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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A six-week-long archaeological excavation recently concluded in downtown Hastings near the Highway 61 bridge. The site was once home to the St. John's hotel and a neighboring saloon. Both were destroyed by one of the largest fires in Hastings history, the Christmas fire of 1899. Crews from Two Pines Resource Group found evidence of the fire, uncovering brick rubble and burned wood and ash. The hotel was rebuilt and stood on the site until 1983. Many artifacts from the site's time as a hotel were uncovered, including broken fragments of bottles, dishes and glassware.
The weeklong vacation had gone so well. Eric Olson made a homemade potato gun that he was firing all over the place. He turned his kayak into a sailboat of sorts, outfitting it with a big tarp so he could sail all over Big Wood Lake near Grantsburg, Wis. Over the years, his grandmother's cabin there had provided the Olsons the perfect place for a summer getaway. But on July 31, 2009, all that changed in an instant. Olson, a 2000 graduate of Hastings High School, ran down the aluminum dock like he had hundreds of times before.
The best case for Michael Conzemius on Saturday? It will be that he is safely pulled from the waters of the Mississippi River after falling from a platform 30 feet high while thousands of people clap and laugh at him. Worst case? He lands on a flying (kind of) penalty box. Welcome to the Red Bull Flugtag. Conzemius, a 2005 Hastings graduate, and his college buddies from Saint John's University are one of just 35 teams who were accepted to compete in the Twin Cities version of the event, planned for 1 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at Harriet Island in St. Paul.
In the early 1970s, Harvey and Rita Kirchner purchased a home along Goodwin Avenue and the family put down its roots in rural Hastings. Turns out, the countryside was just the right thing for their daughter, Rollie, who lived with them at the time they moved here. The countryside is something Rollie grew to love, and the same could be said for Hastings. Put the two together, and you end up with one very cool calendar. Rollie, who has since married and now goes by the name Rollie Brandt, is a well known painter in Minnesota.
When her son almost died after smoking synthetic marijuana, Stacy Huberty spoke up. Since that day in June, she has been surprised at how many people have listened to her story. Now, it appears as though her fight is going to pay off. Late last week, State Senator Katie Sieben announced she plans to introduce legislation in 2011 that would make the substances illegal. Essentially, synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs that are sprayed with THC. The products are legally sold at smoke shops, including one near Hastings. In June, Huberty's son used the product.
When little Cole Christian was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2008, his family's lives suddenly began to revolve around visits to the hospital, around treatment and around getting him better. Lost in the shuffle were family outings and family vacations. That's where HopeKids came into play. The Twin Cities chapter stepped in and set up events for the Christians to attend, along with other area families. Among Cole's favorite HopeKids outings were trips to Afton Alps to go snow tubing and another trip to go horseback riding. "(HopeKids) has been great," Cole's father Jon said.
A large crowd gathered at various spots within the Hastings Country Club for Sunday night's Fourth of July fireworks display. This photograph was taken from the second floor deck of John and Barb Botnen's home along Westview Drive. The display was sponsored by the Vermillion State Bank.
The second annual Hastings Music Festival raised another $11,000 for Hastings Family Service. The check was delivered Tuesday night to HFS. Last year, the festival donated $11,500 to HFS. Andy Lucking, one of the festival organizers, said gross receipts were up considerably this year, but so were expenses. This year's festival had some big-time performers like Martin Zellar. "The gross amount grew, but we had some additional expenses this year," Lucking said. "This year was as much about friend-raising as it was about fund-raising.
Good weather has meant the contractor for the major road construction project on Pleasant Drive and Lyn Way has made significant progress. The progress along Pleasant means it will reopen to traffic during the week of July 26. "We're anxious to see it get paved," city engineer Nick Egger said. "We are hoping it could be earlier than the week of July 26, but that depends on the weather. If things stayed like this we could be looking for a little bit earlier than that. We'll keep crossing our fingers.
Mike Hunter, the mayor of Prescott, Wis., released a bald eagle at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings on Sunday, July 4. The eagle was found March 23 in Roberts, Wis., with lead poisoning and various other ailments. She was nursed back to health by the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center and successfully released.