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.
- Member for
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The Hastings City Council is gearing up for another year of street improvement projects, but there's been some disagreement regarding the timing of special assessment hearings - the piece of the process that assigns a portion of the project cost to those properties that will be improved by the work. The council had planned to order the improvements and adopt the assessments at its last meeting, March 21, but the votes were tabled after some discussion showed a need for more information. One issue was raised by the public.
Early flood predictions were high enough to cause plenty of worry along the riverfront, but it's beginning to look like the flood of 2011 will be much tamer than originally expected. The latest National Weather Service forecast puts the flood crest at 17.5 feet on March 31, almost four feet lower than predicted last week. By April 6, the water is expected to recede back to 15.9 feet. As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the river was at 17.42 feet. "This cold weather has been doing wonders," said Hastings' director of public works, Tom Montgomery.
The CI Dakota United Hawks adaptive floor hockey team had a strong showing at the state tournament March 18 and 19, finishing second behind the undefeated Anoka/ Hennepin Mustangs. "We had an amazing season capped off by a run all the way to the title game," said coach Brett Kosidowski. "Last year we lost six senior players; among those, four started and we didn't know what to expect." Two new players took the floor this year for the first time, Carl Fagre, an eighth-grader, and Joe Sandey, a sophomore.
The Dakota United Hawks PI adaptive floor hockey team competed at the state tournament March 18 and 19. They had a good season, posting a 9-1-1 record and earning the No. 1 seed going into the tournament, but the competition at state wore them down. The team started strong with a 10-2 win over Anoka Friday, March 18. Grayson Nicolay, a seventh-grader from Rosemount Middle School, stole the show that game, scoring six goals. "He did really well that game," said assistant coach Ross Klingelhut. Saturday the Hawks faced Brainerd.
As a little girl, Ashley Hochhalter of Hastings knew she had a sibling - a little brother - who lived somewhere else. She had met him once, when she was only 3 and he was just a baby. When she was 6, she begged her mother to help her find him, and when the hunt was unsuccessful, she was devastated. Ashley's biological father was a poor match for her mother, and the two split up before Ashley's mother even knew she was pregnant, so Ashley never knew her father growing up.
According to National Weather Service forecasts, the Mississippi River is expected to cross into the major flooding stage about midnight, March 26. As of 6 a.m. March 25, the river was at 13.72 feet. The latest predictions say the river will reach 18.9 feet on March 31. At that height, portions of Lock and Dam Road will be under water, and those who work at the lock and dam will have to use an alternate route to get to work. There are two options available, said lockmaster Mike DeRusha. Primary access will be via the city's paved bike trail over the Lake Rebecca levy.
This Friday, the Dakota United Hawks will play their first games of the adaptive floor hockey State tournament. Both teams have earned the No. 1 seed in the South Division. Dakota United is a program serving athletes with physical or cognitive disabilities that prevent them from playing sports on their schools' conventional teams. Students from schools across the region join to compete against other adaptive teams in the state.
There were plenty of concerns raised by residents around the corner of Highway 61 and County Road 46/47 after Kwik Trip presented its plans for a gas station and convenience store there. Neighbors of the property spoke up at a public hearing last month. Bright lights from the fuel pump canopy were one worry. Another was the noise produced by a two-bay car wash, which was proposed at the north side of the property.
About this time next year, the City of Hampton will be getting started with a major road reconstruction project. Construction will cover less than half a mile of the city's downtown streets, but those streets will be rebuilt entirely - with new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, parking, water and sanitary sewer mains and storm sewers.
Warm weather conditions this week aren't a guarantee of high water levels this spring, but they're not easing fears of bad flooding either. "It's not an ideal condition," said Hastings Public Works Director Tom Montgomery. The reason it's not ideal is that snow and ice has been melting continuously, rather than intermittently. "Ideally we'd have freezing overnight, or we'd have a period of freezing to slow things down," he said. How the warm-up will affect flood levels will depend on what sort of weather comes next.