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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It can sometimes be easy to forget that the men and women serving Hastings in the police department respond to more than crime, accidents and public disturbances. To highlight some of the other work our officers do, we've decided to highlight a set of calls that, to some, might seem odd jobs for law enforcers: wild animals. Last year in Hastings, police answered to 35 wild animal calls. Here's what happened at a few of them. Jan.
Since December, two parking lots in downtown Hastings have had temporary signs posted, telling those who park there that a 48-hour parking limit was being proposed. Monday night, the Hastings City Council approved parking limits in the lots, but changed the restriction from 48 hours to 72 hours. At its Dec. 6 meeting, the council first heard a proposal to enact limits on the two lots, one located at the corner of Fourth and Sibley streets and the other at the north end of Sibley Street across from the Legion Club.
In August, Hastings residents got a chance to see the concept plans for a commuter rail station here in the city. Next week, they'll have another chance. The Red Rock Corridor Commission will hold its second open house Tuesday, Jan. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hastings City Hall.
As drivers, we've seen the snow piled up along Hastings streets, and we've seen the plows and trucks working to clear sight-lines around corners and open up more space for vehicles to get safely through the city. But perhaps we haven't seen the amount of time it's taken road crews to clean up after what became the biggest storm in decades. A normal snowfall generally takes public works' 10 operators eight to 10 hours to clear, according to the city's website. During the blizzard Dec. 11, they had logged 120 hours on 10 pieces of equipment between 5 a.m.
The Hastings City Council approved its 2011 budget and levy Monday. The total tax levy is being set at $11,264,000. The general levy is $8,104,000 and the debt levy is $3,160,000. The city tax levy is being reduced by $317,000 from 2010. The total budget is being set at $25,538,706, which includes a $527,429 HRA budget and is an increase by $434,057.
The Hastings City Council held its annual award presentation at its Monday meeting. The awards were given to city employees for the years of work they have given. Due to the inclement weather, not all employees were able to be present to receive their awards. In light of that fact, the council will hold a second award presentation Jan.
When the Spiral Bridge was torn down, the city of Hastings kept its footings and created a riverfront overlook as a way to hold onto the history. When the Hastings High Bridge comes down, part of it will remain as well, to serve the same purpose. The matter first came up about a year ago, when the Visual Quality Team was working out aesthetic features for underneath the new bridge.
Changes in the Hastings crime scene aren't dramatic, but there are some bright spots. Part I and Part II crimes both decreased in 2010 from 2009, said Police Chief Paul Schnell. "This is certainly a very safe community," Schnell said. "There's no doubt about that. Serious crime is not a big issue here." Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 20, 2009, there were 628 incidents related to Part I crimes, which include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, auto theft, theft and arson.
The Board of Directors at Regina Medical Center is pleased to announce that Ty W. Erickson has been named Chief Executive Officer of Regina Medical Center, effective Feb. 21, 2011. Erickson brings more than 16 years of experience from a successful career in health care administration.
Last weekend's blizzard has left many residents scrambling to get their driveways and sidewalks clear, but there's another area of their homes they should check: their gas meters and vents. The heavy snow and drifting has plugged and covered meters and vents all over the city, said John Townsend, Hastings' assistant fire and EMS director, and that can cause natural gas or carbon monoxide buildups inside the home. "It's real important that people get out and clear them," Townsend said. In just a couple days, the fire department responded to 12 calls related to blocked vents, compared to the