Local News

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    Prescott City Council Meeting Preview

    The Prescott City Council meets for regular business on Monday evening. After the call to order, Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, and determination of quorum, the Council will consider approval of the minutes of previous meetings, and hear comments from the public. After any Council items to be considered, the Council will vote on the Consent Agenda, containing routine items for action by a single vote. Under the heading of Reports from Standing Committees, there will be a 2nd reading of an ordinance amendment for a rezoning of a parcel of highway commercial property to C-2, a request to set a meeting of the Public Works Committee for November 8th, a presentation of Mississippi River Parkway Commission Funding, a Riverfront Project design approval request, including a courtesy dock item outside the original scope, a request to approve flagging in Magee Park, and a discussion for setting a meeting date for a Coulee River Trails workshop. Health and safety will present an update on the downtown area. Under new business, the Council will consider a letter of violation for an unsafe building in the 1200 block of Canton Street, and a Letter of Intent for a sporting facility on 620th Avenue. When all of the agenda items have been considered, the meeting will adjourn.   

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    Offender Housed In Hastings

    The City of Hastings reports that a Level Three Predatory Offender has moved into the City, and pursuant to MN State Statute, an informational meeting regarding the move has been scheduled for residents on Thursday, October 28th, at 6 PM at Hastings Middle School. According to information provided by the City of Hastings, the individual, has been housed in the 2600 block of Yellowstone Drive since October 13th. Deputy Chief David Wilske urged anyone with questions to attend the meeting.

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    The individual has been convicted of an offense that requires registration with law enforcement pursuant to Minnesota Statutes and has served the sentence imposed by the court and is transitioning into the community. The Hastings Police Department may not direct where this individual does or does not reside, nor can HPD direct employment options. Stay tuned to KDWA for updates on this story.

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    HBC Goes Live

    Hiawatha Broadband Communications, Inc. (HBC) announces fiber-optic Internet and Phone services are now available in Hastings. HBC Director of Technical Operations, Michael Barker, said services became available on October 11th. According to Barker, over 750 residences in the area roughly from South Frontage Road south to 15th Street West and from Honeysuckle Lane west to O'Connell Drive have HBC services available to them. Before the end of the year 800 homes will have access to HBC services. President of HBC, Dan Pecarina, said the high-speed fiber-optic network HBC is building in the Hastings community will be capable of delivering speeds as fast as 10 Gigabits. HBC opened its local office in July and will be hosting a ribbon cutting with the Hastings Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, October 26 at 10:45 AM. Their Hastings office is staffed with a local customer care team which includes an on-site Wizards Technical Support Technician.

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    316 Nears Completion

    The Highway 316 Project is very near to completion, and KDWA checked in with Project Manager Bryant Ficek, who seemed to be as relieved for the completion of the project as those who live along and rely on 316 as a vital throughway.

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    The project will complete the stormwater pond, and final landscaping elements on the north end of the project, and the scheduled opening date is November 6th.

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    County Prepares To Assist Homeless For Winter

    Winter is fast approaching, and Dakota County First District Commissioner Mike Slavik talks about how the county is preparing to help county homeless find shelter during the upcoming winter months. He indicated that there has been the loss of some shelters in Hastings and the addition of some others.

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    Slavik also commented on a new teen shelter and Lincoln Place.

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    You can find more information on emergency shelter assistance on the County website.

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    Company Pitches Sport Complex

    Select One Properties, LLC has expressed an interest in purchasing a parcel of land in Oak Grove Township for the purpose of building a sporting complex. According to a letter of intent submitted to the City of Prescott, Select One desires to purchase 15 acres near the intersection of 620th Avenue and 1170th Street, in Oak Grove Township. The 15-acre plot is a portion of a 55-acre plot owned by the City Prescott. Select One Properties states that they are still in the planning phase for the facility, and understand they will need approvals from Oak Grove Township and Pierce County before a purchase agreement can be signed. The Letter of Intent indicates that the City of Prescott would need to conduct a value appraisal of the land before setting a purchase price. The City Council is scheduled to deliberate the letter at a meeting on Monday, October 25th.

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    Fatal Accident In Welch

    An accident in Welch Township on October 17th has claimed the life of a Red Wing man. According to the MN State Patrol Crash Reporting website, at 6:16 AM on the 17th, a Chevrolet driven by 35-year-old Red Wing resident Nathan Bradley Hase was westbound on Highway 61 approaching the County 18 Blvd, when he collided with an eastbound Buick driven by 70-year-old Marion, IA, resident Aaron Patton Ferguson. The report indicates that Hase passed away as a result of the accident, and Ferguson sustained life-threatening injuries. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident. The State Patrol was assisted on the scene by Dakota and Goodhue County Deputies, the Red Wing PD, and the Miesville and Red Wing Fire Departments.

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    Allina Health Cancer Center Gets New Name

    Allina Health Cancer Institute at Regina Hospital has changed their name and expanded their services. Allina Health Oncologist Dr. Florence Kotiso and Oncology Nurse Practitioner Karen Olson share news regarding cancer patient care in Hastings. Nurse Olson spoke to the evolution of the name of the center.

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    Dr. Kotiso says that the team is still as top notch as before.

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    Learn more at the Center's website.

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    ISD 200 COVID Update

    Efforts at ISD 200 are underway to continue to provide the best learning environment possible under the shadow of the COVID pandemic. Superintendent Dr. Bob McDowell recently commented on the current state of the mask mandate.

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    The pandemic has also created a so-called learning gap in education that the District is working hard to address.

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    Keep up with the District's efforts on the ISD 200 website.

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    Best Christmas Ever Seeks Family

    November is fast approaching, and soon behind that is the Christmas Holiday Season. One organization is looking forward to Christmas and seeks to involve the community in a celebration of good cheer. Curt Schroeder, Captain with the Best Christmas Ever movement is seeking nominations for families.

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    Families are nominated by other families.

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    And the gifts are delivered.

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    To nominate a family email Curt.Schroeder@Gmail.com.

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    360 Communities Provides Help Against Domestic Violence

    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and 360 Communities, a local non-profit working to provide resources and assistance to families in need. Advocate Shelly Peters from 360 Communities shares information on the help that is out there for people caught in an unhealthy relationship.

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    She commented on some of the services available.

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    The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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    A link to the website is provided here.

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    Hastings Summer Program Wrap-Up

    Hastings Parks and Recreation recently wrapped up another year of Summer programs at Levee Park in Hastings, and Programming Specialist Paige Marschall Bigler reports that the events were well-attended again this year.

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    Planning is already underway for the Summer of 2022, and you can learn more on the Parks and Rec page of the City website.

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    VFW Post 1210 Holds Award Dinner

    VFW Post 1210 and Auxiliary held its first post COVID Membership and Awards Dinner on Monday October 11th, at the 2nd Street Depot Bar & Grill in Hastings. According to a post on social media, veterans from Korean War, Viet Nam War and the Persian Gulf Wars were in attendance. Korean War Veteran Jim Kuhn was recognized for his 40 years of service as the Post Quartermaster. Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender was on hand to provide a City Proclamation in his honor. Jim has been a member of VFW Post 1210 for 68 years. In addition to serving as the Post's Quartermaster, Jim also served as the Post Commander and the Captain of the Rifle Squad. Additionally, Mark Gelhar and Robin Horkey were recognized as the Post and Auxiliary volunteers of the year for long term dedicated commitment to volunteerism which benefited the community, state and nation.

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    (Jim Kuhn and Mayor Mary Fasbender. Photo Credit: Len Gudmunson)

    Prescott Finance Committee To Meet

    The Prescott Finance Committee continues work on the 2021 City Budget at a meeting on Monday, October 25th, at 5 PM at City Hall. The Committee will review and deliberate to finalize budget requests from City Departments for a final budget recommendation to the City Council. The meeting is the final budget meeting before the final hearing before the City Council on November 22nd.

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    County Urges Salt Management Training

    Property managers and owners, contractors, and anyone who hires or supervises winter maintenance staff are invited to learn sensible salting practices at a no-cost, virtual Smart Salting training Tuesday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Participants learn ways to save money, reduce property damage, and protect lakes and rivers. They will review winter maintenance plans to find areas to improve. Participants will learn legal considerations and how to reduce customer complaints. According to the County, salt can damage buildings near the ground, permanently stain and crumble sidewalks and steps, and damage indoor walkways. Oversalting can kill nearby grass, plants and trees. Chloride from de-icing salt permanently pollutes lakes, streams and groundwater. It takes only 1 teaspoon of salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water. Once in the water, there is no feasible way to remove the chloride. Registration is required by Thursday, Oct. 28. To register or get more information, visit the Smart Salting page. The training is funded by Dakota and Washington counties and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency with Clean Water Funds.

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    HFD Conducts Annual Hose Testing Operations

    Residents of Hastings may have noticed a large number of fire hoses laying on the ground along the south side of the firehall recently. Firefighter Ryan McGraw provided an explanation.

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    Testing will continue for all hoses in the Department.

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    Hastings Perkins Begins Remodel

    Becca Caneff, the manager at the Hastings Perkins, has reported on the progress of reopening the restaurant. She said there was good news and bad news.

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    Stay tuned to KDWA for updates.

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    City Council Deliberates Reinstatement of Liquor License Fees

    At Monday evening's meeting, the Hastings City Council deliberated reinstating liquor license fees for city social establishments. Mayor Mary Fasbender commented on the Council's deliberations.

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    The final decision will be made at a future meeting.

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    Fasbender Confident Local Stores Will Be Alright

    With the news of Mills Fleet Farm moving into the vacant Target Building early next year, Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender recently commented that even with the introduction of a bigger chain-type store, local businesses will still be able to thrive.

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    Fleet Farm is set to open in February of 2022.

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    PHCA Expansion May Lead To Leap of Faith

    Pine Harbor Christian Academy is nearing completion of the addition of classroom space for students. Principal Scott Urban provided an update.

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    The annual fundraiser, Minute to Give It will help to defray the costs of the addition, but it means Principal Urban will be taking a big leap of faith.

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    The fundraiser runs October 25th through the 29th. Learn more on the Pine Harbor Christian Academy website.

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    PSD Deliberates Annual Levy

    The Prescott School Board met on Wednesday evening to finalize the school levy for the District. Ahead of the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Rick Spicuzza reported area taxpayers could see a bit of relief.

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    The School Board also deliberated to approve the final budget for the upcoming year.

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    PSD To Receive Report Card

    The Prescott School District will soon receive a district performance report form the State of Wisconsin, and Superintendent Dr. Rick Spicuzza anticipates the report will reflect well on the District.

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    Lean more on the District website.

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    River Falls Standoff Results In Arrest

    A morning standoff in River Falls has resulted in the arrest of one person on Wednesday. According to published reports, the public was asked to avoid the 100 block of North Main Street, where police were dealing with someone who had barricaded themselves, according to officials. The situation has since been resolved and police took the person into custody, the River Falls Police Department said. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls issued a warning to students, but said there was no imminent danger to the campus during the incident. Stay tuned to KDWA for updates on this story.

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    Mills Resigns From CG Council

    Cottage Grove City Council member La Rae Mills stepped down from the City Council after the City Council meeting held on Wednesday evening. According to Mayor Myron Bailey, Mills is moving out of town, so she will be resigning from the Cottage Grove City Council. Bailey says that La Rae has been an amazing City Council-member and advocate for the Cottage Grove community, and he has been "blessed to work with such an amazing individual who has the same passion and desires for our community" as he does. Bailey added that she has made tough votes that maybe weren't the most popular, but she did it by articulating her reasons for voting the way she did it in a positive and understanding way.

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    (LaRae Mills. Photo Source: Citry of Cottage Grove)

    St. John's Fundraiser Marathon Held

    St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Vermillion recently concluded their annual Marathon for Non-public Education fundraiser that runs September through October. Principal Paul Dieltz shares the details.

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    Hastings Considers Arts Commission

    At the October 4 City Council Meeting, the Hastings City Council discussed an Arts and Culture Commission proposal by HPAAC. The discussion led to Council referring further discussion to the Planning Committee. The Planning Committee met on October 14, and City Administrator Dan Wietecha commented on the result of the meeting.

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    The Arts Task Force would create a short-term workplan and make recommendations to Council on possible needed structure changes, such as transitioning into a commission, going forward. A motion to reinvigorate and expand the existing Arts Task Force to move toward a Council Commission passed unanimously.

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    City Contract With Focus Engineering Revised

    On Monday evening, the Hastings City Council deliberated a revised contract with Focus Engineering to provide professional services to the Public Works Department. Following the resignation of Public Works Director Nick Egger, the City advertised the position, conducted direct recruiting, and performed initial interviews of 5 candidates meeting the qualifications. Citing difficulty in recruiting a new Director, City Administrator Dan Wietecha presented the revision request at the meeting.

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    Council discussion included emphasis on the condition the a Public Works Director should be a City Employee, but also that for the year-and-a-half that the contract would be in effect would be a good move at this time. The Council approved the revision unanimously.

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    Nininger Road Pedestrian Study

    Earlier this year, the City of Hastings requested Dakota County to review speed and pedestrian safety complaints along Nininger Road in Hastings. The County has recently finished a Pilot Study for a mid-block crossing enhancement between Madison Street and Pleasant Drive, but recommended an engineering assessment along the corridor from Riverdale Drive to Pine Street before investing in any improvements. At Monday evening's Hastings City Council meeting, Council member Jen Fox commented on the study.

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    The Pedestrian Safety Assessment is estimated to cost $100,000, and Dakota County would lead this effort, subject to their cost share policy. Therefore, the County is requesting support from the City of Hastings prior to programming the Pedestrian Safety Assessment in their 2022 Budget. This would require the City of Hastings to contribute 15%, or $15,000, toward the study.

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    HFD Weekly Report

    The Hastings Fire Department respopnded to 12 calls for service for the week ending October 19th. On October 17th, crews were dispatched to the 15500 block of Ravenna Trail for a structure fire. Crews arrived on the scene at 6:50 PM, and were on site until 8:55 to put out the fire. The report indicates there were no injuries nor fatalities in the incident and damage estimates come in at approximately $45,000. The fire was in the main living area of the building. On October 18th, crews responded to the area of 180th Street and Lillihei Avenue for a grass fire, reported at 2:20 PM. The report indicates one acre was burned, with no casualties. And on the 18th, crews were called to the area of 15th and Pine for a rubbish fire at 5:40 PM. Crews were on the scene for approximately 15 minutes to investigate the incident, and no damage or injuries were reported.

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    HPD Blotter Review

    The Hastings Police Department logged 56 entries to the Police Blotter for the week ending October 11th, including the removal of a vehicle from the construction area in the vicinity of 316 and 31st Street on the 4th. 42-year-old Hastings resident Melissa Ann Myers received a citiation for driving around work zone barricades. On the 5th, Hastings Police received notification from another agency of a possible child-pornography possession incident in Hastings. Investigators continue to work the case. And, on the 9th officers responded to the 200 block of East 7th Street to investigate a disturbance. 33-year-old Hastings resident Chester Vernon Jones was arrested on an active warrant issued by the State of Colorado, and for failure to fufill registration requirements issued by the State of Minnesota. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    PPD Blotter Review

    The Prescott Police Department logged 110 entries to the Police blotter for the week ending October 17th. Included among the calls was a reported burglary in the 200 block of North Court Street, on October 10th at approximately 10 AM. The blotter report indicates that there are noi suspects at this time. On the 15th at 7 AM, a gas drive-off was reported in the 300 block of Lake Street. The incident remains under investigation. The majority of the rest of the entries were for routine items such as warnings issued, and regular patrol updates.

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    Three Vehicle Accident in Pierce Co.

    On Saturday, October 16th at 4:12 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a multiple vehicle accident with injuries on U.S. Highway 10 at County Road QQ, in Oak Grove Township. According to a PCSO press release, 59-year-old Houlton, WI, resident James Schwan was traveling east bound on U.S. Highway 10 on a motorcycle and was stopped in traffic, waiting for a car in front of him to turn left onto County Road QQ, when 22-year-old Farmington resident Abenezer Bekele, driving a BMW east bound on U.S. Highway 10, didn't see the other two vehicles stopped in the roadway and made an evasive maneuver to avoid striking them. Bekele's vehicle side swiped Schwan's motorcycle and drove left of center into the west bound lane. Bekele's vehicle was then struck by a west bound Dodge Ram pick up being driven by 35-year-old Prescott resident Trista Duffy. Duffy's vehicle had a 5-year-old passenger in the vehicle. After Bekele's vehicle was struck it overturned in the north ditch and started on fire. Bekele was extricated from his vehicle by Prescott Fire Department and was transported from the scene by Life Link III Helicopter to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with undetermined injuries. Allina Health Ambulance Service transported Duffy and the five-year-old to Regions Hospital in Saint Paul, and Schwan was uninjured in the crash. Assisting the PCSO at the scene was Prescott Fire Department, Prescott Police Department, Allina Health and Life Link III Helicopter.   

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    Hastings Holds Opioid Town Hall Meeting

    State Senator Karla Bigham and U.S. Congresswoman Angie Craig hosted a town hall at Hastings City Hall on Saturday, October 16th in order to listen to community advocates and concerned families shed light on fentanyl poisoning in the Hastings area.Topics discussed were social media influences on the availability of drugs, the proposed Section 230 amendment; Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act, community wide communication, stigma related to substance use, available educational materials from the United Way of Hastings, the prosecution of dealers, county judge elections, drug related education in schools, boarder control of illegal substances, the fentanyl supply chain, along with Naloxone (Narcan) availability and training.

    U.S. Congresswoman Angie Craig shares:

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    State Senator Karla Bigham tells listeners:

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    Local mother Bridgette Norring share the most common misconceptions:

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    To learn the signs and symptoms of fentanyl poisoning see the United Way of Hastings website.

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    316 Project Nears Completion

    Mn DOT reports that crews have entered the final phase of construction along Highway 316 and are currently nearing completion of a new pond near the intersection of Highways 316 and 61. By the end of this week, crews anticipate having the majority of construction complete between Malcolm Avenue and 33rd Street. Construction from 33rd Street to Highway 61, including a new roundabout at Spiral boulevard, will continue into the first weeks of November. Get the latest information on the Mn DOT 316 project website.

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    (Storm Pond under Construction. Photo Source: City of Hastings)

    2021 Trail Project Completed

    The City of Hastings reports that paving has been completed on the 2021 Trail Reconstruction Project near Tierney Drive. This week the contractor will be back out to the site to complete the trail shoulder restoration work. According to City staff, the new trail looks great and they have received multiple compliments already. These sorts of projects unavoidably disturb neighbors, and staff report that all of the neighbors of this project have been fantastic to work with, very understanding, and supportive of this long overdue project.

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    MN Sings Holds Weekend Competition

    Minnesota Sings held its annual vocal competition last weekend in Woodbury, and event organizer Kelly Casey commented on the weekend competition.

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    The contest had 37 singers in 2 age groups competing for top honors at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, in Woodbury.

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    (L-R: Lauri Droster, Nathan Schindler, Helen Bartlett, Kevin Monn. Photo Source: MN Sings)

    Pierce County Accident Injures Two

    On Friday, October 15th at 3:20 pm, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a two-vehicle accident with injuries on U.S. Highway 63 at State Highway 29 the north intersection in Martell Township. According to a PCSO Press Release, 19-year-old Elmwood resident Trevor Tuenge was driving an Impala east bound on State Highway 29 when he failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with a Kia Forte traveling south bound on U.S. Highway 63, driven by 53-year-old Hudson resident Michele Goblirsch. Both drivers were transported from the scene to Western Wisconsin Health Hospital in Baldwin with undetermined injuries. Assisting the PCSO at the scene were the Ellsworth and Spring Valley Area Ambulance Services and Ellsworth Fire Department.

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    Prescott Student Of The Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office has announced that the Prescott Kiwanis Student Of The Week is Junior Zachary Middleton. According to the nomination submitted by Spanish Teacher Nicole Jodarski, Zack's greatest strength as a Spanish student is his curiosity and enthusiasm for acquiring language. He brings lively discussion to the classroom on a daily basis. He offers astute observations and thoughtful questions that challenge everyone in the room. Jodarski also said that Zack has made so many novel connections with advanced language concepts, and he always is hungry to know more. Additionally, Zack has a delightful sense of humor that enriches the classroom environment. He is a kind and supportive classmate, and he is gracious and respectful when interacting with adults. He recognizes the strengths of his peers, and brings an irreplaceable vitality to class each day.

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    Wash Co Parks Schedule Deer Hunts

    In the next few weeks, there will be partial trail closures for special permitted archery deer harvests at Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park to help control the deer populations. According to the County website, St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park and Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park will have partial trail closures October 29th through the 31st and November 12th through the 14th. These hunts are being conducted with Metro Bowhunters Resources Base members and is not open to the public. Learn more on the County website.

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    Afton Man Faces Charges

    An Afton man is facing misdemeanor charges after complaints were filed against him for operating a private airstrip on his own property. According to published reports, the unnamed individual was using property along Indian Trail in Afton to land his own planes on his property while allowing others to land planes. Investigators say the man incorporated his property as an airfield with the Minnesota Secretary of State. However, prosecutors say the airfield violates city ordinances. The sheriff's office says it received multiple complaints about the planes, including videos showing the planes landing. The man faces charges of operating an airstrip illegally and illegal takeoffs and landings in the city.

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    (Photo Source: Google Maps)

    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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    MFD Hires EMT

    The Miesville Fire Department has announced the hiring of EMT Julia Napper. According to a post on social media, Julia spent the summer and early fall preparing and training for her National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Exam. Julia is committed to serving the Miesville community and beyond. In addition to Miesville, she recently started in Hastings as a part-time Firefighter/EMT. Her goal is to one day become a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic. In her free time, she enjoys horse back riding and barrel racing. MFD officials state that if she's not at the Miesville Fire Hall, she's probably either at a rodeo or up at the Hastings Fire Station.

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    CP Holiday Train Remains Virtual For 2021

    The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be a virtual event for the Hastings and Cottage Grove Area for 2021. Information provided by Holiday Train event organizers states that the in-person event continues to be postponed because of COVID, and there will be an online auction to support Friends in Need Food Shelf in St. Paul Park in lieu of the Cottage Grove stop of the Holiday Train. The auction will open on November 29th and run through December 10th. To learn more, bid on items, or make a donation, visit the online auction website.

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    Rotary Names October Student Of The Month

    The Hastings Rotary Club has announced that the Hastings Student of the Month for October is Senior Tyler Bushinski. According to published information, Bushinski is a two-sport athlete who competes in cross country, where he has been a two-time captain, and track and field. He has also been in the Link Crew program, Spanish Honor Society, peer helpers and is a National Honor Society Officer. HHS principal Mike Johnson said Bushinski excels in the classroom, boasting a 4.0 G.P.A. all while taking strenuous classes such as AP Calc and Government, College Literature and Spanish, among others. Teachers Tim Haneberg, Cindy Benson and Jason Koch nominated Bushinski for the Student of the Month, citing his ability to excel in the classroom and teamwork in the sports he plays as reasons for his nomination. Bushinski was recognized as Student of the Month on Oct. 14, at the Hastings Area Rotary Club, where he received a $250 scholarship.   

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    (Tyler Bushinski Receives Scholarship. Photo Credit: Bruce Karnick)

    Adopt-A-Drain Seeks Helpers

    Local communities remind residents that efforts are underway to help prevent water pollution from going down storm drains, and the Adopt-a-Drain program engages residents to help in this effort. Storm drains help to protect neighborhoods against flooding, but they also flow to the Mississippi River, carrying debris off the streets and into the water. Residents can make a difference by volunteering just a few minutes, twice a month, to keep a storm drain clear of litter, leaves, grass clippings and dirt. Go to Adopt-A-Drain.org and use the map to find your neighborhood storm drains, then click and sign-up to adopt a drain. Pick up the garbage and debris near the drain and then go online to report your work so that the organization can measure the collective impact of clean up efforts. To dispose of the waste you collect, separate it into trash, recyclables, and compostable. Sediment collected in the spring contains road salt and should be put in the trash.

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    DCHS Receives Grant

    The Dakota County Historical Society has been awarded a Community Ties Giving Program Community Spaces grant by the Union Pacific Foundation. The grant will be used to hire well-known children's exhibit designer KidZibits to complete preliminary designs on a new children's exhibit for the Lawshe Museum, located at 130 3rd Avenue N. in South St. Paul. Union Pacific's Community Ties Giving Program provides small- and medium-sized grants that align with the railroad's priorities in areas of safety, workforce development and community spaces. KidZibits is based out of St. Paul and will complete two of the first three phases in the design and development of a new children's exhibit for the Dakota County Historical Society. The exhibit will focus child-friendly opportunities to get hands-on with Dakota County's history. The first two phases are expected to be completed by July 2022. Additional fundraising and grant writing will be completed by DCHS for a planned exhibit completion in 2023.    

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    Pierce County Schools COVID Numbers Up

    Pierce County reports that school children in the county have experienced record numbers of COVID-19 cases in the first month of the school year. During September, 190 school children tested positive for COVID-19, which was about one third of the total cases identified in the county during that time period. According to a County press release, several factors are likely to have led to the larger increase in infection of this age group compared to other age groups. The Delta variant is now the predominately circulating variant, which is 2-3 times more infectious than the strain circulating last year. Several school districts have opted to forgo mitigation strategies that had been used during the past school year to limit spread of the virus, such as universal masking and quarantine of close contacts. Pierce County continues to urge those not yet vaccinated to talk to their doctor or make an appointment to receive the vaccine in Ellsworth or River Falls.

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    Local Housing Market Update

    Over the last 12 months the local and national housing markets have seen significant growth. Pam Collins and Christy Lundby Hill of Edina Realty share current and historical housing market growth metrics.

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    As a result of increased housing costs many buyers may be holding out at this time but Christy and Pam believe that now is the time to buy as prices drop in the autumn and local rental prices are rising. They share state and federal resources for first time home buyers:

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    In Minnesota, 74.5% of occupants are homeowners compared to the national average of 65.8%, that is 8.7% advantage.

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    Prescott Considers Community Improvement Plans

    The City of Prescott is deliberating community improvement projects in their budget-setting process for next year, and Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Casey Johnson recently commented on some of the "longer-range" plans the City has under consideration.

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    Hear the complete interview with Casey Johnson on Community In Depth.

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    Joy Lutheran Seeks Apple Pie Help

    Joy Lutheran Church in Prescott needs assistance in their pie-making process for the Apple Pie Sale, set for October 17th. Apple Pie Specialists are asked to volunteer their time and talents on Saturday, October 16th, from 9 AM to noon at Joy Lutheran Church, 1435 St. Croix Street. Learn more on the Church website.

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    Hastings Preservation Meeting Canceled

    Hastings City Planner Justin Fortney reports that the Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 19th has been canceled. The commission is scheduled to meet next on Tuesday, November 15th at Hastings City Hall. More information on the Heritage Preservation Commission may be found on the Hastings city website.

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    SnoMos Schedule Training

    The Hastings SnoMos announce preparations for the 2021-2022 snowmobile riding season are underway, and the club will hold its annual training session for youth riders on December 11. The Field Day and Online Youth Snowmobile Safety Training Class is an introductory course designed for riders aged 11 through 15 with little or no experience in snowmobile operations. According to the club's newsletter, the online portion of the course must be completed before riders may attend the Field Day session. Each student will be required to pay an online fee of $5 to the DNR at the completion of the course. Get complete details, or sign up at HastingsSnoMos.org.

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    Fentanyl Townhall Planned

    Minnesota State Senator Karla Bigham and U.S. Congresswoman Angie Craig announce they are hosting a town hall outside the Hastings City Hall on Saturday, October 16th at 1 PM, with community advocates and leaders to discuss fentanyl awareness and prevention. Event organizers ask that those planning to attend please bring your own seating, as the event will be hosted outside due to public health safety precautions. In case of bad weather, the event will be hosted inside and all attendees will be asked to wear a face mask. Senator Bigham stated that community advocates and concerned families have reached out to local leaders to bring fentanyl poisoning and opioid use awareness and prevention to Hastings, adding that the town hall will be an opportunity for everyone to come together to learn more about what can be done to prevent another tragic death from this epidemic. All are welcome to join in the discussion.

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    Bigham Named To Advisory Group

    Minnesota State Senator Karla Bigham has been appointed by Senate DFL Leader Melisa Lopez Franzen to serve on the State Correctional Facilities Security Audit Group. The group creates security standards for state correctional facilities, reviews inspection reports, and provides recommendations to the Commissioner of Corrections. In a statement, Bigham said that she looks forward to serving on this group with her colleagues as they provide support and guidance to correctional facilities across the state of Minnesota, adding that she is ready to get to work on improving these conditions and safety for prisoners and staff. The new legislative session begins in January.

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    Hwy 95 Project Wrapping Up

    In Washington County, Mn DOT is in the process of wrapping up road work on Hwy 95/Manning Ave. between Bailey Rd./Co. Rd. 18 and just north of I-94 at Hudson Blvd. in the Woodbury/Afton area. According to a Mn DOT press release, construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the roadway and the highway is already open to traffic. Crews are also moving equipment out of the area. Project construction in this area began in July of this year and included resurfacing existing pavement, installing rumble strips, and updating drainage. Motorists can now enjoy a smoother and safer ride with better road drainage. The project is expected to be complete by mid-October, weather permitting.   

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    Blasting Ops Planned For Road Project

    Residents south of Cannon Falls and west of Hwy 52 may hear rock removal work beginning Oct. 22 as crews prepare the land to build a road connecting Goodhue County Road 14 with Goodhue County Road 24, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDOT has contracted SX Blasting, Inc. to perform the work required to remove limestone rock as part of the Goodhue County Road 14 connection, which is part of the Hwy 52 Zumbrota to Cannon Falls construction project. The removal of the rock is dependent on weather and completion of prior scheduled work. The work is scheduled to begin Oct. 22 and last approximately three weeks. Work will be performed during late-morning or early-afternoon hours. During this time, people may hear noise similar to fireworks, feel potential vibrations and see dust. Monitoring procedures are in place for vibration levels, fly-rock control, dust reduction and other safety precautions as required. Adjacent residents are receiving additional advance notification. The Hwy 52 project is from Zumbrota to Cannon Falls. It began in July and will be completed in 2023. Visit the MnDOT project website for additional details.

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    HPD Recovers Skid Steer

    The Hastings Police Department responded to an unusual call last weekend. Deputy Chief David Wilske has the information.

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    Anyone with information is asked to contact HPD.

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    Safe Driving Urged

    The Hastings Police Department responded to an unusual call last weekend. Deputy Chief David Wilske has the information.

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    Anyone with information is asked to contact HPD.

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    Hastings Firefighter Awarded

    Hastings Firefighter Ryan McGraw recently received the Dakota County Sheriff's Office Citizen Lifesaving Award for his heroic acts in helping to save two lives during an emergency in Marshan Township in 2019. According to information provided by DCSO, on December 30th of 2019, McGraw was part of a crew dispatched to a residence in Marshan Township where a vehicle was known to be running in a closed garage. McGraw grabbed a crowbar, forced entry to the garage, removed a male victim from the garage and began lifesaving efforts on the man. A second victim was located in the passenger seat of the vehicle and the passenger door was wedged closed. McGraw backed the vehicle out of the garage to rescue the passenger. Because of his actions, both victims survived the incident. The DCSO states that without McGraw's efforts, the victims would have likely not survived.

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    Regina Birth Center To Close

    After 67 years, Regina Hospital of Hastings has made the difficult decision to close the family birth center (maternity ward) and consolidate birthing services with United Hospital of St. Paul. Helen Strike, President of Regina Hospital in Hastings has the details.

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    The Birth Center will close effective Feb. 3, 2022.

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