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 good friends Randy Johnson and Jim Hunt, Monday morning was supposed to be spent floating on the St. Croix River and catching walleyes. Instead, the two Farmington men escaped tragedy, then spent the new few hours watching from shore as crews fished their truck and trailer out of the water. At 6 a.m., Hunt picked up Johnson and they traveled to the public boat launch in Hastings, located on the Mississippi River. They got the boat in the water, but it wouldn't start and they eventually drained the battery on the boat.
Over five days last week, the Hampton Cardinals played 51 innings of baseball. Thankfully, all those innings mattered as the Cardinals pulled off a major upset Saturday -- twice. The story begins last Tuesday as Hampton and Randolph faced off in the first round of the Class C amateur baseball playoffs in Cannon Falls. After six innings, the game was halted because of rain. It resumed Wednesday and Hampton won. Hampton played Thursday and Friday in Cannon Falls, essentially setting up a big series against Cannon Falls on Saturday.
According to the calendar, the state amateur baseball tournament doesn't start for a few weeks. Don't tell that to the Hastings Hawks, though. They might not believe you. "Our state tournament doesn't start in two weeks," player/manager Adam Barta said. "Our state tournament begins on Friday." Barta says that because on Friday Hastings opens the second round of the playoffs with one very challenging matchup. Hastings will face Miesville in a best-of-five series.
The City of Hastings just took a big step toward significant redevelopment in downtown Hastings. Last week, the city's redevelopment agency approved the purchase agreement for the land occupied by Hudson Manufacturing Co. downtown. The sale price will be just over $3 million. Environmental, survey and title work is under way.
The Hampton Cardinals took a 6-0 lead in playoff action against Randolph on Tuesday night in Cannon Falls, but due to rains the game was postponed. It was to be continued Wednesday night. Results of the game were not available at press time. When the game resumed, the Cardinals had a big task in front of them. Randolph had loaded the bases with nobody out when the game was postponed. Hampton got out to a 2-0 lead when Ryan Giefer hit a two-run home run.
At the end of a long day working at her restaurant, Kim Sawicki comes home and watches shows about restaurants on her television. It's apparently a good thing she does. So far, it is helping her business. Sawicki and Connie Ling are the co-owners of the 2nd Street Depot in downtown Hastings. One of Sawicki's favorite shows is Man vs. Food on the Food Network. Essentially, one very lucky man travels the country to face off against the best challenges restaurants can throw at him.
A six-week-long archaeological excavation recently concluded in downtown Hastings near the Highway 61 bridge. The site was once home to the St. John's hotel and a neighboring saloon. Both were destroyed by one of the largest fires in Hastings history, the Christmas fire of 1899. Crews from Two Pines Resource Group found evidence of the fire, uncovering brick rubble and burned wood and ash. The hotel was rebuilt and stood on the site until 1983. Many artifacts from the site's time as a hotel were uncovered, including broken fragments of bottles, dishes and glassware.
The weeklong vacation had gone so well. Eric Olson made a homemade potato gun that he was firing all over the place. He turned his kayak into a sailboat of sorts, outfitting it with a big tarp so he could sail all over Big Wood Lake near Grantsburg, Wis. Over the years, his grandmother's cabin there had provided the Olsons the perfect place for a summer getaway. But on July 31, 2009, all that changed in an instant. Olson, a 2000 graduate of Hastings High School, ran down the aluminum dock like he had hundreds of times before.
The best case for Michael Conzemius on Saturday? It will be that he is safely pulled from the waters of the Mississippi River after falling from a platform 30 feet high while thousands of people clap and laugh at him. Worst case? He lands on a flying (kind of) penalty box. Welcome to the Red Bull Flugtag. Conzemius, a 2005 Hastings graduate, and his college buddies from Saint John's University are one of just 35 teams who were accepted to compete in the Twin Cities version of the event, planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Harriet Island in St. Paul.
In the early 1970s, Harvey and Rita Kirchner purchased a home along Goodwin Avenue and the family put down its roots in rural Hastings. Turns out, the countryside was just the right thing for their daughter, Rollie, who lived with them at the time they moved here. The countryside is something Rollie grew to love, and the same could be said for Hastings. Put the two together, and you end up with one very cool calendar. Rollie, who has since married and now goes by the name Rollie Brandt, is a well known painter in Minnesota.