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A $600,000 federal grant announced this month will fund assessments of chemical contamination on properties in Hastings and other parts of Dakota County, with the hope to spur redevelopment. Funded through an Environmental Protection Agency brownfield grant — sites for which redevelopment could be complicated due to chemical contamination — the Dakota County Community Development Agency's work, will likely start in August or September. In Hastings, the work will focus on sites along the Vermillion Street corridor.
Taylor Wickberg always dreamed of teaching overseas. Now, as a member of the Peace Corps, the Hastings native is doing just that. Wickberg left for Gambia in early June to teach literacy and assist teachers in the African country. It's the third time she's done some form of work overseas, she said. "I'm just really excited to go over there and do my job," Wickberg said. "I'm only 23, I'm making a huge jump. I'm super ready."
On Saturday, First District Judge Jerome Abrams sat in a Washington Technology Magnet School classroom in St. Paul. On his left and his right were typical courtroom employees, clerks and a courtroom reporter. For the day, Abrams split time with fellow judge Jamie Cork away from their typical Dakota County courtrooms. The two were spending their time at a warrant resolution event meant to help people with misdemeanors find a resolution — which could range from paying fines to rescheduling a court date or other ways to move forward.
The Dakota County Historical Society will haul its World War I exhibit — mock trench and all — to the Mall of America on Memorial Day weekend. The exhibit contains a range of displays, from interpretive text banners, propaganda posters, a roughly 10-by-10-foot wooden replica trench and more. The historical society hopes that the event will expose a far greater audience to its offerings than it typically gets in a year.
A preliminary eastern Dakota County transit study received a lukewarm reception at a county board meeting on Tuesday. The study's draft included eight different potential transit options — three of which focused on Hastings. Eastern Dakota County and Hastings in particular have long lacked transit options due to lower population and job densities, compared to the western half of the county, said Joe Morneau, a senior transportation specialist with the county.
We're coming up on the end of Slim Down with Rivertown and kudos to you for keeping up with it to the best of your ability. The final weigh-in is on May 8 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course in River Falls and it will be exciting for the prizes awarded and the general celebration of the last 13 weeks. Over the course of the challenge, we've covered a wide breadth of topics — from wellness tips, workout tips and some mental health tips, too.
Brian Kopperud has picked up four different hitchhikers leaving the Dakota County Jail along Highway 55. "I've been told that if I keep walking, someone will pick me up," he said one of the hitchikers told him.
APPLE VALLEY — Dakota County legislators discussed a range of hot issues in the current legislative session at a town hall on Saturday. Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, Rep. John Huot, DFL-Rosemount, and Rep. Robert Bierman, DFL-Apple Valley, took a series of written questions at the event at Falcon Ridge Middle School. Across an hour and a half, the DFL legislators talked to a modestly sized and mostly polite crowd — aside from one brief outburst over a question on gun control.
The Dakota County Board of Commissioners discussed federal grant funding and urged the county's engineers to take another look at an upcoming road project that slices through some farmland at its board meeting on Tuesday. The road project would reconstruct 240th Street to a two-lane highway from Highway 3 to Blaine Avenue, near Castle Rock Township, and connect it to 245th Street. The project has been drawn out in efforts to minimize the alignment's effects on farmland in the area.
Liz Workman, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners chair, touted the upcoming SMART Center and noted the county's challenges at the State of the County on Wednesday morning. Workman and Matt Smith, Dakota County manager, focused on affordable housing, mental health and public safety during the address at the Ames Center in Burnsville. Much of the event took place in the form of a moderated question-and-answer session where Workman and Smith answered a wide range of general questions on different aspects of the county.