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Letters to the editor: Thanks for support of school district; Keep the wreath white

Thanks for support of school district

My Thanksgiving Day started with listening to the Hastings Middle School choir singing the National Anthem at the Gobble Gait starting line, watching a Vikings win, sharing a meal with family, and wrapped up learning a new card game from my kids (with some help from Wikipedia to sort out the "real" rules). What a lot I have to be thankful for!

In the quiet after such a busy, joyous day I am reflecting on other things that I am thankful for. As chair of the District 200 School Board, one thing I am very thankful for is the strong show of support from our community for the recent school bond and levy. The bond and levy were each passed by substantial margins on Nov. 7 by the voters of our school district.

These votes of support for our school district reflect just how much our community values education and reinforces that our school district is going in the right direction with both facility investment and education operation. Over the next three years you will be able to see the physical investment in our school facilities take place, and can be assured that responsible maintenance is being undertaken. It will be harder to see the operating levy funds being used to optimize our students' classroom experiences, but know that these funds will be used to minimize impacts from declining enrollment. Specifically the operating levy funds will be maintaining small class sizes, supporting offered programs, and assuring strong, continuously improving curriculum.

Thank you all. The school board and students of District 200 are deeply appreciative of your support.

Lisa Hedin

Hastings School Board chair

Keep the wreath white

The Hastings Fire Department has again placed a large wreath on the fire station with all white lights; the wreath will stay in place from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. For every preventable structure fire, within the response area of the Hastings Fire Department, a white bulb will be replaced by a red bulb; our goal is to have all white lights remaining on the wreath at the end of the holiday season.

During the holiday season it is important to remember some simple safety precautions we can take to keep our families and homes safe. Cooking continues to be one of the top causes for fires in the home; please remember to never leave cooking unattended and never store combustibles on or in your stove. Holiday lights, and the many extension cords and multi-plugs which go along with them, should be inspected for frayed and damaged wires; exposed wires can cause fires and injury to anyone handling or coming in contact with them. Candles should be placed in an appropriate container to keep them secure. Place candles away from things which can catch fire; never leave candles unattended. Christmas trees should be cut before securing in a stand and keep them freshly watered to avoid drying out. Place Christmas trees at least three feet away from any heat source including candles, fireplaces, heaters, and always unplug lights prior to leaving the home and before sleeping.

These are just a few safety reminders to help our community keep the wreath white this year and make this holiday season safe for you and your families.

Happy Holidays from the Fire Department family to you and yours.

John Townsend

Hastings assistant fire and EMS director