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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Hastings resident Scott Burr continues to show improvement a little at a time. Burr suffered a heart attack two days before Thanksgiving and has been at United Hospital in St. Paul since. Doctors pronounced him brain dead at one point, but he woke up the next day and recognized everyone around him. He had been battling pneumonia and his kidneys were failing.
Over the last 17 weeks, I've had the honor of eating 17 different burgers at 17 different area restaurants. All 17 were served on buns. No. 18 is a bit different. I enjoyed the Quesadilla burger at Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar on Highway 61 in Hastings last week. The inside was what you'd expect: pico de gallo, lettuce, pepperjack cheese and Mexi-ranch sauce. But instead of nestling all that between a bun, it's all placed between two grilled tortillas. For what it's worth, you could also get it with chicken instead of beef. The variation was a welcome choice.
One day before Thanksgiving, doctors looked Cassie Finwall in the eye and told her that her father was brain dead. Scott Burr of Hastings had suffered a heart attack and despite heroic rescue efforts, the damage was too severe. That Wednesday night, Burr's relatives gathered in a chapel at United Hospital and said their goodbyes to him. The next day, he woke up and said, "Hi." Since then, Burr's four children, his ex-wife and numerous family members have been on a rollercoaster ride. Good news one day.
You've driven by the House of Coates a hundred times. It's that little place on the side of the road near where Highway 52 and County Road 46 intersect just west of Hastings. You've probably never stopped. Well, you should. Their burgers are out of this world. And the star of the show is the patty. The huge half-pound pieces of velvety beef are hand formed and dropped between enormous and fluffy buns. Choose a loaded up Swanee Burger, or a regular old cheeseburger. It doesn't matter.
Gobblegait 2008 will go down in the record books. It was the biggest Gobblegait yet. There were 2,150 runners/walkers at the event, held in downtown Hastings Thanksgiving morning. That's about 200 more participants than last year. That means that Hastings Family Service will receive a check from Gobblegait organizers for $70,000. It's a big shot in the arm for the local food shelf, and it's coming at a time when demand at HFS is going up. And there's more good news. Donations of food were through the roof this year. On Monday morning, HFS finally finished organizing the donations.
There's something great about Saturdays in the fall. College football is on TV and guys like me just want to head to the Green Mill Restaurant, space out for a couple hours, get a burger and watch the game. And that's exactly what I would have done at lunchtime on Saturday, had there not been a sleeping little boy in my house. The solution? Stay home and order out. For burgers. From the comfort of my sofa, I dialed 438-9191, ordered the Blaze Burger and about 30 minutes later, a kind lady delivered the burger to my doorstep.
Two short months ago, Hastings native Ryan Gelhar laid flat on his back in a coma. Today, he's home for Thanksgiving. It's an outcome the Gelhars had dreamed and prayed for, but one they weren't planning on. Ryan had fallen about 15 feet through a garage ceiling. He landed on concrete. He suffered a traumatic brain injury. Who knew what to expect? And for 10 days, nobody knew what to expect. Would he make it out of this coma? What would he be like when he did come out? Would he remember his wife, Heidi (Cordell)?
Not everyone in Hastings had a snowman in their front yard for Thanksgiving. But not everyone has Jim Plan for a grandfather. On Sunday, Nov. 23, Kari Plan and her fiancé, Nick Gruden, heard a bunch of racket outside their home at 311 W. Sixth St. It was Plan unloading snow from his truck. "We were quite surprised," Kari Plan said. "We didn't know what was outside throwing what in our front yard at first." Jim Plan is a groomer at Afton Alps. The ski resort is busy making snow these days, so Plan loaded up his truck full of the white stuff on Sunday.
Pronouncing Castlewellen is easy. Pronouncing Celts isn't. As for Celts, think of it like this: Kelts. As for Castlewellen, think of it like this: Yummy. This week's featured burger was massive. Two big patties, two kinds of cheese, Thousand Island dressing, lettuce and onions made up the tall and tasty creation. I added seasoned waffle fries and, well, didn't need any dinner. The burger stuck together pretty well, something I feared wouldn't happen when I saw it arrive. And it was good. There was a lot of flavor between those two toasted buns.
A young bald eagle was released back into the wild Sunday afternoon at the Great River Road Learning Center at Freedom Park in Prescott. The bald eagle was born this spring and found this summer near Cannon Falls. It was skinny and unhealthy. The eagle was nursed back to health at the University of Minnesota Raptor Rehabilitation Center.