Local News

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    ISD 200 Board Votes Down Stipends

    The ISD 200 School Board recently deliberated compensation for the Board and the Board Chair. Board Chair Brian Davis summarized the item.

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    A motion to approve the 2022 Board Member stipend of $0.00 was made by Brian Davis and seconded by Becky Beissel. The vote was Brian Davis, Becky Beissel, Lisa Hedin, and Stephanie Malm in favor, and Carrie Tate, Jessica Dressely, and Mike Reis voting against. A motion to approve the 2022 Board Chairperson stipend of $0.00 was made by Lisa Hedin and seconded by Brian Davis. The vote was the same as the previous stipend vote and the motion carried.

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    ISD 200 Board Deliberates Trademarking Logos

    The ISD 200 School Board recently held an organizational meeting which included a presentation from Superintendent Dr. Bob McDowell that revealed that the logos used by ISD 200 have not been trademarked.

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    McDowell did indicated there is a financial aspect of the concern.

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    The School Board will address the trademarking issue during a regular meeting.

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    Simpson Joins Community Education

    Hastings Community Education has welcomed Angie Simpson to the Community Education Team as an Administrative Support Assistant. A lifelong resident of Hastings, Simpson brings the enjoyment of meeting and assisting new people with their quest for continued education. Simpson says she is looking forward to learning about the "behind the scenes" activities of the Tilden Community Center and working for Community Education.

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    St. John School Raising Funds

    St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion is well on its way to reaching an $18,000 fundraising goal for the school. Since 2009, the Catholic Schools Raffle has been one of the most effective and impactful fundraisers for Catholic education in the Upper Midwest. 65 percent of all K-8 Catholic schools in the region have participated at least once in the Raffle. Learn more and how to donate on the school's Facebook page.

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    HFD Weekly Review

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department responded to nine calls for service for the week ending January 24th. Included among the calls was a vehicle fire at 8:45 PM on the 21st, in the 2000 block of Westview Drive. Crews arrived on the scene at 8:50 and worked to extinguish the vehicle until 9 PM. There were no injuries or deaths from the fire, and the vehicle is an apparent total loss. Investigation determined that the fire began in the engine compartment. On the 22nd, crews were dispatched to the intersection of 190th Street E and Goodwin Avenue to assist with a downed power line. Crews assisted on the scene from 9:40 to 10:05 PM. And crews responded to a structure fire in the 1500 block of Vermillion Street on the 24th. The alarm sounded at 5:20 PM, crews arrived at 5:24, and were on scene until 5:45. According to the report, the fire was very minor, with damages estimated at $100, and started in a machinery room.

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    DEA Awards Angel Foundation

    Dakota Electric Association named Dakota County non-profit organization Angel Foundation as the local 2021 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. Angel Foundation provides support and financial assistance to people and their families who are battling cancer. Over the last 20 years, Angel Foundation has provided more than $10 million in aid to 20,000 Minnesotans. The support is available to those who have an income level below 200% of the Federal poverty guideline. Midwest Special Services (MSS) of Apple Valley, and BrainPower in a BackPack of Burnsville, were named runners-up, and each of the non-profits received a plaque and a check for $500.

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    (L-R: Dir. Bill Holton, VP of Development Kathy Tolo, Dir. David Jones. Photo Source: Dakota Electric Association)

    Update On Mesko-Lee's Resignation

    On January 12th, the Burnsville City Council held a special closed meeting to finalize the annual review of Melanie Mesko-Lee as City Administrator. According to the meeting minutes, Mayor Kautz updated Ms. Lee on the Council's discussion from the January 11 Closed Session and discussed concerns that were raised. Ms. Lee presented her Letter of Resignation to the Council for consideration. The Council thanked Ms. Lee for her initiatives, specifically noting the "You Belong Here" campaign, inclusion and diversity efforts, and the flexibility to keep staff working through the pandemic. In appreciation for her service, the Council confirmed Ms. Lee would receive six-months severance pay as outlined in her contract. Returning to open session, Mayor Kautz summarized the action and discussion during the closed session and explained the offer for the Interim City Manager position to Deputy City Manager Gregg Lindberg. Mr. Lindberg agreed to the offer, noting that he would like his current position to continue to be available to him.

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    Hastings Fire Fighter Anniversaries Recognized

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department recently recognized for staff members for anniversaries with the Department. 29-year Veteran Sandra Boesl serves as a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT, and is one of the most senior members of paid-on-call staff. She is a role-model and mentor to newer employees. 7-year firefighter Joseph Cysiewski currently serves as a full-time engineer/paramedic, and serves on the Fire Department's EMS Training Committee. He brings a great attitude and a positive approach to his work and his fellow crew members. Alan Gaylor also has 7 years under his belt, and serves as a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT. Alan provides a great, positive, and can-do attitude with a smile that lights up the room. And, Nicole Biegel has served 6 years as a paid-on-call firefighter/EMT. She brings valuable experience from her full-time job as a registered nurse working in an emergency room. The Fire Department thanks these team members for their service to Hastings.

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    (From top L: Sandra Boesl, Joseph Cysiewski, Alan Gaylor, Nicole Biegel. Photo Source: City of Hastings)

    ISD 200 Recognizes Staff

    This week, ISD 200 Superintendent Dr. Bob McDowell recognized Employees for the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year. Raider Employees of First Semester are Pinecrest Custodian Bruce Kummer, Welcome desk/copy center, and food service tech Kim Sill, Welcome desk/copy center representative at the District Office Jess Pettit, Pinecrest Nurse Michaela Larson, High School Principal Mike Johnson, Middle School Assistant Principal Mindy Tavenier, and Middle School Nurse Suzanne Koplin. The District congratulates all of these staff members, who are a representation of the awesome Raider staff in Hastings. Twice a year, staff have the ability to nominate their colleagues based on contributions to the organization. A committee then works through the nominations and selects employees to be recognized.

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    Hastings Civic Arena Project Included In Bonding Recommendations

    Minnesota Governor Tim Walz released his State bonding bill recommendations on January 18, which included $1.46 million for the Hastings Civic Arena renovation project that includes a new refrigerant system, replacement of the west rink roof, and adding rooftop solar panels. If awarded, this is half the project's estimated cost. The bonding bill starts in the House and eventually works its way to the Governor's desk. It is a long way from being approved, but the City says it is very encouraging to have the Governor's support. The City of Hastings thanks the elected officials and hockey and skating supporters who advocated for this important project during the House Capital Committee visit in November.

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    West Named Prescott Kiwanis Student Of The Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office reports that the Prescott Kiwanis Student of the Week is Freshman Ethan West. West was nominated by Social Studies Teacher Jeff Ryan, who said, "Whether it was during first trimester Civics or currently in Geography, Ethan has done a tremendous job in class. Ethan participates extensively in class, asks good thought-provoking questions, listens actively, and is very respectful. His performance on tests and daily work has continually been exemplary. It is a pleasure working with Ethan in the classroom."[v:\N\News Department\2022\01_January\Complete\CNS_25_R_Pct_WestStudentoftheWeek_37.mp3]   

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    PPD Weekly Blotter Report

    The Prescott Police Department logged 50 entries to the Police blotter for the week ending January 23rd. Included among the entries was a traffic stop on the 18th near the intersection of Pine and Dexter Streets that resulted in the arrest of 24-year-old St. Paul resident Dominick Robert Silva on charges of operating while under the influence, operating a vehicle with a prohibited alcohol content, and possesison of drug paraphernalia. On the 20th, a cell phone was found on the ground in the 100 block of Broadway just after midnight. Officers turned the phone over to staff at the Broad Street Bar. And on the 23rd citations were issued to 2 vehicles in the 700 block of Borner Street for parking on the street during snow removal operations. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Petryk Unveils Workforce Initiative

    Wisconsin State Representative Warren Petryk provides listeners with an update on the Stronger Workforce Initiative:

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    For more information visit https://Legis.Wisconsin.Gov/ .

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    Rosemount Youth Commission Meeting Preview

    The Youth Commission of the Rosemount City Council meets at 3:45 PM, on Thursday, January 26th. The meeting will be preceded by a tour of the Family Resource Center, 14521 Cimmaron Ave. W. Commisisoners are asked to meet at the Center by 3 PM. Agenda items for the 3:45 meeting include a report from Family Resource Center Coordinator Katie Ellis, a monthly Leadership Lesson regarding Ethical Leadership followed by a Roundtable Discussion, and Commission Member Reports. The Commission will also discuss the next meeting on February 23 at 3:45 PM at the Steeple Center, 14375 South Robert Trail, Room 202, to include a tour of the Steeple Center at 3 PM.

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    Help for Feeding Families During COVID

    January saw some Minnesota schools move back to distance learning because of COVID-19 cases. Families struggling to find their kids meals in these scenarios are urged to use available aid, while policymakers face pressure to remove food barriers beyond the crisis. Mike Moen reports

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    Cannon Valley Senior Center Faces Referendum

    A referendum has been placed on the ballot for Cannon Falls' February 8th elections. The referendum will determine the fate of the old elementary school building, which currently houses the Cannon Valley Senior Center, and provides space for ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education), Cannon Falls Youth Athletics, Red Cross Blood Drive, Goodhue County Vaccine Clinics, and the Cannon Falls Theatre, among many others. Passing the referendum will keep these rooms and gymnasium alive. If the referendum fails, it would mean the end to all these activities. The Cannon Valley Senior Center will be hosting a meeting with Jeff Sampson, school superintendent, Jan. 31 at 10 AM for community seniors. Center staff encourage the public to attend to learn more about the issues on the referendum.

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    Prescott City Council Meeting Preview

    The Prescott City Council meets Monday evening. City Administrator Matt Wolf provides a preview of the agenda.

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    Kimmes-Bauer Recognized

    Reinke Manufacturing, a global irrigation systems manufacturer, has recognized both Kimmes-Bauer and Farm Tech for their sales performance last year. In recognizing the businesses, Chris Roth, Reinke president stated that Reinke is proud to honor the teams at Kimmes-Bauer and Farm Tech with these awards, adding that they've dedicated themselves to supporting the growers in their area. Kimmes-Bauer, located in Hastings, and Farm Tech in Adams, combined to be one of the highest selling dealerships in their territory, also earning Diamond Pride awards for their performance in the last year.

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    (From L to R: Chris Roth, Reinke president, John Krull, Winston Smith, Tara Mandt, Dave Lagerstedt, Vern Hinnenkampmanager, Reinke territory manager. Photo Courtesy of Reinke)

    Hastings Arts Task Force Meeting Scheduled

    The City of Hastings Arts Task Force has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, February 2nd, at 6 PM at Pleasant Hill Library. The Task Force has been given the task of studying the idea of an Art Commission for Hastings, and providing information on arts in the Community to the Hastings City Council. The meeting at the library is open to the public. Pleasant Hill Library is located at 1490 South Frontage Road.

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    Prescott Council To Deliberate Room Tax

    At the Prescott City Council meeting on January 10th, the council indicated they were interested in adjusting the room tax rate from 8% to 6%, and make adjustments to the distribution of tax to thirty percent for City, with the remaining 70% going to tourism promotion and development per Wisconsin State Statue. If the changes are approved, staff will collect the room tax quarterly with all lodging facilities starting collection on April 1, of 2022. This will allow staff to send out letters to all lodging facilities within the community and give them sixty days to adopt their collections method. Staff will formally work with the Chamber of Commerce on a Memorandum of Understanding for oversight of the room tax to be used for tourism. The City Council will deliberate this proposal at the Monday evening meeting.

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    Public Hearing For Two Rivers Deck

    At Monday's meeting the Prescott City Council will conduct a public hearing for a Resolution vacating a part of Second Street. According to information provided to the Council, Two Rivers Restaurant submitted a concept plan at the August 2nd Planning Commission meeting to construct a two-level deck addition to their building. That concept plan was approved by Planning Commission at their December 6th meeting and City Council at the December 13th meeting. For the proposed deck to work within the site and be wholly within the parcel currently owned by Two Rivers it will require the vacation of right-of-way to the southeast of the current building. As part of this vacation the City will be requiring $7,500 in reimbursement, and parks and impact fees of $1,490 paid as part of the new development.

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    Spiral Food Cooperative Raising Funds

    Spiral Natural Foods has announced that they are well on their way for fundraising to move to a new store area next to the current location. Currently, the cooperative has received 11 new members, donations of $3,180, sales of preferred share for $2,900, and $1,244 by "register round-up", for a total of $7,324. This amount is just shy of 10% of the total goal of $90,000, and the Cooperative still needs help. Help raise funds by donating, becoming a member, of if you're already a member, upgrading to preferred shares. The cooperative hopes to complete the move by March of this year.

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    CG Fire Department Receives Grant

    The Cottage Grove Fire Department has received a $2,500 grant from FM Global to purchase fire investigation equipment and supplies. Fire officials say the new equipment will help them keep Cottage Grove residents safe by helping department investigators more efficiently investigate and determine the cause of a fire. The Cottage Grove Fire Department has a team of highly trained fire investigators that investigate fires that happen in Cottage Grove. The investigators look for where the fire started and what caused the fire, a difficult and time-consuming task that can take months. FM Global is a commercial property insurer, which awards grants to fire departments that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause. The Cottage Grove Fire Department reports its findings each year to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, which helps state and federal officials identify common causes of fires and focus on how to prevent them.

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    Cottage Grove Presents Priorities

    City Council members and City staff of Cottage Grove recently met with MN State Sen. Karla Bigham and Reps. Tony Jurgens and Keith Franke to discuss the City's legislative priorities for the 2022 legislative session. During the session priorities discussed included supporting and expanding new businesses, facilitating job growth, diversifying the City's housing options, expanding transportation options, improving information sharing between law enforcement and mental health providers, and expanding access to the Mississippi River. The Minnesota Legislative session begins on Monday, January 31st.

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    State of The City Address Coming Up

    With February soon approaching comes the Annual State of the City Address, to be delivered by Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender. Because of the ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's address will once again be delivered virtually. City Administrator Dan Wietecha has the details.

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    The 2022 State of the City address is currently scheduled to be posted for viewing on HCTVs YouTube Channel on Wednesday, February 2. Watch the City website and social media for details.

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    City Declares "Emergency"

    Due to the effects of the current COVID-19 Omicron variant, the City of Hastings has declared a local state of emergency for city personnel. Mayor Mary Fasbender has the details.

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    The declaration only applies to City Government meetings, to allow officials to participate and contribute while not physically present at the meeting.

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    Planning Commission To Meet

    The Hastings Planning Commission will hold a regular meeting at 7 PM, on Monday, January 24th. After swearing in Commissioner Bryce LeBrun, the Commission will elect a chair and vice chair. The Commission will deliberate Conformance of the Hastings Downtown Redevelopment Area and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District No. 9 to the Comprehensive Plan, and discuss potential changes for Apartment Parking Regulations. The meeting is open to the public.

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    Lake Isabel Project Open For Bids

    Construction bids for the Lake Isabel Park renovation project will be received by the City of Hastings for online bidding only until 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 10. Bids are for furnishing all work and materials for proposed improvements, including site removals, stormwater improvements, bituminous walks and drives, concrete walks, concrete curb, concrete stairs, retaining wall removal and replacement, earthwork, picnic shelter footings, handrails, perimeter fencing, electrical pedestrian light, planting bed preparation, and site restoration. Details about the plan can be found via the City website.

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    Father Tix Dealing With COVID

    Father Mike Tix of St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Trier has reported that he is suffering from COVID-19 and will be quarantined at the rectory in St. John's as the virus runs its course. Father Tix indicated on the 18th that so far he only had a "raspy voice and nagging cough", and chills on Monday night. Father Tix also indicated that while he is under quarantine, daily Mass and confession are suspended until January 30th, the First Reconciliation scheduled for the 19th will be conducted at a date yet to be announced, and a wedding on the 21st and Masses for January 22 and 23 will be conducted by Father Jim Notebaart. Parishioners with questions or concerns are asked to call the Parish Office.

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    Little Declares Candidacy For County Attorney

    Former State Senator for Southern Dakota County Matt Little has announced his candidacy for Dakota County Attorney vowing to fight for "Safety and Justice for All". Little graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, magna cum laude. While in school, Little clerked for the Dakota County Attorney's office. After graduating, he worked for the law firms of Sieben Edmunds Miller, and Klemp and Stanton, PLLC, before opening his own law firm in 2015. He's a general practice attorney that focuses on litigation. Little also views the office as an opportunity to heal and rehabilitate those who deserve a second chance. During his time in the State Senate, Little was heavily involved in criminal justice and violence prevention issues. He co-authored the SMART Center bill, funding the Dakota County Safety and Mental Health Response Training Center to provide law enforcement with de-escalation tactics, and he pushed for background checks and red flag laws to reduce gun violence, and authored legislation to protect children from abusive parents.

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    Dakota Electric Announces Annual Student Trip to DC

    Dakota Electric Association will provide five high school sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. as part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's (NRECA) Youth Tour, June 14-19, 2022. Each June, more than 1,500 students from across the country travel to Washington, D.C. for the NRECA Youth Tour. During the trip, they learn about electric cooperatives and government, meet elected officials and tour national monuments and sites, including the Smithsonian, the FBI building and more. To apply, students who live in a household that receives power from Dakota Electric can pick up an application from their high school guidance counselor, download it off the web or pick one up at Dakota Electric's Farmington office drive-thru window. To find the application online and learn more, go to DakotaElectric.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and select "Education Programs" under "Community". The application deadline is February 25. Interviews are scheduled for March 10 and 15. For more information, call Peggy Johnson at 651-463-6110 or 1-800-874-3409, ext. 110.

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    (Students from Minnesota pose in front of the White House during a Youth Tour trip. Submitted Photo)

    County Dislocated Worker Program

    If you've been laid-off from your job through no fault of your own, you may qualify for free career planning, specialized job search assistance, education/training, and other support. Dakota County encourages those who qualify to connect with staff at any of the county CareerForce locations and ask about the dislocated worker program. To learn more, call 651-554-5955, email CareerForce.WestSaintPaul@state.mn.us, or visit the County website.

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    Officer Green Hits the Beat This Weekend

    The City of Hastings has welcomed another new officer to the Police Department. Deputy Chief David Wilske has the details.

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    The HPD is Officer Green's first tour of duty as a police officer.

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    Council Approves Assessment Change

    The Hastings City Council took up deliberations on Tuesday evening in regards to deferment for special assessments against properties in town. City Administrator Dan Wietecha advised the Council that there are allowances to defer an assessment.

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    Wietecha explained that a written City Policy is required to satisfy the State Statute. He also explained who would be affected.

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    The Council deliberated issues such as carry forward of the suspended assessments and how city finances might be affected. The Council passed the measure by unanimous vote.

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    Annexation Hearing Tabled

    At Tuesday evening's City Council meeting, the Hastings City Council had an agenda item to conduct a public hearing on annexation of property in the area of Highway 316 and Michael Avenue. Community Development Director John Hinzman brought the item to the floor.

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    Hinzman suggested that the hearing could be opened, then tabled.

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    After opening the hearing, the Council heard comments from several residents, and the hearing was then tabled until the February 7th meeting.

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    4th Street Water Tower Due For Renovation

    The Hastings 4th Street water tower is being scheduled for renovations, and City Engineer Ryan Stempski updated the City Council about the project on Tuesday evening.

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    Because of various factors, the project is estimated to cost approximately $1.6 million. The Resolution to publish a request for bids on the project passed by unanimous vote.

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    Jacobson Badge Returns To HPD

    Hastings Chief of Police Bryan Schafer recently received what is believed to be the badge worn by slain Hastings Police Officer Albert Jacobson and likely one of the first badges of the Hastings Police Department. Jacobson was shot to death July 10, 1894, while pursuing a burglary suspect. Through the years HPD has made public appeals for relatives of Jacobson to share photographs or other mementos. Deputy Chief David Wilske commented on the badge.

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    The Department will determine where to display the badge soon.

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    Hastings Man Makes Luge Run In Yard

    Hastings resident Paul Swanstrom has found a unique way to pass the time during the winter months of the pandemic, and his efforts provide some fun for anyone who wishes to come over.

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    He made one with the first snow in December, but it didn't last.

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    He was able to reconstruct the luge, and it is open for use by the public. For information and to reserve a sliding time, please call Mr. Swanstrom at 651-437-2566. The luge is located at 505 McNamara Street, in Hastings.

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    Farmington Fire Fighter Sickmann Receives Certification

    As part of the ongoing efforts to increase knowledge, skills and abilities, the members of the Farmington Fire Department have committed to seek higher levels of education and certification, and on Wednesday, the Farmington Fire Department recognized Firefighter Nikki Sickmann who was recently awarded her certification as NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Operator/Aerial from the Minnesota Fire Service Certification Board. The course provided instruction on driving and operating fire apparatus and performing a variety of technical tasks in fire suppression, rescue, emergency medical services, prevention, investigation, administrative and other special assignments.

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    Dakota County Ski Pass Reminder

    With winter weather in full swing, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy area parks and open spaces. Dakota County Parks reminds visitors that a Dakota County Cross-Country Ski Pass is required for all skiers ages 18 and older on Dakota County Park trails. Ski passes are required for cross-country ski and skate skiing trails in Dakota County Parks, however they are not required for the Lone Rock Trail at UMore Park. Funds generated from the sale of passes help support ski facilities, including trail grooming and maintenance. Please note the Minnesota Ski Pass is a separate program and is neither accepted nor required to use Dakota County Parks ski trails. To purchase a County Ski Pass, visit DakotaCounty.us.

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    Ardent Mills Fined By MPCA

    The Ardent Mills facility in Hastings has come under the scrutiny of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. According to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) enforcement investigation, Ardent Mills, LLC, failed to submit required notifications prior to dismantling and removing air emissions equipment, and starting construction projects to startup new equipment at its flour mill in Hastings. The report also indicates that other violations include missing performance stack tests for particulate matter, a failure to conduct daily inspections and keep records of visible emissions and pressure drops on more than 300 occasions, failing to report fabric filter pressure drops that were out of permitted range on more than 40 occasions, missing two annual pressure calibrations, and failing to submit required major permit amendments. In addition to paying a $33,311 civil penalty to the MPCA, the company has completed a series of corrective actions, including submitting major permit amendments, and plans to conduct daily inspections and train staff accordingly, ensure future projects will adhere to permitted changes, and ensure pressure differentials remain in permitted ranges. When calculating penalties, the MPCA takes into account how seriously the violations affected or could have affected the environment, and whether they were first-time or repeat violations. The agency also attempts to recover the economic benefit the company gained by failing to comply with environmental laws in a timely manner.

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    Severson Named Prescott Student of the Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office reports that the Kiwanis Student of the Week is Senior Merle "Trey" Severson III. Trey was nominated by Media Assistant and ITV Instructor Libby Syverson, who said that Trey is a very hard worker, who works independently in an ITV teaching course through UWRF, which allows him to shadow a teacher at Malone twice a week. Trey is always a very respectful, responsible student. Mrs. Syverson also commented that she loves having him around during the day when his class is done.

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    (Merle "Trey" Syverson. Submitted Photo)

    HFD Weekly Report

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department responded to nine calls for service for the week ending January 17th. In addition to the fire at Quality One on the 13th, crews responded to accidents at Highway 55 and River Street, Point Douglas Road and Highway 95, and Highway 55 and Pine Street, and five calls for malfunctioning alarms. In other Department news, the "Keep the Wreath White" campaign finished up for 2021 in early January, and only one red bulb was placed on the wreath for the program, which means the Department only responded to one preventable structure fire for the holidays.

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    Hastings Prepares for 1st Round of CIF Applications

    The City of Hastings has created a Community Investment Fund (CIF) to encourage and support community partnerships and community-driven projects. The approved 2022 Budget allocates $100,000 for the fund. Projects should be community-supported public amenities. Examples include streetscape beautification and walkability, enhancements to parks or athletic facilities, trails and non-motorized infrastructure, and public art, among others. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis, with a first review of applications on March 31. After March 31, applications will be reviewed on a first-come basis to the extent funds remain available. There is not a maximum grant award; however, the City may limit grants in order to fund multiple project applications. Matching dollars are not required by the CIF program but will help demonstrate community support, as well as help the CIF funds go further to partner with multiple projects. A public meeting for interested applicants is scheduled via Zoom for Monday, January 24 at 7 p.m. Register online at the link provided here.

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    Lee Resigns From Burnsville Position

    Former Hastings City Administrator Melanie Mesko-Lee recently abruptly resigned her City Manager with the City of Burnsville. According to printed reports, Lee's resignation, effective Friday, Jan. 14, was formally accepted by the Burnsville City Council on Tuesday, according to a press release from the city. City documents prepared for the meeting indicate the council also plans to move forward with a separation agreement, including six-month severance pay and payment of accrued leave and benefits. Lee's resignation letter does not provide a reason for her departure. The council received the letter during a closed special meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 12 when they reconvened to continue Lee's performance evaluation. Lee became Burnsville's top administrator in 2019. Gregg Lindberg, Burnsville's deputy city manager, will fill the role in the interim. In a press release, Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz thanked Lee for her leadership and service.

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    (Melanie Mesko-Lee)

    Lamin Declares Candidacy For County Attorney

    Sixteen-year veteran front-line prosecutor Elizabeth Lamin announced on Tuesday that she will run for Dakota County Attorney in the 2022 election. As the lead prosecutor in Dakota County, Lamin will focus on violent crime, while also working with criminal justice partners to hold lower-level offenders accountable. Lamin said she will bring a focused, "smart on crime" approach to Dakota County. She will prioritize treatment courts for those who would benefit from intervention for substance addiction and mental health issues, while maintaining focus on keeping violent offenders off the streets. Lamin began her career in Stearns County where she worked in rural and urban settings handling all levels of criminal cases. She has a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a law degree from the University of Minnesota, and graduated magna cum laude. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, she immigrated as a child to the United States with her family. She now lives with her partner and two teenage children in Eagan.

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    (Elizabeth Lamin. Submitted Photo)

    DEED Main Street Program Funding Renewed

    The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will launch the second round of Main Street Economic Revitalization Program funding on Thursday, January 27. This $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs targeting specific main streets and commercial corridors within their regions that will, in turn, fund economic development and redevelopment projects. A total of $41 million will be available in this second round of funding. DEED will hold an information session to provide more information about this program on February 8, at 11:00 AM. A link to register for the session can be found here.

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    Student Work Displayed

    In a continuing cooperation between ISD 196, the Friends of Robert Trail Library and the Rosemount Area Arts Council, East Lake Elementary School students are the featured artists at the Robert Trail Library art gallery in January in Rosemount. East Lakes art specialist is Katri Hanson, who works with kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The Rosemount Area Arts Council and Friends of Robert Trail Library continue to sponsor this long-standing program. More information on the program is available on the RAAC website.

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    (From left are student Lucy Switzer and her mother Lisa; Katri Hanson, art specialist; Mykayla Schafer, librarian; Laura Miller, librarian; and Keith Reed, RAAC member. Submitted Photo)

    Principal Johnson Announces Retirement

    Hastings High School Principal Mike Johnson has announced his retirement from ISD 200 after 18 years in leadership at ISD 200. Johnson began his career in education in 1988 as a teacher and coach in Chisago Lakes, moving to South St. Paul, to teach Chemistry and Physics. While at South St. Paul, Johnson became Dean of Students. Johnson's career also includes one year as assistant principal in the Elk River School District. Johnson came to Hastings in 1996, and replaced retiring Principal Rich Clymer in 2004. Johnson's last day as Principal will be February 24th.

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    ISD 200 Updates Mask Mandate

    Hastings Public Schools will be updating its COVID-19 operational plans to align with updated guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the isolation and quarantine guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Effective Tuesday, January 18, students who test positive will be required to isolate for a reduced period of five (5) days. Isolation may end after five full days if a student is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their other symptoms have improved. Students returning to school must wear a face covering for the next five days regardless of the masking status of the building. Students with a masking exemption or inability to wear a face-covering will need to isolate for the entire ten days. Students participating in Minnesota State High School League-sanctioned athletics and activities should continue to follow guidance from the athletic department as the MSHSL establishes protocols. Learn more on the District Website.

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    Pandemic May Affect School Bus Routes

    ISD 200 reports that the Hastings Bus Company has done an unbelievable job keeping bus routes running for students throughout the Pandemic, however, the spread of COVID may threaten staffing levels to the point that the District may not be able to run all scheduled routes. If a driver is not available to drive your childs bus route, notifications will be directed to affected families via phone call, and when possible, the night before. If the cancellation is due to an absence reported in the morning, notifications will be sent between 5 and 6AM, on Facebook and the District website. Please create a backup plan to provide transportation for your child to get to and from school, should your route be canceled if there are no drivers available. Learn more and sign up for notifications on the ISD 200 website.

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    316 Project Still Accepting Feedback

    During the planning process of the recent Highway 316 road improvement project, the Hastings Chamber of Commerce worked with the City of Hastings Public Works Department to connect Hastings industrial park businesses to the MNDOT project team for insight into the plans. The Chamber thanks all the businesses that participated and provided feedback during the process. Since Highway 316 has re-opened, the Chamber continues to work with businesses on feedback for adjustments that would provide easier access to the industrial park, particularly for semi tractor trailers. The team at Solid Staging spearheads this effort and works with the Chamber to provide videos for the MNDOT project team. The Chamber will provide an update on any changes planned for spring. Businesses in Hastings Industrial Park who would like to learn more on this process or provide feedback, please reach out to Chamber President Kristy Barse by email at Kristy@HastingsMN.org.

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    HPD Weekly Blotter Review

    The Hastings Police Department logged 41 entries to the Police blotter for the week ending January 10th. Included among the calls was a report of counterfeit currency passed at a business in the 1600 block of Vermillion Street on the 3rd. Investigators were able to identify a suspect, and the case remains under investigation. On January 4th, officers again responded to the 1600 block of Vermillion Street for a suspicious person. Investigation of the call resulted in the arrest of Apple Valley resident Johnathan Ridge on an unrelated charge. Inspection of Ridge's vehicle located suspected narcotics. And a report of a vehicle off the road near the intersection of 160th Street and Pleasant Drive on the 9th resulted in the arrest of 36-year-old Daniel Forrey on a charge of 3rd degree Driving While Intoxicated. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    PPD Weekly Blotter Review

    The Prescott Police Department logged 77 entries to the Police blotter for the week ending January 26th. Included among the calls was an animal welfare report on the 11th for a goose apparently frozen in ice on the river in the area of Front Street. Officers were able to free the goose from the ice with no injury to the goose, who was then reported to be "swimming freely with all the other geese". The remainder of the calls were for routine items, such as speeding and parking violations, routine patrols, and a couple of 9-1-1 misdials.

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    Cannon Falls Council Meeting Preview

    The Cannon Falls City Council meets for business at 6:30 PM, on Tuesday, January 18th. Agenda items include a presentation from the Cannon Falls Senior Center by Bill Hoyt, and deliberation of Final Plan Approval for the Keller-Baartman Apartment Complex on Hickory Drive. There will also be reports from various Council Committees and local non-profit organizations.

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    Rosemount Council Meeting Previews

    The Rosemount City Council has called a special meeting following its regular meeting on Tuesday, January 18th. The Special meeting will be held after the regular meeting to deliberate goal setting preparations for the Council in 2022. The regular meeting, scheduled to start at 7 PM, will receive an annual evaluation of the City Administrator's performance, and review the Capital Improvement Plan. Both meetings are open to the public.

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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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    HFD To Receive Equipment Donation

    The Hastings Council is asked to accept a donation from the Hastings Fire Department Relief Association for vehicle highway stabilization kits used for stabilizing vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes. The value of this equipment donation is $16,423. According to information provided to the Council, the Hastings Fire Department Relief Association is donating this purchased equipment. The equipment consists of kits and struts used for stabilizing vehicles. This new equipment replaces old technology struts currently in use, and places this capability on first-out rescue, and second-out back-up rescue vehicles. A resolution to accept the donation with gratitude was placed on the Consent Agenda for the January 18th meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    HFD Requests To Apply For Staffing Grant

    The City of Hastings reports that FEMA has announced a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant opportunity. This grant provides funding for hiring new firefighter positions for a period of 36 months. At the end of the grant funding period for these positions, the City assumes full financial responsibility. The Fire Department requests funding for six additional full-time firefighters. Six additional full-time firefighters would increase staffing on each of 24-hour shifts from five to seven, and the increase in full-time staff would allow the department to staff more appropriately for increasing call volume and decreasing paid-on-call staff. This increase in staff will also help decrease overtime to full-time staff. A request to apply for the grant was placed on the Consent Agenda for the January 18th meeting of the Hastings City Council.

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    Prescott Chamber Dinner Wednesday

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner will be held on Wednesday evening at Old Ptacek's Event Center, and Chamber Coordinator Casey Johnson commented that it is time for businesses to get back together again.

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    For more information or to reserve a spot, contact the chamber at 715-629-0047.

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