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 been doing it in Spain since about 1945. Every August, tens of thousands of people flock to the town of Buñol to chuck tomatoes at each other. This weekend, July 31, the tradition is starting in Minnesota. Kevin Walker is one of five organizers of the Midwest Tomato Fest. Two of the other organizers had been in India on a service trip when a girl there asked them if they'd ever heard of La Tomatina, the tomato festival in Spain. When they looked it up and found out what it was about, they had the idea to bring it back to their home state. "We wanted to keep it local," Walker said.
Five business owners in the Hastings Industrial Park may have to split the cost of reseeding some of the ditches along Spiral Boulevard. When the road was reconstructed in 2009, the city opted to forego curbs and gutters and instead let stormwater runoff flow into the ditches along the sides of Spiral Boulevard, Industrial Court and half of Millard Avenue. In order to better manage runoff and stop pollutants, the ditches were seeded with native prairie grasses and wildflowers that would hold the soil in place and help filter the water before it reached the rivers.
An SUV went off County Road 46/47 Tuesday afternoon and rolled in the ditch near Riverwood Drive, causing considerable damage to the vehicle but leaving the driver unharmed. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and there were no passengers. The crash was reported at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 26. The vehicle was traveling westbound on CR 46/47 and went off the north side of the road. Police at the scene weren't sure what caused the driver, a minor-aged female, to lose control of the vehicle.
The state government was still hashing out the details of its next budget, leaving many people still waiting for normal operations to resume. But for 360 Communities' Lewis House in Hastings, good news came early. The site, which had closed for a time during the government shutdown due to a lack of funding, has officially reopened. The reopening is thanks to two events. First, funding was restored.
A 53-year-old man from Fort Collins, Colo., was taken to Regina Wednesday evening after his car went off the road and crashed into two trees. The man was driving his 2010 Toyota Camry north on Pleasant Street when he veered off the road and drove through the base of one tree and struck the trunk of a second tree in a yard at the corner of Pleasant and Jefferson streets. Police believe the driver may have suffered from an unknown medical emergency, said Chief of Police Paul Schnell. The man was the sole occupant of the car.
On Wednesday, July 20, the Cottage Grove Ice Arena will host a hockey game that NHL fans won't want to miss. It's the first Stepan/Chorney/Taffe NHL Players Charity Hockey Game, a fundraising event to benefit the Hastings Hockey Association, Defending the Blue Line and the Cottage Grove Hockey Association. More than 30 current NHL players will be at the event to sign autographs and play a game of two 25-minute periods.
The effects of the state government shutdown have been, for the most part, subtle here in Hastings. But legislative gridlock has forced at least one local organization to close its doors temporarily. The Lewis House in Hastings is part of 360 Communities and offers a safe haven for women and children who experience domestic violence. The facility provides immediate needs as well as emotional support, resources and legal advocacy to more than 900 women and children each year. As of July 1, the Hastings location has been closed.
Last week, Hastings' newest restaurant, Me and Julio, had planned on opening its doors to the public this weekend. They even got a day of employee training done. But because of the state government shutdown, the restaurant has been forced to adjust those plans. Me and Julio now plans to open Monday, Aug. 1, as long as the state is up and running by then. Construction and mechanical work has continued over the past weeks, but the restaurant can't have food or alcohol into the building until it passes its electrical inspection.
Dr. Kevin Tri, DDS, had never gone on a mission trip before. But when he heard about an opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic for five days with 18 other dental surgeons from across the country, he knew it was a trip he wanted to take. "It was the right time for me," he said. Tri was attending a mini residency on implant and reconstructive bone surgeries on the east coast when the dentistry mission trip became available. He made the trip the week of Memorial Day. The Dominican Republic is located southeast of Florida in the Caribbean Sea. It shares a border with Haiti.
It's not easy to find an area of untouched land these days, especially so close to the metro. Before Europeans settled in Dakota County, the majority of the land here was covered in prairie. Today there are only small bits of that prairie left intact; of those areas, only pieces are currently protected. The largest section of protected prairie is located just southeast of Hastings, and it just got a lot bigger. A scientific and natural area (SNA) is state-owned land that is managed in a way that protects existing native plant and animal species located there.