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    Cop On A Rooftop

    The Hastings Police Department will be participating in fundraising efforts for the Law enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run by sitting on the roof of Dunkin' Donuts in Hastings on August 16th. The Hastings Dunkin' Donuts is one of 14 locations in the state participating in the Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser. Customers who stop in and make a donation will receive a coupon for a free donut. In addition to the donations given by customers, Dunkin will donate $1,000 to the run. Donations will be accepted from 6-11 a.m. The Hastings Dunkin' Donuts is located at 1207 Vermillion St.

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    Century Farm Families Recognized

    The Pierce County Fair recognized two families in the County for having the same farm in the family for at least one hundred years. Pierce County Fair Manager Ann Webb announced the families at the Fair

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    The fair concluded on Sunday, the 12th.

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    Pierce Co Fair Addresses Challenges

    The Pierce County Fair Wrapped up this past Sunday, and KDWA had an opportunity to speak with Fair Manager Ann Webb regarding some of the challenges of the modern day fair.

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    Even with some of the challenges, Fair Staff are already looking forward to next year.

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    2020 Fair Dates are August 13th through the 16th.   

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    Homich Sentenced

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Charles Wayne Homich, age 28, was sentenced on Tuesday to 300 months in prison by Judge Christopher Lehmann in connection with the death of 3-year-old Zayden Lawson, a foster child in the care of Homich's girlfriend, Zeporia Fortenberry of Eagan, in June of 2017. Homich pled guilty April 23, 2019, to one count of Murder in the Second Degree by Malicious Punishment of a Child. Backstrom praised Heather Pipenhagen and Deanna Natoli, the Assistant County Attorneys who prosecuted this case, and thanked the Eagan Police Department for their thorough investigation.

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    (Photo Source: Dakota County Jail)

    Davis Files For School Board Seat

    Hastings resident Brian Davis has filed for the November ISD 200 school board election. In a press release issued on Monday, Davis said he is running to be a part of an open and transparent school board, adding that for him, it's all about children, educators and working to support the educational community. Davis has been serving the community of Hastings volunteering as President of Raider Nation Baseball and President of Hastings Basketball Boosters. He holds a Master's of Business Administration in Finance from the Syracuse University Whitman School of Business and a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Rochester. He is employed by the YMCA of Hastings as Senior Sports Director and has two teenage children. One who attends Hastings High School and the other that graduated in 2019.

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    (Photo Courtesy of Brian Davis)

    Citizen Input Sought

    Dakota County seeks 20 Dakota County residents to participate in two short, paid studies of the County's official website and mobile app. The studies are scheduled for various days in September, and compensation is $50. During the study, you will be asked to complete a variety of tasks on either the website or the app. If you're interested in participating, please fill out a quick sign-up form, by clicking on the link available at KDWA.com/News.    

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    Sign Up for Survey

    Craig Announces Farmer Advisory Council

    U.S. Rep. Angie Craig launched her Farmer Advisory Council, a group of farmers, producers, and agriculture advocates from Minnesota's Second District to serve as experts on issues facing Minnesota farmers. The group will meet regularly to discuss pressing issues in agriculture so that Rep. Craig can bring their concerns to Washington and find bipartisan, common-sense solutions. According to a press release issued by Craig's office, Rep. Craig is a proud member of the House Agriculture Committee, where she has made amplifying the voices of Minnesota farmers a top priority. In addition to bringing farmers to testify before Congress, Rep. Craig has also pushed for smart trade policies that prioritize Minnesota farmers, expand export markets, and improve rural quality of life, including rural healthcare and rural broadband access.

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    Planning Commission Reviews Ordinance Request

    At the Monday evening meeting of the Hastings Planning Commission, Commissioners reviewed the proposed Ordinance Amendment for climate-controlled storage. Commissioners discussed the effect on surrounding commercial and residential properties, and potential negative effects. Commissioners preferred that the amendment be use-by-special-permit instead of a use permitted, as proposed in the draft, as this would require future operations to receive a special use permit from the City including Planning Commission and City Council review. The Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the modified amendment with the use being listed as a use by special permit. The City Council will consider 1st reading and order a public hearing at the August 19 meeting.

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    County Jail Report Aug 13, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, August 13th, Dakota County Deputies arrested 35-year-old Farmington resident Tiffany Joy Bourassa on a felony charge of theft by wrongfully obtaining assistance. Bourassa was booked and released as the charge is processed. Hastings Police apprehended 50-year-old Stillwater resident Shirley Ann Herding on five felony charges of theft by swindle or trick. Herding was booked and released pending an initial appearance in court. And Rosemount Police detained 48-year-old Jason Cory Schuerman on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Schuerman was booked and released pending the investigation. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    St Paul Park PD Receives Donation

    The City of St. Park recently announced the results of a spaghetti dinner benefit held earlier this year. According to a post on social media, the St. Paul Park Police Department received over $7,000 from the benefit, and funds will be used to provide protective vests for all of the reserve officers on the force. The St. Paul Park Police Department offered their thanks to the community and event sponsors for the support of the department and its staff and officers.

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    (Photo Source: St. Park Police)

    Man Charged In Death Of Infant

    A Woodbury man is accused of purposefully dropping his infant son on his head days before the 5-month-old's death. Matthew Hoisser, 35, of Woodbury, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. The incident happened on April 24, when Hoisser was having trouble putting the baby, Gus, to sleep, police said. He eventually dropped Gus head first on the ground. According to a GoFundMe page for him, the infant was taken to Children's Hospital in St. Paul where he received emergency care. He was later transferred to the pediatric ICU in Minneapolis. Gus died on April 30. Hoisser was arrested at his home Friday morning on 7100 block of Victoria Road, the Pioneer Press reported. Bail is set at $350,000 and Hoisser's next court hearing on the charges is 8:30 a.m. Aug. 19.

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    Fatal Accident In WI

    A western Wisconsin man was found dead in a crashed vehicle that was discovered Saturday near Interstate 94 in St. Croix County. The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office said the body of 57-year-old Knapp resident Daniel M. Gibson was discovered at 5:29 a.m. Aug. 3 in the 3200 block of 50th Avenue in the town of Cady. Deputies said the crash was discovered by a construction worker. The area, directly underneath a construction zone on I-94, had been closed to traffic.

    The St. Croix County medical examiner pronounced Gibson dead at the scene. Gibson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was found inside a 2008 Ford Explorer.

    Deputies said the time of the crash was unknown. United Fire and Rescue, Baldwin EMS and Spring Valley Fire also assisted at the scene of the crash, which remains under investigation. The crash was the ninth traffic fatality this year in St. Croix County.

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    Vintage Fire Truck Damaged By Fire

    A vintage fire truck, owned by Jeff MacDonald and Natalka Kramarczuk of South St. Paul, has been damaged in an apparent arson attempt on August 4th. According to published reports, the cab of the 1968 Pirsch Fire truck is burned, along with a vinyl replica of the American Flag on the back of the truck. South Metro Fire has stated that police are handling the investigation as an arson case, and a cigarette butt was found at the scene and taken into evidence. The fire itself did not reach a gas tank located under the seat of the cab. The owners are offering a $500 reward for information about the incident, and have stated that the fire truck will be repaired.   

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    316 Renovation Plans Developing

    Since the public open house meeting this spring explaining the final project scope for Highway 316 adopted by the City Council, MnDOT staff have been working on many final design and project plan preparation steps. According to the City Council newsletter, Molly Kline, project manager for MnDOT, will be stopping in at one of the City Council meetings in September to provide a formal update for the Council. MnDOT will also be scheduling meetings with individual homeowners impacted by the proposed right-of-way changes. Meanwhile, with construction slated for 2021, City staff continues to explore external funding resources that could help close the funding gap. Most recently, staff prepared and submitted a grant application for MnDOT's Local Partnership Program (LPP) in early June. This application is currently being reviewed by MnDOT. The City is also in the process of working through determining if it would be prudent to submit applications for MnDOT's Transportation Economic Development (TED) and Transportation Economic Development Infrastructure (TEDI) programs, both due in early September.

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    (Photo Source: City of Hastings)

    HPD Receives Donation

    The Hastings Police Department has received a $4,000 donation from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Business Council which was matched by Walmart for the purchase of AEDs. According to the Hastings City Council newsletter, the $8,000 will enable HPD to replace 6 of 7 AEDs that have reached end of life. The Mdewakanton Sioux Community has a history of providing these matching grants for emergency responders throughout the State of MN. The HPD is very appreciative of the Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Walmart for their partnership.

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    County Commission Addresses Flood Damage

    As a result of severe flooding that began in March, an estimated $942,466 in damage was done to various areas of Dakota County, according to County Commissioner Joe Atkins. As a result, the Dakota County Board has declared a state of emergency, which enables local governments like Inver Grove, South St. Paul, Nininger, Hastings, and Burnsville to seek reimbursement of some of these costs from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.   

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    Dakota County Jobs Aug 12

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include an administrative specialist, a collections specialist, a commercial appraiser, a director of assessing services for the County Assessor, a social worker for adult protection investigations, and temporary election support. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Prescott Blotter Week Ending Aug 11

    From the Prescott Police Blotter for the week ending August 11th, officers were dispatched to the 900 block of Pearl Street to investigate a report of a fight in progress. Investigating officers took reports from all four individuals involved, and one required EMS transport to Regina Hospital. Identities of those involved have not been released, and the fight remains under investigation. A 9-1-1 call hang-up brought officers to the 1800 block of Canton Road, where the investigation revealed that a 3-year-old child had accidentally dialed a cell phone. No further action was required. And a report of a possibly intoxicated boater with children in the boat brought officers to the riverfront. A thorough check of the vicinity did not locate any suspect activity. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    County Jail Report Aug 10, 11, 12, 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Saturday, August 10th, Dakota County Deputies arrested 52-year-old Patrick Thomas Kelly on 3 felony charges related to driving under the influence, and misdemeanor charges of violation of the open container law, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock, violation of driving restrictions, and failure to maintain a single lane of travel. Kelly has been released from custody pending an appearance in court. Washington County deputies detained 37-year-old Newport resident Sirena Marie Lenz on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs, and a misdemeanor charge of theft. Lenz remains in custody pending a transfer to Washington County for processing. And Farmington Police apprehended 29-year-old Farmington resident Thomas Keith Pantze on felony charges of making terroristic threats and assault. Pantze made an initial appearance in court on the 12th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Sunday, August 11th, Farmington Police detained 33-year-old Farmington resident Michael Anthony Dorman on three felony charges related to 1st degree burglary. Dorman remains in custody and made an appearance in court on the 12th. Rosemount Police arrested 44-year-old Paul Allen Ganfield on a felony charge of fleeing police, three misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence, and misdemeanor charges of careless driving, failure to maintain a single lane of travel and not wearing a seatbelt. Ganfield remains in custody pending an appearance in court on the 13th. And Rosemount Police apprehended 33-year-old Dexter resident Thomas Steven Kildahl on a misdemeanor charge of driving with a canceled license, and a warrant for the same charge in Olmsted County. Kildahl remains in custody as the charges are processed. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Monday, August 12th, Rosemount Police apprehended 41-year-old Rosemount resident Jason Hayden Hofmeister on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, 3rd degree damage to property, and obstruction of the legal process. Hofmeister remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 13th. Hastings Police arrested 29-year-old Vibol Ken on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Ken remains in custody as the charges are processed. And Farmington Police detained 22-year-old Todd Jeremy Rauschnot, Jr. on two felony charges of theft, and a misdemeanor charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Combined bail for Rauschnot is set at $180,000, and he remains in custody. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.   

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    Hastings Military Museum Is Hope Of Local Man

    Local veterans advocate Dean Markuson is developing plans for a military museum and memorial in Hastings. He is hoping to acquire the building at 412 Vermillion Street, the former Country Nites Saloon, for his display.

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    Markuson is seeking donations of money and memorabilia for the museum. Contact Mr. Markuson by email at DeanRVNvet@aol.com.   

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    CG Community Center Planned

    The City of Cottage Grove recently held a workshop to discuss plans and options for a community center in Cottage Grove. The workshop, held on August 7th presented six options for the City to consider. Mayor Myron Bailey said in a statement that he preferred option 6, which includes a sports dome, a 22,000 square-foot central park area with an indoor playground, community rooms, and spaces for performances, programming, early childhood education, and senior citizens. The projected location of this Community Center is between Walmart, and Cottage Grove Ravine Park, off Keats Avenue. Mayor Bailey is encouraging that the project be included as a referendum on the ballot, next year, in 2020, with a goal to begin construction in 2021. The project remains in the planning stages at this time.

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    Fire Call In Newport

    On Thursday, August 8th, the Newport Fire department responded to a report of a house in town filling with smoke. According to information published on social media, the cause of the smoke was a furnace motor that had failed, and ignited surrounding materials. The report indicates there were no casualties in the incident, and the Newport Fire Department was assisted on the scene by units from St. Paul Park, and Cottage Grove.

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    (Photo credit: Newport Fire Department)

    TownSquare Park Equipment Replaced

    The City of Afton recently announced that the Town Square Park Playground has been upgraded with old and obsolete play equipment replaced by new equipment. In the city newsletter, City staff thanked Landscape Structures for their donation of an all-inclusive Omni Spin play set. The City of Afton states the new equipment will be enjoyed by the many children who visit the park, and the equipment should last for years to come.

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    (Photo: City of Afton)

    County Road F Closed For Maintenance

    Beginning Monday, August 12th, County Road F, north of Prescott, will be closed at Clifton Hollow for a County Road Project to conduct an epoxy overlay of the bridge surface. According to the County website, the Clifton Hollow section of County road F is anticipated to be closed for approximately two weeks. No detour information is provided on the County Website.   

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    Stamp Artists Named

    First-time winners took top honors at two habitat stamp contests that determined the artwork for the 2020 versions of the Minnesota trout and salmon stamp, and the walleye stamp. Minneapolis artist Melissa Mickelson won the trout and salmon stamp contest with a painting of a rainbow trout eating a minnow. Mickelson is not only a first-time winner, but becomes the first female to win the contest since 1990 and only the second in the history of the stamp. Judges selected Mickelson's painting from among 12 submissions. Tie runners-up were Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville and John Barnard of Moose Lake. In the walleye stamp contest, Mapleton artist Josh Evan won for the first time with a painting of walleye about to bite on a hook baited with a minnow. Judges selected the painting from among nine submissions. The runner-up in this years contest was none other than Mickelson.

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    (Photo: Courtesy of MN DNR)

    AnimalArkNamesDirector

    Lorraine Royal has been named executive manager of Animal Ark. At the Board of Directors meeting on July 29, the vote was unanimous to offer Shelter Manager Lorraine Royal the position of Executive Manager. She accepted, effective August 1st. According to a notice sent out by Animal Ark, Lorraine and the Board had already developed an understanding of what her expanded role would entail and how the Board would support her efforts. Prior to joining Animal Ark as an Adoption Specialist in 2011, Lorraine volunteered at Feline Rescue, Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release, and the Como Zoo. She has also taught animal-related studies to young students at Friends School of Minnesota.

    At Animal Ark, Lorraine moved from Adoption Specialist to Intake Specialist to Shelter Manager, the position she held from 2016 until being named Executive Manager.

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    (Photo Source: Animal Ark)

    August 12 Prescott Meeting Preview

    The Prescott City Council meets for regular business on Monday, August 12th, at 6:30 in Council Chambers. After the roll call, Pledge of Allegiance, and public comments, the Council will consider the Consent Agenda, which contains minutes of past meetings, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. The Council will hear a request from the Finance Committee to request an application to be removed from the County Library Tax, and Public Works will present pay requests for the wastewater treatment plant and the Albert Street Project. Public Works will also report on the stormwater outfall on Lake Street and the discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in Pierce County. The Health and Safety Committee will report on recycling efforts in Prescott, and the License Committee will present requests for an operator license, a cigarette license for Holiday Station #61, and a temporary Class B beer and wine license for Freedom Park for August 24th. Parks and Public Property will present a request for a meeting date to discuss a boat launch payment box, the Riverfront Welcome Heritage Center, and cameras. The Council will then go into closed session to deliberate a proposed development. Once the items of the agenda have been considered, the meeting will adjourn.

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    County Jail Report Aug 9 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Friday, August 9th, 20-year-old St. Paul Park resident Morgan Rita Pedersen was arrested by Inver Grove Heights Police on three misdemeanor charges related to driving under the influence, and misdemeanor charges of careless driving, underage drinking and driving, underage consumption of alcohol, and not carrying proof of insurance. Bail for Pedersen is set at $1,000 and she made an appearance in court on the 9th. 18-year-old Farmington resident Jose Ricardo Ellis Reedy was detained by Lakeville Police on a misdemeanor charge of theft by not paying for services. Reedy remains in custody as the charge is processed. And Hastings Police apprehended 24-year-old Hastings resident Desarae Ann Wright on a misdemeanor charge violation of an order for no contact. Right made an initial appearance in court on the 9th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Woodbury Seeks Art For Display

    Woodbury Parks and Recreation is seeking local artists interested in publicly displaying their artwork for the community to enjoy. Artwork will be displayed at Woodbury City Hall or Central Park. Artwork submitted will be displayed in month-long intervals and must be family-friendly. The displaying artist is responsible for hanging and dismantling his or her own display. The space available at each building will accommodate approximately six to 12 pieces, depending on the artwork size. Anyone interested in displaying their artwork in 2019 or 2020, please contact 651-714-3583 or RecOnline@WoodburyMN.gov.

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    Apparent Drowning In Inver Grove Heights

    At 10:33 PM on Wednesday night, the Dakota County Sheriff's Office received a report of a person in the Mississippi river at Twin Cities Marina, in Inver Grove Heights. First responders pulled the man from the water at 11:45, and began efforts to revive him, then transporting him to Regions Hospital, where he was later declared dead. Initial reports indicate the man fell into the water while debarking from a boat at the marina. The man was in the water for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. The victim has not been identified, and the incident remains under investigation.   

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    9 Departments Respond To Fire In River Falls

    Fire crews from 9 departments were called to a fire at Hilltop Trailer Court on Tuesday evening in River Falls. Two trailer homes were completely burned in the blaze, but reports indicate that there were no injuries to residents, or fire crews. Five nearby trailers suffered power losses, and three other trailers suffered heat damage. The initial call came at 3 PM, and all together, 70 firefighters responded to the scene for the four-hour fire, and hot and humid weather caused rapid overheating of firefighters, according to River Falls Fire Chief Mike Moody. River Falls Fire Department was assisted by fire departments from Hudson, Ellsworth, Roberts, Spring Valley, United, New Richmond, Somerset and Lower St. Croix. River Falls Police, University of Wisconsin River Falls Campus Security, River Fall EMS, Pierce and St. Croix County Sheriff's Offices and St. Croix County Emergency Management also assisted. Damages are estimated at $10,000, and the fire remains under investigation.   

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    New Richmond ManF aces More Charges

    The New Richmond man charged with vehicular homicide in the July death of a 39-year-old Stillwater man faces new charges after setting in motion plans to escape from jail, possibly with help from a former inmate, according to a criminal complaint filed in St. Croix County Circuit Court. The evening of July 31, an inmate approached a sergeant in the jail to pass along information that Brandon Michael Lieffring was working on something in his cell regarding the bars and an escape with another inmate and someone on the outside. When investigators inspected Lieffring's cell they discovered the grate from around the smoke detector was not secure and screws were missing from various places in the cell. A toothbrush with a screw and metal piece from the smoke detector grate were found under the mattress and a playing card with an 8 on it displayed in a way so someone could see it from outside the jail, according to the complaint. Lieffring, was charged with felony attempting escape and misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

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    (Photo Source: St. Croix County Jail)

    Hepatitis A Outbreak

    The Minnesota Department of Health has declared an outbreak of the viral liver disease hepatitis-A among high-risk individuals, including those who use street drugs, are homeless or were recently incarcerated. There have been 23 cases of hepatitis-A across nine Minnesota counties, including three cases in Washington County and one in Dakota County, according to an MDH news release Aug. 8. Hepatitis-A is typically spread through person-to-person contact, when someone eats food or touches an object with trace amounts of contaminated stool, according to MDH. The most effective prevention for the disease is vaccination. More information about symptoms and prevention can be found on the MDH website.

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    NFD Responds To Accident

    The Newport Fire Department was called to an accident on Bailey Road on the bridge over 494 on Wednesday afternoon. According to information shared by the department on social media, the accident occurred just before 4 PM, and the two cars involved in the accident collided head-on at the intersection of Bailey Road and the exit ramp of westbound 494. Initial reports indicate that two people were injured in the accident, but details regarding the accident have not been released. The accident remains under investigation.   

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    (Photo Source: Newport Fire Dep't)

    School Board Candidate List Grows

    The campaign and election process for ISD 200 is in full swing. There are 8 filings of candidacy on file at the district for the November Election. Candidates are Becky Beissel, Brian Davis, Jessica Gelhar, Robert Halberg, Lisa Hedin, Melanie Peters, Russ Rohloff, and Andrew Trembath. There will be four open seats with four-year terms that will be filled at the election. Affidavits of Candidacy will be accepted with a $2 filing fee at the District Office, 1000 West 11th Street, until 5 PM, on Tuesday, August 13th. The election is Tuesday, November 5th.

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    Storage Facilities Considered

    The Hastings Planning Commission will hear a report on August 12th from Community Development Director John Hinzman regarding a proposed city ordinance amendment governing climate-controlled storage. According to the meeting packet, Rymer Companies seeks to construct climate controlled storage in the following areas within County Crossroads at Coborns\33rd Street; the portion of the County Crossroads Strip Mall formerly occupied by Sears, and the northwest corner of the Coborns\Crossroads Church parking lot. City Staff were directed in June to review the requested change, and the Committee will deliberate the change and make a recommendation to the City Council.

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    (Photo Source: City of Hastings)

    County Jail Report Aug 8 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Thursday, August 8th, Hastings Police arrested 43-year-old Brian John Larsen on misdemeanor charges of harassment by employer retaliation, and fleeing police. Larsen remains in custody as the charges are processed. Rosemount Police apprehended 38-year-old Brent Ashley Bosaaen on two misdemeanor charges related to DUI and a misdemeanor charge of assault. Bosaaen remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on the 9th. And Hastings Police detained Dennis James Troje, Jr, on three misdemeanor charges related to DUI, and two misdemeanor charges of child endangerment. Trojes initial appearance in court is set for the 9th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott Daze Marshal Nominations Due

    On August 15th, Parade & Grand Marshal Forms are due for the Floodin' the Streets Prescott Daze Parade. Forms need to be returned to the Prescott Chamber of Commerce by August 15th. The Parade is scheduled for Sunday, September 8th. For questions, or to obtain nomination forms, contact the Chamber at 715-262-3284, or visit the Chamber at 237 Broad Street.

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    Local Man Faces Charges

    A Hastings man facing three charges of aiding in the preparation of fraudulent tax returns, according to the MN Department of Revenue. In a press release issued by the Department of Revenue, Jeffrey McKenzie, 59, the co-owner of 61 Marine and Sports, Inc. in Cottage Grove, allegedly withheld about $3.2 million in taxes. An investigation by the MDOR began in 2018 after receiving information that the business was not reporting all of the sales tax it collected, according to the criminal complaint. The initial investigation found that it was likely that a large amount of sales tax was being underreported to the MDOR. Authorities obtained search warrants and seized financial documents from the company. According to the complaint, the documents showed that sales figures did not match sales tax filings for multiple periods from January 2013 through September 2018. The complaint states that it was McKenzies responsibility to provide the companys sales tax information to their accountant, and claims that he knowingly underreported taxable sales for the business.

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    Cemetery Policy Creates Backlash

    A recent policy update at the Cottage Grove Cemetery is causing a backlash among families with loved ones laid to rest there. According to information published by Rivertowns Online, in June, the cemetery removed items from graves and placed them into rows by the site's office for people to collect. Many said they were not notified of the purge. Cemetery management said they attempted to notify plot owners but that some had outdated contact information. Others had died. Michael Sharkey, the attorney for the Cottage Grove Cemetery Association stated that the rules have always been there, adding that there was some lax enforcement prior to hiring current cemetery manager, Ken Otto. The cemetery has always forbidden certain items because they create clutter and pose a hazard to the grounds-keeping crew. Cemetery management and those protesting the removals are scheduled to meet on September 17th.

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    LOOP Advisory Board Meeting Recap

    The Hastings LOOP Advisory Board met on August 5th for regular business. The Board discussed Ridership stats and determined that the ridership average is 12.1 riders per day, which is viewed as a strong number. Meeting notes indicate that diverted stops on the LOOP are very prevalent, the American Legion and Marcus Theatres are popular stops, and Allina Clinic is a frequent stop, which shows that riders and scheduling agents are working together to set appointments that fit into the route. Walmart is the top non-residential destination, and Cub is 2nd. Oak Ridge Assisted Living and Rivertown Court Apartments are top two residential stops, with Oak Ridge being a frequent on-demand stop. Tilden Community Center, Augustana Park Ridge and Regina Senior Living have become non-productive stops, with Westview Shopping Center falling off, due to the Library relocation and recent store closures. The Board recommended changing Tilden, Westview, Augustana and Regina to on-demand status, creating a dedicated stop at Oak Ridge Manor, and adding Pleasant Hill Library back as dedicated stop, with the changes in place by September 3rd.   

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    Dakota Scott Workforce Board Names Officers

    The Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board recently elected Pam Oeffler as board chair and Vance Boelter as vice chair. Oeffler, the human resources director at The Smead Manufacturing Company in Hastings, said she looks forward to working with board members, businesses, educators and community organizations to address workforce challenges and opportunities. Boelter, a general manager of Marathon Speedway in St. Paul Park, said the Workforce Development Board could have a positive impact on many people in Minnesota. The Workforce Development Board oversees employment programs within Dakota and Scott counties, including CareerForce locations in Burnsville, West St. Paul and Shakopee.

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    Semi Accident In Pierce County

    On Friday, August 2nd, 2019 at approximately 1:22 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a single-vehicle crash with injuries on State Highway 29 near County Road F in Clifton Township. It was determined that a 2004 Peterbilt operated by 59-year-old John Peterson, from River Falls, was traveling southbound on County Road F and entered the ditch before attempting to turn westbound onto State Highway 29. Once on State Highway 29, the truck re-entered the ditch and caused the attached empty tanker trailer to separate from the truck and roll on its side. The truck remained upright and was able to come to a stop on the roadway. River Falls Area Ambulance Service transported Peterson from the scene to Regina Hospital in Hastings with undetermined injuries. The Wisconsin State Patrol, Prescott Police and Fire Departments, and River Falls Area Ambulance Service assisted the Pierce County Sheriff's Office on scene.   

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    (Photo Source: PCSO)

    GRRVLC Thanks Donors

    The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center recently acknowledged they have received a number of grants and donations from area philanthropic efforts. In a newsletter by Friends of Freedom Park, staff thanked the Nelson Family for their continued support of the park, and also expressed gratitude to Tropical Wings, Excel Energy, Great River Greening, the Prescott Foundation, an affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Association for continued support for habitat upkeep, kid-friendly programming, and programming at Freedom Park and the GRRVLC.

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    (Photo: Courtesy GRRVLC)

    GRRVLC Seeks Executive Director

    The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center has partnered with Fox-1 Resources, an executive search firm, to find a new full-time Executive Director. This key manager will have an opportunity to develop and operate the Learning Center. The long-term growth will depend on the continued promotion of successful programs, events, and displays that attract community support, entice volunteers, solicit donations, and successfully compete for public and foundation funding. Contact John Knopf at Fox-1 Resources, Inc. at 651-894-3990 or via e-mail at johnk@fox-1.com for the detailed job description and to discuss more details and the employment process.

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    County Jail Report Aug 7 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Wednesday, August 7th, 19-year-old Sherif Adel Falts, of Woodbury, was arrested by West St. Paul on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Bail for Falts is set at $1,000 and he made an initial appearance in court on the 7th. Rosemount Police apprehended 28-year-old Rosemount resident Kristen Barbra Remington on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and malicious punishment of a child. Remington remains in custody as the charges are processed. And South St. Paul Police arrested 52-year-old Michael Angelo Andrews on a felony charge of registration requirements for a predatory offender. Andrews is being held without bail and made an appearance in court on the 7th. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Armartey Pleads Guilty

    Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Jonna Kojo Armartey, age 37 formerly of Eagan, pled guilty on Monday to two counts of Intentional Murder in the Second Degree, in connection with deliberately driving his vehicle into 58-year-old Diane Peterson and 74-year-old Roger Peterson on June 28, 2018, killing them both, while they were walking in Eagan. According to a press release issued on Tuesday, shortly before 10 PM on June 28th, Eagan police officers were dispatched to a parking lot on a report of two people in need of medical attention. When officers arrived, they found both Diane and Roger Peterson struggling to breathe. Both were transported to Regions Hospital where they were pronounced dead. The injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma. In an interview, Armartey stated he saw the Petersons and that they freaked him out so he ran them over going fast and hit them hard. Judge Shawn Moynihan scheduled the sentencing for Armartey on October 11th, at 1 PM, in Hastings.

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    (Photo Source: Ramsey County)

    Met Council Seeks Public Input

    The Metropolitan Council is receiving public comment on the Draft 2020 Transportation Unified Planning Work Program. The program outlines and documents the proposed transportation-related planning activities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for the upcoming year. To achieve a transportation planning process that best reflects the values of the region, the Met Council seeks feedback on the draft program and related studies. The document will be considered at the Aug. 21 Transportation Advisory Board meeting. The Council plans to consider final adoption of the program on Sept. 25. Comments can be sent by email to Info@METC.State.MN.US, or by phone at 651-602-1500.

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    The Recycling Zone Gets Makeover

    Over the last 25 years, a million people have come to Dakota County's The Recycling Zone to drop off household hazardous waste and electronics. Soon visitors can drive right on through. According to information released this week, Dakota County is renovating The Recycling Zone to make your experience better. After the renovation is complete, you won't even have to get out of your car to do the right thing for the environment. A convenient drive-thru lane will allow you to scan your ID at a kiosk and stay in your car as your household hazardous waste, electronics, and recyclables are unloaded for you. To make unloading as safe and efficient as possible, please bring your waste in a container like a cardboard box that can be left at The Recycling Zone. The reuse area, where you can get paint, pesticides, household cleaners and more for free, will have a separate entrance and more space when renovation is completed in September. The Recycling Center is located at 3365 Dodd Road in Eagan.

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    Prescott Chamber Calendar Raffle

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding their annual Calendar Raffle during the month of October. Tickets are being sold during the months of August and September, with a chance to win from $50 to $200 every day in October. Winners' names can be drawn more than once. Tickets are on sale now for $10 each. The proceeds go toward Chamber programs, efforts to beautify the downtown area, and to continue the Chamber's outreach to its members and community. If you would like to purchase a ticket, please contact a Chamber Member or stop by the Chamber office. For more information or to purchase a ticket, contact Casey Johnson, Chamber Coordinator, at ChamberOfPrescott@gmail.com or 715-629-0047.

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    Great Rivers Subdivision Comes Before Commission

    Al and Lynn Most, owners of Great Rivers Subdivision in Prescott, presented phase 2 of their residential development at a meeting of the Prescott Planning Commission meeting, on Monday evening. The 2nd phase, known as Sea Wing, will consist of 44 lots, 13 of which are detached townhomes. The Mosts are working with Ogden Engineering and Albrightson Excavating on the project. Their current proposal is to add one additional stormwater pond, and a berm would be added along Hollister. All of the utilities are currently underground. The Mosts are preselling some of the lots for this phase. According to the meeting minutes, Mayor Hovel stated he would be in favor of open ditching for the stormwater rather than piping all of the stormwater. He would also like to see sidewalks on Delta Queen. Commissioner Warp asked about parkland. Lynn Most stated there would be a park in the next phase. The Commission directed City staff to look for the requirements for parkland in the city code of ordinances. There was some discussion regarding a bypass road going on the easternmost part of the property. Commissioner Eggers asked when they would like to get started and they indicated it would be spring of 2020. The consensus of the Commission is to approve moving forward with the concept, with looking at sidewalks, parkland and stormwater.

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    Wietecha Offically Named Administrator

    The Hastings City Council completed the task of replacing Melanie Mesko-Lee as City Administrator. At the city Council meeting on Monday evening, Interim City Administrator Julie Flaten delivered the news to the full Council.

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    The appointment concludes a process that started with Mesko-Lee's resignation, effective in January.

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    Hastings City Council Holds Closed Session

    The Hastings City Council held a rare closed session on Monday evening to consult with the City's legal team regarding a case filed against the City in a land assessment dispute. According to Interim City Administrator Julie Flaten, the City Council met in closed-door session to discuss pending litigation Robert S. Kleis vs. the City of Hastings. After deliberation, the Council came back into open session and voted unanimously to approve a settlement agreement that will allow for the reduction of the assessment for the Kleis parcel in the amount of $1,171, and authorized the City Attorney to carry out that settlement. A timeframe to complete the settlement was not provided.

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    Tennis Sanitation Quarterly Report

    The Monday evening Hastings City Council meeting began with a quarterly report from Tennis Sanitation on fundraising efforts through recycling in the City. This quarter's recipient of the funding is the All Night Grad Party group. Stacy from Tennis delivered the results of the effort.

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    The city also received a check for $110 from the effort.

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    HERO Center Manager Named

    In a special meeting held on July 24, the City Council of Cottage Grove approved the hiring of Burnsville native Daniel Anselment as the Manager of the new HERO Center, currently under construction in Cottage Grove. Anselment started his career in 2003 as a patrol officer in Burnsville, and is currently a training consultant at the National Forensic Academy in Oak Ridge, TN, where he trains officers, detectives and crime scene technicians in the grim science of excavating and examining human remains. In Minnesota, Anselment served as a police officer and Rice County deputy coroner, and a medicolegal death investigator for the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office. Anselment will assume his new position sometime in September, according to a report in the Rivertowns Bulletin. The HERO Center is a $20 million, 47,000-square-foot complex, including indoor and outdoor staging areas where police, fire and EMS can stage mock emergencies such as vehicle crashes, hostage standoffs, de-escalation scenarios and structure fires. The center is expected to open in January.   

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    County Jail Report Aug 6 2019

    From the Dakota County Jail booking report for Tuesday, August 6th, Rosemount Police arrested 34-year-old Jessica Marie Davila on a felony charge of 5th degree possession of drugs. Davila was booked and released pending an appearance in court. Hastings Police apprehended 70-year-old Charles William Rehfeld on a misdemeanor charge of assault. Rehfeld made an initial appearance in court on the 6th. And Rosemount Police detained 31-year-old Rosemount resident Joshua Arturo Maldonado on a misdemeanor charge of theft. Bail for Maldonado is set at $500 and he remains in custody. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Faffler Receives Award

    Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services' Live Better Community Service Award winner for the third quarter of 2019 is Anna Faffler. Faffler volunteers as a Victim Response Advocate with the St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team, where she is responsible for managing the 24-hour crisis line for 6-8 hours at a time, multiple times each month. She takes calls from law enforcement, hospital providers, sexual assault victims, friends and family then provides information, referrals and advocacy. Faffler has more shifts than any of the other volunteers. In just under a year, she has worked over 900 hours, without any compensation, and while completing her senior year at UW-River Falls. Faffler received the award at a ceremony held in early July.

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    (Photo Credit: Liz Gunderson)

    Equity And Inclusion Effort Moves Forward

    Throughout the past year and a half, community members and stakeholders have been working together to analyze the increasing diversity in Hastings and learn about opportunities to improve community support for inclusion and equity. In 2018, the City of Hastings and the School District 200 partnered with the YMCA to hire the YMCA Center for Equity to lead Hastings through a series of learning and engagement sessions that would help identify areas of opportunity and growth for future equity and inclusion efforts. In the past 16 months, this group has hosted 13 events including learning opportunities, Hidden Brain & Unconscious Bias, and Bridging Cultural Differences, two community conversations, a Leadership Think Tank, five Equity Labs, and two Train-the-Trainer sessions. In addition, community members have hosted at least five spin-off events including the Hastings Reads author series, the Longer Table event, and the Building Bridges event Reclaiming Our People and History. The group has created a one-year snapshot to include additional efforts that have taken place in the community since the proclamation that kicked off the initiative on April 28, 2018. A new phase of community engagement will begin in August with monthly speakers presenting on a variety of topics that will assist in continuing learning and conversations around the three identified areas of opportunity. In addition, the final phase of work with the YMCA Center for Equity will commence with leaders from both the public and private sectors invited to participate in Equity Leadership Institute training. This in-depth training experience seeks to increase understanding of self-awareness as related to intercultural relationships, promote a positive work culture that supports equity and inclusion, and allow for effective communication among diverse populations. If you are interested in sending a participant from your business or organization to the Equity Leadership Institute, please contact Derrick Jaeger at the Hastings Area YMCA by August 30th.

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    Craig Introduces Tutition Assistance Bill

    Last week, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig helped introduce the Remedial Education Improvement Act with Rep. Donald Norcross, a bill to make developmental education programs more effective, fair, and less expensive. This bill aims to make post-secondary degrees more affordable and keep students on track to graduate on time. According to a press release issued by Craig's office, many students require prerequisite courses to complete college courses and pursue post-secondary degrees, but these courses are often prohibitively expensive. This bill would establish a competitive grant program to allow federal student aid dollars to support up to two years of developmental education. In Congress, Rep. Craig serves on the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus to find new ways to expand educational opportunities for Minnesotans beyond traditional four-year degrees. In May, her amendment to express the importance of CTE funding grants passed as a part of a bipartisan House spending package.

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    Spiral Foods Board Election

    The Spiral Natural Foods Coop has opened a candidacy filing period for seats on the Board of Directors. There are five open seats on Spiral's seven-member Board for this year's upcoming election, and a press release indicates that, so far, three Co-op Owners have applied for candidacy. The GM and Board have been busily working to prepare the Co-op for future growth and expansion, and working hard to develop a sound plan of action. Spiral Co-op Board President Lynn Gannon states that the Board needs smart, dedicated, hard-working, enthusiastic Owners to step-up to bring these exciting plans to fruition. Candidates must apply to run in the Board election by August 15th. Applications are available at Spiral Foods.

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