Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
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For Hastings football fans, there was nothing wrong with the beginning of Friday night's football game against Woodbury. It was the ending that fans here didn't like. Hastings took an early 7-0 lead, then a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Eventually, the Raiders built a nine-point lead at 23-14. In the fourth quarter, though, the Royals scored 15 unanswered points and went on to win the Suburban East Conference matchup, 29-23. Hastings is now 0-2 on the season after a pair of close losses.
Anyone needing proof that the future of the Hastings boys cross country team is bright needs to look no further than the results from the recently-held Dakota Classic. The boys varsity team had a solid sixth-place finish at the meet. The especially good news is that the Raiders' top two runners were sophomores. Runners No. 3 and No. 4 were juniors.
It didn't take long to figure out the Hastings Raiders girls swimming team was vastly superior to their opponents from Forest Lake on Thursday. After just four events, Hastings had built a 41-21 lead. After a 1-2-3 finish in the 500 freestyle and a 1-2 finish in the 200 freestyle relay, Hastings built an 86-38 lead. "Our first home meet was a success," coach Katie McAlpin said. "The girls were in some mixed-up events and still did a great job. They went out and raced hard on every race. We really have a fantastic group of kids this year." The swimmer of the meet was Tyna Jurigova.
The Dakota County Drug Task Force came to Hastings last week and made quite a discovery. They found approximately 300 wild marijuana plants growing in a wooded section of the city. Some of the plants reached as high as 6 to 10 feet. Hastings Police were called to the area after there was a report of several people in the area who were presumably trying to harvest some of the plants.
A bus carrying the Hastings boys soccer team to their game in Roseville Thursday night caught fire, shutting down one lane of Interstate 35E during rush-hour traffic in St. Paul. The fire was minor and was quickly extinguished by the bus driver and the St. Paul Fire Department. A brake line had apparently ruptured. Every time the bus driver applied the brakes on the bus, brake fluid was hitting the brake pads, and flames would flare up. By the time the bus driver, Bill Ziemer, pulled it over, smoke was visible from the rear of the bus.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit in Hastings will be opening sooner than scheduled. The new restaurant will open at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at 1316 S. Frontage Road. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. They feature eight different kinds of meats on sandwiches and dinner plates. The meats include chopped brisket, sliced beef brisket, turkey breast, chicken breast, Polish sausage, ribs, pulled pork and spicy cheddar sausage. They also have 12 different side dishes and non-alcoholic beverages. A special grand opening celebration is planned for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday turned out to be one very memorable day for several Hastings residents. Shortly after President Barack Obama landed at the airport in Bloomington, they were shaking his hand and getting autographs from him. Two-year-old Sasha McCauley even had her arm autographed by the president. Her mother, Bobbie Jo, was right there and couldn't believe it as it was happening. "He was just going through and greeting everybody," Bobbie Jo McCauley said. "He signed another kids' arm next to us, and then saw Sasha.
Stillwater's swimming team is, again, one of the state's top teams. They are the heavy Suburban East Conference favorites and they are ranked No. 2 in the state. The Ponies, though, got quite a scare last week when they faced off against Hastings. Stillwater ended up winning, but only by 11 points. "The girls outswam even our greatest expectations," coach Katie McAlpin said. "A lot of our girls came out of the gate ready to go. Usually, you expect to ease in to the season.
Going into this season, Hastings coach Dana Strain had a couple big goals for his team. Atop that list? Being competitive in every single game. Strain's aim was to have his team in position to win games in the second half. On Friday night against Mounds View, Hastings accomplished just that. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the game ended in a 13-6 loss, but the Raiders were right there with the Mustangs. Last year, Mounds View beat Hastings, 42-7. Hastings fell behind 13-0 in the first half.
Derrick Radke and his fiancée were out for a relaxing weekend on the Mississippi River. They had boated to Prescott from Hastings and had pulled up to shore, where they were going to pitch a tent. That's when Radke noticed what he thought was a muskrat swimming toward the shore. The more they watched the creature, the more they realized it wasn't a muskrat. It was a three-foot-long alligator. A pet owner had apparently let the creature go when it outgrew its home.