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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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.
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.