Chad Richardson is the news director for RiverTown Multimedia. He was the publisher of four RiverTown publications until 2016, when he was named news director. He was previously general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He worked at the Hastings 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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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.
The pitch came in at the perfect spot. Low. Outside. Just where Hastings catcher Jordan Schaffer wanted it. When Burnsville's Taylor Mackey swung her big aluminum bat at the pitch, it looked like she'd be lucky just to make contact. She was, and she did. Off the ball flew. It landed just over the fence in right center field. With that swing, Burnsville advanced in the state tournament and Hastings' goal of winning the state title was dashed. The Blaze won, 1-0, in the state tournament semifinals and they went on to win the state title.
An unruly student prompted Hastings Middle School to be locked down for nine minutes Thursday, June 10. The student eventually surrendered to police and was taken away by Hastings police officers. The student could face charges from the incident, but as of Wednesday morning had not been charged yet. The incident began just after 9:30 a.m. Thursday. By 9:45 a.m., the school was in a lockdown and by 10 a.m. it was all over. Hastings Middle School principal Mark Zuzek said the student was "unruly and non compliant." The student is enrolled in a program for at-risk students.
The Hastings girls softball team won its first round game against Prior Lake at the state softball tournament, 5-0, before falling to Burnsville, 1-0. Hastings will play in the third-place game at 11 a.m. Friday in Mankato.
The second annual Hastings Music Festival will be Sunday. The festival will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Little Log House Pioneer Village south of Hastings off Highway 61. The headliner is Martin Zellar, who helped start the Gear Daddies. He will perform from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Also performing are Select Three, featuring Patrick Sieben, a Hastings graduate. His band will perform from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Select Three opened for Bon Jovi during a show in St. Paul this spring. Tim Mahoney will play from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Midlife Cryslers will play from noon until 1:50 p.m.
Staffing levels at Regina Medical Center in Hastings will not be effected by this week's nursing strike in the Twin Cities. Nurses who work at Regina in Hastings are part of the same union, the Minnesota Nurses Association, but their contract is not up until August, according to interim Regina CEO Stewart Laird. "We are part of the same union, but our contract is on a different timetable," Laird said. "Our contract runs through August.
TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. Essentially, it works like this: Let's imagine the taxes paid on the vacant lot right now are $10,000 a year. Let's imagine that once the lot is redeveloped and the NAPA store is built on the lot, the taxes paid will be $17,000 a year. That means $7,000 in additional taxes will be generated by the development each year. Let's assume the TIF district is a 15-year district. The city would take that $7,000 per year in additional taxes and multiply it by the length of the TIF district term, or 15 years.