Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
- Member for
- 3 years 5 months
Extreme Sandbox is planning to become a permanent part of Hastings' business community. Business owners and brothers Randy and Don Stenger approached the city back in 2011 with a unique business idea. Extreme Sandbox would let people operate real, working heavy equipment just for fun. It was an idea that grew from a comment Randy Stenger's young son had made about wanting to drive some construction equipment. A similar business was already open in Florida, but there was nothing in the Midwest yet.
Every once in awhile, residents hear or see something around town that just doesn't have any immediate explanation. This week, we tracked a few of them down and found out what they are. Thursday night church bells? During the summer months, anyone in the area of Eighth and Eddy streets around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. on a Thursday probably would have heard church bells ringing.
In about two more months, Hastings should have a new police chief. Three finalists from a pool of 39 applicants went through their second round of interviews last Wednesday, Sept. 4. The first round of interviews was for six candidates, who met with three panels of stakeholders, including members of the community and advisory commissions, police department staff and non-police department staff.
Two sisters, both Hastings High School graduates, are bringing a new product to Hastings. Rebecca (LaZerte) Biederman and Elizabeth (LaZerte) Aarness, graduates of HHS classes of 1995 and 1999, respectively, have launched their own business, True Dough: The Pure Pizza Dough Company. After high school, the sisters went off to college at Gustavus Adolphus. Biederman became a social studies teacher, teaching at Coon Rapids High School for eight years, while Aarness got into human resources work in Arizona.
The annual Hastings Music Festival rocked the riverfront Saturday, featuring national performers and raising money for Hastings Family Service. The festival, now in its fifth year, was held at Jaycee Park during the afternoon and evening. The event started with Seb's Medicine, a Red Wing band that won the first Battle of the Bands in Hastings, held in August. They were followed by Brooke Ellis with Kingsview; Bucky Covington; Headliner with Randall Hall, Alex Ligertwood and Patrick Sieben; and Eric Hutchinson.
The Hastings-based corporation, Anytime Fitness, is celebrating. The company recently earned three major recognitions, and legislation it is championing along with Snap Fitness and Life Time Fitness is making its way through the state legislature. On Thursday, Aug. 29, Anytime Fitness hosted a party to celebrate being named "The World's Fastest-Growing Fitness Club" for the sixth year in a row. It was also named "One of America's Most Promising Companies" by Forbes magazine in February and was ranked No. 6 on Entrepreneur Magazine's "Top Global Franchises" list for 2013.
By Sunday, Oct. 6, 16 runners hope to have raised about $50,000 for the Hastings-based organization Defending the Blue Line.
The Me and Julio restaurant is beginning a new addition to its building. Following approval from the Hastings City Council Tuesday, the restaurant expects to start construction within the week. Me and Julio's, located at 350 W. 33rd St., has been serving southwestern fare since opening here in August, 2011. Apparently, business has been good. "It's doing better all the time," said Charles Young, a partner in Charlie Rae Inc., the company that owns the restaurant. The company was co-founded by Young's wife, Linda Young, and Charlie Burrows.
Three out of five commissioners on the Hastings Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a site plan presented by CVS Pharmacy Monday evening. The plan will be seen next by the City Council Sept. 16.
Plans are underway for a new addition to the Veteran's Park baseball field. The Hastings Parks and Recreation Commission recently voiced its support for a new press box to be built behind the bleachers. Currently there is only an announcer's table present at the field, and that table is falling apart, according to the project summary presented to the PRC. Power is only available to the table by running an extension cord to it, which is a safety hazard.