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A Hastings couple has been charged with multiple crimes associated with the abuse, endangerment and neglect of a 4-year-old female child. The charges were filed last week after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) contacted Hastings police about an ongoing Internet investigation involving suspected production of pornographic works involving minor children. Mark Matthew Cortes, 24, has been charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, use of a minor in a sexual performance for pornographic work and possession of pornographic work involving minors. All are felonies.
Families, get ready to celebrate the fall season and the upcoming Halloween holiday. Three favorites are returning this month. On Friday, Oct. 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be a Community Halloween Party at the Hastings High School commons. Admission will be a non-perishable food item for Hastings Family Service or cash donation to the Youth First Planning Council Scholarship Fund. This is a family-friendly event. Please wear your best costume. There will be food, games, prizes and candy for all. Recommended for ages 12 and under.
When the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group released its first DVD, "Voices of Hope" three years ago, it did not know what the response would be. To say that the response was overwhelming would be an understatement. More than 6,000 have been given to breast cancer patients and hundreds have been made available in doctors' offices and clinics throughout the world. In addition to the appreciation and on-going support the Breast Cancer Support Group heard from cancer patients, it heard another message, according to group co-facilitator Claire Mathews.
Hastings High School students are doing well, according to Hastings High School Principal Mike Johnson. The students have shown improvement over last year's scores in the standardized tests and they are ahead of the state average scores. "We are very proud of the academic achievement and improvement from the last school year," he said. The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests also have components that students must pass to graduate, known as Graduation Requirement Assessment for Diploma (GRAD).
More than 400 students, staff and parents went for a walk Friday afternoon on General Sieben Drive. They raised more than $42,000 to benefit St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The annual walk was the marathon for non-public schools and the school reached its goal again this year. The funds are designated for school projects not funded through the general budget. Reaching the goal also has an impact for Principal Jill Moes.
About 10 years ago, Penny Hamilton was featured in the Hastings Star Gazette for her very large collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia. Several years ago, she died due to heart-related problems and her husband donated many of the items. That said, there is still quite a collection in the Hamilton's Elvis room at the family home in Hastings. That collection will now help Hamilton's daughter, Kim Harvey, in her battle against ovarian cancer. More to the point, the Elvis collection will help her pay her bills during her ongoing treatment.
Many times, teachers throughout Hastings and the country supplement their school supply budgets with their own funds. Last week, Kennedy Elementary School fourth grade teacher Patty Novak got an unexpected boost to help keep her students supplied with necessary items for the year. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, OfficeMax surprised 1,000 teachers nationwide with nearly $1.9 million in school supplies. At Kennedy, two OfficeMax representatives surprised Novak with flowers and a cart filled with $1,000 worth of school supplies.
One minute of exercise can help people stay focused. That's way the JAM (Just a Minute) School Program began last year in Hastings School District 200. The highlight came last Thursday, Sept. 27, at exactly 10 a.m. when about 600 students and staff at Pinecrest Elementary School exercised for one minute. They were part of the more than 1.2 million students and other school people across the country competing together to break the world record.
A "Spring Fling" at the end of April offered a catered dinner, fellowship, drawings, and the opportunity to raise additional funds for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School and staff. This year, the Spring Fling committee allocated $6,500 in grant monies. Those grants were presented last week to school staff. The recipients are as follows: Emily Chandler - Digital audio recorder (helps with classroom music and band). Students can instantly play back and evaluate their performance to improve their music.
It will be back to school -- or, at least, a visit to one -- when the Denmark Township Historical Society holds a School Daze celebration from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Carpenter Nature Center, 12805 St. Croix Trail S., and the 1852 Valley School, 13728 St. Croix Trail S. Members of the Denmark Township Historical Society have been holding a raffle to help in the restoration of the building they acquired earlier this year. The drawing for the prizes is at 3 p.m. Sept. 30 at the pavilion at the nature center. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., guests can visit the Valley School.