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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More than 2,000 area residents turned out Saturday to watch eight birds of prey released back into the wild at the Carpenter Nature Center along the St. Croix River. A broadwing hawk, a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk were among the birds released. All were nursed back to health by the Raptor Center, housed at the University of Minnesota. For Carpenter Nature Center, it's a unique opportunity to let nature impact the lives of those in attendance. "With the nature center, we protect habitat, but teaching people is our key mission," said Jen Vieth, the development director at Carpenter.
After a rough first two weeks of the season, the Hastings football team finally got a taste of the good life on Friday night with a 21-7 win over Park of Cottage Grove. "It has been a good week," Hastings coach Dana Strain said. "It is nice to have a good day on the field and to get our offense going." After a scoreless first quarter, Hastings put up 21 points in the second quarter. Park scored its touchdown in the second, too, but couldn't stop the Raiders in the second. "For the most part, we were better than they were up front," Strain said.
The Hastings boys cross country team finished ninth out of 22 teams at the annual Rochester Mayo Invitational last week. "Our guys are running as a real solid group," Hastings coach John Dewall said. "They're all pretty close together, and that makes a huge difference. If you can put seven guys pretty close together, you're going to score some solid points. "If everybody can pick it up and cuts a minute, we are in the top three.
Through the first half of Thursday's home swimming meet between Hastings and East Ridge, it appeared as though the Raptors were the top team. Just before the break and after the 50 freestyle, East Ridge held a 35-27 lead over Hastings. But Hastings coaches knew what most fans certainly couldn't have known - that the Raptors had stacked their lineup in the first half of the meet. In the second half of the meet, Hastings came roaring back and went on to win 90-80. "It was an amazing meet," Hastings coach Katie McAlpin said. "We went into the meet wanting a 4-0 record and we came out on top.
The Hastings boys soccer team put together two wins in row last week after a 2-1 win over Forest Lake on Thursday. Hastings beat New Richmond earlier in the week. The wins were the first two of the season for Hastings. "We finally got the monkey off our back with our win against New Richmond, and then we followed it right up with this win against Forest Lake," Hastings coach Shane Lanning said. "It was good to have back-to-back wins. That gives the guys some confidence going into this week." Hastings fell behind early, surrendering a goal just a few minutes into the game.
Hastings volleyball coach Rita Girgen is convinced her team has what it takes to finish the season with more wins than losses. Right now, though, that isn't playing out on the court. Hastings has a 2-10 record, and Girgen and the team members are hard at work to get things turned around. "I can't sit here and say the record isn't disappointing," Girgen said, "but as long as we are trying to take the right steps forward and getting progress, that's the important thing. "I do believe we are better than a .500 team.
Last season, the Hastings girls tennis team had what most people would consider a very strong season. But throughout the season, it seemed like whenever there was a really close Suburban East Conference match, the victory went to the opponent. There were some very close losses, and the team vowed this season to not let history repeat itself. Evidence of this could be found in last week's match against Stillwater. Hastings beat Stillwater this year, 5-2. "Everyone from last year's team is back, and they all remember that match from last year," head coach Craig Raway said.
An outbreak of hepatitis C in the Hastings area has fanned concerns here about the use of heroin by young adults in Hastings. Over the summer, the Minnesota Department of Health learned that 12 Hastings-area residents were diagnosed with the disease. More often than not, the disease is spread by sharing drug needles. The 12 residents range in age from 16 to 26. A total of 16 cases were reported in Dakota County during the first half of 2009.
The Hastings boys soccer team had a big goal going into this year's season. It was to be more offensive and, ultimately, that means their goal was to score more goals. Through the first seven games of the year, the team wasn't able to accomplish that, scoring twice as they began the campaign with an 0-7 mark. On Monday, though, things turned around a bit for the Raiders as they beat a non-conference opponent, New Richmond, 2-1. Hastings coach Shane Lanning said the Raiders switched up their formation, adding an extra body up front.
The Hastings swimming team scored a big Suburban East Conference win last week, beating the Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders in a meet that came down to the final event, 91-79. With just one event remaining for the night, Hastings held a slim 81-75 lead over Cretin. That final event, the 400 freestyle relay, ended up being a good one for the Raiders. Hastings teams placed first and third, earning the team 10 points, all the margin the Raiders would need to get the win. The swimmer of the meet for Hastings was Brina Kari, who won the 50 freestyle and took second in the 100 backstroke.