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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At the age of 8, David Rondeau of Hastings had a stroke. He was in the hospital, in the middle of a temporal lobe resection when blood flow to his brain got pinched momentarily. To Rondeau's mother, Angie Duffy, who now lives in Cottage Grove, the stroke was an unfortunate byproduct, but not her main concern. Rondeau had been suffering from multiple severe epileptic seizures on a daily basis prior to the surgery. It's been about five years, and Rondeau, 14 now, has been seizure free ever since.
A 2002 Hastings High School graduate is making a bit of a splash in the online film community. Billy Sullivan is a graduate student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the writer and producer of "Frat House Musical," a three-part web series that premiered last week at one of the largest film and music festivals, South By Southwest, in Austin, Texas. The musical, made up of three five-minute episodes, was one of four winners of the Subway Fresh Artists Filmmakers Series competition. This was the second year of the contest.
A Hastings family has been chosen to be the face of the Red Wing March for Babies walk, a part of March of Dimes. Brad and Erin Maulucci and their two children Matthew and Christopher are the event's Ambassador Family this year. The Mauluccis got involved with March for Babies last year, after Christopher's premature birth. Now 19 months old, Christopher was born three months premature. It was about 10 p.m. when Erin started feeling like something was off. She and Brad woke up Matthew and went to the hospital here in Hastings.
Tuesday, March 13 Two vehicles collided at the intersection of 14th and Pine streets at 9:28 a.m. March 13. Wallace Schweich, 56 of Hastings, had stopped at the intersection on 14th Street and pulled into traffic. He was struck by Patricia Mann, 62 of Hastings. Mann complained of some pain but was not taken to the hospital. No citations were issued. Wednesday, March 14 Three people complained of pain after a two-car collision at 3:06 p.m. March 14 in the 400 block of East 31st Street.
For years, the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department has been trying to work out a safer trail route in the area of County Road 46/47 and Pleasant Drive. This summer, a new trail will be constructed that will get pedestrians and bicyclists off the road and away from vehicle traffic. Currently, trail users traveling in that area have to travel along the shoulder of CR 46/47 between Village Trail and Pleasant Drive, and along Pleasant Drive to the trail connection at Northridge Drive.
Katelyn Birk was only 6 years old when she read in the local newspaper about a family friend who donated her hair to Locks of Love. Katelyn's grandmother wore wigs because cancer had taken her natural hair, and Katelyn felt it would be wonderful to give someone her beautiful, shiny blonde hair. The minimum length to donate is 10 inches, but Katelyn and her family had always kept it short because she had a sensitive scalp. Brushing her hair was just shy of a nightmare, Katelyn's older sister said. But Katelyn had her mind made up, no matter how arduous the process would be.
One of the best wrestlers in Hastings High School history is making his mark in college athletics. Luke Vaith is a red-shirt sophomore at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N. Y., and a 2009 graduate of HHS.
Monday, March 5 Firefighters responded to a garage fire in the 2900 block of Riverwood Drive at 6:14 p.m. March 5. The fire consumed a four-stall apartment garage. The cause of the fire was undetermined, but the origin was traced to an electrical outlet and power cord. Tuesday, March 6 A Waste Management dump truck backed into a light pole along Lock and Dam Road. Police responded to the call at 8:20 a.m. March 6 when the Hastings streets department notified them of the damaged pole.
It was the single scariest moment of Michael Mimbach's life. Mimbach, who graduated from Hastings High School in 1996, was out snowmobiling with some friends near Kamas, Utah, when the worst happened. While riding up and down the slopes March 4, Mimbach's friend Tyson Black was caught and buried in an avalanche. They were at about 10,000 feet, and knew the avalanche danger was high just the day before.
There are lots of changes happening at the former Regency Inn and Suites in south Hastings, and a new face behind it. Champak Bhakta is the new manager, and part owner of Anadi Inc., the Cottage Grove corporation that bought the 50-room hotel. He has been working in the hospitality business about 30 years. Bhakta took over the hotel March 2 and is getting started on a series of transformations he hopes will reverse the site's reputation. First is the name.