Local News

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    Oct. 26 Hastings Plan Commission Mtg Canceled

    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman has announced that the Hastings Planning Commission meeting, scheduled for 7 PM on Monday, October 26th has been canceled. Hinzman also stated that the next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for 7 PM, on Monday, November 9th.

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    Prescott Deliberates Budget Items

    At the Prescott Finance Committee meeting on October 15th, the Committee deliberated the Prescott City Budget for 2021. According to the meeting minutes, all budgets were kept at a zero percent increase except for court which had a reduction in wages from $21,600 to $16,000. The water and sewer budgets had wages increase for bringing in someone to train for 6 months for the Water and Sewer Superintendent who will be retiring. Capital budget and one-time items included an additional zero turn lawn mower, a hydrant buddy, well #2 repair, well #4 upgrade, Police building remodel, a manhole lift, an air conditioner, security upgrades, leaf and snow guards for Freedom Park and staining of the pavilion and gazebo at Freedom Park, one mile of mill and overlay for streets, $50,000 towards trails and water tower refurbishing. Other items for staff to review were kayak permits, charging for downtown parking, and a bed and breakfast hotel tax. Treasurer Beth Lansing will update all of the budgets and get them out to the City Council to review. The budget will be further deliberated at the October 26th Council meeting.

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    Dakota County Draws Election Night Attention

    Election results coverage has identified counties across the nation to watch as indicators of candidate success in federal races. Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins recently told KDWA Radio that Dakota County will be one of those counties.

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    Commission Board Chair Mike Slavik commented on why the County will be watched.

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    The general election is November 3rd, but ballot boxes open on October 27

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    Deer Hunts Planned For County Parks

    Deer hunting season is underway in November, and hunts are planned at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Miesville Ravine Park Reserve and Spring Lake Park Reserve. Some park access will change for non-hunters during the hunting seasons. Look for signs in the three parks where hunting is permitted. Details are on the County hunting webpage, at the link is provided here.

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    USDA Invests In Rural Electric Projects

    The USDA has announced it is investing another $3.1 billion for rural electrical infrastructure across the United States, that includes just under $23 million for to partially finance the development of a 22.9-megawatt solar project in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The project includes 10 facilities ranging from 0.6 to 5 megawatts. Seven of the solar facilities are in Wisconsin, two are in Minnesota and one is in Iowa. The project will be overseen by Butter Solar to serve 16 municipal utilities. The program also includes a $10 million loan to St. Croix Electric Cooperative to connect 952 consumers, and build 33 miles of line.   

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    Rosemount Sets Preliminary Tax Levy

    The City Council of Rosemount has approved a 1.23%, or $176,000 increase to the Operating Budget for the City. To fund this budget and the full operations of the City, a 3.53% increase is proposed to the tax levy. According to City staff, the City anticipates this to be one of the lowest increases among Dakota County cities. The impact of this levy increase on residents' city tax bill is highly dependent on any home value increases, and is reflective of the strong new growth that continues in the City. Residents will receive a preliminary tax statement in November. The establishment of the final budget and tax levy will occur at the December 1st City Council meeting. More info is available on the City website and residents are encouraged to reach out to the City Administrator with any questions or comments. A link to the budget proposal in provided here.

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    Farmington PD Seeks Donations

    The Farmington Police Department is organizing a school supply and hygiene product drive for local teens and families in need. Almost any type of winter clothing, hygiene items, and grocery and gas cards will be accepted. There will be a bin for donations at the police department, 19500 Municipal Drive, and at City Hall, 430 Third St. The drive will run through Nov. 20. For a complete list of needed items, visit the link provided here.

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    Fatal Accident In Troy Township

    On Tuesday, October 13th at approximately 3:20 PM, the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office responded to a three vehicle crash on County Highway F in Troy Township. According to a press release, a Chevy Impala, driven by 53-year-old David Melser, of River Falls, was southbound on F, and slowed to make a left turn onto Page Lane, when he was rear-ended by a Chevy Silverado, driven by 25-year-old Pepin resident Christopher Noel. The impact spun Melser's vehicle, which was then struck by a northbound straight truck, driven by 26-year-old Hudson resident Cody Sylvara. Sylvara and Noel were treated and released at the scene, and Melser was transported to Regions Hospital, where he passed away from his injuries on October 19th. All three were wearing seatbelts. The crash remains under investigation.

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    City Trails All Open

    The City of Hastings has announced that all trails in the City have now completed renovations and are open to the public. In a post on social media, City staff stated that, for those who want to take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and walk the trails, all segments of the 2020 Trail Improvement Project are now open including General Sieben Drive, Lock and Dam Road, Mississippi River Regional Trail and the Jaycee Park Boat Launch Parking lot. The Scenic Circuit 10-mile Loop was plowed on Wednesday. Keep up with the City at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Record Set For Early Snowfall Amount

    Minnesota set a record for earliest snowfall of over 3 inches during the snowstorm of Tuesday evening. According to the National Weather Service, Hastings saw a snowfall total of 8 inches, which fell between mid-morning and early evening. City snow plows worked diligently to clear the streets, and on Wednesday, the snow began to melt with milder temps in the mid to upper thirties. The forecast for Thursday includes the possibility of another Wintry mix that should transition to mainly rain in the afternoon.

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    Car Chase Update

    As previously reported on KDWA News, the PCSO was recently involved in a high speed car chase that went through Prescott, and ended on Highway 10, in Minnesota. The PCSO has released more information on the chase. According to a press release, on Thursday, October 15th, at about 6:14 PM, deputies intercepted a stolen vehicle traveling north bound on highway 35 near CTH. QQ south of Prescott. Deputies pursued the vehicle into Prescott, where Prescott officers were able to deploy stop sticks on the suspect vehicle. The vehicle crossed the bridge into Minnesota, and deputies could see the front passenger side tire of the vehicle start to break apart and sparks started coming from the rim. The vehicle was approaching Norell Road when flames started coming from the front passenger side tire area. The suspect then entered the south ditch coming to rest on a metal fence, and the vehicle burst into flames. Officers approached the vehicle and took two adult females into custody. Officers used a "Stat-X" fire grenade underneath the vehicle, which suppressed and slowed the fire long enough for deputies to retrieve the vehicle owner's personal property out of the vehicle before the vehicle became fully involved. The two unidentified adult females were arrested by Minnesota authorities.

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    THRIVE Continues Work

    Hastings THRIVE continues to work with community partners and residents to build a society in Hastings that works to achieve equity for every person. Hastings Teacher, and THRIVE Steering Committee member Kari Jaeger commented on the foundation from which THRIVE works.

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    THRIVE has a number of events scheduled in the upcoming weeks, and the full schedule can be found by visiting the link here.

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    DCHS Explores Baseball Roots In MN

    The Dakota Historical Society will be hosting two baseball-themed presentations in the next few days, and Maria Therres, a Board member of the Society commented on the beginnings of baseball in Minnesota.

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    "Discovering Minnesota Baseball: Toni Stone" occurs Thursday, October 22nd, at 6:30 PM, and "Discovering Minnesota Baseball: Town Ball" is scheduled for Thursday, October 29th. Information for both of these free virtual sessions is available on the Events page of DakotaHistory.org.

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    Dakota Electric Gives Grant To ISD 200

    Dakota Electric Association provided the Hastings school district a generous donation from the unclaimed Dakota Electric's capital credits fund. Dakota Electric awarded a total of $25,000 to the District, which will be used to support the district's focused program of increased literacy for elementary students. The money will help the school district with curriculum, materials and training to help reach its goal of all children reading at grade level by third grade. Since 2013, Dakota Electric has donated more than $340,000 to all its school districts throughout its service territory. This is on top of annual scholarship donations that go to students in every school district. Both are funded by unclaimed capital credits.

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    Time To Review Salt Usage Guidelines

    Dakota County reminds residents that, with the onset of winter, it is a good idea to become familiar with newer guidelines for using salt on sidewalks and driveways. According to the County environmental newsletter, some salt is necessary for safe roads, driveways and sidewalks. However, the chloride runs off into local lakes and rivers. Salt levels have been rising in many of these waters around the metro, affecting fish and plant life. It only takes one teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute five gallons of water. Make sure your sidewalks are safe, and you are protecting water. The MN PCA offers a smart salter certification course, available at the link provided here.

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    CARES Grants Now Include Home Businesses

    Dakota County is extending its COVID-19 relief for businesses that have suffered financial hardship during the coronavirus pandemic and expanding the eligibility to home-based businesses. According to a press release issued by Dakota County, the Board of Commissioners has approved using $5 million of the county's share of federal CARES Act funds to launch a second round of its Small Business Relief Grant program. Now, home-based businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 or state executive orders related to COVID-19 and meet other criteria can apply for a one-time grant of up to $10,000. Businesses seeking a grant in this second round must apply between Oct. 26 and Nov. 6. All required documentation must be included at the time of application. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis. To learn more, visit DakotaCounty.us, and search "business grant".   

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    Vote For Holiday River Towns

    River Travel Magazine is announcing the 2020 Best Holiday River Town Contest at RiverTravelMagazine.com. This survey focuses on the best Holiday Towns along the Great River Road from northern Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico. The nomination period runs until October 30, and visitors and locals are invited to nominate up to three of their favorite Holiday River Towns. In 2019, hundreds of survey takers nominated their favorite communities along the road, and thousands more voted on the final results. Over 70 River Towns from 10 states were nominated for the final round. 2020 final round of voting runs November 4 through December 2, with winners being announced December 7.

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    Levee Park Summer Programs Reviewed

    Hastings Park and Recreation Program Director Paige Marschall-Bigler had the honor of presenting a report to the Hastings City Council on Monday night to summarize the Departments Levee Park Programming for 2020. She began her report by commenting on the beginning of the summer.

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    Bigler also reported on attendance for the summer.

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    Parks and Rec is already making plans for 2021.

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    LeDuc Prepares For Holidays

    The LeDuc Historic Estate is making plans for the Holidays that take into account the current COVID-19 pandemic. At Monday's City Council meeting, LeDuc Site Manager Mariah Ring provided information on some of the plans.

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    Complete listings are available at the link provided here.

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    Hastings Virtual Costume Contest

    The City of Hastings is conducting a virtual Halloween Costume Contest, now through October 30th. According to information provided by the city, submit a photo between October 20th and 25th to parksinfo@hastingsmn.gov, as a group, pair, or individual for, a chance to win a gift basket, valued at $50. Staff from Hastings Parks & Rec, YMCA ,and Community Education will choose the top 10 submissions from each category. The top 10 Photos by Category will be displayed and can be voted on by the public October 27th through October 29th. Vote for your favorite group photo, pair photo and individual photo. A link to the contest is provided here.

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    Harbor House Deliberations Tabled

    The Hastings City Council meeting of Monday night turned out to be shorter than expected, due to the absence of 2 of the Council members. According to the Follow-up Agenda, Council members Lori Braucks and Tina Folch were not in attendance, and the agenda items of a special use permit and parking variance for the Harbor House were tabled until a future meeting. Developers plan to convert the Harbor House to an apartment complex. The Planning Commission and the Heritage Preservation Commission have both recommended approval of the plans. A presentation for the Lake Isabel Master Plan was also tabled until a future meeting.

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    Prescott Schools Job Openings

    The Prescott School District is Hiring Educational Assistants to assist at the 6-12 grade levels with supervision of virtual instruction, large and small groups, extracurricular activities, and lunch. Interested job seekers may contact Liz Roberts, in Human Resources, at 715-262-5782, and select option 2 when prompted.

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    Two Appointed To Workforce Board

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners recently appointed two new members to the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board (WDB). Cody Wiltgen and Melissa Lutz were appointed during the County Board meeting on October 6th to represent private sector businesses on the Workforce Board. According to a county press release, Wiltgen is a human resources training and hiring specialist with Hy-Vee, Inc. assigned to the company's northern region. Currently responsible for training newly hired human resource managers, Wiltgen also works on special projects related to the opening of new stores within the region. Wiltgen has spent 17 years with Hy-Vee. Lutz is the human resource director at Valleyfair/Magnum Enterprises in Shakopee, where she provides strategic leadership in all HR-related functions at the park including employee recruitment and talent development. Previously, Lutz was the HR operations manager at Angie's BOOMCHICKAPOP and had also worked in other HR roles at Great Clips, Inc.

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    MNANG C130 Fleet Under Financial Scrutiny

    A bipartisan group of the Minnesota delegation to the US Congress recently sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, urging the Administration to maintain the size of the C-130 Hercules Transport plane fleet while making the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. According to a press release issued by Representative Angie Craig's office, as the 133rd Airlift Wing, stationed at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and serving the entire state including the Duluth Air National Guard Base, could be affected by the potential reductions, and the delegation is coming together in a bipartisan manner to ensure that the Minnesota Air National Guard will be able to continue its critical C-130 mission. The letter states, in part, that the delegation is concerned that the Air Force is considering reductions in the size of the fleet in ways that could impact readiness and mission capability, particularly for the Air National Guard, and have asked Secretary Barrett to provide information regarding the reason for possibly reducing the C130 inventory, and the criteria for future C130 funding.

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    Grants For Non-Profits Still Available

    United Way of Hastings reports that grants for non-profit organizations will be awarded soon. According to a United Way of Hastings press release, the grant opportunity has a short deadline. The deadline to apply is Oct 23rd. Qualifying non-profits are eligible to receive a grant of up to $5,000 for necessary expenses incurred due to COVID-19. Priority will go to non-profit organizations providing human services or public health services to Hastings residents, such as food delivery, mental health counseling, community outreach, housing assistance, and economic security. Grant funds may be used for payroll, utilities, rent, PPE, technology, training, facility adaptations, and other costs incurred March 1 to November 15, 2020. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit the link provided here.

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    ISD 200 Visitor Check In System Upgrade

    ISD 200 is upgrading its Raptor Visitor Management System to allow the system to read newer REAL and other "enhanced" ID cards. According to district administration, the upgrade will involve an entirely new platform, and all visitors, regardless of being in the old system, will need to scan their IDs into the new system. Once scanned in, the system will retain the information to make future visits easier. Scanned ID information is not held at a single facility but is networked to all buildings and facilities. The process may take up to several weeks to complete, and staff appreciate visitors' patience and understanding.

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    Vermillion and New Trier Crimes Up

    Residents of Vermillion and New Trier are reporting an uptick in thefts from properties in those towns. According to posts on social media, one resident stated that a group of people came to the resident's house at 4:50 AM last Wednesday morning and took a 4 wheeler that was sitting in the driveway. This group has reportedly been looking for things they can easily remove from property overnight. Anyone with information on these particular events is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 651-483-4700.

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    "Foxtoberfest" Named Among Best Brews

    With the month of October comes the world-renowned festival of all things beer, Oktoberfest. Jen Fox of Spiral Brewery recently visited KDWA Radio, and reported that their annual brew, "Foxtoberfest" has been recognized as one of the best.

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    Fox also encouraged beer enthusiasts to act soon, if they want to try it.

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    Spiral Brewery is located at 111 2nd Street East, in Hastings.

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    Miesville Chief Latuff Honored

    Miesville Fire Chief Tom Latuff has received the Dakota Electric "Dakota Spirit of Excellence" Award. According to a post on social media, the award is presented to outstanding first responders who embrace courage, passion, integrity and drive while serving as a firefighter and first responder within the community. Chief Latuff has served Miesville as a firefighter for over 20 years, with the last nine as Chief.

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    Prescott Trick Or Treat Guidelines

    The City of Prescott has published trick-or-treating guidelines for those who will be going out on Halloween evening. According to the city website, safe trick-or-treating recommendations include participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance, such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard, those preparing goodie bags should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags, and remembering that costume masks are not a substitute for proscribed COVID face coverings. For complete details, visit PrescottWI.org.

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    Prescott Chamber Seeks Volunteers

    The drop in temperature and recent light snowfall indicate that the holiday season will soon be upon us. The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce is working to prepare lights to hang in the downtown area, and have asked for 3 or 4 people to help out Tuesday, October 20th, from 5:30 PM for about an hour to assemble and string some lights for the downtown decorations. According to an email sent out by the Chamber, the next step in the process is to assemble the lights on the actual wire frames, which they plan on doing Wednesday, November 4th. Volunteers are asked to contact Chamber Coordinator Casey Johnson, at 715-629-0047 to sign up. The Chamber needs the lights completed so the City can hang them before Small Business Saturday at the end of November.

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    Pierce Deputies Deploy Stast of the Art Tech

    On October 15th, Pierce County Deputies were involved in a high speed pursuit, which led to a fully engulfed vehicle fire. According to a post by PCSO on social media, deputies arrived at the crash with flames from the crashed vehicle raging. Deputies quickly deployed a Stat-X Aerosol Fire Suppression fire grenade to suppress the blaze and remove the occupants. No one was injured in the incident, which remains under investigation. The PCSO thanked First National Bank of River Falls for donating the fire suppression grenade earlier this year, and credits the use of the grenade for preventing further damage.

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    (Photo: PCSO)

    County Weekly Jobs

    Dakota County has posted its weekly listing of job openings, which include a community corrections director, a community living services supervisor, a data privacy specialist, and a senior program associate. Complete details, job applications, and application deadlines can be found by logging on to Agency.GovernmentJobs.com/Dakota.

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    Hastings City Council Meeting Preview

    The Hastings City Council meets Monday evening. Mayor Mary Fasbender provides a preview of the agenda.

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    HFD Welcomes New Personnel

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department recently welcomed 5 new paid-on-call firefighter/EMTs. According to the City Newsletter, Kiki Radke, Blaine Raway, Jalen Sneddeker, Kayla Tesch, and Grace Holm have already begun their fire and EMS training. Their training will be complete in just about 1 year and include Firefighter 1 and 2, EMT, and Haz-mat. HFD is excited to have them on board, and look forward to them serving the community.

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    (Pictured left to right: Kiki Radke, Grace Holm, Kayla Tesch, Jalen Sneddeker, Blaine Raway. Photo courtesy HFD)

    Tom Bakken To Retire

    The City of Hastings has announced that after 20 years of service to the City, Tom Bakken has announced his retirement at the end of this year. The City has begun accepting applications for his replacement as Building Official. Applications are being accepted until Sunday, October 25th. City staff offered their thanks to Tom for his dedicated service to the City and wish him well as he begins a new chapter in his life.

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    Croix Insurance Celebrates 30 Years

    Croix Insurance is celebrating their business anniversary. In celebration of this milestone, the staff and management invite everyone to eat or toast Croix Insurance, as they celebrate 30 years in business. Like or post a picture on their Facebook page, of you and your car, boat, or home, or comment, and they will enter you to win one of three $50 gift cards to local Prescott businesses Enrique's, No Name Saloon, or Scab's. Enter once each day between now and Nov 12. See rules at the link posted here.

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    Prescott Police Have Busy Week

    The Prescott Police Department reports higher-than-usual activity in Prescott last week. According to a post on social media, in the early hours of Tuesday, October 13th Prescott Officers assisted Pierce County Sheriff's Deputies with a pursuit that passed through Prescott. The male suspect in that pursuit was later apprehended in the county after a brief foot pursuit by Pierce Deputies. On Thursday October 15th around 12:30 PM, a Prescott Officer initiated a pursuit of a motorcycle which left the city limits and proceeded out into the county. This pursuit was terminated due to safety reasons and this suspect has not been apprehended. And, also on Thursday, at around 6 PM, Prescott Officers assisted Pierce County Deputies in another pursuit. Officer Jacobsen deployed his spike strips, making impact with the right front tire of the suspect vehicle. The vehicle continued on through Prescott at a high rate of speed and eventually crashed in Minnesota, on Highway 10. Both female suspects in this incident were taken into custody by Deputy Clements and Officer Jensen.

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    Conty Board Meeting Preview

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners has a full schedule for their Tuesday, October 27th meeting, that includes closed-door sessions to deliberate a number of legal actions in which the County is involved. Two of the closed session items relate to legal strategies for lawsuits involving the County, and two others are deliberations of an acquisition and a mediated settlement for properties needed for County projects. Open session agenda items include routine reports regarding COVID-19 and CARES funding, and emergency and non-profit funding efforts for housing and other concerns. The meeting can be viewed online at the link provided here.

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    COVID Update

    Even with the rise in numbers of COVID cases in and around Dakota County, the County COVID Dashboard reports that the last death from the virus in Dakota County occurred on October 14th. New cases in Dakota County were 116 for October 16th, bringing the cumulative total of cases to 8,912, with 133 total deaths. Of the 8,912 cases, only 626 required hospitalization. Complete details are available on the Dakota County COVID Dashboard.

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    Washington County Changes Cross Country Ski Permits

    Washington County has reported that the County Park System no longer supports the Greater MN Ski Pass for access to County cross country ski trails. According to the County Website, skiers must now purchase a Washington County ski pass. Passes can be purchased online, at a pay station, or at a park office starting November 1. The County will honor those who have a 3 year DNR ski pass for the upcoming season. Skiers 18 and older are required to purchase licenses, which carry a $6 daily fee, or a $20 annual fee. Visit the link provided on KDWA.com for complete details.

    https://www.co.washington.mn.us/1362/Cross-Country-Skiing.

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    Cottage Grove Ravine Construction Update

    The construction project at the Lower Landing in Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park continues as the facility under construction nears completion. According to the Washington County Parks web page, concrete floors have been poured, wall framing is complete, and a cross-laminated timber roof has been installed. Parks staff report that the lower landing facility is the first building in Minnesota to have a CLT roof installed. CLT is a multi-layer mass timber product that allows precision accuracy resulting in a secure airtight building solution at an affordable price. The material is manufactured in a controlled factory environment, then transported and placed, eliminating onsite construction time. Next on the list are electrical and plumbing rough-ins, installation of a storm sewer, roofing, and windows. The new lower landing facility will be used to house restrooms, storage and event gathering space.

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    Winter Clothes For Students In Need

    The weather is starting to turn and soon winter will be here. To help keep children warm this winter, South Washington County Schools Community Education is partnering with SoWashCo CARES (Community Action Reaching Every Student) to help match students in need with new winter coats, snow pants, boots, hats and gloves. Program staff encourage families in need to fill out an online form for assistance. Parents will be notified when the clothing has arrived at the child's school. The organization states that they will do the best to fulfill every request, however, requests are not guaranteed. Donations will also be accepted, and those desiring to donate are asked to fill out a separate form. Links to both forms are provided on the News page of KDWA.com.

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    Hastings City Trail Report

    The City of Hastings reports that several sections of trails in the City are closed for renovation. According to a post on social media, the Mississippi River Regional Trail between the Confluence Development and the boat launch parking lot, the trail between Lock and Dam Road and the Sand Dam, and the trail along General Sieben Drive between Hwy 55 and 15th Street are all affected by closures. Hastings Parks and Rec Program Specialist Paige Marschall-Bigler provided an update on the project, as a whole.

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    City staff urge residents to stay off the closed portions of trails and follow detour information.   

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    PAFEA Calls Special Meeting

    The Prescott Area Fire and EMS Association has called a special meeting for Wednesday, October 21, at 7 PM, at the Prescott Fire Hall, 260 Flora Street. The main agenda items for the meeting are to discuss spending of Route to Recovery Grant funds allocated to the Association, and an update on the Dive Team. This meeting is open to the public.

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    Bonding Bill Passes Legislature

    On Wednesday, the MN House passed a bonding bill during their special session. Representative Tony Jurgens commented on the process.

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    Senator Karla Bigham also commended the House for passing the bill

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    The vote in the Senate was 64-3 to pass the bill, getting overwhelming support from both parties. The combined legislation now goes to Governor Walz.

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    Hastings Alum Named Optimist Chapter President

    The Optimist Club of West St. Paul has named 2013 Hastings High School graduate Cole Spavin as its next president, during a ceremony on October 7th. According to a published report Spavin received his gavel from the previous president, John Rheinberger, who is now the District Lt. Governor. Spavin became a member of the Optimist Club in 2013, and has held several positions with the organization.

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    (Cole and Chuck Spavin. Photo Source: DMM District Dispatch)

    Math And Science Academy Recognized

    Woodbury's Math and Science Academy has been named as one of the best public high schools in Minnesota, according to Niche, a school search and data gathering organization. The Math and Science Academy is a charter school with 526 students in grades 6-12 and a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. Minnesota state test scores show that 81 percent of students are at least proficient in math and 87 percent in reading. Niche's 2021 rankings combine user input, including comments from students, alumni, and parents, with quantitative data. Other factors include teachers, resources, facilities, extracurricular activity opportunities, and diversity.

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    Rosemount Development Gets OK

    A proposed hotel and senior living complex in Rosemount has gotten preliminary approval for development by the City Council there, but at a recent meeting of the Council, Warren Israelson with KJ Walk told the Council he doesn't have a franchise yet, nor a timeline for the hotel. Several measures were approved for Rosewood Commons, which includes a hotel and six senior apartment buildings for several empty lots north of County Road 42 along Business Parkway. Blueprints show 124 total units of senior housing in six individual buildings. Two of the apartment buildings will have ground floor commercial space for neighborhood businesses.

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    Prison Goes Into COVID Lockdown

    An outbreak of COVID-19 has placed the state prison facility in Stillwater in lockdown. According to reports, testing of all 1,273 inmates at the facility this week revealed 90 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases at the prison to 115, according to the state Department of Corrections. All but two of the 90 new cases are from the same living units. The DOC says most of the inmates who have tested positive have either no symptoms or mild symptoms. One 70-year-old man is receiving medical attention outside the prison.

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    MN Votes Begins Ad Campaign

    The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State launched a campaign encouraging all eligible Minnesotans to participate in the upcoming election from the safety of their homes. The campaign, titled "Here We Vote" is as Minnesotan as hotdish, hockey and Juicy Lucys. Through a series of videos, the campaign will feature well-known Minnesota personalities, including actors Lea Thompson and Josh Hartnett, athletes Rachel Banham and Joe Mauer, rapper Nur-D, and Maria Isa, a Boricua singer hailing from St. Paul, among a host of others. For more information on the campaign or how to vote safely from home, visit MNVotes.org.

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    ISD 200 Faces Budget Shortfall

    ISD 200 has announced that the district is facing a budget deficit for the 2021-22 school year of approximately $1.4 to $1.9 million. The school board recently sent out a budget survey to district parents. School board chair Kelsey Waits commented on the meaning of the survey.

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    The School Board is considering cuts to technology and staff among other areas, but Waits assures families that no final decision has been made.

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    Prescott Pool Ordinance Returns To Committee

    On Monday, the Prescott City Council deliberated a pool ordinance requiring a permit for pools deeper than 4 inches within city limits. According to the minutes of the meeting, there were questions as to why there would need to be an annual permit for having a swimming pool. Alderperson Bailey Ruona stated she had taken calls from residents who have had a swimming pool for a number of years and asked if there could be a time frame in which required fencing would be constructed for someone who already has a pool. There were also questions from residents about the cost of the fence. The Council moved to send the swimming pool ordinance back to committee.

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    Harbor House Plans Clear Preservation Commission

    On Monday, The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission deliberated an application for a Special Use Permit and parking lot variance for the Harbor Shelter Building in Hastings. According to the meeting minutes, the Commission heard a report from City Planner Justin Fortney, and the applicants for renovating the building to a regular apartment complex. Commission Chair Rick Smith stated that the proposed use of the building as residential apartments is compatible with the location. The Commission recommended approval of the Permit, landscaping plan, and parking variance. The City Council will deliberate the issue during their October 19 meeting.

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    Senior Center Seeks Mask Materials

    The Hastings Senior Center reports that member Darlene Cowden, and her daughter, Sandy, have been busy making masks for residents of Hastings, and in particular, the Veteran's Home. In the course of the last few months, they have made hundreds of masks, and are running short on supplies. Senior Center Coordinator Laurie Thrush has asked that anyone with spare mask making material to donate the material to the Senior Center. Donations may be brought to the Senior Center, at 310 River Street, during regular open hours. For questions, contact Laurie at 651-480-7689.

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    Spades.Life Plans HQ In Hastings

    The City of Hastings has been working with Spades, an organization that links land, money, and capacity to massive tree regrowing projects worldwide, to locate their worldwide headquarters in Hastings. City Council member Joe Balsanek explains.

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    The City is working on a land sale for the property, and Spades is expected to build on the site starting in the next year.

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    Craig Urges Voting In 2nd District Race

    At an informal meet and greet on Tuesday, U. S. Representative Angie Craig commented on the judicial dispute regarding the race for the 2nd District Seat, which had been suspended by Secretary of State Steve Simon, due to the death of candidate Adam Weeks, of the Legal Marijuana Now Party. After Federal Judge Wilhelmina Wright reinstated the race, Candidate Tyler Kistner sued to uphold the February postponement. Craig urged voters to vote in the race regardless.

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    Absentee balloting is now open, and the General Election will occur on November 3rd.

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    Healthcare Focus of 2nd Meet And Greet

    Local cancer advocate Mary Nehring has now conducted two informal candidate meet and greet sessions in her driveway in Three Rivers Trailer Park. Mary commented on why the meetings were important to her.

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    At the 2nd meet and greet held this past Tuesday, U. S. Representative Angie Craig spoke to the reasons she initially ran for the 2nd District Seat for MN.

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    Her latest legislation for COVID Vaccine availability is still working its way through Congress.

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    (Photo Source: Angie Craig Campaign)

    Motorcycle Crash Injures One

    On Saturday, October 10th at about 8:52 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a single motorcycle crash with injuries on County Road S near 70th Street, in Rock Elm Township. A PCSO press release states that Frank Sieben, 60 years old from Hastings was operating a motorcycle northbound on County Road S when he swerved to miss striking a group of deer in the roadway. Sieben entered the ditch at the intersection of County Road S and 70th Street. Sieben's motorcycle then overturned and he was ejected. Sieben was transported by Elmwood Area Ambulance Service to Mayo Hospital in Menomonie with undetermined injuries. The PCSO was assisted on scene by Elmwood Fire Department, Elmwood Area Ambulance Service and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

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    2nd Street Rail Crossing Closing for Repairs

    The Canadian Pacific Railroad has scheduled repairs and track replacement work at the E 2nd Street crossing in Hastings beginning on Monday, October 19th. Weather permitting, the work will take 3-5 days to complete. During the work, E 2nd Street will be closed between Lea Street and Tyler Street, and traffic will be detoured on Lea, E 1st, and Tyler Streets.

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