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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Since the Great Rivers Art Gallery moved out of its wide sprawling space at the corner of Ramsey and Second streets last November, it's made a few changes. The new location is 109 E. Second St. The most obvious change was in the name. Now known as Great Rivers Art and Simply Panache, the name change signifies a shift in what, exactly, the place offers. "It's not just an art gallery anymore," said Anne Latham. Latham is a co-owner of the business with Betsy Balsanek.
In order to make up for reduced consumption over the past five years, the City of Hastings is looking to increase sewer and water rates and connection fees. Utility consumption has dropped over the past five years, but even so, the wastewater and water funds had enough revenue to more than cover operating costs, said Director of Public Works Tom Montgomery.
The empty lot across Fourth Street from City Hall in downtown Hastings could be the site of the city's newest building. The Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority owns the property, and demolished a house there about seven or eight years ago, Community Development Director John Hinzman explained. HEDRA had a preliminary agreement with Stotko Speedling Construction, Inc. to develop the property.
Since the Hastings Environmental Development and Redevelopment Authority (HEDRA) purchased the Hudson Manufacturing Co. building last year, its members knew they were buying a structure that's not in the best condition. On Monday, they got to see for themselves for the first time just what sort of condition the place is in. "This is our $3 million fixer-upper," Community Development Director John Hinzman told the group as he led city commissioners and council members into the building for a tour. The tour visited each portion of the building, which was constructed in sections.
As the school district prepares to move the kindergarten out of Tilden Center and other district programs in, the city has approved the relocation of the Hastings Area Senior Center into the Tilden Learning Center. The Joint Powers Committee has discussed the move several times in the past year, but the city council just gave the idea a green light Monday evening. Included in the relocation concept is the move of the Hastings Area Learning Center (ALC) into the current senior center, located at 213 Ramsey Street.
A new law requiring alarm system users to register their alarms with the city was approved Monday evening. The ordinance (city code 95.06) requires anyone in control of an alarm system that is intended to summon police or fire personnel to complete a free registration process with the city. Police may issue citations if they respond to an alarm that is not registered. It also deems a public nuisance any alarm system that sounds for longer than 20 minutes, emits an audible or visual signal more than twice within an hour or sounds a false alarm.
Commuter rail service from Hastings to St. Paul may still be at least 10 years down the road, but the Red Rock Corridor Commission can check off the first of five steps in the process that will get them there. Last Wednesday, April 6, the commission presented the final station plans for Hastings, Cottage Grove, Newport and Lower Afton in St. Paul. Next on the list of things to do is conduct an advanced alternatives analysis and draft an environmental impact statement. This next stage is expected to take roughly two years.
It was about 9:45 p.m. Saturday when Rolland Shoen, his wife and his daughter had their evening interrupted by an unexpected visitor. They were sitting inside their house, located about one mile outside the city limits along Ravenna Trail, and only two miles away from business developments along 10th Street. The family dog started barking - a more stressful bark than they were used to hearing - and kept barking at something in the trees behind the house.
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.