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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Playground vandalism has plagued city parks departments for years. When Hastings' Parks and Recreation Commission heard a proposal for two new playgrounds May 10, it also heard of an innovative new technology called Sonic Screen to deter youth from loitering at playgrounds after the parks close. As people age, they naturally lose the ability to hear certain high frequency levels.
A bill to ban the possession and sale of synthetic marijuana has been approved by both the Minnesota House of Representatives and the State Senate. The Senate approved the bill last Thursday, May 12. Senator Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, announced her intent to introduce the bill to the Senate last December. A companion bill in the House was approved at the end of February. The Senate received the approved House bill and made some changes before taking its final vote.
On May 3, what had been an empty storefront in the little strip mall across from the Salvation Army store opened its doors as a new dry cleaning and laundry business. The new Hastings Clean'n'Press is one of 16 branches in the south metro and owned by Tim Mikel. The company is expanding, Mikel said, and Hastings, with its southern location and high-traffic made it an appealing spot. "There's not a whole lot of southern locations," he said. Mikel has been in the dry cleaning business 24 years, and his is a family business, he said.
It's been 43 years since Geno Halberg entered a design contest at Hastings High School. The police department needed a new design for its patches, and they turned to the students in the school's advanced art class. Halberg, a senior in high school at the time, was one of the students in the class. "It just came up in the art department," he said. "I don't know how many of us entered." There were other students in the class he was sure would win the contest, he said, but decided to enter anyway. "I like art. And I just thought, well, it might be something nice to enter....
It's been almost 10 years since Nick Clare, a Hastings native and senior at Montana State University in Bozeman, lost his life in a Montana car accident. On Saturday, his family, friends and others will honor his memory in the 10th annual Nick Clare Memorial Run. Clare was an avid runner. He participated in cross country, skiing and track at Hastings High School. He was also a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and made a point to help others, said his sister, Jenny Wilcox. The memorial run is a way to keep his legacy alive.
Since 2007, Minnesota's Secretary of State's office has been providing victims of domestic abuse a service that allows them to keep the places they live hidden from their abusers. It's called Safe at Home, and on April 16, a Hastings organization was recognized for its efforts to provide the service to victims who came through its doors. 360 Communities operates the Lewis House in Hastings, a shelter for battered women and their children.
It's only four weeks until Hastings opens its main event for the summer. The Cruise-in car shows begin May 28 downtown and will be held every other Saturday through Oct. 1. The annual car show is hosted by the Downtown Business Association. It is open to cars from 1976 or earlier and runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The dates and themes for this year's shows are: May 28, no theme; June 11, public service and Amber Alert night; June 25, Mopar night; July 9, military and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon night; July 23, Ford night; Aug. 6, convertible night; Aug. 20, Bob Hollenbeck night; Sept.
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.