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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Darbie Johnson, manager of the Hastings Family Aquatic Center, always walks through the facility's main building on her way to the pool deck. It's her routine. But in the 12 years she's been working at the facility, she had never seen what she saw Oct. 7. There were long cracks in the ceiling, holes as big as three feet in diameter punched through the ceiling sheet rock and insulation spilling out onto the floor.
When Don Borash was a boy, he heard his father play violin for street dances. People would drop pennies and nickels in a coffee can for him as he played. When Don got the opportunity to follow in his father's footsteps playing the concertina - a folk instrument similar to an accordion - with a small band, he began what would be the start of a family tradition. At age 9, Don's son Mike Borash started playing drums with his father's band, Don and the Drifters. It was a family band, with Mike's sister Beth (Eidsor) playing guitar.
Forty-six Regina Medical Center employees - including 13 health care providers and 33 staff - are preparing to become Allina employees after the two organizations agreed it would help all employees function more cohesively. The two health care organizations entered into a collaborative venture in 2007.
Governor Mark Dayton put his pen to work in the fight to keep Asian carp out of Minnesota waters. On Sept. 12, he documented an action plan to keep the fish at bay. The plan gives the state's executive agencies authority to take action in seven ways. Among them is one that hits close to home here in Hastings: evaluating and, if feasible, installing a bubble or sound barrier at the mouth of the St. Croix River in Prescott to slow carp migration. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking into the bubble barrier for the St.
The Hastings Hockey Boosters have begun their fundraising campaign for a new hockey training facility in Hastings. Efforts began about a month and a half ago, said Dustin Vogelgesang, a member of HHB's alumni committee. The facility is to be built on the grounds of the Hastings Civic Arena. It would be a separate building located off the southeast corner of the Civic Arena, designed to give mini-mites to high-school-level hockey players a place to develop their skills year- round. It will include shooting, stickhandling, passing and goalie stations and a plyometric training area.
In two years, attendance at the Leaf for Lupus event more than tripled, from 200 people its first year to nearly 700 last year. The event is back again this year and is scheduled for Oct. 15. Leaf for Lupus raises money for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, which helps support research toward a cure for Lupus. Lupus is an auto-immune disease in which a person's immune system attacks the body's own tissues as well as bacteria, viruses and foreign materials. There is no cure. Kristie Wilson of Hastings was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 17.
For two summers, the Hastings public boat launch in Jaycee Park has been reduced to a single lane after the western lane was found to be broken away under the surface of the water. Boaters will have to wait another summer for a permanent fix, but the good news is that both lanes are expected to be open for use next year. City staff suspects river currents and eddies are responsible for eroding the launch away.
The Dakota County Juvenile Service Center was evacuated Thursday afternoon after staff noticed an odd chemical smell in the building. Two people reported feeling ill from the smell. B.J. Battig, risk manager for Dakota County, said staff followed procedure in the incident. They called 911 and evacuated the building. When the Hastings Fire Department arrived, they found the smell was coming from an ant pesticide that had been sprayed in the building, said Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt at the scene.
One of Hastings busiest intersections is getting a new look this week. The house at 1101 Vermillion St., located on the southeast corner of the intersection of highways 61 and 55, is being demolished. The trees on the property have already been cut down. Irene Heiliger of Fort Atkinson, Wis., has owned the property with her husband Leonard since they inherited it in 2008. She said the house will be demolished, most likely by the end of the week. "It was not livable," she said. Heiliger said she and her husband hope to sell the property, which has been for sale for some time already.
For the past few years, anglers have been able to cast their lines into the calm water of Lake Isabel from the comfort of a fishing pier. This summer, however, the pier was missing for much of the season and was only installed about three weeks ago. Staff in the city's Parks and Recreation Department struggled all season to get the pier in place, said Parks and Recreation Director Barry Bernstein. It was a matter of high water that kept them from installing the pier, he said. First, high water had submerged the lower portion of the wooden walkway leading to the pier.