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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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.
Near Crystal Falls, Mich., in 1998 someone pulled out a gun and shot a bald eagle. Twice. The eagle was discovered shortly thereafter, but the prognosis wasn't good. Twelve years later, the outlook is much different for that eagle. The amazing story began in 1998 when the injured eagle was put on board a Northwest Airlines flight, flown to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota and surgically repaired.
On June 1, the back tires of Robert Van Vranken II's motorized wheelchair were resting in the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca. By November, Van Vranken hopes the front tires of his wheelchair will touch the waters of the Gulf of Mexico near where the Mississippi's route ends in New Orleans. Between the two points of his 2,000 mile journey, Van Vranken is doing everything he can to thank our country's veterans and, hopefully, raise some money for the Disabled American Veterans. On Tuesday, Van Vranken rolled into Hastings.
A trip to Reno, Nevada, was supposed to be one of the summer's highlights for a group of volleyball players from Hastings. Instead, the trip has turned into a nightmare. A team of 14-year-old girls, coaches and parents left Hastings yesterday at just after 4 a.m. to arrive in time to board a plane to Chicago. The plane ended up leaving 30 minutes late, at 6:30 a.m., but it appeared as though there would be plenty of time for the team to catch its connecting flight to Reno.
Two readers wrote this week about a video on YouTube that I had to see. After viewing the video, I was happy they wrote. Both told me about color video from 1942 that is posted on YouTube of the Spiral Bridge in action. The video is part of a 10-minute-long segment on Minnesota. The segment on the Spiral Bridge comes at about 2 minutes, 30 seconds. If you're like me and never had a chance to see the bridge in person, the high-quality color video is the best option out there to get a sense for what the bridge looked like.
Downtown Hastings could soon look much, much different. The City of Hastings is in negotiations with H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Co. to move them from their large location in downtown Hastings to a vacant building formerly occupied by Intek Plastics. At a special meeting Monday, June 21, the city council gave its authorization to the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority (HEDRA) to continue the negotiations with Hudson. Should HEDRA be able to purchase the land, the current buildings on the site would likely be demolished to make way for a new development.