Local News

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    House Fire In Denmark Township

    On Monday morning, the Hastings Fire Department was dispatched to the area of 117th Street, and Oakgreen Avenue, just off Odell Avenue, in Denmark Township, to render assistance on a house fire alarm. According to available information and eye-witness accounts, numerous agencies, including Hastings, Prescott, Miesville, Rosemount, and Cottage Grove, were called to the fire in Denmark Township. The fire was in a residence, and from visual inspection, apparently started in the garage area of the split-level rambler style home. Stay tuned to KDWA for updates on this story.

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    (Photo Credit: Nick Tuckner)

    Rightman Student of the Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office reports that the Prescott Kiwanis Student Of The Week is Sophomore Aurora Rightman. In the nomination letter submitted by Social Studies Teacher Jeff Ryan, Aurora is an extremely hard worker and is always prepared for class. She has done an exemplary job in Advanced Placement for United States History, and is always willing to participate in class discussions and activities. Due to her discipline and diligence, Aurora's success in AP United States History is no surprise. Respectful and amiable, Aurora is also an outstanding school citizen. Ryan also stated that it has been an absolute pleasure working with Aurora in the classroom this year.

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    (Aurora Rightman)

    Rightman Student of the Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office reports that the Prescott Kiwanis Student Of The Week is Sophomore Aurora Rightman. In the nomination letter submitted by Social Studies Teacher Jeff Ryan, Aurora is an extremely hard worker and is always prepared for class. She has done an exemplary job in Advanced Placement for United States History, and is always willing to participate in class discussions and activities. Due to her discipline and diligence, Aurora's success in AP United States History is no surprise. Respectful and amiable, Aurora is also an outstanding school citizen. Ryan also stated that it has been an absolute pleasure working with Aurora in the classroom this year.

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    (Aurora Rightman)

    Meter Replacement Project Update

    The City of Hastings' water meter replacement program is nearing completion, and one of the features of the new metering system involves automated reporting of water usage to the City. According to the city's newsletter, currently, a member of public works operations staff must travel through the City each month with a portable device to acquire all of the meter reading data for quarterly billing, and then download that data back at Public Works so that it can be loaded into the utility billing software. The new system uses an antenna located on one of the water towers to gather the same information and will upload into the utility billing system automatically. Ultimately, conversion to the new reading system will allow operations staff to put more time into other important maintenance tasks and finance staff will benefit from being able to obtain near real-time reading data at their fingertips for responding to utility billing inquiries. More information is available at the link provided here.

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    316 Project Gets Spring Start

    The City of Hastings has announced that the Highway 316 Project is on track to begin construction late this spring. According to the city newsletter, MnDOT is scheduled to provide a brief update presentation to the City Council at the February 1st Council meeting, and additional public outreach efforts will be made in February to explain construction sequencing and traffic impacts. Staff are busy reviewing several agreements that the City and MnDOT will have between parties for various elements of the project delivery, and those will be brought forward for City Council approval in the coming months. The project is expected to be complete by autumn.

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    Pierce Co. Accident Claims One

    On Saturday, January 23rd, at about 7:50 PM, The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a motor vehicle crash on Highway 63 near 210th Avenue, in Trenton Township. According to a press release, a Dodge Pick-up truck driven by 32-year-old Hager City resident Anthony Wadsworth was northbound on Highway 63 near 210th Avenue, when he drove off the roadway down into a wooded ravine. Mr. Wadsworth was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office was assisted on scene by the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Ellsworth Fire Department. The crash remains under investigation by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

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    Prescott Blotter Review

    The Prescott Police Department weekly blotter report contains 107 entries for the week ending January 24th, including a call to the 600 block of Pine Street on Sunday to break up an altercation regarding the Packers game. The blotter does not report any arrests or citations issued for this call. The Department also issued at least 8 citations for parking violations during a snow emergency, and responded to a two-vehicle accident with no injuries at the intersection of Walnut and Court Streets. 35-year-old Prescott resident Brian Paul Little was cited for driving too fast for conditions.

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    Annual Snowmobile Event Scheduled

    A staple of winter activities in Hastings will continue this year, as local resident Jay Frandrup is having his 15th annual Snowmobile Show on Saturday, February 20th. Jay commented on the basic setup of the ride.

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    He also commented on some of the non-ride activities.

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    Stay tuned to KDWA for additional details as they become available.

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    Gobble Gait Recognized

    Dakota Electric Association recently named The Open Door, in Eagan, as the local 2020 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. Gobble Gait and BrainPower in a BackPack were named runners-up, and each of the non-profits received a plaque and a check for $500. According to a press release by Dakota Electric, Gobble Gait, is now one of the state's largest Thanksgiving races, with more than $1.3 million raised and donated to Hastings Family Service since 1998. The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community.

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    (Photo: Courtesy Dakota Electric Association)

    Prescott Council Meeting Preview

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

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    Bill Seeks to End Tax On Social Security Benefits

    MN State Representative for District 54B, Tony Jurgens, is once again ready to introduce legislation at the State Capitol to declare Social Security benefits income for retired people exempt from taxation.

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    The bill would benefit nearly 358,000 Minnesotans who would see an average savings of nearly $1,100 each from the elimination of the taxes.

       

    County Board Approves Grants

    On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved a fourth round of grants totaling up to $8.3 million to businesses and nonprofit organizations suffering financially due to COVID-19. This round of grants prioritizes businesses and nonprofits that have not received any county or state COVID-19 relief assistance, before providing additional funds to those that have already accepted some grant money. The application period opened at noon Thursday, Jan. 21 and closes Feb. 12 at 5 PM. Grants will be awarded by March 15. The grant covers operating costs, payroll, rent, mortgage, inventory, personal protective equipment, and other qualifying expenses. Businesses and nonprofits that have not received any funding from Dakota County or state programs will be the first priority. The second priority group includes businesses and nonprofits that have received less than $15,000 previously from the county. They are eligible for the difference between what they received and the $15,000 maximum grant. A third priority includes businesses and nonprofits that have already received the maximum $15,000. They will only be eligible to receive an additional grant if the county has funds available after completing the first and second priority groups. To apply for a grant, go to DakotaCounty.us, and search "business grant". For more information, including program guidelines and frequently asked questions, visit DakotaCounty.us or DakotaCDA.org, call 651-675-4481, or email SmallBusiness@DakotaCDA.org.

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    Refinery Committee Seeks Members

    If you live near the Pine Bend Refinery, and are looking for ways to learn more about the refinery, consider applying to join the refinery's Community Advisory Council (CAC). Operating independently of the refinery, the CAC provides community members with an opportunity to discuss and make recommendations to the company regarding environmental, safety, and other topics of interest. The Council includes up to 20 community members, as well as two voting members and one non-voting member from Flint Hills Resources. Members serve three-year terms. There are currently open positions. To learn more and apply, visit: FlintHillsCAC.org.

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    Hero Center Awarded

    The HERO Center in Cottage Grove has announced that the Center was recently named one of Finance & Commerce's Top MN Construction Projects of 2019. According to a post on social media, Center staff and management say that credit for the recognition really goes to Leo A. Daly for architecture, and RJM for the construction of the facility. The HERO Center is jointly owned and operated by the cities of Cottage Grove and Woodbury, providing public safety agencies with a top-of-the-line training environment.

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    (Photo Source: HERO Center)

    Refinery Workers Strike

    Teamsters Union Local 120, representing the employees at the Marathon Refinery in St. Paul Park, has declared a strike against the refinery, that started on Thursday. According to published reports, the strike was called due to what Union representatives called unfair labor practices and workplace safety. State Senator Karla Bigham visited the picket line on Thursday night.

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    A release from Marathon says, "We safely assumed operation of the refinery with trained and qualified personnel. Our comprehensive contingency planning has prepared us to continue safely operating the facility, including maintaining our vigilant focus on compliance, reliability, and care for the environment. We do not anticipate supply disruptions in Minnesota, or the Midwest region, including at our Speedway stations, and we expect to continue meeting all of our customer commitments."

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    Valentines For Veterans

    On Friday, U.S. Representative Angie Craig announced her 2021 "Valentines for Veterans" program, encouraging families across Minnesota's Second Congressional District to show appreciation for service members by making homemade Valentine's Day cards. The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 12th, after which Representative Craig will deliver the cards to veterans in Minnesota's Second District. Cards can be dropped off or mailed to Representative Craig's Burnsville office at 12940 Harriet Avenue South, Suite 238, Burnsville, Minnesota 55337.

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    (Last year, Rep. Craigs staff and volunteers made cards at her Burnsville office. Submitted photo)

    Weekly COVID Stats

    Dakota County reports that the number of tests performed to detect COVID has decreased from a peak of 26,466 for the week of November 14th, to 12,864 for the week of January 9th. The positivity rate for testing has also decreased from a high of 14.5% in November to 6.6% as of January 9th, the latest date for which data are available. The total number of positive cases for the County stands at 33,243, and the median age of those contracting the virus is 38. Complete details are available on the Dakota County COVID Dashboard.

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    DNR Committee Members Sought

    Minnesota residents interested in serving on the statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee may submit applications online until 4:30 PM, on Friday, Jan. 22. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' AIS Advisory Committee is a core element of the department's partnership approach to addressing aquatic invasive species. The DNR is seeking three new members to join the committee, with term lengths of three years. The committee comprises 15 members. The DNR established the advisory committee in 2013 to help guide the agency's AIS prevention and management activities. Members provide advice and diverse perspectives to the DNR invasive species program. A link to the application form is provided here.

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    C2 Zone Amendment Passes

    During the Hastings City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 19th, the Council authorized a Settlement Agreement with Hastings Commons LLC. City Attorney Dan Fluegel explained the Agreement to the Council.

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    The motion to approve prevailed unanimously. The proposed Ordinance Amendment in question, regarding C-2 Zoning and Interim Uses, was also approved unanimously.

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    Hastings Names New Hires

    During Tuesday night's Hastings City Council meeting, the Council recognized the new employees joining the City's workforce. Those employees were Communications Coordinator Dawn Skelly, Economic Development Coordinator Eric Maas, Administrative Assistant Lindsay Anderson, Finance Manager Chris Eitemiller, Paid On-Call Firefighters Grace Holm, Kaitlin Radke, Blaine Raway, Jalen Sneddeker, and Kayla Tesch, Forester/Parks Keeper TJ Lucas, Police Officers Ryan Haedt, Matthew Harrity, Zach Knochenmus, Chad Schlichte, Payton Walser, and K-9 Sonny, Public Works Operators Ben Banitt, Robert Clark, and Josh Sirinek, and Principal Engineer Cody Mathison. Promotions included Police Sergeants Sam Beuch and Ryan Kline, Fire Chief John Townsend, School Resource Officer Jacob Willers, and K-9 Officer Dan Vomastek.

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    Local Couple Starts Grassroots Campaign

    A new effort to combat drug over use and abuse is beginning in Hastings. According to the City of Hastings, Police Chief Bryan Schafer met recently with Tom and Bridgette Norring, whose son, Devin, passed away last spring from an accidental overdose involving fentanyl. The Norrings have started a grassroots campaign to bring awareness to the problem. Fentanyl is a powerful drug that has made its way to the streets, and is commonly added to other drugs and sold under different names. If you have information about drug trafficking in Hastings, you can provide an anonymous tip by texting the word HASTINGS and the information and/or identity of any known suspect(s) to 847411 (TIP411). If you think someone may be experiencing an overdose, please call 9-1-1.

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    (Bridgette and Tom Norring with Chief Schafer. Photo Source: City of Hastings)

    Water Supply Line Break on Vermillion Street

    The northbound lanes of Highway 61 in the 500 block of Vermillion Street were restricted on Thursday, as contractors and City crews worked to repair a water pipe break in front of the Foss and Swanson Community Service Center. Public Works Director Nick Egger provides the details.

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    Water service was also interrupted in the area.

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    The left northbound lane of Highway 61 was blocked for most of the day. The repairs forced the closure of the center for the day.

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    More Snow Possible This Weekend

    The southeast Metro area has been advised to brace for another snow event, starting after noon on Saturday, when a storm system has the possibility of dropping between 4 and 7 inches of new snow in the area. The NWS in Chanhassen stated that snow is expected to spread across the region on Saturday, and most locations will see at least a few inches by the time it ends on Sunday morning. The City of Hastings reminds residents that a Snow Emergency is automatically declared after two inches of snow fall.

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    Plan Commission Meeting Canceled

    Hastings Community Development Director John Hinzman reports that the next scheduled meeting of the Hastings Planning Commission, set for 7 PM, on Monday, January 25th has been canceled. According to information provided by the City, the next virtual meeting of the Planning Commission is scheduled for 7 PM, on Monday, February 8th. Meeting access information is available on the City website, at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Afton Museum Seeks New Membership

    The Afton Historical Museum is once again asking for new members to sign up and partner with the Museum to help preserve the history of Afton and commemorate its role in the Lower St. Croix River Valley. There are several membership categories, including Single, Senior Single, Family, and Senior Family, with rates ranging from $25 to $40 per year. Paid memberships help sustain the work of the museum. For complete details, or to begin a membership, visit AftonHistoricalMuseum.com.

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    Wisconsin to Vaccinate Elderly

    Everyone over age 65 in Wisconsin will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, a group of 700,000 people that is more expansive than originally envisioned to be next in line for the shot, the state Department of Health Services said on Tuesday. The department also cautioned that the speed of vaccinations depends on how much vaccine the federal government sends. Wisconsin receives about 70,000 doses of first-dose vaccine each week, and at that pace, it could take months to vaccinate the next group. According to published reports, people over age 65 will be able to get vaccinated through their health care provider, pharmacy, or local or tribal public health agency. Those being vaccinated directly through their health care provider will typically be contacted to schedule an appointment.

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    HPD Weekly Update

    Hastings Deputy Chief of Police Dave Wilske now brings us a recap of calls to the HPD in the last week.

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    Sign up for weather and other alerts at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Igloo Dining Returns To Lock And Dam Eatery

    With in-person dining restrictions lifted, the Lock and Dam Eatery is reopening their "Lock and Dome" outdoor dining pods along the west side of the restaurant. Owner Jennifer Melecio took to Facebook Live to explain.

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    She also stated there is a minimum dining limit of $150 for dining in one of the domes. For complete details, call the Lock and Dam Eatery at 651-319-0906, or visit LockAndDamEatery.com.

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    Perkins Reports Business Is Good

    Local bars and restaurants were given the go-ahead to reopen on January 11th by Governor Walz, and KDWA checked in recently with Chris Kennedy, of the Hastings Perkins to see how things have been going.

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    Jenkins also mentioned their operating hours.

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    Perkins is located at 1206 Vermillion Street.

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    Augustana Care Announces Name Change

    Augustana Care in Hastings has announced that the facility officially changed its name on Wednesday. Paul Luitjens, Campus Administrator for Augustana Care, provides the details.

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    Hastings Senior Living will also design a new logo.

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    Prescott Continues Renovation Planning

    At a regular meeting on January 18th, the Prescott Parks and Public Property Committee heard an update from Seth Hudson, of Cedar Corp, regarding the proposed riverfront renovation project. Hudson presented information on parking, which would be affected by pedestrian requirements, an observation deck measuring 12 feet by 100 feet overlooking the embankment, stone pillar lighting for the pedestrian walk, and other amenities. The Committee also discussed a request submitted by Leo's Landing to acquire additional land to accommodate placement of fuel storage tanks. Cedar Corp has been tasked with researching items discussed and returning to the committee with updated information.

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    Hastings Council Names Paper of Record

    The Hastings City Council deliberated a resolution on Tuesday evening to designate the St. Paul Pioneer Press as the official paper for the City to disseminate bids and publish requests for proposals. According to the resolution request, annually, the City must designate an official newspaper. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has served in that capacity since April of 2020. The Pioneer Press meets the qualifications required in State Statute to serve as Hastings' official newspaper, and over the past eight months they have proven to be responsive, easy to work with, and the ability to submit items for publication the day prior is invaluable. Staff note that the Hastings Journal has expressed interest in obtaining this designation, but does not meet the requirements set forth in Minn. Statute 331A.02, which requires circulation to the local political subdivision for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the notice of publication. The resolution was adopted on the Consent Agenda for the January 19th City Council meeting.

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    WI Tax Phone Assistance Extended

    The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) has announced it will extend its customer service hours by 1 hour and 15 minutes past its regular closing time on select days during the 2021 tax season to better serve its customers. According to a press release, the extended hours will occur during the busiest times of the tax season the last two weeks of January and again the first two weeks of April on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:45 AM, to 5:45 PM. Individual income tax season in Wisconsin this year begins on February 12, consistent with the IRS. The customer service team can be reached at 608-266-2486 for individuals, and 608-266-2776 for businesses.

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    MN Tax Filing Opens Feb. 12

    The Minnesota Department of Revenue will open the state Individual Income Tax filing season on Friday, February 12, 2021. This date matches the opening day for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The filing deadline to submit 2020 Minnesota income tax returns is Thursday, April 15, matching the filing deadline for 2020 federal income tax returns. Tax software providers and tax professionals may be accepting and preparing tax returns before February 12 and will submit those returns when the IRS and state systems open in February. Free electronic filing is available for Minnesotans whose Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $72,000 or less. To see if you are eligible for free electronic filing, see the Electronic Filing Software for Individuals page on the department's website. A link is provided here.

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    Vaccine Appointments Full

    The State of Minnesota reported on Wednesday that all available COVID-19 vaccine pilot program appointments for adults 65 years of age and older have been filled for this week. Since noon on Tuesday, nearly 6,000 Minnesotans 65 years of age and older registered appointments for their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional appointments are reserved this week for almost 6,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, school staff, and child care workers. These Minnesotans with scheduled appointments will begin receiving their first vaccine doses at one of the nine pilot clinics across the state beginning Thursday, January 21, through Saturday, January 23. Because this is a pilot program, there is a limited amount of vaccine and appointment slots available for eligible Minnesotans. Access is expected to increase as the federal government provides more doses of vaccine to Minnesota in the weeks ahead.

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    City Medical Director Steps Down

    The Hastings City Council has been asked to consider the resignation and termination of a Medical Director Services Agreement with Dr. Larry Erickson. Dr. Erickson has served in the role of Medical Director for Hastings since 1980, and has submitted his resignation as of January 20, 2021. According to information provided to the Council, Dr. Erickson has served the department and the community of Hastings well in this role. Dr. Erickson has also stated in a letter to the Council that he will no longer be practicing medicine after his resignation. The resignation request was placed on the Consent Agenda for the January 19th City Council meeting.

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    Council Asked To Renew Well Agreement

    The Hastings City Council is requested to approve an agreement with Dakota County to allow for County Groundwater Resources staff to access and perform work tasks at monitoring wells on City property. The County performs periodic sampling, measuring, and testing of groundwater at monitoring wells all across the county's jurisdiction. There are several such wells within the City's corporate limits, and located on City-owned properties. This agreement provides formal permission for County staff and/or County-hired third-party consultants to access the wells and perform their work on two wells located alongside the Vermillion River just south of County Road 46 near the new Vermillion Shores Apartments. The term of the agreement runs through December 31, 2025. The agreement request was placed on the Consent Agenda for the January 19th City Council meeting.

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    Prescott Blotter Review

    The Prescott Police Department logged 115 entries to their Police blotter for the week ending January 17th. Notable among the calls were no less than 17 citations issued for snow emergency parking violations, a vandalized stop sign at Dexter Street and Highway 10, and returning a lost dog. There was also a reported gas drive off from a station in the 300 block of Lake Street. The incident remains under investigation.

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    Weekly COVID Update

    Dakota County is experiencing a slight rise in numbers of new COVID cases reported in the county. According to the County COVID Dashboard, daily new cases reported on January 15th were 129, up from a low on the 12th of 80. 7 deaths related to COVID were reported on the 14th, but only one on the 15th. The infection rate remains steady at 5%. Complete details are available on the Dakota County COVID Dashboard.

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    Goehring Student Of The Week

    Prescott High School Junior Brynley Goehring has been named the Kiwanis Student Of The Week. She was nominated by Media Aide Support Staffer Libby Syverson, who said that Brynley is a very hard worker and a three-sport athlete who has been peer tutoring two different students, getting to know them and helping them with any homework. She organizes her time with both of them while keeping up with her own school work. She works everyday with a smile on her face. In addition to this, she maintains a 3.9 grade point average.

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    Fire At Gerten's

    Firefighters from Inver Grove, Mendota Heights, South Metro Fire (South St. Paul and West St. Paul), and Rosemount were called to a fire at Gerten's Greenhouse off 494 on Sunday night. According to information posted on social media, one of Gerten's growing greenhouses caught fire accidentally near their main store location about 6:30 PM. The coordinated action of the several fire departments quickly contained the fire and prevented harm to nearby structures, including the main store. No injuries were reported. The fire remains under investigation.   

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    Atkins To Chair MESB

    Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins has announced that he has been named Chair of the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board. According to a post by Atkins on social media, the MESB has a critical mission to support public safety for over 3,000,000 residents through oversight and management of the regional 9-1-1 system and the shared emergency response radio system covering ten counties. Atkins offered thanks to the members and staff of the MESB for all they do to support public safety personnel in protecting our communities and residents. Commissioner Atkins serves on the Board along with Commissioner Mary Hamann-Roland.

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    Ice Still Dangerous

    The Washington County Sheriff's Office reports that thin ice is still a very real danger in the County, after a vehicle fell through the ice on the St. Croix River near Bayport on Saturday night. Deputies report that all the occupants in the vehicle escaped before it sank. Sheriff Starry urges that residents avoid driving vehicles on the ice as conditions have been poor and thicknesses vary greatly.

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    City Council Meeting Preview

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

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    Heritage Preservation Meeting

    The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission will meet virtually for regular business at 7 PM, on Tuesday, January 19th. Agenda Items include swearing in of Commissioners Cindy Toppin and Mark Borchardt, electing a chair and vice chair, and discussion of future Legacy Grant ideas for research and or education. Meeting access information is available on the City website, at HastingsMN.gov.

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    Freedom Park Reaches Goal

    The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center at Freedom Park in Prescott has announced that the public's generosity has helped Friends of Freedom Park raise $15,693 to help them meet their 2020 budget, and begin the new year from a position of financial strength. According to information provided by Freedom Park, ongoing support will be able to continue the goat prairie project to restore rare natural habitat on the bluff, create new trails and green spaces at the confluence, install a watershed floor map in the visitor center, and design safe, innovative programs for families. Donations are still being accepted. To donate, visit the link provided here.

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    St. Paul Park Council Seat Open

    The City Council of St. Paul Park has offered their congratulations to Council Member Keith Franke, who won the Minnesota House of Representatives District 54A seat in the 2020 general election. Keith will be spending his time at the state capitol for the 2021 Session, and this means there will be an open seat on the St. Paul Park City Council. Watch for more information on how the Council member position will be filled on the City's website and Facebook page.

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    St. Paul Park Continues EAB Program

    The City of St. Paul Park has advised residents that trees in the public right-of-way and on City property suffering Emerald Ash Borer infestations are being marked for removal. According to the City newsletter, these trees are being marked with pink and white ribbons, and are considered severely infested. City staff are researching funding options to remove and replace these trees in the future. For more information or questions feel free to contact Public Works at 651-459-3730.

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    Bigham To Introduce Betting Bill

    On January 14th, MN State Senator Karla Bigham took to Twitter to announce her plans to introduce legislation to legalize sport betting in Minnesota. She told KDWA News that the Tweet has gone viral.

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    The bill should be introduced sometime this week, but passage will not be easy.

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    Follow Senator Bigham on Twitter @KarlaBigham.

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    DNR Seeks Members for Invasive Species Board

    Minnesota residents interested in serving on the statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee may submit applications online until 4:30 PM, on Friday, Jan. 22. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' AIS Advisory Committee is a core element of the department's partnership approach to addressing aquatic invasive species. The DNR is seeking three new members to join the committee, with term lengths of three years. The committee comprises 15 members. The DNR established the advisory committee in 2013 to help guide the agency's AIS prevention and management activities. Members provide advice and diverse perspectives to the DNR invasive species program. A link to the application form is provided here.

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    Local Eatery Applies For New License

    During the upcoming Hastings City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 19th, the Council will be looking at a resolution to approve the transfer of a liquor license. Loco U & Me, LLC has merged with Eclectic Culinary Concepts, hence the request for a license transfer. The business trade name, Me & Julio's, will not change.

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    Collecting Decorations Is Light Work

    According to the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department, from December 1st through January 5th, 524 pounds of holiday lights were collected at the Joint Maintenance Facility. They were subsequently brought to the Recycling Zone in Eagan. This holiday lights collection was in partnership with Dakota County.

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    Parks Prepped For Restoration

    The Hastings Parks and Recreation Department reports that crews have been hard at work at both Vermillion Falls Park and Vermillion Linear Park completing brush and tree removals in preparation for future restoration work. Many of the shrubs, trees and brush species they're finding are invasive species that aren't native to the parks, and are being removed so the native, benificial species can grow. For more information, you can visit the City's Parks and Recreation website to read the Natural Resourse Management plans for both of those areas.

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    Auto Thefts Up

    Auto thefts increased significantly in 2020. The Hastings Police Department says this preventable crime has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with things like forgotten key fobs in cup holders, as well as more drivers leaving their cars running during pickup and deliveries. Remember to lock your vehicles, and remove your keys and valuables.

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    Police And Public Works Issue Parking Reminders

    With the snowy weather blowing through, the Hastings Police Department is working closely with Public Works to respond to snow events like this one. Their policy is to initially ticket in lieu of towing, and then go back and remove vehicles within 24 hours that have not moved. In 2020, approximately 160 snow emergency tickets were issued.

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    Personnel Changes For Hastings

    The City of Hastings saw a couple of personnel changes recently. On January 4th, Travis Dunn began his job as the City's new Building Official. Dunn has previously worked in both Red Wing and Rochester, Minnesota. Paid-on-Call Firefighter Sean Maguire, who worked for the City since 2018, has resigned.

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    Prescott Parks Meeting Preview

    The Prescott Parks and Public Space Committee meets virtually for regular business at 5:30 PM on Monday, January 18th. Agenda items include discussion on the Riverfront project and trail from downtown to Freedom Park, to include discussion on proposed Trails with Israel Haas, Freedom Park Director, and discussion of Freedom Park benches, fencing, and changing of displays. To access the meeting by phone, dial 1-224-501-3412, and enter access code 628-467-445 when prompted.   

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    HFS Donation Update

    Hastings Family Service reports they are still suspending donations of clothing and household items for sale by Rivertown Treasures. Associate Director Amy Sutton explains.

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    For more details, visit HastingsFamilyService.org.

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    Semi Rollover In Miesville

    Traffic on Highway 61 at Nicolai Avenue in Miesville was interrupted on Thursday morning by a tractor trailer rollover accident. Deputy Chief of the Miesville Fire Department Chris Vieth explains.

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    The accident occurred at approximately 8:30 AM.   

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    (Photo Credit: Terry Lawrence, King's Place)

    Senator Bigham Supports Education

    Senator Karla Bigham has signed on as a co-author for the K-12 Education Support Bill, introduced Thursday by Senator Chuck Wiger. This legislation will provide additional support to students who have been impacted by COVID-19. According to a press release, the legislation will provide $60 million to students throughout the state and to the currently stressed education system by providing support to expand Full-Service Community Schools that provide wrap around services to schools and their communities, enhanced Reading and Math Corps programs for tutoring services, and expanded After School and Summer School programs. The bill also includes a provision to help schools that face funding cuts based on declining enrollment and adjust special education requirements to help provide services to students. Senator Bigham stated that she is especially proud that this bill includes provisions to help schools facing funding cuts and challenges providing high quality special education, adding that these steps cannot wait, and she hopes the bill receives a hearing in the Education Finance and Policy Committee soon.

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