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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The Hastings Hockey Boosters have begun their fundraising campaign for a new hockey training facility in Hastings. Efforts began about a month and a half ago, said Dustin Vogelgesang, a member of HHB's alumni committee. The facility is to be built on the grounds of the Hastings Civic Arena. It would be a separate building located off the southeast corner of the Civic Arena, designed to give mini-mites to high-school-level hockey players a place to develop their skills year- round. It will include shooting, stickhandling, passing and goalie stations and a plyometric training area.
In two years, attendance at the Leaf for Lupus event more than tripled, from 200 people its first year to nearly 700 last year. The event is back again this year and is scheduled for Oct. 15. Leaf for Lupus raises money for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, which helps support research toward a cure for Lupus. Lupus is an auto-immune disease in which a person's immune system attacks the body's own tissues as well as bacteria, viruses and foreign materials. There is no cure. Kristie Wilson of Hastings was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 17.
For two summers, the Hastings public boat launch in Jaycee Park has been reduced to a single lane after the western lane was found to be broken away under the surface of the water. Boaters will have to wait another summer for a permanent fix, but the good news is that both lanes are expected to be open for use next year. City staff suspects river currents and eddies are responsible for eroding the launch away.
The Dakota County Juvenile Service Center was evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff noticed an odd chemical smell in the building. Two people reported feeling ill from the smell. B.J. Battig, risk manager for Dakota County, said staff followed procedure in the incident. They called 911 and evacuated the building. When the Hastings Fire Department arrived, they found the smell was coming from an ant pesticide that had been sprayed in the building, said Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt at the scene.
One of Hastings busiest intersections is getting a new look this week. The house at 1101 Vermillion St., located on the southeast corner of the intersection of highways 61 and 55, is being demolished. The trees on the property have already been cut down. Irene Heiliger of Fort Atkinson, Wis., has owned the property with her husband Leonard since they inherited it in 2008. She said the house will be demolished, most likely by the end of the week. "It was not livable," she said. Heiliger said she and her husband hope to sell the property, which has been for sale for some time already.
For the past few years, anglers have been able to cast their lines into the calm water of Lake Isabel from the comfort of a fishing pier. This summer, however, the pier was missing for much of the season and was only installed about three weeks ago. Staff in the city's Parks and Recreation Department struggled all season to get the pier in place, said Parks and Recreation Director Barry Bernstein. It was a matter of high water that kept them from installing the pier, he said. First, high water had submerged the lower portion of the wooden walkway leading to the pier.
Give them a picture, and they'll give you a finished piece of furniture. Give them a room, and they'll design something that fits it perfectly. Their skills are becoming more widely known - so much so that they receive requests for their work from clients all across the country, and outside the borders as well. Meet Doug Anderson, Ken Ross, Gordon Schmidt and Ron Brozek, residents at the Minnesota Veteran's Home in Hastings. For about two and a half hours a day they go to work in the Veteran's Home's woodshop, building all sorts of items.
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.