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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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.
For years, Minnesotans and politicians have been debating whether or not to allow racinos in the state. There have been several arguments on both sides of the matter, but one Hastings man says that without one, his business will either die or have to move out of the state. Dave Astar owns Astar Thoroughbreds, a thoroughbred farm just north of Hastings. After working for United Health Group and moving all over the country, he and his wife Debbie decided to settle in Minnesota, at least until their children graduated high school.
It's been a rough season for the Hastings girls basketball team, and the end of the regular season didn't change any of that. The Raiders lost their final regular season game against Forest Lake 74-36, leaving them 0-18 in the Suburban East Conference. "We didn't play very well," said head coach Mike Harp. "Their size gave us a lot of problems and we weren't able to defend real well." Offensively, the girls were aggressive. They got a lot of shots off but only shot 22 percent. "We pushed the action," Harp said.
Installing a rain garden hadn't been a priority for Hastings residents Andy and Amy Tix. In fact, they'd never really considered putting one in their yard until a friend of theirs, Mike Isensee of the Dakota County Soil and Water Conversation District, suggested they consider one in their landscaping project. They attended the Blue Thumb - Planting for Clean Water program to learn more about it, and after attending a series of workshops, they got to sit down with a landscaper who helped draw up plans for their specific property based on aerial photos they brought with them.
All his life, Loren Flom wanted to play music, but he didn't know how to read the notes. He loves listening to music, but it seemed that performing it would be out of his reach. "I can't play anything except the radio," he said. Every June, Flom and his wife Doris take a trip to Branson, Mo. Three years ago he found a shop that builds and sells mountain dulcimers. The mountain dulcimer is a folk string instrument developed in the Ozarks by people who wanted a stringed instrument that sounded like a bagpipe.
Anthony Mancheski, a 21-year-old Maplewood man, was sentenced Friday after being charged with criminal vehicular homicide, a felony, for a fatal crash he caused just north of the Highway 61 bridge in Hastings May 3, 2010. Judge Mary Hannon placed Mancheski on probation for 10 years and ordered him to spend one year in the Washington County Jail. The four-vehicle crash resulted in the death of Brian Jacobson, a 24-year-old Lake City man and a member of the Army National Guard.