring a virtual Memorial Day program in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic prohibits the live events traditionally held at the three State Veterans Cemeteries located in Little Falls, Preston and Duluth. While a live event will not be held, the three State Veterans Cemeteries remain open for visitors, who are encouraged to follow the StaySafeMN order and limit groups to 10 or fewer. TPT has created a 30-minute Memorial Day program entitled "Always Remember: A Minnesota Tribute to Veterans Weve Lost", that will be broadcast across the state on TPT's Minnesota Channel at 7:30 PM, on Monday, May 25 and on TPT2 Sunday, May 31 at 8 AM. The program will include remarks from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Commissioner Herke, personal stories from both Gold Star mothers and Veterans about those we have lost and honor on Memorial Day, as well as music and a rifle salute traditionally included in a live event.

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    City COVID Case Numbers Released

    The Dakota Board of County Commissioners has just received clearance from the Mn Department of Health to release COVID-19 case numbers broken down by city. According to information released by Commissioner Joe Atkins, the official number of COVID cases in Hastings is currently listed at 19. In comparison to other communities in the KDWA listening area, Rosemount had 37 cases, and Farmington had 27. Previously, this data had been required to be kept confidential by MDH due to state patient privacy laws. However, the State has now authorized release of this data if there are more than 10 COVID-19 cases in each city and if they can protect privacy based on city size, which Commissioner Atkins said could be done. Other statistical data for COVID-19 in Dakota County is available at the link provided here.

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    Council Passes Assistance Request

    On Monday evening, the Hastings City Council deliberated a resolution to allow temporary changes to city code to help local businesses reestablish customer flow and marketing opportunities in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Community Development Director John Hinzman laid out some of the key aspects of the request.

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    After discussion of the request to include city liability for public spaces, clarification of parklets, and public consumption of alcohol, the request passed by unanimous vote.

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    Aquatic Center Will Not Open

    At Monday's Hastings City Council meeting, the Council was asked to consider a request to close the Hastings Family Aquatic Center for the summer of 2020. Parks and Recreation Director Chris Jenkins provided the reasoning for the request.

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    The Council unanimously approved the request to close the Center for 2020, and also approved removing restrictions on playground equipment in City Parks, starting immediately.

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    Pierce Co. Fatal Accident

    On Saturday, May 16th, at about 2:56 AM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a single vehicle crash on CTH C near 490th Avenue in Ellsworth Township. Scene investigation determined that a 2001 GMC Sierra pickup operated by Joe Hayes, 36 years old, of Ellsworth, was traveling southbound on County Highway C. The vehicle crossed over the center line and entered the east ditch, struck and vaulted over a driveway, causing it to go airborne and roll over. Hayes was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office. This crash remains under investigation. The PCSO was assisted on scene by the Ellsworth Police Department, Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service, Ellsworth Fire Department and the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.

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    WI Virtual Memorial Day

    Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary Mary Kolar invited Wisconsin veterans, family, and friends to join the WDVA and Governor Tony Evers to honor the fallen by participating in "Memorial Day 2020: Wisconsin's Virtual Commemoration", a state-wide Memorial Day observance. In this time of social distancing and safer-at-home, the WDVA is bringing Memorial Day to people in their own home. The Commemoration includes a virtual ceremony, educational and other resources to help families and individuals engage at home, and tools to encourage public participation and social media interaction. The Commemoration will culminate on Monday, May 25, 2020 with a virtual Memorial Day ceremony at 9 AM, followed by the observance of the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM. Secretary Kolar will lead the Moment of Remembrance Live on Facebook. The Commemoration is available at WisVetsMemorialDay2020.com.

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    Public Works Week Proposed

    U.S. Rep. Angie Craig announced on Monday that she is leading bipartisan resolution H. Res. 969 to recognize this week, May 17 through May 23, 2020, as "National Public Works Week". Rep. Craig authored this resolution to celebrate the imperative work of our nation's public works professionals who manage water, sewer, public transportation, and maintain public buildings and grounds. The resolution highlights that these public works professionals have continued to provide these essential services during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, placing themselves at increased risk of infection. Craig stated she is thrilled to recognize National Public Works Week to honor the critical work that goes into keeping neighborhoods safe and operating smoothly, adding that we owe the quality of life in our communities to these public servants, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Craig serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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    Grants For WI Businesses

    WI Gov. Tony Evers recently announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's "We're All In" initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help Wisconsin's small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe. Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June.

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    MNSaves Offers Matching Donations

    The Minnesota 529 College Savings Plan (MNSAVES) is excited to celebrate National 529 Day with the "Save $50, Get $50" promotion, which runs from May 26 - May 31, 2020. During this limited time offer, MNSAVES will contribute $50 to new account holders who deposit $50 and set up automatic contributions of at least $25 for six months. See MNSaves.org/529Day for Terms and Conditions. The annual deadline is December 31 of the applicable calendar tax year.

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    Pierce Co. Accident Injures One

    On Saturday, May 16th, at 11:35 AM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a one vehicle crash on 770th Avenue east of 330th Street, in Gilman Township. According to a press release, William Wilkes-Croteau, 17 years old, from Spring Valley, was driving a Ford Explorer eastbound on 770th Avenue, when he lost control of his vehicle and rolled and then entered into the south ditch. Wilkes-Croteau was transported from the scene by Spring Valley Area Ambulance to Mayo Menomonie Area Hospital with undetermined injuries. The PCSO was assisted on the scene by Spring Valley Area Ambulance.

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    HFD Puts New Boat Into Service

    The Hastings Fire Department has placed a recently purchased inflatable boat into service. The boat replaces a small aluminum boat from the 1970s, and now Fire Department and EMS staff have improved ability to respond to calls on all 3 local rivers, and other small bodies of water. The new boat has a capacity to improve for swift water, ice rescue, quick responses for medical calls on waterways, and flood waters. According to Department leadership, the boat's stability, and versatility make it a safe and stable rescue and response platform, that was not available with the old boat. The new inflatable boat was purchased with funds donated by Affinity Credit Union, and the departments thank them for the generous donation, and increasing their capabilities to respond safely to water incidents.   

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    Chlorination System Project To Start

    Plumbing and mechanical contractor, MJ O'Connor is expected to begin work on installing plumbing and mechanical equipment for the Hastings Chlorination Systems Project later this month, starting with work at the Water Treatment Plant. This project will continue for the next several months and the intention is to do work at one facility at a time until all installations are completed, and activating each facility's individual system as they go. While the City has been awaiting the start of this work, Public Works staff prepared and installed concrete at the Well No. 7 and Well No. 6 sites. More information on the Chlorination Project may be found at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Stoffel Takes New Position

    Hastings Communiciations Coordinator Lee Stoffel has announced that she is leaving her position with Hastings to take a similar position with the City of Rosemount. According to the weekly City Newsletter, Lee began with Hastings in 2013 in a part-time role and became full time in 2018. During her seven years with the City she has been instrumental in telling the City of Hastings' story. She led the charge to create the new City logo, worked to re-design the City website, expanded the City's social media presence, and served as the staff liaison to the THRIVE initiative and the Arts Task Force. Her last day with Hastings will be May 27th.

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    Accident Injures One

    On Saturday, May 16th, at about 5 PM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a two vehicle crash on County Highway C near 490th Avenue in Ellsworth Township. According to a PCSO press release, Cody Schwalbe, 18 years old from Ellsworth, WI, was operating a Chevrolet Cavalier southbound on CTH. C, when he began to slow down to attempt a U-turn in the roadway. Mr. Schwalbe had a female passenger Alicia Ehman, 19 years old from Ellsworth. Christopher Bystrom, 34 years old, from Ellsworth, was operating a Ford Focus also southbound behind Schwalbe. Bystrom's vehicle collided with Schwalbe's vehicle in the roadway as Bystrom attempted an evasive maneuver to avoid striking Schwalbes vehicle. Bystrom was transported from the scene by the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service to Mayo Hospital in Red Wing with undetermined injuries. The PCSO was assisted on scene by the Ellsworth Police Department and the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service.

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    Prairie Island Project Gets Funding

    The Minnesota Senate recently passed legislation providing $25.8 million in funding for the state's Renewable Development Account (RDA). The RDA provides funding to develop renewable energy projects throughout the state. The projects included in the 2021 fiscal year from the Renewable Development Account include $16 million to the Prairie Island Indian Community for its project to become a "net zero energy community", with funding of the project through fiscal year 2023 at $46.2 million.

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    Stylist Bill Clears Legislature

    On Saturday, bipartisan legislation to exempt freelance hair and makeup artists from being required to obtain a full cosmetology license cleared its final hurdle in the Minnesota Legislature. The bill, Senate File 2228, passed the Senate by a vote of 64-3 on Wednesday and by a vote of 128-4 in the House of Representatives on Saturday. Senator Karin Housley, the bill's chief author said, "When we make an attempt at returning to life as we knew it after the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course, there will be more than 1,000 freelance hair and makeup artists who deserve the opportunity to continue doing what they love. I am so incredibly happy to report the bill has now decisively passed both houses of the legislature and is on its way to Governor Walz's desk."

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    Lock And Dam Visitor Area Reopened

    The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced it is removing the closures to its facilities near the Mississippi River locks and dams from Lock and Dam 2, near Hastings to Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg, Iowa. The guide walls, loading docks and observation platforms were closed to the public on April 6 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The change is effective immediately. Jim Rand, St. Paul District locks and dams chief said, "While we are reopening the sites, we urge everyone to continue practicing safe social distancing measures and to continue listening to local officials on the best methods to protect yourself. The safety and health of our visitors and employees is our top priority, and we want everyone to be able to experience the river for years to come." Public restrooms at the locks and dams will continue to remain closed until further notice.

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    WI Commission Receives JEM Grant

    The Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission received a Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism in the amount of $20,000 for their Sales Promotion, "Welcome Back to Wisconsin's Great River Road". This promotion is designed to ramp up road trips and overnight stays on the Wisconsin portion of the Great River Road in 33 communities and 8 counties. The projected economic impact of this event is approximately $477,616. JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund a portion of a project's advertising and marketing costs for up to three years until the project becomes self-sustaining.

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    May 18 Hastings City Council Meeting

    The Hastings City Council meets virtually for regular business on Monday, May 4th, at 7 PM. After the call to order, pledge of allegiance, roll call, determination of quorum, the Council will consider approval of the minutes of previous meetings, and hear comments from the public. After any Council items to be considered, the Council will vote on the Consent Agenda, containing routine items for action by a single vote. Under awarding of contracts, the Council will consider resolutions to award the contract for the 2020 Neighborhood Infrastructure Improvement Program, and a resolution to reject bids for the 2020 Mill and Overlay Program. Reports from City Staff will include Community Development presenting a resolution for Temporary Changes for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 Restrictions. Parks and Recreation will present reports on playground equipment, and the cancellation of the 2020 Family Aquatic Center summer schedule. City Administration will present a report regarding on sale licensure for selling 3.2% malt liquor, and wine for the Froth and Cork. The Council will then consider any new or unfinished business, and open the floor for reports from other City Committees, officers, or council members. When all of the agenda items have been considered, the meeting will adjourn. The next regular meeting of the Hastings City Council is set for Monday, June 1st, at 7 PM. Meeting access information is available on the City website at HastingsMN.gov.

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    May 18 Prescott City Council Meeting

    The Prescott City Council meets Monday evening. City Administrator Jayne Brand provides a preview of the agenda.

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    Environment Bill Moves In House

    Last Wednesday, the MN House Ways and Means Committee advanced HF4554, the Environment and Natural Resources Supplemental and Policy Bill. Included in the bill, among other environmental items, is the LCCMR bill, which invests over $64 million from Minnesota's Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. According to State Representative Rick Hansen, the LCCMR Bill provides funding for various environmental projects across the state, including ten projects in the metro and affects roughly 235 jobs. Representatives also adopted an amendment to include funding for renewable energy demonstration projects at wastewater treatment facilities. Hansen states he will continue working to ensure that the Minnesota Legislature passes a LCCMR bill.

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    Spiral Natural Foods Expands Hours

    Spiral Natural Foods of Hastings has announced they are now able to open up an hour earlier on weekdays. Starting Monday, May 18, their new hours will be Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 7 PM, Sundays will remain noon to 6PM. The online ordering system has undergone some revisions to address glitches in the system, and to provide expanded availability of in-stock items. Customers are urged to use the ordering system at Spiral.coop/services to place a curbside order.

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    National Guard To Assist At Senior Care Centers

    On Thursday, the Minnesota National Guard began providing targeted assistance to long-term care facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. The Guard will provide assistance with widespread testing of staff and residents at these facilities. In response, Senator Karin Housley, chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee, issued the following statement: "Weeks ago, I urged the governor and his administration to conduct universal testing at long-term care facilities, where approximately 81 percent of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred in Minnesota. I also urged the governor to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to help with testing and other urgent needs. These facilities are home to thousands of elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans. I am pleased to see the administration finally taking action to help those living in long-term care settings."

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    May 19 HPC Meeting

    The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission meets virtually on Tuesday, May 19th at 7 PM. At the meeting, the Commission will review the Minnesota Statewide HPC Training Manual, Chapter 3, which deals with the topic of Historic Designation. Information on participating in the virtual meeting is posted on the Hastings City website.   

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    Safe Boating Week

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is celebrating National Safe Boating Week by urging boaters on the Mississippi River to be smart while on the water. "The Mississippi River is an amazing place to spend your time on a boat, but you need to be smart about it," said Jim Rand, St. Paul District locks and dams chief. "There are a lot of hazards that boaters need to be aware of to include tow boats, dangerous currents near our locks and submerged debris." National Safe Boating Week is May 16 - 22.

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    Seiple Sentenced

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Christopher Paul Seiple, age 48 of New Brighton, was sentenced on Friday by Judge Timothy McManus to 10 years of supervised probation in connection with the theft in excess of $33,000 from November of 2018 through May of 2019 from the Mendota Heights Catholic church where he was employed as the Director of Operations. Seiple pled guilty December 11, 2019 to three counts of Theft by Swindle. Seiple was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $118,162, serve 30 days in jail and 30 days of electronic home monitoring. Backstrom praised Assistant County Attorney Mary Russell, who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Mendota Heights Police Department for their thorough investigation of this matter.

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    Allina Prepares To Broaden Service

    Allina Health is launching a Safe Care Commitment campaign to assure consumers that it is safe to receive the care they need, whenever they need it. Allina Health has taken important steps to ensure people feel safe continuing to address their on-going health care needs. Dr. Tim Sielaff, chief medical officer at Allina Health commented on the out break effects to date on the health care system.

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    He also encouraged patients not to wait if other types of critical care are needed.

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    Those with questions should contact their primary health provider.

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    State Reccomends Absentee Balloting

    MN Secretary of State Steve Simon is calling on all eligible Minnesota voters to apply for their absentee ballots now using the online absentee ballot request tool. The tool, which opened last Wednesday, allows registered voters to request that their ballot to be sent to them by mail for the August 11 statewide primary and the November 3 general election. All eligible Minnesota voters may request an absentee ballot for the primary and general elections at MNVotes.org. The online application will ask for an e-mail address and an identification number, either a Minnesota-issued driver's license, Minnesota ID card, or last 4 digits of Social Security Number.

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    Prescott Continues Riverfront Renovation Planning

    At the May 11th meeting of the Prescott Parks and Public Property Committee, Seth Hudson, of Cedar Corp, presented an update on the riverfront project. The Parks Committee has met and has put together a plan of what they would like to see happen as part of the riverfront project. The City applied for a grant, through the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, for a Multimodal Local Supplement grant, which resulted in a $600,000 award. The city has been working on an assessors plat for the downtown area. There have been issues working with the railroad. There were discussions if the trail to Freedom Park could also be part of the first phase. Cedar was directed to prepare costs for doing a survey for the trail to Freedom Park and scope for design of the riverfront. There are a few properties which will have minor adjustments. Muddy Waters deck currently sits 12 feet into the citys public right of way. The city will grant them an easement at this time for the deck but if the deck needs to be rebuilt it will need to meet the setbacks. The assessor's plat will need to go to the state for a 30 day review then back to the council with 3 notices in the paper and a 30 day review for the public. It will need to be signed by all of the property owners.

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    Council Seeks To Best Assist Business

    With the relaxation of stay-at-home directives coming on Monday, local governments are developing plans to help businesses restart their enterprises. Hastings City Council member Tina Folch recently commented on what the Hastings Council is considering.

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    She also stated that any successful plan will require acceptance by the customer base.

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    The newer relaxed guidelines begin Monday, and complete information is available on the COVID page of MN.gov.

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    Local Salons Hope to Open Soon

    Hair salons will be included in the new customer guidelines for business, starting on Monday. Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender, who also owns a salon in town, commented on the guidelines that have been issued by the Board of Cosmetology.

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    Businesses with a COVID safety plan will be allowed to have customers on site.

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    WI Supreme Court Overtuns Order

    In a 4-3 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the state's stay-at-home order, handing Gov. Tony Evers a defeat in his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its order, the Supreme Court said Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm exceeded her authority with her sweeping order, declaring the mandate "invalid, and therefore, unenforceable," meaning some businesses and restaurants could open immediately. But some counties have already issued replacement orders enforcing the elements of Palm's order, and therefore must remain closed. In recent weeks, the Evers administration has relaxed some parts of the order, allowing any business to re-open if it could safely offer curbside drop-off services. On Monday, Palm allowed retailers that aren't considered essential businesses to open their doors and allow up to five customers inside at a time. The Supreme Court did not strike down the portion of the order closing public and private K-12 schools, which will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

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    Hastings Ranks In Housing Market

    A new study from SmartAsset has ranked the healthiest housing markets in Minnesota. According to the study, Hastings ranked 5th on the list, with a market index of 84.97. The study also showed that the average occupation of a household in Hastings is 17.8 years, and only 6.4% of homes were listed as having negative equity. When selling a home in Hastings, the home is on the market for an average of 58 days. To assess market health, the sixth annual study weighed factors, including stability, risk, the ease of selling a home and home costs as a percentage of local median income.

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    Rep. Jurgens: More Businesses Could Open

    On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced he will lift the state's Stay at Home order effective Monday, and laid out plans to allow the reopening of restaurants, churches, and other businesses in the coming weeks. State Representative Tony Jurgens said it's another positive step forward, but noted that these businesses have been planning for weeks to reopen, and if they can do so safely, they should be allowed to do so.

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    Local, County and State Governments are working to assist businesses with the task of returning to business as usual.

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    Senator Bigham Comments On Business Opening Plan

    To allow for the safe operation of businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, a bill was introduced establishing a waiver system allowing businesses that create plans and are deemed low-risk to safely re-open. The system would be in place for the duration of the peacetime emergency. MN Senator Karla Bigham expressed support for the plan.

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    She also spoke about expanding benefits to more small business enterprises.

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    Additionally, the bill stipulates that $18 million must be awarded to individual businesses that employ 5 or fewer full-time workers (micro-loans) and $9 million is reserved for minority owned, business majority owned by veterans, or businesses that are majority owned and operated by women. The grants are capped at $10,000 per business.

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    Prescott Daze In Limbo

    The City of Prescott has not decided whether or not to postpone Prescott Daze for 2020. Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Casey Johnson commented on the process.

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    Prescott Daze normally occurs in September, on the weekend after Labor Day.

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    March For Them Canceled

    Organizers of the annual March For Them from Red Wing to Hastings on Memorial Day weekend have made the difficult decision to cancel this year's march. Founder Tom Wright explains.

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    Follow the organization by visiting MarchForThem.org.

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    Hastings VFW Curtails Ceremony

    George Jones, Commander of VFW Post 1210, has announced that regular Memorial Day activities for the post have been suspended.

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    Celebrations at cemeteries, the Vets Home and at Roadside Park have been canceled. At the Post at 11 AM, the Hastings Memorial Squad will fire their gun salute and they will play taps in the County Crossroads Shopping Mall parking lot. People will be asked to stay in their cars or get out only if they wear a mask.

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    Prescott Business Support Update

    As previously reported on KDWA, River City Stitch, in Prescott, has been conducting a business support program for local establishments. Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Casey Johnson provided a recap of the program.

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    For more information visit RiverCityStitch.com.

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    Miss Hastings Retains Crown

    KDWA has learned that Miss Hastings 2019 Sophie Keeler will represent Hastings for another year. Executive Director Janelle Behny explains.

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    The Miss America organization has asked the current title holders to keep their local titles until June 2021, and that all local competitions are canceled until after Minnesotas state pageant in June 2021.

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    HEROES Act Expands Benefits

    U.S. Rep. Angie Craig announced that the most recent COVID-19 package, The HEROES Act (H.R.6800), incorporates her All Dependent Children Count Act and will expand the definition of an eligible dependent under the CARES Act to those younger than 19, students below age 24 and adult dependents. The provision will allow working families to get the rebates they deserve for all of their dependents. Under the new bill, families with dependents under the revised expanded definition will receive $500, retroactive to the date of the enactment of the CARES Act, which did not include COVID-19 relief for dependents 17 and older. Rep. Craig's bipartisan push included support from 151 cosponsors.

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    Emily's Bakery, VPM Teaming Up!

    Vermillion Pump and Market (VPM) is teaming up with Emily's Bakery of Hastings for an initiative called "Sweets For Seniors", where Hastings High School Seniors will be able to get a FREE 7", two-layer personalized graduation cake! VPM and Emily's are also taking any monetary donations to help off-set the cost of the project, if anybody would like to have a hand in helping out. KDWA's Nick Tuckner caught up with Emily's Bakery and Deli Owner Norine Bishop on Wednesday, to discuss this wonderful endeavor, and also how business is going at the Bakery during the pandemic.

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    K9 Sonny Training Update

    The Hastings Police Department recently posted updates on K9 Officer Sonny and his handler, Officer Dan, who are currently in K9 training. According to a post on social media, Sonny worked on searching for articles. By using his nose, Sonny is able to locate ammunition, firearms, ID cards, credit cards, and match boxes. When he finds these items he lays down next to them. This task is very helpful for collecting and preserving evidence. Sonny has also been introduced to "recalls". A recall is when a handler sends his/her K9 to apprehend a suspect. However, before the K9 bites the suspect, the handler calls the K9 back. Sonny was confused, to say the least, but the training process continues.

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    (K9 Sonny. Photo Courtesy HPD)

    Give At Home Campaign Results

    Minnesotans united to show support for their communities during GiveMN's virtual fundraising event, #GiveAtHomeMN, with more than $5.26 million raised in the week-long campaign May 1-8. In total, 33,408 donations supported 2,804 nonprofits and schools across the state. Donations came in from all of Minnesota's 87 counties, all 50 states and 17 countries. Outside of Give to the Max, Minnesota's giving holiday each November, new records were set for the top three single fundraising days on GiveMN.org in its 11 year history. Additional bonus grants totaling $68,000 were awarded to 197 organizations throughout the week by GiveMN thanks to support from the Bush Foundation and U.S. Bank.

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    Storm Creek Pullovers Support Heroes

    Storm Creek, a leading supplier of premium outdoor-inspired apparel announced that it has given out more than 500 "Wear For Better" pullovers to essential heroes working on the front lines of COVID-19. Since the Wear For Better "Buy One Give One" campaign began on April 10, Storm Creek has delivered pullovers to heroes in 33 states and Washington, DC. Over 50% of the recipients work in the health care industry. The Wear For Better Collection includes a men's and women's jersey 1/4 zip pullover featuring a logo that recognizes a variety of essential occupations, from medical staff, first responders, grocers, restaurant workers, farmers, bankers, mail carriers, transit workers, teachers and childcare providers and more, along with the words "Together We Fight". For every pullover purchased, the customer can choose an essential worker to receive a free pullover with a personalized note. Storm Creek will be expanding the program to include other select state logos in the coming weeks.

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    WI Begins Process To Reopen Business

    Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has directed Andrea Palm, Secretary of the Department of Health Services to issue Emergency Order 36, titled "Interim Order to Turn the Dial". The Order outlines the process for returning to business as usual in the State of WI. According to the Order, standalone or strip mall-based retail stores with an entrance or entrances to the outside may offer in-person shopping for up to five customers at a time. Any entrances through a mall or interconnected passage must be closed to the public. Stores relying exclusively on mall or interconnected passage entrances may not offer in-person retail under this order. Face coverings are strongly encouraged for all staff and customers. Social Distancing Requirements, as defined in previous Emergency Orders, must be observed at all times. If the retail store is unable for any reason to observe Social Distancing Requirements between all customers and staff, the store must limit its occupancy to less than five customers to ensure observance with Social Distancing Requirements. The new order went into effect on May 11th. The complete order is available to read on the State Website.

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    Vet Home Workers Commended

    The MN Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that nearly 100 staff members of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings are being touted this week for the high quality and compassionate care they continue to provide during the COVID-19 pandemic. May 10 through 16 is Minnesota Veterans Homes Week when the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) recognizes more than 1,250 staff who care for over 700 residents in five Veterans Homes' locations across the state including Hastings. The Hastings Home has 84 staff caring for up to 145 residents in a domiciliary/boarding care program for those Veterans needing various types of assistance, but not yet requiring skilled nursing home level care. This week, Veterans organizations and local communities have been invited to recognize the Veterans Homes staff with expressions of gratitude that model social distancing such as outdoor signs, food trucks and thank you notes.

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