Katrina Styx started working at the Hastings Star Gazette 2010 as a reporter. She became the editor in 2016. 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.
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When Brett Schommer was diagnosed with PDD/NOS on the Autism Spectrum in 2002, the world was still learning about autism. Only about one in 180 children back then were diagnosed with autism. These days, popular knowledge of the disorder is drastically improved and awareness is better as well. Now, one in 88 children are diagnosed, and one in 54 boys are found with some form of autism.
Hastings teen Andrew Tri is earning some international recognition. A sophomore at St. Thomas Academy, Tri joined the USSSA National 15U baseball team to compete against top youth from around the world in the 2013 Mondial Hit tournament, held in Nettuno, Italy, about 40 miles south of Rome.
A fourth development concept for the former Hudson Manufacturing building in downtown Hastings is expected to be presented in October. With three concepts already on the table, submitted by the Beard Group, Sherman and Associates and Artspace, the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority was notified that Pat Regan of Premier Bank (and bus company, developed schoolhouse square) and Bill Weyland of City Properties Group (Louisville, Ky., do rehab of historic sites there) plan to present what looks to be the final redevelopment concept HEDRA will consider.
Just south of Hastings, there's a small farm doing its part to advance the spread of a new type of livestock: miniature llamas. Gemini Mini Llamas is owned by Susan and George Morgan. The couple had owned livestock before, including horses and goats, but their focus shifted to their family when their children were born. Once their children were grown, however, they decided they wanted to get back into raising livestock. This time they wanted to try alpacas.
Hastings firefighters extinguished a house fire in the 1300 block of West 19th Street Sunday afternoon. The fire was reported by a neighbor shortly after 1 p.m. Sept. 15. Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke coming from the entire roofline. They entered the home through the front door and located the fire in the kitchen and dining room, which were heavily involved in flame, said Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt. The flames had also breached the ceiling and had gotten into the attic.
George Savage has been a Twins fan "since baseball came to Minnesota." "I've been a fan all my life," he said Savage, 90, lives in Regina Medical Center's assisted living facility. He grew up around sports and baseball, and attends Twins games with his kids at least a few times a year. He has plenty of memories; among the best was getting to see the Twins win the World Series in 1991. Savage was in the crowd for that game, in center field, and remembers the fans getting so excited that beer ended up dumped all over, including on him.
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.