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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For the second summer, boaters who use Hastings' free public boat launch may have to wait just a little bit longer to get their boats in and out of the water this year, but if things go as planned, the boat launch will be restored to its full capacity this fall. Early in the boating season last year, the city received reports that the westernmost, upstream launch lane had a hole in it, explained Barry Bernstein, director of Hastings' Parks and Recreation Department.
There are plenty of questions when it comes to deciding what will be done with the nearly 100-year-old Hudson Manufacturing building once its lifelong tenant finishes moving out of its space in downtown Hastings. While there aren't any answers yet, getting ideas was one purpose behind a public meeting Tuesday at City Hall. People who attended the meeting were given the opportunity to submit their written ideas to the reuse study team, which is being sponsored by Mn/DOT as part of the new Highway 61 bridge project.
In Hastings, students in grades seven through 12 have the option of playing lacrosse through the Hastings Lacrosse Club.
As a girl growing up in Hastings, Suzanne Pottinger was already showing off her home designing skills. She would rearrange furniture in her house and raked leaves into house floor plans instead of the typical pile. When she went to friends' houses, she always wanted to know where all the rooms were so she could see how they functioned together to create a home. "I've always liked how houses function," she said. In high school she took a hand drafting class and loved it. It was the ability to let her creativity flow through her hand, she said.
The Hastings City Council moved forward with its 2011 street improvement project Monday. The council ordered the improvements, approved the project plans and authorized city staff to start seeking project bids. Also approved were the assessments for the project. More than 400 homes will be affected by the improvements. Assessments will account for 27 percent of the project cost, while the rest will be covered by the city's utility funds and bonds. The city has budgeted $3.5 million for the project.
Across the city of Hastings, residents are seeing more and more buildings standing empty and left uncared for - with broken windows, overgrown grass, and sometimes even structural damage. They can be mere eyesores for the neighbors, but they can also cause more problems. "Vacant buildings are a major cause and source of blight in residential and non-residential neighborhoods, especially when the owner or responsible party of the building fails to actively maintain and manage the building to ensure it does not become a liability to the neighborhood.
Young children often have high hopes for their adult lives. Ask a 6-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up, and he'll likely give you something along the lines of "astronaut," "firefighter," or "doctor." When Colton Peltier was 6, he told the Hastings Star Gazette that he wanted to go to the Juilliard School. Last week, he saw that dream become reality. Peltier is one of only 23 piano students who will join the school this fall. His acceptance was based upon a rigorous application process. He submitted his original application in November, with a CD recorded of his playing.
Plans for a Kwik Trip station store at the corner of Highway 61 and County Road 46/47 have been canceled, according to the company's CFO, Scott Teigen. "It's the store that's not going to happen," he said. Kwik Trip met with resistance initially from the county highway department when it came to finding a place for a permanent, full-access driveway.
The Hastings City Council is gearing up for another year of street improvement projects, but there's been some disagreement regarding the timing of special assessment hearings - the piece of the process that assigns a portion of the project cost to those properties that will be improved by the work. The council had planned to order the improvements and adopt the assessments at its last meeting, March 21, but the votes were tabled after some discussion showed a need for more information. One issue was raised by the public.
Early flood predictions were high enough to cause plenty of worry along the riverfront, but it's beginning to look like the flood of 2011 will be much tamer than originally expected. The latest National Weather Service forecast puts the flood crest at 17.5 feet on March 31, almost four feet lower than predicted last week. By April 6, the water is expected to recede back to 15.9 feet. As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the river was at 17.42 feet. "This cold weather has been doing wonders," said Hastings' director of public works, Tom Montgomery.