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.
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It looks like it will be a while yet before the former Hudson building in downtown Hastings is redeveloped. Last Thursday, the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building, reviewed three redevelopment concept plans for the building, but none of them were particularly attractive to commissioners present. Only Pam Holzem, Ron Toppin and Anthony Alongi were at the meeting.
In March of 1989, Dave Osberg took a new job. He had been working in St. James when the city administrator position in Hastings opened up. City Hall had a much different dynamic back then. There was significant unrest in the council prior to Osberg's hiring, and it continued in some measure into the first part of his career here. Anyone who came into his position would have had a tough time, Osberg said. "All the sudden, it's 24 years later.
In early March, an overnight snowstorm meant an unpleasant surprise for Hastings resident Jane Snyder. Weather reports had been predicting snow, so Snyder watched the news to see if there were going to be any school closings or snow emergencies. Seeing none, she figured she would just have to get up early to clear the vehicle off before going to work. Snyder had parked her work vehicle on the street for the night, knowing she would be leaving at 6:30 a.m., before plows typically get to her street.
A new initiative to help support Hastings youth is under way. Helping Kids Succeed - The Hastings Way is a project aimed at creating a web of support for youth, helping them be more successful in their lives and education.
A new program at Regina Medical Center is working to help improve Hastings residents' general health. A Healthier Hastings 4 All (AH-HA) will offer health assessments, screenings and follow-ups; community health challenges, activities and events; promotion and support of community health efforts; and a community health needs assessment. AH-HA is part of a larger health initiative spread across Minnesota and western Wisconsin that launched last year.
The Hastings City Council agreed with the administrative committee's recommendation to seek applicants for the soon-to-be-vacant city administrator position. The committee met last week and voted 2-1 to post a notice of the vacancy, rather than appointing assistant city administrator Melanie Mesko Lee. The recommendation was approved unanimously by the full council Monday evening. The council's approval came with strong encouragement to Mesko Lee to submit a letter of interest and resume for the position.
Hastings' local Chevrolet dealer has a new look. Work to rebuild the main portion of the dealership is nearly finished. Crews started gutting the old showroom, which was the original 1985 construction, last August. The old showroom was razed, leaving only the automotive service department standing last fall. Work has been under way over the past fall and winter. Rebuilding the old showroom was a directive that came to Valley Chevrolet from General Motors. GM wanted all its dealers to look the same, explained Valley Chevrolet's general manager, Tom Ward.
Hastings native Jeff Rowe just might have the next big thing. On Feb. 1, he launched Okanjo Partners Inc., (okanjo.com) a website that combines the local side of Craigslist with the instant purchase power of eBay and adds to it a way to be charitable. The 1975 Hastings High School graduate didn't start his career in the online marketplace. He started in radio. After leaving Hastings, he worked in Wisconsin, Chicago and Washington, D.C. He joined Journal Communications in Milwaukee, Wis., as a radio programmer and general manager.
The Hastings City Council's administrative committee recommends that the full council seek outside applicants for the city administrator position. The recommendation was made two days after City Administrator Dave Osberg submitted his official letter of resignation. His final day with the City of Hastings will be March 22. At the committee meeting Thursday morning, Osberg presented details on two options for filling his position. The first was to provide notice of the opening and accept letters of interest and resumes from applicants.
Two small business owners in Hastings have teamed up to provide their clients with even more services. AB CAM Services and Property Tenders, both professional cleaning companies, are teaming up to provide their clients with more comprehensive services. Adam Bonine has run AB CAM Services since 2006.