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Dakota County and the Vermillion River Watershed have played a leadership role in how to understand and address groundwater and surface water contamination from agricultural activities through the Agricultural Outreach program, developed as a result of the Hastings Area Nitrate Study. At its regular meeting this week, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved an extension of the contract with the University of Minnesota to continue this program through June 2012.
Dakota County has renewed its commercial auto insurance with Travelers Insurance for an annual premium of $174,328, or a 3.1 percent increase over the current premium. The policy is in place from July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2012, with a liability coverage limit per claim of $500,000 and a per-accident limit of $1,500,000, which are consistent with the county's liability limits under Minnesota law. The policy covers the county's 319 vehicles in the sheriff, parks, and transportation departments. The county has experienced significantly fewer losses over the past year.
The outreach of bringing news about Jesus Christ to the Hastings community began last fall when the Community of Hope began its campus in Hastings. It began holding worship services at Hastings High School. Now, the church services are moving to more visible location - the community room at Premier Bank, 909 Vermillion St.
Air Force Capt. Ryan Ernst of Hastings was recently presented the Bronze Star and the Army Accommodation Medal. According to the narrative read at the Bronze Star medal presentation, "1LT (first lieutenant - he has since been promoted to captain) Ernst distinguished himself through exceptionally meritorious service in a combat zone from Oct. 22, 2010 to June 30, 2011, while assigned as the S-7, Information Operations Officer, Nangarhar Provincial Reconstruction (PRT), Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations.
Students in School District 200 will be in classes for a longer period of time beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Elementary through high school students will be in school from 20 to 25 minutes longer each day. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, the Hastings district had ranked 403rd of about 450 school districts for the amount of time students were in classes. At the high school, students will begin classes at 7:50 a.m. and be dismissed at 2:40 p.m. Students will be in classes six hours and 30 minutes.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School's eighth-grade celebrated its graduation June 1 with a Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. The students planned the Mass and it included songs and readings selected by them. The evening opened with the song, "My Wish," sung by the eighth-grade class with classmate Reggie Bauer accompanying on the piano. During the Mass their teachers, past and present, were recognized for their contributions to their character and education. The class brought up mementos that represented each year they attended SEAS School and placed them on the altar.
The Minnesota Nonpublic School Accrediting Association (MNSAA) has accredited St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Hastings for the eligibility period of 2011 to 2017. Seton School has been accredited for many years. Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance with a goal to evaluate, validate, and improve each school's quality.
Allie Marshall, Mackenzie Lucas, Daniel Green, and Courtney Boucher want to talk one more time with their fellow Hastings High School grads, families and friends. And they will get that chance at this year's commencement ceremony, set for Friday, June 3. The four are the commencement speakers. They were selected after an audition process which was open to all graduating seniors.
For years, there has been a Festival of Nations in St. Paul. People attending learned about the different countries through displays, musical activities, and of course, the food specialties. Hastings' St. Elizabeth Ann Seton sixth-grade students held their own Festival of Nations Friday afternoon at the school, and, judging by the enthusiasm and energy level, it was a very popular event. Social studies/language arts teacher Colleen Petersen had introduced her sixth-grade students to different societies and cultures of the world in a variety of ways. Egypt was a focal point for years.
Maria Tovar and her two young sons Eduardo and Jesus' approached the registration desk at the Hastings Area YMCA last Thursday morning. Her membership badge was scanned and, immediately, the attendant behind the desk came around to the front. She shook Tovar's hand and the attention began. "She's the one millionth visitor," someone yelled out. As of shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, May 19, Tovar has the distinction of being this YMCA's one-millionth visitor. The location opened here on Sept.