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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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.
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.