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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Monday through Friday at 8 a.m., Rene Doffing punches the time clock and digs in to a stack of paperwork. His routine is similar to those of many office employees in Hastings every Monday. But what makes Doffing different is that he was fired three years ago by the same place he is working for today. That place is the Hastings Police Department. That firing, though, was eventually overturned and Doffing was allowed to return to work. Matters were complicated when criminal charges were brought against Doffing, including two felonies.
Last week could have been really good for Joe O'Brien Chevrolet in Hastings. Instead, it was just another week at the office for the dealership, located on Highway 316. Early last week, letters began arriving at selected General Motors dealerships across the country. The letters told of good news: 661 dealers were being reinstated.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union opened in Hastings last week, and the business is doing what it can to get the word out that anyone living in the state can be a member. While the business got its start for state and county employees some 80 years ago, much has changed, and anyone can join. Affinity Plus is located at 1731 N. Frontage Road in the strip mall adjacent to Walmart. What exactly is a credit union? They are member-owned, not-for-profit organizations.
Hastings' newest independent insurance agent isn't new to Hastings at all. He's Brian Schommer, a lifelong resident of Hastings and a 1985 graduate of HHS. Last week, he opened Schommer Insurance at 2134 Vermillion St., adjacent to Gordy's Glass. Schommer spent the last four and a half years at Country Insurance, working out of Cottage Grove. He's happy to be out on his own as an independent agent, saying he's now able to offer his clients more flexibility. "There were a lot of circumstances that went into me going out on my own," Schommer said. "It just felt right.
The Hastings boys basketball team has an opportunity Friday night to do something no other team from Hastings has done - qualify for the state tournament. Hastings will play Owatonna at 6:30 p.m. at the Rochester Civic Center. The winner advances to the state tournament and will play next Wednesday at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. The loser goes home. "This is where we wanted to be," first-year coach Chad Feikema said "This has been our goal.
Most school teachers find fun summer jobs.
If all goes as planned, the city of Hastings will have a new police chief by July. Since current chief Mike McMenomy announced last month that he would be retiring at the end of May, city staff, council members and the three police commissioners have been busy figuring out how the process of hiring a new chief will work. At a recent public safety committee meeting, Hastings City Administrator Dave Osberg laid out the following timeline: At its April 5 meeting, the city council will be asked to give its approval to begin advertising for the position.
Hastings High School's Elliot Wilcox saved his best for last. The decorated Hastings swimmer placed second in two events at the state meet Saturday night at the University of Minnesota. In the process, he broke a 15-year-old school record and earned All-American honors. "Elliot had a strong state meet," Hastings swim coach Gerry Rupp said. "It was quite a statement from him." Wilcox got his meet off to a great start Friday by swimming the fastest time in the 50 prelims at 21.11 seconds.
The present looks bright for the Hastings boys swimming team. And so does the future. The present? Hastings senior Elliot Wilcox qualified for two events at this weekend's state swimming meet at the University of Minnesota. He has the second-fastest qualifying time in the100 freestyle, and the fourth-fastest time in the 50 freestyle. The future? There are just two eighth-grade swimmers who qualified to race in individual events. Both are from Hastings.
The Hastings boys basketball team is back to .500, thanks to a three-game winning streak. Hastings beat Park on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to improve to 11-11 on the season with three games to play. Those three games won't be easy ones by any stretch, as the Raiders face White Bear Lake (16-7), Forest Lake (18-5) and Stillwater (17-6).