What made news in 2017
Lots of news has been printed on the pages of the Hastings Star Gazette over the past year.
We've compiled a review of some of the stories that made headlines in 2017.
Voters say yes to levy
The Hastings School District got a vote of confidence when voters approved a two-question referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot. The $49.5 million bond passed with 66 percent of votes and an operating levy worth $1.3 million a year garnered 62 percent.
Funds from the bond will be made available to update the district facilities for safety and security, deferred maintenance, 21st century learning, community shared spaces and technology. The operating levy will help the district pay for general school operations.
Target announces closure
One of Hastings' largest retailers announced its will close in February 2018. Located at 875 General Sieben Drive, the local Target store opened in March 2000. A Target spokeswoman said the decision was not made lightly, but it was a result of seeing several years of decreasing profitability.
The store will remain open until Feb. 3.
Longtime Star Gazette reporter memorialized at State Fair
A wrought-iron "Tree of Life" bench at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds was dedicated to former Hastings Star Gazette reporter Scott Pengelly. Pengelly, who died unexpectedly on Dec. 29, 2016, was a longtime Hastings resident.
Friends, family and former colleagues at the Department of Natural Resources gathered to celebrate the man described on the bench inscription as "dedicated DNR spokesman, outdoorsman, conservationist, State Fair enthusiast and friend." The bench was paid for with donations from friends and colleagues.
Schoen resigns amid sexual harassment allegations
State Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, announced his resignation from the Legislature Nov. 22 following a published report alleging he sexually harassed multiple women in politics. His resignation was effective Dec. 15, one of two male lawmakers to resign following sexual misconduct allegations.
Gov. Mark Dayton called a special election for Feb. 12 to fill the vacant seat. Republican Denny McNamara and DFLer Karla Bigham are running in the special election.
Gobble Gait celebrates 20 years
It was the 20th anniversary of Gobble Gait, the annual 2K and 8K Thanksgiving Day race. About $127,000 was donated to Hastings Family Service. The race started in 1998 and has surpassed donations from previous years for two decades.
Fire chief goes back to work following admin leave
Hastings Fire Chief Mike Schutt went back to work following an investigation. The City Council voted 4-3 that no disciplinary action would be taken against Schutt. Schutt was placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 30. An ongoing city investigation took place while he was on leave.
New Allina Health clinic opens
The brand new Allina Health Hastings Clinic facility located at 1880 N. Frontage Road opened Nov. 6. The new clinic is part of a $63 million investment Allina Health has made in the community.
The clinic houses 36 providers, 140 support staff members, including lab and X-ray technicians, clinical assistants, nurses and business office staff. Primary care services from the First Street clinic relocated to the new facility.
A free, family-friendly community grand opening celebration is expected to be held in spring of 2018.
Artists move into Artspace lofts
Tenants of Artspace began moving in to their lofts in August. The new development at the corner of Tyler and Second streets in downtown Hastings features 37 affordable live-work units for artists, as well as outdoor green space, an art gallery space and public retail space.
Lin Warren retired as choral director at Hastings High School after 33 years shaping the music program into what it is today. Warren said he had butterflies in his stomach when he started at HHS in 1984.
At the final show choir competition in Nashville, the HHS principal Mike Johnson overheard Warren tell the students, "It's not enough to impress people, it has to be where you're inspiring people." Johnson said the quote sums up Warren's career. He sets high expectations for students and even higher expectations for himself, Johnson said.
With Warren's retirement, a new teacher entered the music department in the fall under the same name. Warren's son, Luke Warren, was hired on as the new vocal music teacher.