Chad Richardson has been the general manager and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette since 2007. 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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In the winter of 2004-05, Gerry Rupp came out of coaching retirement and took his old job as head swimming coach at Hastings High School. That first year he was back, his team didn't win a single meet. But those athletes he first saw as eighth-graders got a little bit better over the years, and all that improvement was showcased over the weekend at the state swimming meet at the University of Minnesota.
Six members of the Hastings wrestling team earned All State honors at last weekend's Minnesota State High School League state wrestling tournament. In all, eight wrestlers from Hastings qualified. There was one state champion from Hastings, one state runner-up, two third-place finishers and two fourth-place finishers. The strong showing at state capped another great season in Hastings wrestling. "We're just proud of how the kids wrestled, and proud of the great support we had up there," HHS coach Paul Vaith said.
Hastings senior Luke Vaith became the eighth wrestler in school history to win a state wrestling title. And it took an upset win over the nation's third-ranked wrestler to do it. Vaith, whose father, Paul, is the Hastings head coach, has been wrestling since preschool. His aim all those years was a state title, and on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul, he hit the mark. He secured the title with a 5-0 win in the finals, capping a 42-4 season.
If ever there was someone destined to open a child care facility at the old Cooper Elementary School in Hastings, it would be Robin Siebenaler. She grew up in Hastings and watched as her mother, Faith Siebenaler, operated a daycare out of her home. And as a kindergartener, she attended Cooper. Robin Siebenaler attended college, studied child development and child care at Dakota County Technical College (as well as psychology at Metro State) and then opened her own in-home daycare in Hastings. "I just love kids," Siebenaler said. "I love watching them grow.
For most guys, Valentine's Day usually revolves around wearing nice clothes, stuffy and crowded restaurants and a big bill - both from the restaurant and the jewelry store. For two Hastings guys, though, this Valentine's Day consisted of fathead minnows, jumbo perch and a small northwoods cabin. And the wives were along for every minute of it. The end result? A fun weekend getaway that even the ladies liked.
A complaint has been filed against Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom for a chain of e-mails that played a role in a defense witness' decision not to testify at a murder trial. He denies any wrongdoing in the case. The case was at trial in November 2008 and involved Nicole Beecroft. She was accused of stabbing her newborn daughter more than 100 times. Backstrom did not prosecute the case, which was held in Washington County. The complaint alleges Backstrom wrote Dakota County medical examiner Dr. Lindsey Thomas three times before and during the trial.
Talk about pressure. Sheesh. There I?sat with the world of toppings at my fingertips, and I didn't know which way to go. I had decided to get the half-pound Works burger at the Stein Haus in Vermillion. But the catch is that you can put whatever you want on the thing. Sounds like a dream, right? But with all the possibilities, I didn't know which way was up. Finally, I?decided to get my Works burger loaded up with pepper cheese, fried onions, jalapenos, mushrooms and bacon. I don't know why it was called the Works burger -- I didn't get any work done the rest of the day.
In the dead of winter, open water isn't exactly easy to find in Minnesota. Unless, of course, you are on the Mississippi River between Hastings and Red Wing. The massive Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant spews so much relatively warm water during the winter months that an expansive stretch of the Mississippi River stays mostly ice free. Open water can be found just upstream from the Red Wing dam and then downstream for miles. And where there is open water, there are fishermen. Head to Red Wing in March or April, and you are bound to be overwhelmed by the number of boats.
About 20 years ago, a Hastings woman then named Suzie Mathews (now named Suzie Dillon) needed a massage. The one she got changed her life. This week, Dillon opened the new location for Lilypad Day Spa at 103 Sibley Street across from the Levee Café in downtown Hastings. For the past two years, she has operated out of the Elm Salon on Fourth Street. Way back when, Dillon strode into the Regina Medical Center and got a massage by Sandy (Sommers) Burdine.
I could sense the fear in my wife's voice. First, she agreed to meet a bunch of newspaper geeks out for lunch, then her burger at Karl's Red Rock Cafe in downtown Hastings showed up with no cheese. Just as she was on the verge of panic, a co-worker of mine stepped up and put her at ease. "The cheese is inside the burger," he said. "What?" she asked. "The cheese is inside." "Shut-up." She didn't believe. Then she cut the burger in half. And she believed. Inside her burger were jalapenos and cheese. It was the eve of Christmas Eve, yet she already had a present delivered to her.