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Christmas wishes do come true. Ask little Mikko Gegen, who is battling cancer. With the help of his grandmother, Judy Capeti, and Mark and Maureen Linnemann, who own and operate Skip's Sprinklers, Mikko's house on the city's west side glows with holiday lights. "Our house has a light display that is absolutely to die for," says his mom Shelly on the family's CaringBridge website. "I never, in my wildest dreams, would have imagined it would turn out like it has." She indicated that Mikko has been "campaigning for weeks" to have Christmas lights on the house.
Justin Michael Pakonen of Hastings was charged Monday, Dec. 17, with eight felony counts of possession of pornographic work involving minors. The charges were filed in Dakota County District Court. The 27-year-old defendant told Hastings police he was depressed and that viewing the images on the computer helped him. According to the criminal complaint, a Minneapolis Police officer working as part of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) observed some peer-to-peer sharing of child pornography, which was coming from an IP address in Hastings.
The 100 special Christmas stockings all hung on the walls of Tilden Community Center. Now, they are enriching the holidays of people in the community, primarily at the Lewis House and the Hastings Veterans Home. The empty red stockings were hung on the walls several weeks ago and people throughout the Community Education programs were encouraged to take one home, decorate it and fill it with some stocking stuffers. Some just did just the decorating, others brought the stuffers, including shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes and candy.
An inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility now serving a sentence in Faribault will be sentenced Jan. 16 after being convicted of conspiracy to murder Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. Jurors reached a verdict Friday, Dec. 7, in the trial of John Stephen Woodward, 49. The jury found Woodward not guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault against a witness in Woodward's Dakota County criminal case in 2007. Originally, Woodward had been charged in 2010 with two counts of conspiracy to commit premeditated first-degree murder.
When St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School students reported to the principal's office last Wednesday (Nov. 28), they were told to wear their coats. The thermostat was working fine in Principal Jill Moes' regular office, but she was not there. She had temporarily moved her office out to the playground. Spending part of the cool day outside was part of a promise made earlier this year by Moes. "We raised and met our goal of $42,000 for the marathon," said Moes. "We actually raised $43,000. "I told the students that if we met our goal, I would move my office to the rooftop.
A Hastings man, 45-year-old Louis R. Oliver, faces a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree after he allegedly sexually assaulted a college student near Riverside Park in Minneapolis on Nov. 19. Oliver made his first court appearance in Hennepin County District on Tuesday (Dec. 4). According to the criminal complaint, the female was walking to a St. Catherine College building near the park. She was approached by a stranger.
Dakota County deputies arrested a duck hunter at Spring Lake Park Thursday, Nov. 29, after he allegedly shot at another hunter during an argument at the park in Nininger Township, west of Hastings. The individual, whose name has not been released has since been released from jail and the investigation continues. As of Wednesday morning (Dec. 5) no charges have been filed. According to the Dakota County Sheriff's office, deputies were called just after 2:30 p.m. to the park on the report of shots fired at a duck hunter.
They are just barely in a new school setting, learning how to adjust to hundreds of other students and a very large school building. Fitting right into this structure of learning what is outside the four walls for sixth- grade students at Hastings Middle School is the Junior Achievement's Economics for Success program. This is the first year of this particular Junior Achievement program at the middle school. Different components of Junior Achievement have been under way at the elementary schools and Hastings High School for several years.
The winners in the annual Voice of Democracy Essay Contest have been selected. Winners at Hastings High School are Christina Alongi, first; Sarah Zeien, second; Kay Lynn Johnson, third; and Garret Tuin, fourth. Winners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School are Robert C. Kirtz, first; Ryan Klein, second; Mitchell O'Brien, third; Laura Church, fourth; and Emily Weldon, fifth.
A free event by the community and for the community to help restore hope will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, in the Hastings High School auditorium. "Hope is Here" has been planned by members of the Hastings community in response to the tragedies involving Hastings youths in the past several months. It is their goal to reach out to bring back the hope within the community. "This is going to be a great night," said Doug Erickson, who was one of the people who got the ball rolling on the event. He wondered: what could be done to reach out and help others?