Local News

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    DFL Opens Hastings Field Office

    Several state officers and staff of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party joined Democratic nominees Judy Seeberger, Pat Driscoll, and Tina Folch, along with dozens of local party activists at the grand opening of the first DFL office in Senate District 41 in Hastings on Aug. 14. According to a DFL press release, Hastings City Council Member Tina Folch, who is running for the state House of Representatives from District 41B, which is predominantly Hastings and much of Cottage Grove, would be the first woman to represent the area if elected, and the first Democrat in 40 years, since Harry "Tex" Sieben won and eventually became Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. This is the first election cycle in the newly created Senate District 41, which extends from Grant in the north to Hastings and Nininger Township in the south. The Senate District 41 DFL office is entirely staffed by volunteers. It is located at 1260A South Frontage Road in Hastings, in the space formerly occupied by Spiral Natural Foods Co-Op, which recently moved to a larger space in the same building at the intersection of Highway 55 and Westview Road.

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    HPD Weekly Review

    The Hastings Police Department logged 44 entries to the police blotter for the week ending August 8th. Included among the entries was a road hazard call at 10:38 AM on August 3rd on hwy 47/Spring St, which eventually turning into a dumping complaint on the 3100 block of Cory Lane. The suspect, identified as 42-year-old Hastings resident Theresa Ann Salmi, was cited for depositing garbage or refuse on a public right-of-way or on adjacent private property. On August 5th at 7:30 PM, an officer conducted a traffic stop near the intersection of 6th Street East and Bailly Street. After investigation, the driver, 46-year-old Hastings resident Bryan Thomas was arrested for felony 5th degree drug possession. The passenger, 35-year-old Hastings resident David Thomas, was arrested for a felony St. Croix County, WI, warrant for drug possession. And, on August 6th, at approximately 9:45 PM, officers made contact with a female near the 200 block of 33rd St W. 38-year-old Prescott resident Analicia Kaye Frandrup was arrested for an outstanding warrant. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Prescott Middle School Intros New Teacher

    The Prescott School District has introduced Katie Early as the new Language Arts teacher for Prescott Middle School. She will be teaching 6th grade language, and comes to Prescott from Spring Valley, where she taught 6th and 8th grade language for six years. Early is a 2012 graduate of Prescott High School. She earned her undergraduate degree at UW Eau Claire and is licensed for Language Arts from the 6th to the 12th grades. She is also working on her Master's Degree in School Counseling through UW Superior, with the goal of graduating in 2024.

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    (Katie Early. Photo Source: PSD)

    Lenzner Named Dir. Of Nutrition For Prescott Schools

    The Prescott School District welcomes Nicole Lenzner as the new director of nutrition for the district. According to a post on social media, Lenzner has over 15 years experience in the food service industry and carries numerous certifications in dining and guest service, along with a BS degree from UW-Stout in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. Lenzner and her two children, Austin and Abby, reside in River Falls.

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    (Nicole Lenzner. Photo Source: PSD)

    Confluence Clean Up Held In Prescott

    Being on the confluence of the Mississippi and the St. Croix Rivers it is important to keep them clean. As a result, the City of Prescott hosted Living Lands & Waters, along with volunteer staff out of Edina, for a 1-day river clean-up of the St Croix and Mississippi riverbanks. The group gathered at the Prescott Public Launch site on the morning of Monday, August 15th and worked through most of the day with 5 boats to clean along the riverbanks. Organizers of the event thanked Dave Deml of GFL, formerly Paul's Industrial Garage, for the generous contribution of a roll-off dumpster for the various trash collected. Learn more about the great work of Living Lands & Waters on their website.

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    One Injured In Cottage Grove Motorcycle Accident

    On Saturday, August 13th at approximately 11:50 PM, the Minnesota State Patrol reports that a motorcycle driven by 47-year-old Cottage Grove resident Carmelo Moulier Miranda was northbound on Hwy 61, and as it proceeded to the exit ramp to Innovation Road, the motorcycle left the roadway and came to rest in the grassy median. Miranda was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and was transported to Regions Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Assisting the State Patrol on the scene were Cottage Grove EMS and the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

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    Accident In Red Wing Claims Life Of Woodbury Man

    The Minnesota State Patrol reports that an accident on August 14th at approximately 11:25 PM in Red Wing has claimed one life. According to the State Patrol, a Subaru Forester was southbound on Highway 63 across the lift bridge when it came in contact with a roadside barrier. The driver, a 54-year-old male from Woodbury, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and was ejected from the vehicle, resulting in a fatal crash. Assisting the State Patrol on the scene was the Red Wing Police and Fire Departments and the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.

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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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    Study Requested for 2023 Hastings Street Project

    The Hastings City Council is requested to authorize the City Engineering Department to take up the required field data collection (surveying, pipe condition evaluation, and geotechnical investigation), design work, preparation of a feasibility report, and an appraised benefits analysis for the 2023 Neighborhood Improvement Area. Information provided to Council states that the City's Capital Street Improvement Plan called for Pleasant Drive from CR 46 to 15th Street and certain surrounding neighborhoods to be improved in 2023. In the initial stage of review, it was determined that Pleasant Drive will need a full reconstruction rather than just a street reclamation, making that project more expensive. The City still plans to obtain field data collection for the entire area as originally called for, but City Staff feel it is more realistic to break the project down into two years. Pleasant Drive from CR 46 to 15th Street, Old Bridge Lane from Northridge Drive to Pleasant Drive, Southview Drive from Pleasant Drive to Westview Drive, Southview Place, 18th Court, and Ridgewood Court are proposed to be improved in 2023. A request to authorize the study was placed on the Consent Agenda for the Monday meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    Basket Replacement Requested For Hastings Disc Course

    The disc golf course at CP Adams Park is a highly regarded course and has hosted state tournaments, professional tournaments and pro-am tournaments during its lifespan. The course also has a solid group of volunteers who have recently reached out to the Parks Department to work on course expansion and improvements. During conversations and site visits, the most desirable, immediate improvement is to replace the current baskets. Other improvements to include additional holes, hole modifications, signage, etc. are proposed as well, and staff will continue to work with dedicated volunteers to implement those improvements. Within the dedicated funds budget, there is $12,600 of dedicated funding that came to the City from local gambling distributions. Staff are proposing to use this funding to purchase 22 new disc golf baskets for the CP Adams Disc Golf Course (21 baskets for the course, and 1 basket for practice). The Parks and Recreation Department estimates the total project cost to be approximately $12,082. The City Council will take up the item on Monday evening.

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    Proposal Made For Levee Park Art

    As part of the 2022 Budget, the Hastings City Council initiated the Community Investment Fund and allocated $100,000 in funding for 2022. The Community Investment Fund is focused on partnerships and civic engagement with a goal of creating and supporting vibrant, community-supported, public projects and efforts. One of the approved CIF projects is funding a charette process as proposed by Building Remembrance for Reconciliation (BR4R) in the amount of $10,000. As BR4R has worked through their planning process to host the charette, they have met with Parks and Recreation Director Chris Jenkins on multiple occasions. One of the requirements of CIF-funded projects is that it must be on city-owned property, and BR4R sought guidance on what sites on city property were available and ideal for a permanent art installation. BR4R's goal is to develop an art piece to be permanently displayed, and they are using the charette process to accomplish this goal. Jenkins' first suggestion for a permanent art installation is a dedicated space, designed and intended for art installations at Levee Park. This space has played host to numerous temporary art pieces since construction was completed, and there is currently one piece installed. Representatives of BR4R agree this is the most desired location for a permanent art installation. The Council will deliberate the issue on Monday evening.

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    Request Made For Alley Cat Liquor Block Party

    Brandon Sigmundik of Hastings Social, LLC d/b/a Hastings Tavern & Alley Cat Liquor, 111 3rd Street East, submitted a block party application with liquor license amendment application for Saturday, August 20, from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. The liquor license amendment allows liquor to be served within the confines of the fenced area of the rear parking lot of Alley Cat Liquor. A resolution to approve a block party application and amendment of the liquor license was placed on the Consent Agenda for the Monday meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    HPD and HFD Declare Excess Vehicles For Sale

    The City of Hastings Police Department currently has three forfeited vehicles, 2 Chrysler Town and County vans and a Polaris Scrambler, seized through forfeiture proceedings. These vehicles have been cleared for sale or destruction with the proceeds to be applied to the Department's forfeiture account in accordance with Minnesota law. Also, the Fire Department has declared an Arctic Cat snowmobile, a snowmobile trailer, and a patient transport trailer as surplus property for disposal by public sale. A request to approve these equipment disposals was placed on the Consent Agenda for the Monday meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    Prescott Plan Commission Meeting Preview

    The City of Prescott has been working with Coulee River Trails group, which falls under the Friends of Freedom Park, on designing a trail system in and around the City of Prescott. To formalize that agreement the parties have been working together to design a Memorandum of Understanding. Additionally, the CRT group has submitted a proposal for the design of a Mountain Bike Skills Course, which is a part of the previously approved Magee Park Concept Plan. The Memorandum of Understanding for development of trails and other improvements with the Friends of Freedom Park contains a number of items to agree to between the City of Prescott and Friends of Freedom Park as a fiscal sponsor for the Coulee River Trails Project. The Prescott Planning Commission will deliberate the memorandum at a meeting on Monday evening, August 15th, at 5 PM in the Municipal Building. The Commission will also deliberate a Pickleball proposal for Public Square Park and receive a report regarding mussels at the fishing pier and boat launch.

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    Washington County Deputy Caroon Retires

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that after an impressive 31 years with the Office, Deputy Sheriff Mark Caroon retired on July 31st and he begins his well-deserved retirement. According to the WCSO, during his career, Mark worked in almost every department in the sheriff's office, beginning his career in the Water, Parks & Trails division in 1991. It was there that he was awarded the "Boat and Water Safety Deputy of the Year" in 1996. Deputy Caroon went on to work in patrol and was a DARE Instructor for six years before becoming a K9 handler, first partnering with Max in 1998, then with Rumble during his time as a narcotics investigator in 2010. When asked how he will spend his retirement, Caroon said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and their two kids.

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    (Mark Caroon. Photo Source: WCSO)

    Gobble Gait Race Shirt Design Contest

    It's not too early to think ahead to the Holiday Season in Hastings, and that means Gobble Gait on Thanksgiving morning. Gobble Gait is seeking design submissions for its 25th anniversary race shirt that creatively celebrates this tradition of coming together in the Hastings community to support our neighbors in need. The winner of this contest will have their design featured on the 2022 25th Anniversary Gobble Gait race shirt, worn by more than 3,000 runners, walkers, sponsors, volunteers, and supporters on Thanksgiving morning. The winner will also be recognized publicly and will receive a free 8K race registration (includes race shirt). Learn more and submit an entry at GobbleGait.com.

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    HPD Pink Patch Project To Return

    The annual Hastings Police Department Pink Patch Project is back for the 5th year and officially starts October 1st. The Pink Patch Project runs the duration of October and you can get in on the Pink Patch Project by purchasing a pink version of the Police Department's shoulder patch, including a limited-edition throwback patch, a pint glass, or color-changing plastic cups. All items will be available for purchase at Hastings City Hall and the Police Department with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Watch the City website and social media for more details. The program is supervised by Hastings Community Engagement Officer Whitney Rinowski.

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    Hastings Issues Admin Citation Reminder

    The Hastings City Council recently approved the use of administrative citations in place of criminal citations when notifying property owners of certain City Code violations, such as inoperable or unlicensed vehicles, grass and weeds, property maintenance, and others. According to City Administration, the goal in implementing administrative citations is to develop a fair and effective tool to obtain compliance with city ordinances. Administrative citations are civil fines that are issued in response to a violation of local ordinance. They are non-criminal tickets. To file a property maintenance complaint, or view the ordinance, visit the Code Enforcement webpage at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Prescott School District Welcomes Chantelle Byram

    The Prescott School District welcomes Chantelle Byram to the District as the new Benefits Specialist and HR Generalist. According to the District, Chantelle is a long-time resident of River Falls, beginning her career in the restaurant industry. Developing an interest in Human Resources, Chantelle obtained a Master of Arts in HR Management from St. Mary's University, in Minneapolis. Her hobbies include outdoor activities, the arts, and travel.

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    (Chantelle Byram. Photo Source: PSD)

    Pumpkin Disposal To Be Set At Organics Drop-Off

    It is not too early to be looking forward to Fall and Halloween, and the City of Hastings reminds residents that the City will offer a free pumpkin collection the weekend after Halloween. According to the City, Hastings residents can drop their pumpkins in labeled containers near the organics drop site, at the Dakota County Highway Shop, 900 County Road 47, from November 4th through the 6th. City staff remind residents that painted pumpkins and pumpkins with excessive wax, or other inorganic residue, cannot be accepted and should go in the trash. Please do not put anything other than pumpkins or gourds in the container.

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    Mattress Pick Up Through September 6th

    Have a mattress to get rid of? The City of Hastings reminds residents that Certified Recycling is offering a special pickup rate for Dakota County residents through Sept. 6 for any type of mattress or box spring. Instead of going to the landfill, the metal, wood and cloth from the mattresses are used for new products. Quality beds are donated to Bridging MN. Schedule a pick-up by visiting the link here.

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    MN Property Tax Refund Filings Due

    The Minnesota Department of Revenue reminds homeowners and renters to file for their 2020 Property Tax Refund before the deadline of August 15, 2022. Additionally, claims for 2021 refunds can be filed from now until August 15, 2023. Renters who already filed have started receiving their refunds while homeowners can expect to start getting their refunds in late August. More than 872,000 Minnesotans have already filed for 2020 property tax refunds, with over $792 million in refunds issued to date. The average refund is about $1,000 for homeowners and $700 for renters. Each tax return is different, and the State reviews every return to verify the information on the return. Some returns may take longer to review and process than others. Learn more on the MN Department of Revenue website.

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    Goodhue County Accident Claims One

    A morning accident on Highway 60 at County 1 Boulevard in Goodhue County has claimed the life of a Zumbrota woman. According to the State Patrol Crash reporting website, at 8:48 AM on August 10th, a Saturn Vue, driven by 18-year-old Rachel Lynn Nesseth of Zumbrota, was southbound on County Road One, when she collided with a tractor trailer that was westbound on Highway 60, driven by 62-year-old Lewiston MN resident Jay Lawrence Bowe. Nesseth succumbed to her injuries and Bowe was not injured in the accident. Assisting the State Patrol on the scene were the Zumbrota Police Department, the Wanamingo Fire Department, and the Goodhue County Sheriff.

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    Helen Strike Comments On Merger

    As reported by KDWA News, the merger of Regina Hospital and United Hospital in St. Paul to a single operation has been completed and Helen Strike, the President of the River Falls Hospital and United Hospital Hastings Regina Campus recently commented about the new name of the Hastings hospital. She first talked about reason behind the name change.

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    Helen also explained what we will notice and what will be enhanced.

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    Learn more on the United Hospital Hastings Regina webpage.

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    Strand Joins Prescott School District

    The Prescott School District announces that Sandy Strand has been named as the new Director of Student Services for the District. According to the District, Strand, a native of central Wisconsin, attended both UW Eau Claire and UW Stout while obtaining her degrees in communication disorders and vocational rehabilitation. She obtained her teaching credentials at the same time. Strand taught special needs for 8 years, and spent 15 years as a Director of Special Education in Minnesota. She is holds an Educational Specialty Degree and a license for being a Director of Special Education.

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    Fairy Wonderland Food Truck Event

    Organizers of Fairy Wonderland announce they are getting excited for the 1st annual Fairy Wonderland Food Trucks and Festivities, on September 9th. Event organizers say that Green Pixie and another Fairy from Occasions with Character, LLC, will be joining them for your little ones to get their pictures taken with. All activities will be free but they will gladly accept any donations and all donations will go toward building Fairy Wonderland Park.

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    (Submitted photo)

    Renovations At St. John's In Vermillion Continue

    Building renovation efforts continue at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Vermillion. According to a post on social media, the congregation's "Brick by Brick" project continues to move forward. At this time all of the exterior brick work is done. Staining previously seen by the doors to the church has removed and the overall exterior of the building is restored to its original beauty. After the washing and sealcoating will be three weeks worth of trim painting to complete the project hopefully by Labor Day. Church leadership expressed thanks to all who have prayed for this project's success and donated toward its completion.

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    (Renovation Work Continues. Submitted photo)

    CFPD Investigates Assault Report

    The Cannon Falls Police Department reports that on August 9th at about 6:30 PM, officers were dispatched to Lower Hanna's Bend for a report of a victim that was shot with an air soft gun in the face. The suspects were a male and two females in a Jeep Cherokee. Further information was not provided for the incident, and the investigation remains active at this time. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Cannon Falls Police Department at 507-263-2626, and reference Case Number 22004145.

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    Playground Equipment Installed In River Falls

    The City of River Falls reports that new playground/swing equipment is being installed this week at Knollwood Park, Spring Creek Park, Glen Park, and Brandan's Park. Staff will be fencing the areas off for approximately two weeks to give the newly poured concrete time to cure. Mulch will then be added to the play areas at Knollwood, Spring Creek, and Brandan's, while a pour-in-place surface will be applied at Glen. Playground equipment will be fenced off for the duration of the renovations, which should take about two weeks. Stay up-to-date with City projects on the City website.

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    County Board Recognizes Farmers And Artists

    The Dakota County Board of Commissioners honored four local farm families and promoted the arts on August 9th, during a board meeting at the Dakota County Fair. Commissioners recognized Little Hill Berry Farm owners Aaron Wills and Molly McGovern Wills as the University of Minnesota Extension Services 2022 Farm Family of the Year. The Wills grow blueberries, strawberries and raspberries in Waterford Township. They have operated their organic fruit farm since 2011. The University of Minnesota's Farm Family Recognition program honors families throughout the state for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. Commissioners also recognized three families with more than 100 years of farming in Dakota County. The Minnesota Farm Bureau 2022 Century Farm honorees included the Terry Family Farm in Waterford, 150 years, the Childs Family Farm in Castle Rock, 150 years, and Rotty Farms in Nininger Township, 100 years. The Rottys were also named the Extension's Farm Family of the Year in 2021. The board also proclaimed August as Public Art Appreciation Month in Dakota County. Robert Erickson and Cheryl O'Donnell, members of the Dakota County Public Art Citizen Advisory Committee, updated the board on art activities in the county.

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    SoWashCo Referendum Fails

    Voters in the South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) district did not approve the $462.6 million bond request during the election held on Tuesday, August 9th. In a statement to the public, District officials say that had the bond been approved, it would have provided critical funding for new construction, renovations and improvements to address student growth. Over the next 10 years, 8,000 new homes and more than 3,500 potential new K-12 students are expected to move into the district. With several schools already overcapacity and more expected in the coming years, SoWashCo Schools will revise the current 10-year facility package. At the top of the list is extensive boundary changes prior to 2025 along with other considerations that could include beginning an alternative long-range facility planning process and considering all options available, returning to voters with a new election in February 2023, exploring temporary portable trailers at some school sites, and increasing rental space and costs for learning and instruction, among other considerations. SoWashCo Schools will share more information in the coming months on the District website.

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    Primary Election Results

    The Primary Election has concluded for 2022 and there were a number of races pared down, and ballot initiatives that were decided on Tuesday evening. In Hastings, the top four vote-getters for the two at-large City Council seats were Angie Haus, with 1,055, Ian Martin with 967, Tom Wright with 964, and Dave Pemble, with 898. The Dakota County Attorney race shows Matt Little as top vote-getter, with nearly 16,000 votes, and Kathy Keena with over 14,000. In Washington County, Keith Franke and Karla Bigham will face off in November for the Commissioner Seat for District 4 on the Washington County Board. Bigham received 5,164 votes and Franke 4,859. The South Washington County School District referendum did not pass, by a vote of 14,257 "against" to 7,335 "for". At the state level, in Minnesota State Senate District 41, Republican Tom Dippel will face off against Democrat Judy Seeberger. Dippel received 4,673 votes to Tony Jurgens, who came in at 2,995, and Seeberger ran unopposed. Tim Walz will face off against Scott Jensen in the Governor's Race, Jim Schulz will run against Keith Ellison for Attorney General, and the race for Secretary of State pits Steve Simon against Kim Crockett. View the complete results on the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

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    Hastings Plan Comm. Recommends Approval Of Ice Rink

    Shane Hudella, of the United Heroes League, presented a request to the City of Hastings for an Interim Use Permit for an outdoor ice rink at the Memorial located on Ravenna Trail. On Monday evening the Hastings Planning Commission reviewed the request. Preliminary information was provided by City Planner Justin Fortney.

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    Hudella commented on the plans going forward.

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    The Planning Commission recommended approval of the Interim Use Permit by unanimous vote. The City Council will take up the item on August 15th.

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    Otto Nominated For Prescott Planning Commission

    Prescott resident Kate Otto was introduced on Monday evening as a nominee for the Prescott Planning Commission. Mayor Rob Daugherty briefed the Council on her nomination.

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    The Council will vote on her nomination at the next meeting.

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    Prescott Council Approves SRO Contract

    The Prescott City Council deliberated an updated School Resource Officer contract with the Prescott School District at the Council's Monday evening meeting. City Administrator Matt Wolf updated the Council on the contract.

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    The contract has been approved by the School Board, and the City Council, with the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, voted to adopt the contract.

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    New Road In Prescott Suggested

    The Prescott City Council heard an update from the Planning Commission on Monday evening regarding plans to install a major north-south road through Prescott that would help to alleviate traffic in the downtown corridor. Mayor Rob Daugherty recapped the Commission's discussions.

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    No plans have been finalized and the Council will continue deliberations.

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    PPD Weekly Report

    The Prescott Police Department responded to 106 calls for service between July 31 and August 7 including: 911 calls, traffic stops-including one that resulted in the arrest of a woman for driving while intoxicated, traffic stops, animal complaints-including the removal of a woodchuck, thefts, ordinance violations, an intoxicated person, trespassing, welfare checks, disorderly conduct and subjects, vandalism, driving complaint, the arrest of a man with an outstanding warrant, a custody dispute, lost property, suspicious activity, a juvenile complaint, drug complaints, and parking violations.

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    HFD Weekly Report

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department responded to 17 calls for service for the week ending August 9th. Crews responded to 5 reports of power lines down in the area during the reporting period, an authorized controlled burn in the 1900 block of Forest Street on August 2nd, and a brush fire in the 12400 block of Jerry Path, at 10:29 AM on August 6th. Crews arrived on scene at 10:30, and the fire was out by the time crews got to the scene. The last unit cleared at 10:36 after conducting an investigation of the scene. There was no reported damage to property, or injuries involved with the fire. The Department also responded to two accidents. The remainder of the calls were either canceled en route, so-called Good Intent Calls or malfunctioning alarm systems.

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    Goodhue County Commissioner Drotos Passes

    Goodhue County reports the passing of Commissioner Paul Drotos. On August 4th, Commissioner Drotos passed away surrounded by loved ones at his home. According to a County press release, having served District Five since 2017, Commissioner Drotos dedicated his public life to tackling sustainability issues, reducing waste, establishing a treatment court, and revitalizing the County's housing and economic development. Prior to this, Commissioner Drotos centered on the importance of sustainability when he took on the role of Environmental Officer for the City of Red Wing. Commissioner Drotos took on these roles while simultaneously being heavily involved in local community organizations such as United Way, Red Wing Lions & Elks Club, Red Wing Arts Association, the Goodhue County Historical Society, and many more. County officials state that Commissioner Drotos truly demonstrated himself to be a public servant. He is survived by his wife Deb, his son Joe, his daughter-in-law Jenna Olson and his two grandchildren Arlo and Lida. A celebration of life will be held at Colvill Park Courtyard in Red Wing on Thursday, August 11th between 4 and 7 PM.

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    Zuzek Declares Candidacy For ISD 200 School Board

    Former ISD 200 educator Mark Zuzek has announced his candidacy for the ISD 200 school board, for the Special Election called to fill the seat of Mike Reis, who resigned from the board in July. A 30-year veteran of ISD 200 as a teacher and principal in Hastings Public Schools, Zuzek also has been the superintendent for Intermediate School District 917. In a statement to the public, Zuzek listed his personal skills such as collaborative leadership, creative problem solving, and big picture thinking, as qualifications for the school board. Zuzek also said he is prepared to use his compassion and experience as an educational leader to support the needs of the students, staff, and families. The School Board Election occurs in November.

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    HFS July Donation Drive Results

    The Hastings community came together in July, in support of Hastings Family Service, and raised a total of $64,525 to help area families served by Hastings Family Service. According to an HFS press release, this amount will receive a proportionate match from Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless. The press release states this is the largest July on record for HFS. This generosity comes at a critical time because the need is growing as families struggle with the increased prices of basic items like gas and groceries. HFS staff and management thank the community for helping to feed hungry families.

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    Monarchs Listed As "Endangered"

    While much focus is given these days to the plight of the honeybee and its critical role as a primary plant pollinator, the Monarch Butterfly is also facing a tough road of survival. Locally, Jessie Eckroad, outreach coordinator with Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center talks about the recent listing of monarch butterflies on the endangered wildlife species list.

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    Eckroad talked about some "big picture" things people can do to help the Monarch.

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    On the individual level, little things are also important.

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    Learn more on the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center website.

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    PFD Receives Donation From Kwik Trip

    Coming on the heels of the grand opening of the new Kwik Trip Convenience Store in Prescott comes the news that Kwik Trip has donated $1,000 to the Prescott Fire Department. In a presentation made at the grand opening, Kwik Trip owner Don Zietlow, along with Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke, presented the $1,000 check to Fire Chief Tom Lytle. Department officials state that the donation will be used to purchase defibrillators for the Department.

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    (L to R: Grace Stanke, Don Zietlow, Tom Lytle. Photo Source: PFD)

    Barge Misses Boat

    On the Inver Grove Heights side of Mississippi River, at about 102nd St, near Lock & Dam #2 on Friday, August 5th, a boat was reported to be disabled on the river with a barge coming towards them. According to witness accounts, resources on scene at a nearby marina called the Army Corps of Engineers to alert the barge, which was able to pass the disabled boat safely. The water patrol was able to make contact with the disabled vessel, which had 3 people on board, and assist them. No injuries were reported.

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    DCSO Issues Reminder To Be Aware Of Farm Equip. On Road

    Many of the farmers in the area are on the tail end of the planting season, or preparing for the harvest, but that does not mean that tractors are off the roadways. It can be frustrating to follow them at what feels like a turtle's pace, but safety should always be a priority. Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it difficult for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The equipment makes wide turns and can cross over the center line. Farm vehicles can also create large blind spots making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. The Dakota County Sheriff's Office reminds motorists to watch for slow-moving farm equipment all summer. Be patient, be kind, and share the road.

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    Gas Leak Reported Near Target In Cottage Grove

    On Friday, August 5th, Cottage Grove Fire and Police were called to the scene of a struck gas line at Target on E. Pt. Douglas Rd. S. According to an information release by the Cottage Grove Police Department, a contractor struck a line while working in the area and Xcel advised that it would take an unknown amount of time to repair. Traffic was said to be safe on the roads in the area and Target was evacuated and closed temporarily. Xcel Energy crews were able to stop the leak and repair the line. No injuries were reported.

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    (Photo Source: City of Cottage Grove)

    Teens Arrested After Incident At Woodbury Cabela's

    On August 6, at 1:37 PM, Woodbury Police were called to the Cabela's Store, at 8400 Hudson Road, for a report of a disturbance. Employees reported several teens were involved in a disturbance and shoplifting incident. Responding officers learned that the teens were associated with a stolen vehicle, and that the suspects attempted to steal items from the store, reported to include an airsoft gun and a pistol magazine. When the vehicle and its occupants spotted a Woodbury patrol car, they fled, attempting to take the patrol car head on. The stolen suspect vehicle fled north on County Road 13. Approximately two miles north of I-94 officers stopped the vehicle using a PIT maneuver. The suspects subsequently fled of foot. Residents of the immediate area were notified of the situation by Code Red and began calling in sightings. The concerted efforts of law enforcement and the community resulted in seven juveniles in custody without incident. 5 juvenile males were held at the Washington County Jail pending court. Ages are 13 to 15.

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    Prescott City Council Meeting Preview

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

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    Prescott Daze Preparations Under Way

    With only a few weeks until Prescott Daze in Prescott, preparations are well under way for the event. Prescott City Clerk Jayne Brand gave a brief preview of the weekend-long event.

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    Get the latest at PrescottDaze.com.

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    RTL Early Bird Tickets On Sales

    The annual Rivertown Live event's summer ticket sale is on now. Rivertown Live will be held Saturday, Sept. 10 at Levee Park and is presented by the Hastings Area Rotary Club. The Rotary is a non-profit organization that funds a number of service projects in the Hastings area. The summer ticket sale ends Aug 10th, and prices will go up $10 per ticket for reserved/VIP seating. Get your early bird priced tickets at the link provided here.

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    Senior Housing Study Requested In Prescott

    The Prescott Housing Authority expressed interest in a community study for senior housing in Prescott. Due to budget restraints, the board has asked the City to reach out to firms to conduct a study. Staff has approached WSB Engineering and Maxfield Research and received proposals for a study from each firm. The City, as part of TID #3 closing, transferred a portion of those funds into an affordable housing fund that currently has $310,346. Both firms offer similar deliverables, but with varying means of fulfilling the study. The most notable difference is cost of each study. At the July 20th, 2022 Prescott Housing Authority board meeting, it was expressed that the WSB proposal was favored by the board because of familiarity with Wisconsin municipalities, well-regarded reputation, and budget friendly offering. The City Council will take up the matter on Monday evening.

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    Prescott City Council SRO Contract Negotiations

    The City of Prescott currently receives $10,000 in funding from the Prescott School District to help fund the School Resource Officer (SRO), which helps provide the school a sworn law enforcement officer trained in school-based crisis response and law enforcement. According to City Administration, a current gap in funding the SRO results in the City subsidizing a large portion of the work. The current SRO is also the City of Prescott Investigator and splits his time between both the SRO work and investigative work. Generally, there are 36 weeks in a school year and with benefits the SRO costs around $42.60 per hour. The SRO spends about 20 hours a week assisting at area schools for a total cost to the City of $30,672. The City has been in discussions and has negotiated a new agreement regarding the SRO position that increases the amount of pay to $26,001. Additionally, the agreement has added language that splits the overtime that may be required because of special events or needs between the School District and the City. The Prescott School District reviewed the agreement at their June 15, 2022, meeting and approved it by a vote of 3-to-0. The Personnel Committee reviewed the contract and approved sending it to Council by a vote of 3-to-0. The City Council will consider the Contract at Monday evening's meeting.

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    Prescott Housing Development Sparks Roadway Discussion

    The Most Family Partnership, that has developed the 1st and 2nd phases of Great Rivers in Prescott, has approached the City of Prescott about a concept plan that would add another 49 lots to the development as part of their 3rd phase. The current Prescott Comprehensive Plan Chapter 6 calls for planning an arterial north-south route from State Highway 29 to US Highway 10, all the way down to State Highway 35. According to the City website, the City has been exploring the location of a future north/south arterial route since the first comprehensive plan was adopted in 2003. The purpose of planning for a north/south arterial route is so that local vehicle traffic from future development of the southeast, east, and northeast does not have to be directed through the downtown and combined with through-traffic to create congestion. The City Council will hear a report from the Panning Commission regarding the request at Monday evening's City Council meeting.

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    Goodhue County Road Work Update

    Goodhue County's Public Works Department is updating the public on the progress of its 2022 Bituminous Paving Contract to Rochester Sand & Gravel. With a total cost of just over $7,189,519, this project will improve the driving conditions of several county roads and increase road lifespans. Goodhue County's projects include bituminous milling & reclamation, ADA sidewalk and pedestrian ramp improvements, bituminous mainline & shoulder paving, aggregate shouldering, railroad crossing improvements, and paint striping. Due to shortages in available employees in construction fields, truck drivers, sub-contractors, and materials, construction work has been delayed across all sectors. Other projects that the Contractor is working on also experience these same issues which in turn exacerbates delays. Find the list of roads in the project on the Goodhue County website.

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    HomeHelpMN Drops Application Deadline

    Minnesota Housing announced on Friday that its homeowner assistance fund, HomeHelpMN, is lifting its August application deadline. The program will continue to accept requests for assistance as long as the program has funds available. According to a press release issued by the MN Housing Authority, as of July 31, more than 4,300 homeowners have requested assistance. While there is now no application deadline, homeowners with past-due expenses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible due to limited funds. The Housing Authority also states that Minnesota homeowners who have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have past-due housing expenses may be eligible for financial assistance to bring their payments current. Applications for assistance can be submitted online at HomeHelpMN.org or over the phone at 1-800-388-3226. Call center hours are from 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday. The HomeHelpMN program dashboard is available on the program website.   

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    UWH Banner Campaign Kickoff

    Fall means back to school, which means the start of the Hastings Raiders football season, which also means the annual kickoff for United Way of Hastings' Fall Campaign. Executive Director Mari Mellick has the details.

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    Learn more at UnitedWayOfHastings.org.

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    Norring Named To VOID Board Of Directors

    Hastings resident Bridgette Norring, who was among the first in Hastings to sound the alarm regarding the presence of synthetic opioids in the Hastings area, has been named to the Board of Directors for nonprofit organization Victims Of Illicit Drugs, or "VOID". Until recently, she had been giving her time and energy to the Association of People Against Lethal Drugs, when she was approached by Amy Neville earlier this year.

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    Bridgette has done extensive traveling with VOID, including a trip to Washington D.C. Learn more about Victims Of Illicit Drugs on their website and Facebook page.

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    HFS Seeks Service Coordinator

    Hastings Family Service is seeking an Emergency Services Coordinator who enjoys working directly with people to help them back to self-sufficiency. This engaging and enthusiastic team member will work with neighbors to assess needs and connect them to services and resources. As part of the Programs team, this position coordinates financial assistance and the "Just Friends" transportation program, and supports the HFS team in other program areas. If you thrive in a positive and fun work culture and love meeting and working with people of all ages and backgrounds, please apply by August 24th. More information including a full job description and online application is available on the HFS website.

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    Hwy 61 Project Business Meet Up

    A Hwy 61 Road Project business meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 24th, from 8:30 to 10 AM at the Hastings Golf Club, 2015 Westview Drive. A study of Highway 61 from 4th St. to 36th St. is underway by the Minnesota Department of Transportation in partnership with the City of Hastings. The project team developed corridor improvement concepts based on community members' input and additional transportation analyses. According to a Chamber of Commerce press release, this is a major infrastructure project for the community, and the Chamber has asked the project to host a meeting for local business to meet the project team, review concepts and provide feedback.

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    Goats Arrive At Magee Park

    The City of Prescott reports that goats are coming to Magee Park. Starting Thursday, August 4th, if you are in or around Magee Park, you will see goats arriving to help alleviate the buckthorn infestation. City staff commented that buckthorn came to the area in the mid-1800s as a popular hedging material. It was soon found to be quite invasive and has spread throughout this area. Buckthorn is an issue because it out-competes native plants for nutrients, degrades wildlife habitat, serves as a host for pests such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid, and lacks any natural controls like insects or disease that would curb its growth, except goats. The City is working with Coulee River Trails to organize these goats to help fight the buckthorn problem at Magee Park, so planning can start for improvements at the park. There is no set timeline for the Magee Park improvements. If you have questions on the goats, please give City Hall a call at 715-262-5544.

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