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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Hastings residents are no strangers to the value of the Mississippi River, but they might not be as familiar with the human factors that have changed it. To help them understand it better, the Hastings Environmental Protectors (HEP) is sponsoring the showing of "Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story," a documentary film about the Mississippi River. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the Pleasant Hill Library. "Troubled Waters" is about the state of water due to man's influence along the country's waterways.
Since the days of prohibition, Minnesotans have been accustomed to buying their liquor six days out of the week. When it comes to Sundays, they have to plan ahead or go without. In towns along the border, however, Sundays can mean lost revenue both for Minnesota liquor stores and the state budget, as buyers hop across the state line when they forget to stop at a local store earlier in the week. A bill has been introduced in the state legislature that could, if passed, allow off-sale liquor stores to sell on Sundays.
While trying to clear snow away from the sides of Pine Street, a Hastings plow driver damaged 30 mailboxes early last week. It was just after 5 a.m. Feb. 22, said Public Works Superintendent John Zgoda. The darkness was one factor in the accident; the other was the buildup of ice along the curb, which allowed the plow to ride up onto the curb.
Parents know how tough it can be to make ends meet on a limited income. Their kids, however, often don't fully grasp the idea. That's where Reality Check comes in. Every year, Hastings Middle School puts its eighth-grade students and those from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School through the national financial awareness program.
In 2005, Lanoga Corporation, the parent company of Pro-Build in Hastings, entered into an agreement with the city, allowing Lanoga a subsidy to move into the Hastings Industrial Park. In exchange, Lanoga had to create at least four full-time jobs at $13 per hour and stay open for at least five years. Pro-Build did create new jobs - more, even, than they were required to. The business added eight jobs at a minimum of $18 per hour plus benefits by 2008.
Westboro Baptist Church planned Sunday afternoon to protest the showing of the school's winter play, "The Laramie Project," but never showed up. The play is a collection of interviews conducted in Laramie, Wyo., where Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die. The incident attracted national media attention, and was characterized as a hate crime against Shepard, who was a homosexual. So, where were the protesters? Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokesperson for Westboro Baptist Church said that, in this case, another picketing opportunity took priority.
Residents met with Hastings' Planning Commission Monday night to discuss Kwik Trip's plans to build a gas station and car wash at the corner of County Road 46/47 and Vermillion Street. Despite three site plan revisions, residents still were concerned over how the new station would impact their homes. The latest plan puts the station store to the west side of the property to block light from the fuel pump canopy along Vermillion Street.
As a sophomore, Tyler Mellick had a bright couple years ahead of him. He was one of the few sophomores called up to play on the varsity hockey team. He was a varsity track runner and on the bubble of making the varsity tennis team. He was going into his junior year as the football team's top tailback. "He was looking outstanding in our first week of practice," said Tyler's football coach, Dana Strain. Before his first official football game as a junior, all that got taken away. During the Blue and Gold Scrimmage late last August, Tyler switched positions.
On the sidewalks along high school grounds, hundreds of people lined up Sunday afternoon with signs and voices to send a message: Hastings and Minnesota do not tolerate hate. The gathering was a counter-protest organized in response to a press release published by Westboro Baptist Church that designated Hastings High School as one of its picketing locations. WBC, established in 1955 by Pastor Fred Phelps, is a primitive Baptist church in Topeka, Kan., known nationwide for its public protests of homosexuality.
When plans for the new Highway 61 bridge were originally presented, they included a pedestrian and cycling trail to give non-motorized traffic a safe and attractive route across the river. However, the trail simply ended at the north side of the bridge. Since those original plans came out, staff from the City of Hastings, Washington County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation have been working on a new trail plan. Parks and Recreation Director Barry Bernstein presented three concepts to the Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday evening.