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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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.
For a Mexican restaurant, Tamale's in Hastings sure serves good American food. They played host to a group of four Star Gazetters on Friday. While my co-workers indulged on chimichangas, rellenos and a tamale, I was the weirdo who ordered a cheeseburger. But you know what? It was really good. The bun was soft, the burger thick and the cheese and jalapenos were just right. The burger's appearance didn't blow me away. Why would it, I thought? What would a Mexican restaurant know about serving up good burgers? Well, somebody there knows something about burgers.
A couple factors nearly prevented Tyson Gerry from even going hunting on Halloween. First, after all, it was Halloween. Second, he had to work late on his job with an excavating company. But Gerry, who lives in Hastings, rushed home from work, threw on his hunting clothes and went to his deer stand in south Washington County. It was a good thing he went out. After about an hour and 20 minutes in his stand, Gerry got the opportunity of a lifetime.
Ever heard of this place? It's called Burger King. It's located in south Hastings and it sells, among other things, burgers! Well, they have this big burger called the Whopper. They've served a couple since 1957. It had actually been a while since I'd had a Whopper. It comes with a quarter-pound patty, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, pickles and onions. I got it my way for $3.41 on Monday. As always, I was reminded why the sandwich is named so. The thing is as big as ever. With every bite, ingredients spilled out of the burger and onto the wrapper.
Polls opened in Hastings Tuesday morning. A voter enters St. Philip's Lutheran Church in Hastings to cast her vote. Lines were outside the door when the church opened at 7 a.m. for voting, but by 8 a.m. wait times were minimal.
Cravings for prime rib hit at anytime. But, who can justify eating prime rib for lunch? At the Black Stallion Grill and Saloon in Hampton, they make lunchtime prime rib easy -- they have a ground prime rib burger. It's a half-pound of freshly ground prime rib, served between a toasted sesame seed bun. Like the menu says, it melts in your mouth. I got mine with cheese and waffle fries for $14.49. The burger without cheese is $12.99. The flavor is certainly unique. I could definitely tell the difference between the prime rib burger and a regular hamburger.
A Hastings man was injured in an explosion at Spectro Alloys Thursday, Oct. 23, at approximately 5 p.m. Spectro Alloys is located on Highway 55 near the intersection of 55 and Highway 52. Scott Dodge, an employee at Spectro Alloys and a 1972 graduate of Hastings High School, was airlifted from the scene to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He is in critical condition. Dodge's daughter, Jessica, said her father is in a coma and has suffered a head injury. "To what extent (he is injured), we do not know at this time," she said Tuesday. "He has been reacting.