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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If ever there was someone destined to open a child care facility at the old Cooper Elementary School in Hastings, it would be Robin Siebenaler. She grew up in Hastings and watched as her mother, Faith Siebenaler, operated a daycare out of her home. And as a kindergartener, she attended Cooper. Robin Siebenaler attended college, studied child development and child care at Dakota County Technical College (as well as psychology at Metro State) and then opened her own in-home daycare in Hastings. "I just love kids," Siebenaler said. "I love watching them grow.
For most guys, Valentine's Day usually revolves around wearing nice clothes, stuffy and crowded restaurants and a big bill - both from the restaurant and the jewelry store. For two Hastings guys, though, this Valentine's Day consisted of fathead minnows, jumbo perch and a small northwoods cabin. And the wives were along for every minute of it. The end result? A fun weekend getaway that even the ladies liked.
A complaint has been filed against Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom for a chain of e-mails that played a role in a defense witness' decision not to testify at a murder trial. He denies any wrongdoing in the case. The case was at trial in November 2008 and involved Nicole Beecroft. She was accused of stabbing her newborn daughter more than 100 times. Backstrom did not prosecute the case, which was held in Washington County. The complaint alleges Backstrom wrote Dakota County medical examiner Dr. Lindsey Thomas three times before and during the trial.
Talk about pressure. Sheesh. There I?sat with the world of toppings at my fingertips, and I didn't know which way to go. I had decided to get the half-pound Works burger at the Stein Haus in Vermillion. But the catch is that you can put whatever you want on the thing. Sounds like a dream, right? But with all the possibilities, I didn't know which way was up. Finally, I?decided to get my Works burger loaded up with pepper cheese, fried onions, jalapenos, mushrooms and bacon. I don't know why it was called the Works burger -- I didn't get any work done the rest of the day.
In the dead of winter, open water isn't exactly easy to find in Minnesota. Unless, of course, you are on the Mississippi River between Hastings and Red Wing. The massive Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant spews so much relatively warm water during the winter months that an expansive stretch of the Mississippi River stays mostly ice free. Open water can be found just upstream from the Red Wing dam and then downstream for miles. And where there is open water, there are fishermen. Head to Red Wing in March or April, and you are bound to be overwhelmed by the number of boats.
About 20 years ago, a Hastings woman then named Suzie Mathews (now named Suzie Dillon) needed a massage. The one she got changed her life. This week, Dillon opened the new location for Lilypad Day Spa at 103 Sibley Street across from the Levee Café in downtown Hastings. For the past two years, she has operated out of the Elm Salon on Fourth Street. Way back when, Dillon strode into the Regina Medical Center and got a massage by Sandy (Sommers) Burdine.
I could sense the fear in my wife's voice. First, she agreed to meet a bunch of newspaper geeks out for lunch, then her burger at Karl's Red Rock Cafe in downtown Hastings showed up with no cheese. Just as she was on the verge of panic, a co-worker of mine stepped up and put her at ease. "The cheese is inside the burger," he said. "What?" she asked. "The cheese is inside." "Shut-up." She didn't believe. Then she cut the burger in half. And she believed. Inside her burger were jalapenos and cheese. It was the eve of Christmas Eve, yet she already had a present delivered to her.
In 2008, three cases in a short amount of time prompted me to turn off article comments and review each comment before it went live on the Star Gazette's Web site. Those three cases? A death threat, the posting of an innocent victim's name and a profanity-filled tirade. But we're willing to give the comments another shot. We turned them back on today. We'll have them turned on for every story. Should an offensive post appear, I will remove it.
The great thing about this series is that over the past five months or so, I've been to places I've never been before. I've tried new restaurants, dared to eat massive burgers and have become much more familiar with local restaurants. So, when we left the Star Gazette offices Thursday and headed to Hampton, I didn't know what to expect. I had never eaten at Lucky's Roundup Bar. It was supposed to be an adventure. Little did I know how true that statement was. Lucky's is part bar, part meat market, part convenience store, part liquor store and part pool hall.
This fall, Hastings' Tom Lange Jr. placed a trail camera on a piece of property near Cannon Falls that he had permission to hunt on. The camera showed Lange what he had hoped for. It showed a big 10-point buck was often on the land. The season couldn't come soon enough. So on Dec. 6, when Lange's friend, Rich Sande of New Hope, shot a 10-point buck on that piece of land, Lange was not surprised. It was the biggest buck of Sande's life. The two good friends were elated. But what that trail cam didn't show was that there was an even bigger buck in the area.