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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Firefighters in Hastings were busy Tuesday afternoon fighting a pair of fires in the city's south side. There was a fire inside Twin City Container, located in the industrial park. The extent of the damage is not known at this time. There also was a grass fire off Glacier Way. That fire appeared to be serious, as high winds fanned the flames. More information on the fires will be posted as it becomes available.
On Wednesday, April 7, Bon Jovi is playing a sold-out show at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. 2007 Hastings High School graduate Patrick Sieben is hoping his band, Select 3, will go on stage right before Bon Jovi, but he needs your help to accomplish that. His band and seven others are vying for The Big Break, a promotion through KQRS radio. Th two bands that get the most votes will be selected to open for Bon Jovi. Voting is being held online at http://92kqrs.com/Article.asp?id=1750616 . Voting ends at 1 p.m.
When Pizza Man opened here in Hastings in 1996, it promised great pizza at a good price. For 14 years, it did just that. But as competitors moved into Hastings and as the economy soured, Pizza Man's profits plunged. It either had to offer that great pizza at a great price, or close its doors. In mid-March, business owner Bill Cress, Hastings, chose to do the latter. His business closed down after sending its final pizzas out March 14. "I guess it was a combination of things," Cress said. "Basically, it was the economy. People aren't buying as much as they used to.
All criminal charges against Hastings Police Officer Rene Doffing have been dropped. He will get his job back as a patrol officer, and should be back on the streets in his patrol car in two to four weeks. "He'll be back working in the patrol division in the middle of April, or the first part of May," Hastings Police Chief Mike McMenomy said. "We had a good meeting with Rene on Thursday. It was very positive.
Get out your lawn chairs, your sunscreen and sandals. The second annual Hastings Music Festival is officially on. This year's festival will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at the Little Log House Pioneer Village south of Hastings. The musical acts have been booked, and fans of Twin Cities music will no doubt recognize many of the names. The headliner is Martin Zellar, who helped start the band The Gear Daddies. Tim Mahoney, the Midlife Chryslers and Select 3 are also on the bill.
Since November, the entire boys basketball season was focused on one really important date: March 19. That was the night that, if all went as planned, the Hastings boys basketball team would play in the section finals. Hastings emerged from the regular season with a 12-13 record. Not bad, considering the Raiders played in a brutally tough Suburban East Conference, and played a challenging non-conference schedule. Hastings earned a No.
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.