AUSTIN — The Hormel Foundation has approved a $500,000 grant for the Cedar River Watershed District to be matched with $500,000 in state funds to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Most of the matching funds from the state come from the bonding bill passed in October by the Legislature under the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ flood-hazard mitigation program.

In 2015, The Hormel Foundation granted $3.2 million to CRWD to begin its five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to build upland-storage projects mainly in the watershed’s headwater areas. CRWD matched that grant with $3.4 million in state and local funding.

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The $1 million allows CRWD staff to work with landowners in the headwaters of Dobbins Creek on potential projects for building earthen berms that temporarily store large amounts of stormwater and snow melt, which reduces the chance of flooding downstream, particularly in and around Austin.

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"Everyone who lives in the Cedar River Watershed can be very thankful for the significant and ongoing support of The Hormel Foundation,” said CRWD Administrator Justin Hanson. “Together, we are making a difference with these upland-storage projects, and others from across the state are learning from this work.”

CRWD’s initial five-year goal for its capital improvement project initiative was achieved in 2020 thanks to the original $3.2 million grant from The Hormel Foundation and another $3.4 million in state and local funding that built 14 projects, including 11 upland-storage structures in the Dobbins watershed. Nearly 3,000 acres of mostly cropland now are controlled by CIP projects in the Dobbins watershed that is prone to flash flooding.

Winona Public Library closes services due to COVID-19

WINONA — As of Thursday, the Winona Public Library closed, pausing its curbside services, including materials pickup and dropoff, due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19.

That staff member has been quarantined and has not been in the library since Monday.

Residents will not be able to pick up materials they have requested, but the materials will be available to them as soon as the library reopens. No new materials will be able to be requested, and the drop off will be closed.

"We're asking our patrons to be understanding and patient during this time," said library director Lezlea Dahlke. "We're closing out of an abundance of caution, there was no risk of exposure to the public, and we're following the safety plan we've had in place since the pandemic's start."

The library continues to provide other services virtually, including youth programming and activities, at its website,, or the library's Facebook page. For more information, call the library at (507) 452-4582.

Dodge County to hold Truth in Taxation via Zoom

MANTORVILLE — The 2020 Dodge County Truth in Taxation public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Due to COVID-19, this year's meeting will be held a Zoom virtual meeting or via telephone.

For information on access to the meeting, visit the Dodge County website at or call (507) 635-6239 prior to the meeting.

Individuals with property valuation questions or concerns can call the Dodge County Assessor’s Office at (507) 635-6245.

Upper Mississippi River 2020 navigation season ended Nov. 30

ST. PAUL — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, locked its last tow of the season Nov. 30 to end the navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River.

"The Colonel" locked through Hastings on Nov. 30. The first tow of the 2020 season went through April 6.

The St. Paul District's navigation program provides a transportation system for the movement of commercial goods and for national security needs. Keeping this system open is vital to the nation's economy.

Winona Health receives $20,000 gift from Canadian Pacific Railway

WINONA — Canadian Pacific Railway donated $20,000 to Winona Health’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program to benefit patients participating in Winona Health’s phase II cardiopulmonary program.

Winona Health’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation professionals monitor an average of 80 to 100 rehab visits per week, and adds more than 100 new patients to its care annually. The Canadian Pacific grant will directly fund the department’s cardiac monitoring system.

“We have a strong team of rehabilitation specialists here at Winona Health, and this generous gift from Canadian Pacific will enhance our ability to more efficiently care for our clients," said Lynn Sprain, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program manager. "Technology changes quickly, and it is expensive. This is a very welcomed gift that will benefit our patients and our community now and for years to come.”