Local News

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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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    ISD 200 YIG Awards Announced

    During last week's regular ISD 200 school board meeting, Youth in Government Advisors Derek Fairbanks, Jim Hanson, and Amy Rowan presented this year's YIG award winners. Jim gave a brief overview of the program.

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    This year's winners are 8th grader Kate Nowak, Freshmen Gabe Peterson and Jen Behnke, and Senior Alyssa Nestingen.

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    Rivertown Live 2023 Tickets Go On Sale

    Hastings' annual Rivertown Live Concert is set for this September, and tickets went on sale on Friday. According to organizers of the event, this year's Rivertown Live is scheduled for Saturday, September 9th, at Levee Park and will feature STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas, and John Waite on the Main Stage with The HYPE on the Pavilion Stage. Get tickets at the link provided here.   

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    Economic Development Coordinator Sought

    Help shape growth in Hastings by applying to be an Economic Development Coordinator, who can provide a creative approach in promoting and developing economic programs for the City of Hastings, to enhance community image as well as business retention, expansion and attraction across all sectors. The salary range is is $41.36 to $51.75 hourly. The City also seeks a Community Development Intern, who is ready to gain hands-on experience in a variety of city planning, zoning and economic development and historic preservation duties. You can enhance your resume for future employment in municipal government. This is a full-time seasonal position that pays $18 per hour. Get complete information and application materials for both of these positions on the City website.

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    Vets Home Renovation Bill Laid Over In MN Senate

    On Thursday, the MN Senate Capital Investment Committee heard Senator Judy Seeberger's legislation to increase funding for renovations at the Hastings Minnesota Veterans Home. In response, Senator Seeberger is quoted as saying, recently, "Senate Republicans blocked a bonding bill that would have invested $1.5 billion into local infrastructure projects and repairs, created good paying jobs, and improved the lives of Minnesotans. Included in these blocked projects was my own bill to fund renovations for the Hastings Minnesota Veterans Home. This was a major setback, but I am still committed to fighting for this bill to pass to ensure these necessary renovations happen. Our veterans sacrificed their lives for this country and deserve, at a bare minimum, comfortable and well maintained housing and care. Their wellbeing, support, and quality of life will always be a top priority for me." Senate File 1355 was laid over for inclusion in an omnibus bill.

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    CGPD Capt. McAlister Celebrates 25th Anniversary

    Congratulations go out to Cottage Grove Deputy Director of Public Safety/Captain Randy McAlister on 25 years of service to the City of Cottage Grove. Captain McAlister has served the citizens as a police officer/paramedic, investigator, sergeant and is currently a captain. Randy is currently assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force as a Threat Management Coordinator and is considered a national expert on threat assessments. The Cottage Grove Police Department thanks Captain Randy McAlister for his 25-year anniversary with Cottage Grove Public Safety.

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    (Randy McAlister. Photo Source: CGPD)

    CGPD Responds To Medical Emergency

    On Thursday afternoon, the Cottage Grove Police Department reports that at around 4:30 PM, police and fire were called to the Holiday Station at 8101 Hadley Ave for a customer suffering a serious medical emergency. According to information provided by the CGPD, bystanders rendered aid immediately and first responders arrived within minutes. The male was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. The CGPD and FD were assisted on the scene by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

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    Red Wing Man Sentenced

    A Red Wing man has been sentenced in Goodhue County Court after entering a guilty plea for a sexual assault that occurred in Red Wing. According to court records, 34-year-old Red Wing resident Jack Fickel entered the guilty plea to 5th degree criminal sexual conduct in January, as part of a plea deal for an incident that occurred at the Super 8 Motel on January 11th of 2021. Fickel will serve 180 days in jail, and complete two years of supervised probation. Fickel was credited with 100 days for time served and was ordered to successfully complete a sex offender treatment program. If he successfully completes probation, his charges will eventually be dismissed.

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    Meet The CNC AmbassaRaptors

    Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center is Hastings' own location for education and awareness of the ecosystem for the Lower St. Croix River Valley, and all of its splendor. While CNC uses mostly humans to educate, enlighten and inform, there are a number of animal ambassadors for the organization. Executive Director Jennifer Vieth explains.

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    CNC also offers expeditions out of the area to help educate the public on environmental concerns.

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    Learn about all the programs and events offered by CNC on their website.

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    REZ To Explore Symbolism Of Passover And Easter

    Springtime means significant holy days in both the Jewish and Christian faiths, with the observance of the Passover in the Jewish Community and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed by Christians. Resurrection United Methodist Church of Hastings invites you to a presentation on the symbolism between Passover and Easter. Dottie Chamberlain explains.

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    This presentation is scheduled March 30th at 7 PM at Resurrection United Methodist Church, 615 15th Street West, in Hastings.

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    Rivertown Lions Schedule Scavenger Hunt

    The Hastings Rivertown Lion's Club is a local non-profit organization that empowers volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, and encourage peace and promote international understanding. In order to accomplish these goals on a local level, the club is very active in the Hastings area. Jolynn Frandrup of the Rivertown Lions explains.

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    One event coming up is an Easter Basket Scavenger Hunt.

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    Register for the hunt before March 28th on the Hastings Rivertown Lion's Club Facebook page.

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    Council Approves Annexation

    The Hastings City Council approved the annexation of land on March 20 for the future Walden at Hastings Development. The approval extends the city limits to include the 71-acre parcel located at TH 316 and Michael Avenue. Developer Land Equity Development plans to seek future approval to construct a lifestyle development rental community to include 450 housing units comprised of single family, twin home, townhome, senior living and apartments. The developer will be preparing an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) to determine impacts of the development, including traffic. The Hastings Planning Commission and City Council will then review the EAW and future requests for development. Future actions by the City will be preceded by public hearing notices sent to owners within 350 feet of the project.

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    Hastings Planning Committee Meeting Preview

    The Hastings Planning Commission meets for regular business at 7 PM, on Monday, March 27th, at Hastings City Hall. Agenda items include Public Hearings for proposals to amend City Code Chapter 155 for Solar Energy Systems and Escrows and Fees, plus deliberation of the Escrows and Fees proposal. The meeting is open to the public.

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    Snowmobile Accident Claims One

    A 62-year-old Belvidere Township man died Saturday, March 18th, when he fell from a snowmobile he was riding on his property along County 45 Boulevard. According to a Goodhue County Sheriff's Office press release, Wade Duffing was driving his snowmobile when his sled reportedly went airborne. Duffing was either thrown or jumped from the snowmobile and hit his head. Lifesaving measures were given, but Duffing died at the scene. He was not wearing a helmet. The GCSO was assisted on the scene by the Goodhue and Zumbrota Police Departments, Goodhue First Responders, Lake City Ambulance and Mayo One.

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    MDVA Receives Award

    The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) has received the prestigious Abraham Lincoln "Pillars of Excellence Award" from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. MDVA was the sole winner in the category of "Eliminating Veteran Homelessness" in recognition of three new homeless Veteran initiatives: Operation OVER (Opening Veterans to Every Resource), Minnesota's Veterans Entering Stable Tenancy (MNVEST) and Veteran Supportive Housing Opportunities (VSHO). This award recognizes outstanding state programs that support Veterans within their states. The 2022 awards were presented by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough at the mid-winter conference of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) last month.   

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    USDA Issues Flood Forecast

    With springtime in Minnesota comes the possibility of flooding along river basins and other low-lying areas. USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey provides the National Weather Service's Spring Flood Outlook for the Upper Midwest, which is expected to have a moderate to major chance of flooding in some river basins.

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    A link to the NWS flood map for Hastings is provided here.

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    UWH Names Grant Recipients

    The Board of Directors of United Way of Hastings (UWH) recently approved funding to several local organizations through its annual grants process. Funded Partner Agencies selected to receive receive funding in 2023 include the Lewis House, Boy Scouts, Canvas Health, Communities in Schools, Hastings Community Education, Friends of Hastings Arts Center, Friends of the Mississippi River, and HPAAC, among others. The Board also elected to fund initiatives outside of its traditional grants process, including Communities In Schools, The Donation Zone, Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness, and Food 4 Kids. To receive funding, organizations must meet allocations guidelines and have an impact on individuals living in the geographic area which includes the Hastings Independent School District #200. Applications for funding are open each year on January 1, with a deadline of mid-February. Learn about the Allocations Program at UnitedWayOfHastings.org.

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    HFD Weekly Report

    The Hastings Fire and EMS Department responded to 9 calls for service for the week ending March 21st. At 2:30 PM on March 14th, crews were dispatched to the 900 block of Highway 55 for report of "excessive heat with no ignition". Crews arrived at 2:35 to evacuate the area to perform an investigation and ventilate the area. They were on the scene for approximately an hour to clear the call. A gas leak call brought crews to the 100 block of Sieben Crest Drive at 8:28 AM, on the 16th. Crews were on the scene until 8:36 to investigate. No damage or injuries were reported. And at 3:30 PM on March 18th, crews were dispatched to the intersection of Coates Blvd and 215th Street East to provide assistance at the scene of a motor vehicle accident. The fire report indicates no injuries reported and the Department received aid from the Randolph Hampton and Cannon Falls Fire Departments.   

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    Heritage Preservation Commission Deliberates Sign

    The Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission met on March 21st, and one of the items for discussion was a request to install a new sign for a business in the 200 block of 2nd Street East. According to the meeting minutes, the sign has a faint background graphic of a generic downtown streetscape, that is not something seen with other signs and not a historic sign feature, according to City Planner Justin Fortney. The commission reviewed the Design Guidelines and found nothing specific about such graphics, and was split on the interpretation of Design Guidelines and sign ordinance language, stating that the sign design should be reflective of the building design and age. Fortney explained that the Commission has been more lenient in the past regarding signage because they are not permanent changes affecting the buildings, subjective, and often change regularly. The Commission recommended approval of the sign by an 8-to-1 vote. The City Council will address the request during an upcoming meeting.

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    COVID Recovery Continues

    The recent COVID pandemic continues to lose its grip on the Hastings area, and Kristy Barse, President of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau recently commented that 2022 was a good year for the lodging industry in Hastings.

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    Getting workers back into businesses continues to be a challenge.

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    Hear the entire interview with Kristy on Community In-Depth.

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    County Township Election Results

    Township Day 2023 occurred on Tuesday, March 14th, and many local townships conducted Spring elections for Township Offices and issues. According to the Dakota County website, Peter Schaffer was elected as a Supervisor for Castle Rock Township, Jim Sipe was elected Supervisor in Hampton, Gloria Pinke received 100 votes to Jacob Meyer's 67 for Supervisor Seat A in Marshan, and John Maher was elected as Township Treasurer. In Nininger, Robert Rotty was voted in as Supervisor and Janet Bremer was selected as Treasurer. Randolph selected Tom Krauter as Supervisor and Lori Wiik as Treasurer. Voters in Randolph also elected to move elections to November of even-numbered years. In Ravenna, Carl Reuter was elected as Supervisor and Jeremy Ladzun and Nicholas Rueger were elected as Supervisor and Treasurer, respectively, in Vermillion. Election results are unofficial until canvassed by Election Boards.

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    Pierce Co. Accident Injures One

    On Tuesday, March 21, at approximately 6:29 AM, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office was notified of a crash with injuries involving a vehicle and a grain trailer near the intersection of County Trunk BB and 870th Ave, in Gilman Township. According to a PCSO press release, a vehicle, driven by 52-year-old Elmwood resident Rebecca Langhus, was traveling northbound on County Trunk BB when she struck a grain trailer, owned by 43-year-old Elmwood resident Adam Webster, that was parked in the lane of traffic while getting filled from a semi-trailer. Langhus was transported to the Western Wisconsin Health Hospital in Baldwin. The PCSO was assisted on scene by Spring Valley EMS, Spring Valley and United Fire Departments, and St. Croix County Sheriffs Office.

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    (Accident photo. Source: PCSO)

    County Seeks Musicians

    Dakota County Parks staff are looking for musicians to play this summer. According to information provided by the County, performers can apply now to perform outdoors at the Music in the Park series at Whitetail Woods Regional Park or at the Summer Solstice event at Thompson County Park. The series is funded through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment and Minnesota Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The mission of this event series is to promote a culture of inclusion, create spaces for community connection, celebrate the diversity of cultures in Dakota County, and bring people together through music. Applications are open to musicians, groups, bands, dancers and other performing artists. The deadline to apply is 4 PM, on April 7. A link to the application form is provided here.

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    Suspected Car Jackers Arrested

    On March 18, at about 5:00 PM, Woodbury Police Officers located a stolen vehicle near the 9100 block of Hudson Road in Woodbury. The occupants were suspected of multiple armed car-jackings in the metro, and an ammo theft in Woodbury. Officers were able to quickly take three suspects into custody at the vehicle. A pistol and an assault rifle were also located inside that vehicle. A fourth suspect was not in the vehicle, but was spotted by officers and subsequently fled on foot. Officers set up a perimeter and searched the area. With the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Oakdale Police and State Patrol, officers were able to locate the fourth suspect after a prolonged search and a tip from a citizen. The subject was located in the 100 block of Jade Trail in Lake Elmo. A total of three adults and one juvenile were taken into custody and were booked at the Washington County Jail. This is still an active investigation.

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    Foodworker's Strike Enters 6th Week

    The SEIU Local 284 Foodworker's Strike reached the six-week milestone on Tuesday, and it does not appear that either side is moving to amend contract offers that have been previously deliberated. A press release from the Union states that more than three dozen elected officials from the Minnesota House and Senate sent letters to Hastings School Board leaders and the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) calling for BMS to get the parties back to the table and find a solution for a fair contract for the Hastings Food Service workers. The Union also says that food service workers have been receiving overwhelming support from community members on the picket lines thanking them for their critical work supporting Hastings families, including multiple deliveries of food and drinks from community members. Union workers have been focusing on how to reach a fair deal to resolve this dispute so students can go back to having hot meals. KDWA has reached out to ISD 200 for comment and are waiting for a response.

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    Hudella Responds To Move At Vets Home

    Following an announcement that two senior officials from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) had been relieved due to the toxic work environment allegations that had been brought against the Hastings Veterans Home, State Representative Shane Hudella (R-Hastings) said he supported the move. Hudella is quoted as saying, "With the Commissioner's actions, I am closing my investigation and will be withdrawing my Data Practices Act and OLA requests and I look forward to continuing to push for funding and legislation in support of the much-needed campus renovation project at the Hastings Veterans Home", adding that, "I will always place our heroic Veterans, and those who care for them, at the top of my list of Minnesotans to fight for at the Minnesota State Capitol." The American Legion Department of Minnesota has also stated their endorsement of Commissioner Herke's move. The Hastings Veterans Home provides shelter and service to approximately 150 residents.

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    Stempski Named Public Works Director

    The Hastings City Council was asked on Monday evening to consider naming Ryan Stempski as the permanent Director of the Hastings Public Works Department. City Administrator Dan Wietecha introduced the request.

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    The Council approved Stempski's appointment by unanimous vote.

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    (Ryan Stempski)

    Hemp Ordinances Deliberated

    On Monday evening, the Hastings City Council took up the issue of amending City Code for the licensure and zoning of hemp sales operations in the City of Hastings. City Attorney Korrine Land briefed the Council on the measures.

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    After discussion of the language of the amendments, allowed retail establishments, and the similarity of State and Local proposals, the Council approved the City Code amendments for Chapter 117 for Cannabis Licensing and Chapter 155 for Cannabis Zoning.

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    Hastings Farmers Awarded

    America's corn farmers proved, once again, they are resilient, innovative, and competitive. By adapting practices, adopting new technology, and doing-more-with-less, America's corn farmers made great contributions in helping to feed and fuel a growing world. It is this innovative spirit that the National Corn Growers Association tips its hat to every year as they honor farmers from across the country for their efforts and exceptional results in the National Corn Yield Contest. Kevin Bauer of Hastings, placed First in the state in the I:Conventional Irrigated Class with a yield of 324.1911 bushels per acre. Paul Beskau of Hastings, placed Second in the state in the I:Conventional Irrigated Class with a yield of 283.7664 bushels per acre. And, Fred Bauer of Hastings, placed Second in the state in the G:No-Till Irrigated Class with a yield of 285.2798 bushels per acre. All three farmers were among 538 state winners of their classes nationwide.

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    PHL Spring Book Sale

    The Pleasant Hill Library Spring Used Book Sale starts on Thursday, and Shirley Tammen of the Friends of the Library provides the details of the event.

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    The Sale runs on Thursday, March 23rd for "Friends of the Library" from 5 to 7 PM, and open to the public on Friday and Saturday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sunday, with a bag sale from 1 to 3 PM. Pleasant Hill Library is located at 1490 South Frontage Road, in Hastings.

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    FHR Art Walk Contest

    The Flint Hills Family Festival has announced the return of its popular ARTwalk, a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade art contest that provides students the opportunity to submit their creative works to a panel of experts. Six winners will receive an Amazon gift card and have their artwork featured in the Ordway's front windows during the week of the Family Festival, May 30 through June 3. The ARTwalk program, which started in 2003, is hosted by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Students can submit their artwork digitally via the ARTwalk webpage.

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    WI Scholarship Program Renewed

    Last week the Wisconsin State Assembly voted with bipartisan support to extend the Wisconsin Merit Scholarship program to provide scholarships to Wisconsin residents based on their academic achievements. Representative for District 93, Warren Petryk, commented on the measure.

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    The scholarships, which provide up to $5,000 a year to students, are awarded to Wisconsin citizens enrolled in UW System schools solely on the basis of their academic excellence.

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    ISD 200 School Board Meeting Preview

    The ISD 200 School Board meets for regular business at 6 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, in the Middle School Media Center. Agenda items include a presentation of Youth in Government Honors, the Superintendents regular report, a Building Construction Fund Update, an update from ISD 917, a first reading of Policy 206, "Public Participation in School Board Meetings/Complaints About Persons at School Board Meetings and Data Privacy Considerations", and a third reading Policy 601, "School District Curriculum and Instruction Goals". The meeting is open to the public.

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    HPD Blotter Report

    The Hastings Police Department logged 30 entries to the Police Blotter for the week ending March 13th. On March 9th at 3:45 PM, officers were dispatched to the 1400 block of North Frontage Road to investigate a report of theft. Hastings officers were assisted by the Police Departments of Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights and the DCSO. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 29-year-old Eagan resident Nikki Cornelious on a charge of robbery. A traffic stop in the 1400 block of Vermillion Street at 3:50 AM on March 11th resulted in the arrest of 62-year-old New Brighton resident Robert Gjerve for an active warrant issued by the FBI. And, at 9:30 PM on the 12th, officers responded to "numerous disturbances" in the 1200 block of Vermillion Street. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 22-year-old Hastings resident Santino Louis Yanez-Tyler for disorderly conduct. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    PPD Blotter Report

    The Prescott Police Department logged 119 entries to the Police Blotter for the week ending March 19th. At 9:05 AM on March 15th, officers were dispatched to the 1200 block of Ash Street for a disturbance call. Investigating officers arrested 45-year-old Prescott resident Angela Lynn Duffy for Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Violence. An activated fire alarm brought officers to the 600 block of Orrin Road at 2:15 AM on the 17th. Investigating officers made contact with the resident and could smell smoke. A Fire Department response determined that the source of the smoke was burned food. No injuries and no damage reported. All persons listed on the blotter report are presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.

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    Indictment Made In Kocurek Case

    Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena announced that Kyle Steven Williams, age 34, of Red Wing, has been indicted by a Dakota County Grand Jury of one count each of Murder in the First Degree (Domestic Abuse), Murder in the First Degree (Premeditated), and Murder in the Second Degree (With Intent/Not Premeditated), in connection with the death of 36-year-old Kelly Jo Marie Kocurek of Hastings on May 23, 2021. The facts and circumstances surrounding this incident are contained in the initial criminal complaint filed in August of 2021, charging Williams with Murder in the Second Degree. The charges in the indictment supersede the prior criminal complaint. Williams made his first court appearance on the indictment on Monday. His current bail is set at $2,000,000 with conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 4th at 1:30 PM, in Hastings.

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    Prescott Kiwanis Student Of The Week

    The Prescott High School Counseling Office reports that the Prescott Kiwanis Student of the Week is Junior Abby Overland. According to a nomination submitted by English Teacher Bonnie McNary, Abby is an exceptional writer in AP English Language and Composition. She consistently challenges herself to hone her rhetorical skills and improve her writing. Abby has the exceptional ability to examine methodically the structure of a text or a writing prompt for purposes of interpretation and explanation. She then formulates a nuanced, defensible claim and supports it with evidence from different perspectives to build a compelling argument that is always insightful and entertaining. Mrs. McNary also commented that it is a joy to read Abby's writing and to have her in class.

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    Habitat For Humanity Buys Hospital Site

    Habitat for Humanity is expecting to have a presence in the City of Cannon Falls, as the organization has announced plans for the former St. John's Hospital location in Cannon Falls. The buildings were demolished last year, and the property, owned by Mayo Clinic Health Systems, was recently sold to Habitat for Humanity. According to reports, development of the property has been a subject of conversation for a few years and Habitat for Humanity is looking forward to what they can do with the property. The purchase agreement with Mayo Clinic is being finalized and won't be official until the beginning of May. Habitat for Humanity is still deciding what to do with the property.

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    WI Secretary Of State Resigns

    Doug La Follette, the Secretary of State for Wisconsin, has resigned his post. First elected to the office in 1974 and reelected a total of ten times, La Follette said in his resignation letter that, "After many years of frustration, I've decided that I don't want to spend the next three and a half years trying to run an office without adequate resources and staffing levels." The Secretary of State in Wisconsin has not overseen elections since 1974 and has almost no official duties. Gov. Tony Evers appointed former State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski to fill out the four-year term.

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    (Doug La Follette. Submitted Photo)

    Veterans Home Seeks New Administrator

    MN Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Herke has announced that there will be changes in leadership at the Hastings Veterans Home. In a memo sent to Department employees, Commissioner Herke is quoted as saying, "MDVA is committed to a positive work environment for all employees and values the health and safety of our Veterans above all. I am aware of ongoing issues that have been raised at the Hastings Veterans Home. I have decided to go in a different direction with the Home's leadership. The last day for Deputy Commissioner Douglas Hughes and Hastings Veterans Home Administrator Mike Anderson was March 18. MDVA thanks them for their service. We will be moving forward with new leadership at the Hastings Veterans Home, and we are looking forward to continuing to make positive changes in the service of our Veterans. MDVA has initiated a search to fill both positions." According to a press release, current Programs & Services Deputy Commissioner Brad Lindsay will transition to the Interim Deputy Commissioner of Healthcare. Craig Smith, a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator who has served as Interim Administrator at several Minnesota Veterans Homes in the past, will assume the interim role of Hastings Veterans Home Administrator.

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    Hastings City Council Meeting Preview

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

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    Local Professionals Advocate For Health Care Staffing

    With the MN Legislature still deliberating how to use an approximate 17-billion-dollar surplus, they don't lack for suggestions from the residents of MN. Kim Blanchard and Rob Halberg, who work at Benedictine Health and Senior Living, both have ideas that advocate for their residents. Kim talked about staffing needs at senior living facilities.

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    Rob had a recent opportunity to make his suggestion on what do do with the surplus.

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    He was able to convey his thoughts during Advocacy Day at the Capitol.

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    Megan Langer Receives Award

    The Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to recognize the winner of the 2023 Governor's Tourism Award Rising Star Award, Megan Langer. This statewide award is presented annually by the Governor and recognizes individuals who are new to the industry who have shown leadership, commitment, and passion for Wisconsin tourism. Langer is the owner and operator of multiple hotels and boutique locations in Prescott, including the Port of Prescott Hotel, the Cove Guest House, and the Harbor Hotel, and her newest endeavor, "Prescott Luxury Transport", a shuttle service that will provide transportation options to those staying, hosting, or seeking to enjoy events in town. The Chamber invites everyone to gather on Thursday, March 23rd at 3:00 pm, at the Cove Guest House to recognize Megan and her team for all they have done for Prescott and the tourism industry.

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    Prescott Parks Meeting Preview

    The Prescott Parks and Public Works Committee meets for regular business at 5 PM on Monday, March 20th. Public Works items include continued discussion of the US 10 and Highway 35 project, vacation of non-improved dedicated rights of way and a garbage request in the 1800 block of Canton Street. Parks items include discussion of proposed County trash receptacles at Magee Park and Phase 2 of Downtown Riverfront Planning. The meeting will be held in the Municipal Building, 800 Borner Street, and is open to the public.   

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    County Board Committee Meetings

    Three committees of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners have meetings scheduled for Tuesday, March 21st. The Community Services Committee of the Whole will meet at 9 AM, followed by the Physical Development Committee of the Whole, then the Special General Government and Policy Committee. All meetings are scheduled for Room L139 in the Western Service Center, 14955 Galaxie Avenue, in Apple Valley, and are open to the public. Meeting agendas are available on the Dakota County website.

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    Goodhue Deputy Completes Leadership Training

    The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office congratulates Detention Deputy Cheylan Edison for completing his Institute for Credible Leadership Development (ICLD) course. According to the GCSO, the ICLD courses are a four phase, on-line, leadership learning system. Each of the phases is divided into modules and the first three phases take approximately 40 hours each to finish. Phase 4 takes approximately 75 hours to finish. Detention Deputy Edison was presented a certificate of completion by Sheriff Marty Kelly during a brief ceremony.

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    (Sheriff Kelly and Detention Deputy Edison. Submitted Photo.)

    Senator Seeberger Supports SS Tax Elimination Bill

    On Thursday, MN State Senator Judy Seeberger entered a "yes" vote on a motion to move forward on the bill to fully eliminate the tax on social security benefits and pensions that do not qualify for social security. Senator Seeberger is quoted as saying "I am proud to have voted 'yes' on a motion to move forward with the bill to eliminate the tax on social security benefits and the tax on pensions for those who do not qualify for social security benefits (including teachers, certain firefighters, police officers, State Patrol members, and more)." She added that she has knocked countless doors on the campaign trail, and heard time and time again that this is a priority to Minnesotans in her district. She added that she will continue the work to progress this bill, which has received bipartisan support, through the legislature. The bill received a vote of 47-19 in favor of the motion and moved to the Senate floor.

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    STORAGE Act Introduced

    Heating barns and drying grain are issues that face farmers in the KDWA listening area during the winter and harvest, and some Department of Homeland Security limits may be outdated regarding the amount of propane that can be stored in a single place. On Friday, US Congressman Brad Finstad of MN District 1 and Rep. Jim Costa of California introduced the bipartisan "Supporting Tools and Opportunities for Rural Ag Growth and Energy", or STORAGE Act, which would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to allow agricultural facilities to increase propane storage capacity beyond the current limit of 14,000 gallons. According to Finstad, farmers depend on a reliable supply of propane for grain drying and barn heating, especially during unpredictably cold winters or unusually wet harvest seasons, adding that he is proud to introduce the STORAGE Act, which would eliminate propane storage barriers for suppliers and agriculture facilities, reducing supply constraints and giving farmers increased access to a critical energy source for their operation.

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    HCTV To Broadcast MN Minx Games

    HCTV is expanding its program listings to now include the MN Minx, a Minnesota's women's tackle football team. According to HCTV, HCTV Sports will be providing coverage for select games for the upcoming spring season. A press release from the Minx said that the Minnesota Minx women's tackle football team is beyond excited about the new partnership with HCTV. Aligning with the Minx's mission to empower women and nonbinary athletes, build community, and grow the sport of football, offering access to the live games they play is crucial. The Minx have hit the ground running as the first team in the WFA (Women's Football Alliance) to partner with a WFA Pro level team, the Minnesota Vixen.

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    Prescott Council Deliberates Badger Box Voting System

    The City of Prescott is considering an update to the voting systems used for elections in Prescott, and on Monday evening, the City Council heard an update about voting and a request to authorize purchase of a "Badger Book" voting system. City Clerk Rashel Temmers briefed the Council.

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    The motion to approve the purchase of a system was tabled pending information on the security of the system, whether or not it's an actual voting option, and the certifications of the program.

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    Prescott K9 Caesar Visits Council

    On Monday evening, Prescott Police Officer Jesse Neely, along with K9 Officer Caesar made a stop at the Prescott City Council meeting to summarize their first months as a team. Officer Neely recounted an early pursuit action.

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    Officer Neely also said that K9 Caesar is very good at detecting narcotics.

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    Hastings Heritage Commission Meeting Preview

    At a meeting scheduled for 7 PM, on Tuesday, March 21st, the Hastings Heritage Preservation Commission will administer the Oath of Office for Commissioner Patricia Bremer. Additional agenda items include Certificate of Approval reviews for a garage rebuild in the 200 block of 7th Street East, and new signage in the 200 block of 2nd Street East. The Commission will also deliberate the Preservation Awards Committee for 2023. The meeting is open to the public.

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    Cannon Falls FFA Team Wins

    The Cannon Falls FFA performed admirably at a recent competition, as the crops team won the Region 8 crops contest held March 6 at Winona Technical College. The team finished first out of nine teams in the event. The 2023 crops contest involved three grain grading problems: the identification of 75 samples including crop, weed seeds and plants, agronomic insects and crop diseases; a soils practicum; an insect practicum; a grain analysis practicum; and a management test on barley and soybean production. Cannon Falls students dominated the top five. Lucas Erickson (parents Jeff and Monica Erickson) took first, Cameron Addington (parents Matt and Leah Addington) second, Gideon Anderson (parents Tim and Heidi Anderson) third; and Ryan Johnson (parents Dale and Nancy Johnson) fourth. Madison Dettman (parents Robert and Ashley Dettman) finished 12th. The top seven teams move on to the state FFA contest April 23-25.

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    (Pictured, from left to right, are Madison Dettman, Gideon Anderson, Lucas Erickson, Ryan Johnson and Cameron Addington. Submitted photo.)

    Farmington Recycling Bin Removed

    The City of Farmington has decided to remove the cardboard recycling dumpsters located behind City Hall and adjacent to Feely's Grain Elevator at 420 Second St. According to a City press release, residents can still use the cardboard recycling dumpsters located between the Maintenance Facility and Police Department off Pilot Knob Road at 19650 Municipal Drive. To account for an expected increase in demand, the city will increase the service capacity for the dumpsters to five days a week. The city asks residents to only place cardboard in the bins. Large quantities of cardboard can also be brought to Recycle Minnesota in Lakeville or the Recycling Zone in Eagan. The City Hall bins were removed on March 16. For more information about trash and recycling collection, visit FarmingtonMN.gov.

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    EPA Sets Preliminary PFAS Thresholds

    On Tuesday, March 14, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced draft Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) as a critical step toward reducing Americans' exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through drinking water. According to a Hastings News Release, the EPA proposes limiting two types of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) to 4 parts per trillion, which is the lowest level that can be reliably measured at this time. The limits are expected to be finalized in late 2023 or early 2024. Several PFAS chemicals (including both PFOA and PFOS) are present in all six Hastings City wells, with measures ranging from 0.16 to 0.84, but do not exceed current MDH guidance values, as determined by a Health Risk Index of 1.0. A Health Risk Index greater than 1.0 is given a drinking water advisory by the MDH. To learn more about PFAS in Hastings, visit the City's PFAS webpage.[v:\N\News Department\2023\03_Mar\Complete\CNS_17_R_Has_EPASetsPrelimPFASThresholds_62.mp3]

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    61 Open House Recap

    The plans for renovation of Highway 61 though Hastings are well under way, and MN DOT recently held an open house at the Hastings City Hall to present preliminary ideas, and gather feedback from the public. MN DOT Project Manager Bryant Ficek recently commented on the open house.

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    The final plans are far from complete and the MN DOT Team is still accepting feedback.

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    Review the current ideas, and provide feedback on the MN DOT 61 Project website.

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    Local Senior Care Employee Recognized

    The month of March has been designated as "National Social Workers Month" and Hastings Health and Senior Living used the opportunity to celebrate one of their own. According to a post on social media, social worker Barb was awarded the naviHealth Gratitude Award for Unwavering Collaboration in February. Barb's dedication to patient care and teamwork with her Skilled In-patient Care Coordinator have led to exceptional outcomes. The management of Hastings Health and Senior Living are grateful to have Barb as a part of the team and commend her on her outstanding work.

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    Hastings Tastings 2023 Nears

    One hallmark of the year in Hastings is Hastings Tastings, a community-wide event that showcases local restaurants and cafes while benefiting Hastings Family Service. As HFS Development and Community Relations Coordinator Kelly Carter explains, the event occurs during Food Share Month.

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    Executive Director Amy Sutton commented on the businesses that participate.

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    Learn more and reserve your spot on the Hastings Tastings page of HastingsFamilyService.org.

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    Mathiowetz Explores "Normal Grief"

    Grief facilitator and Hastings resident Donna Mathiowetz hosts a monthly show on KDWA called "Grieg Chat", for which she uses her years of experience in the world of grief to help those struggling through the grief journey. She has been doing a radio series exploring different kinds of grief and this month's topic is "normal grief". Mathiowetz explains.

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    A Hastings grief group meets on the 4th Thursday of the month at the Tilden Community Center at 6:30 PM.]   

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    Prescott Tourism Committee Gets To Work

    The City of Prescott continues its efforts to attract tourists to the city, and Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce Coordinator Casey Johnson recently sat down in the KDWA studios to talk about the progress of the efforts.

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    Learn more on the Prescott Chamber website.   

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