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When her daughter was in second grade at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Linda Kummer became involved in the Junior Achievement program. Kummer was, and is, employed by Wells Fargo Bank here in Hastings, and the bank is a strong supporter of the Junior Achievement Program. That was 13 years ago and Kummer still visits Seton School, and she is still part of the community outreach effort of Junior Achievement. It is part of who she is, she said. "I love working with the kids," she said last week, as she led a unit on "community" to Ruth Riles' second-grade classroom.
The Dakota County Parks Department will continue to use minimum-security prison inmates to provide park improvement for the next two years. At its regular meeting last week, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners approved a two-year contract with the State of Minnesota for an Institution Community Work Crew (ICWC) from May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2013. The ICWC program puts minimum-security prison inmates to work for four eight-hour days per week in the community under the supervision of a state-employed crew leader.
The river has been part of Lloyd Fanum's life for as long as he can remember, dating back to when he was in the Merchant Marines and now the Coast Guard Auxiliary. And, he has lived along the Mississippi River in East Hastings for 30 years. Before this year, he has been a part of two Hastings floods - 1997 and 2001. The City of Hastings came with sand bags those years, too, but that effort paled in comparison to what occurred last week when Fanum received sandbags, sand, and the volunteer help to protect his house from the rising river, which is reaching closer and closer to his home.
Nick McGrath has done it before - written an award-winning essay for the Hastings Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1210, placing third. Last week, he was named the winner (for seventh- and eighth-grade students) of the Dakota County Elks Lodge #2832 essay contest. He received a Target gift card. McGrath's essay is now entered in the state competition with the winner announced at the end of April. The state winner advances to the national competition.
Kallyn Lutz loves art and her Hastings Middle School art teacher Elizabeth Carroll considers her an exceptional talent. So does Darrell Pepo, also a Hastings Middle School teacher. Pepo, who had not met Lutz until last week, saw some of her work, and other art students' work displayed in the main and counseling offices, and was impressed. The works were "Awesome Action" characters constructed primarily out of wire. He asked Carroll about having one of the students make him one using his guitar-playing experience as the focus of the character. She thought immediately of Lutz.
Life is good for Hastings resident Troy Weathers. He lives in a community he loves, with a family he loves. He has been involved in a banking career he has enjoyed. Now, add a new title to Weathers' resume. As of Feb. 22, he is the new president of Provincial Bank in Hastings. Yes, it is a good time, Weathers said last week from his bank office, which overlooks Vermillion Street. "Can I tell you, this is a natural fit for me," he said. "As soon as I came and sat down, I knew I was home." Weathers has been in the banking business for 23 years and a Hastings resident for 12 years.
A new Hastings Middle School concept is coming. It is focused on the students and will start this fall for the 2011-2012 school year. The Hastings Middle School transition from a three-grade (sixth- to eighth-grade) school to a four-grade (fifth- to eighth- grade) school began more than a year ago, well before the 2009 approved referendum, which set the funding for an addition, other district maintenance projects and some upgrades to the elementary buildings.
Christ's Family Church is holding an evening of praise and worship (through music) and it is inviting the community to join in the worship. "Stand Up and Lift Up your Hands Praise and Worship Night" will be celebrated from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, in the Hastings Middle School Auditorium, 1000 W. 11th St. "All the people present for Praise Night currently serve in Christ's Family Church music ministry, " said Rob Pasch, music ministry leader.
They ate well and raised more than $20,000 for Hastings Family Service at the annual Hastings Tastings March 1. The 16th annual event was the kick off to FoodShare Month, a month-long effort to restock the state's food shelves, including the one in Hastings. Minnesota FoodShare and the Alan Feinstein Foundation will proportionately match proceeds from Hastings Tastings. All money and food collected at Hastings family Service in March is eligible for a proportioned match from Minnesota FoodShare and the Feinstein Foundation's $1 Million Dollar Challenge to Fight Hunger.
The second-grade students of Ruth Riles at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School were laying flat their two pieces of fleece, then tying them together. Before their work began, each sat down and printed cards to their new their new friends at Regina Medical Center's Tabitha Memory Care Unit. The brightly colored two-sided blankets featured just about every pattern and color, from Minnesota Twins, plaids, monkeys, horses, peace symbols, and eagles.