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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Readers of the Hastings Star Gazette this week may have been led to believe that Papa Charrito's in Hastings is closed while prospective new owners consider remodeling the restaurant. That is not the case. The restaurant is open and operating as normal at 350 33rd St. W. in Hastings. The Star Gazette apologizes to ownership at Papa Charrito's and to our readers for not making it clear that Papa's is open for business.
Chris West's story of success may shatter your idea of what happens in college fraternity houses. The 2006 Hastings High School graduate is a sophomore at Mankato State University. While walking around his frat house, West is always singing. It's something he started in seventh grade, and he's kept at it. He's always singing. One day, his frat brothers told him to put his money where his mouth was. Turns out, Minnesota State University, Mankato was having its own "American Idol" style of competition. His frat brothers dared him to enter. "It was on a complete whim," West said.
If all goes as planned, the new and improved RJ's Tavern on Main will be open later this month, or in early January. If you're hoping that the new space resembles the old, you'll be disappointed. If you're hoping that the new RJ's has twice the space, fireplaces, a large handcrafted wood bar, an upstairs parlour for special events and 16 beers on tap, you'll be happy. Work continues on an extensive renovation project at the downtown bar/restaurant. The location has been closed since the end of September. "We're looking forward to getting it done," owner Joe Ryan said.
A Hastings man was found dead Sunday afternoon after an early morning explosion and fire Saturday at Marathon Petroleum Co. in St. Paul Park. Nick Gunter, 29, Hastings, was found at 1:40 p.m. in a No. 6 fuel oil holding tank where he had been seen working shortly before the explosion, Marathon spokesperson Robert Calmus said. No one else was injured. The body was recovered after a hole was cut in the side of the tank to allow for safe entry and operation for workers, St. Paul Park Police Chief Mike Monahan said.
The Thanksgiving tradition of Gobble Gait in Hastings reached its goal this year. More than $60,000 was raised and 1,600 pounds of food collected for Hastings Family Service in the annual 8K run/walk and 2K fun walk held Thursday morning in downtown Hastings. "We are close to $300,000 raised in our 10 years," Gobble Gait co-chair Jay Kochendorfer said. "It was an awesome day." The funds raised were about $5,000 more than 2006. In its 10 years, more than $280,000 has been raised and more than 9,600 pounds of food collected for Hastings Family Service.
At least two Hastings-area restaurants are providing diners with free food in exchange for a toy. Chipotle and King's Place in Miesville have promotions planned for December. From 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5, Chipotle in Hastings will give away a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos for anyone who donates a new, unwrapped toy. From 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18, King's Place on Highway 61 in Miesville will offer a similar promotion.
When the hail storm of June 20, 2007, blew through Hastings, many homeowners got a blessing in disguise: new roofs. For most, it was a matter of picking out new shingles and deciding which contractor to hire. Most people, though, don't have copper roofs. And most homes in Hastings weren't designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. So you can imagine the process for Mike and Cindy Hovgaard. They own the building at the intersection of Highway 55 and Pine Street in Hastings.
Brandy Eastman, and husband, Shorty, are the new owners of Affordable Elegance Furniture store at 1800 Vermillion Street in Hastings, but she's not new to the business, nor to the building. Eastman learned the furniture business from her parents, Joe and Robyn Ptacek. They operated the Furniture House and the Oak Room at the same location. For the last decade, Eastman worked with them. When the Furniture House and the Oak Room closed over the summer, Eastman stepped up and got to work. She bought new inventory, changed the business model and put on her painting clothes.
Starting with our Oct. 18 issue, the Star Gazette will join the hundreds of other weekly newspapers across the country in charging for obituaries. While the charge will be minimal (we will still publish death notices for free), this will eliminate us from the burden of deciding for the family what we will print and what we will not print. As anyone knows who has written an obituary, they're incredibly important.
An angler trolls the waters of the St. Croix River early Friday morning. The angler was fishing north of Prescott near the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River.