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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If you're looking for a book, the Pleasant Hill Library might be the first place you go. This weekend, it's also the place to go if you're looking to buy a book. The Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library will be hosting a book sale Friday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thirty-five years, seven months, zero days. That's how long Paul Seleski has worked for the Hastings Fire Department. When he walks out the door at the end of his shift today, July 28, his career as a firefighter will officially be complete. He turned in his notice of retirement earlier this month. Seleski remembers the day he first considered joining the fire department. It was 1975, and he was a senior in high school, making a delivery for Spiral Pizza to the home of his then-girlfriend.
At the age of 9, Cindy Hood of Hastings, now 54, underwent her first eye surgery. It was a cornea transplant in her right eye, and it was supposed to help her see. Hood was born with Aniridia, a rare genetic defect that results in the absence or partial absence of the iris, the colored part of the eye around the pupil. People with Aniridia can also develop other eye problems, however, and Hood did. She had cataracts, and by the time she was 16 years old, she had developed glaucoma.
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.