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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They've cut back. They've become more efficient. They've shifted funds. But this year, staff at the City of Hastings had to face a hard truth: in order to maintain the level of service residents want, the budget has to increase. On Tuesday evening, the city council reviewed and approved its preliminary budget and levy for 2012. "All of the tricks are gone, and this is one of the most honest budgets we've seen," said councilmember Mike Slavik. This year's budget is about $25.5 million. The proposed 2012 budget is just slightly higher. The increase is about $387,000, or 1.52 percent.
In 1974, Bravo Company 147th Signal Battalion got a new home. After being located in downtown Hastings for more than 50 years, the Army National Guard built a new facility along Highway 316 in the southern part of the city. The unit that operates there has gone through changes since then, being redesignated several times and being deployed twice to Iraq - first in 2004 to provide signal support throughout that nation, then again in 2008.
Drive-up teller lanes at the Wells Fargo bank at Vermillion and Fourth streets will soon be closed. As of Oct. 1, the lanes will no longer be operational. The drive-up ATM will remain open. Why the closure? "There are a couple reasons," said Peggy Gunn, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo. She said the company has been conducting a review of drive-up transactions at several of its branches in order to ensure the service is open at the times their customers most need it.
In about four hours, the booya was no more. The Hastings Fire Department Relief Association's annual fundraiser, held Sunday, served 1,200 gallons of booya to the Hastings community. The booya was sold out just a little before 3 p.m. "It was busy," said firefighter/paramedic Chris Paulson. Paulson estimated there were close to 1,000 people over the course of the day who came for the stew. "This year was a little bit better (than last year)," Paulson said. "It wasn't our busiest, but it was quite a bit better than last year." Money from the event will go to various community organizations.
Angela Beissel remembers when she was a girl, when she and her friends would go down to the tennis courts just to hit balls across the courts until the lights shut off at night. It didn't matter if they knew how to play or not. It was just fun. It's an attitude she shares with three other Hastings women: Abby Beytien-Carlson, Angela Ferguson and Taylor Reiners. But for these four, playing for fun has earned them a spot in the United States Tennis Association's national tournament, held Sept.
Twenty-two years ago, the movie "Field of Dreams" hit the big screen. Its popularity led one Twin Cities newspaper to feature one of the area's own field of dreams - the home of the Miesville Mudhens. A 4-year-old boy was pictured in the article. He was Stephen Edlefsen, the team's bat boy. His father, Brad Edlefsen, was a pitcher for the Mudhens, so it's no surprise Stephen got involved. Baseball proved to be an important aspect of his life.
Those waiting to hear the results of a reuse study on the old Hudson Manufacturing property will have to wait just a little bit longer. The study, originally scheduled to be released around Sept. 1, has been delayed about a month, said Community Development Director John Hinzman. The reason for the delay is no surprise. Since the reuse study contract is through the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the state shutdown in July meant the study was put on hold as well.
One Hastings man is getting an in-depth look at what it takes to design, build and study a wind turbine. The project is run by Eolos, a wind energy research consortium that conducts a broad range of wind energy research. It's biggest project is a field research station at UMore Park in Rosemount, where it is in the process of constructing a 2.5 megawatt wind turbine. Chris Milliren of Hastings has been helping out with the project since January, assisting the associate director. Milliren is a senior civil engineering student at the University of Minnesota.
This Saturday, Aug. 27, the boys on the Hastings High School varsity and junior varsity soccer teams will step out of their usual roles as students and become coaches. The team is working with HFC United to host a Soccer Olympics for youth enrolled in the HFC program.
There's something special about being able to play a game under the lights at Todd Field. Hastings High School boys' varsity soccer coach Shane Lanning remembers one of his own final games in the HHS soccer program. It was a section finals game at Todd Field which was illuminated by the giant overhead lights. The game didn't finish until about 9:30 p.m. It was the lights that made the field special, he said. "The lights are the atmosphere there, from the alumni standpoint," he said. And the lights are one reason he and his team host an annual alumni game.