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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The new bridge is the center of a lot of excitement in and around Hastings. New architecture and improved traffic flow are a bright spot for the city, but there's a shadow. At least one local business is questioning whether or not it will be able to survive the three-year construction plan. Hub's Landing and Marina sits along the Highway 61 bridge just north of the Mississippi River. Since 1948 it's been offering its marina, public landing and dry storage services to boaters. The marina has always been full, and they've always had a waiting list, said owners Mark and Monica Frazer.
For the first 10 months after Conrad "Connie" Vineyard joined the military in 1943, he played basketball. He had been an engineering student when he decided to join the army. One day he looked around the campus, he said, and all the other men were gone to the war, so he decided to sign up himself. But after spending all his time on the basketball court, without getting any obvious military training, he realized that he wanted to go back to school. The military had a program that allowed soldiers six years to finish college and Vineyard took advantage of it.
In early October, President Obama signed a bill that awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to two combat divisions for their service in World War II. They were the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, two heavily decorated groups mostly made of Americans of Japanese descent. As a member of the 442nd, Paul Shimizu of Hastings is one of the men on whom the honor falls. He was in his early 20s when he served. Shimizu was still in college in Oakland, Calif., and working part time at a Japanese grocery store when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred.
Construction has begun on the new Hastings bridge, but it will still be a while before there's much to see. The pile driving process will continue until March or April, said project coordinator Steve Kordosky. Pile driving is the foundation-laying process for bridges. Crews have to sink piles deep enough so that they're embedded with enough friction and resistance to hold up the weight of the bridge, said Mn/DOT public affairs coordinator J.P.
The Hastings Fire Department, Hastings Police and State Patrol joined forces yesterday to rescue a 20-year-old St. Paul man from a fall he had taken off a cliff just west of the old railroad trestle over the Vermillion River. Three young males were at the top of the cliff. Reportedly, one went to sit down, leaned against a log and lost his balance, falling over the edge, said fire and EMS director Mike Schutt. He fell about 30 feet to a small ledge on the side of the cliff.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, the newest Salvation Army store will open its doors to the public. "And we hope that we're going to have a line out at the door," said Tom Canfield, the store's director of operations. The past couple months construction crews have been working on renovating the building, located at 1110 Vermillion St. They've added a side door where donations can be dropped off and furnished the inside with shelves and racks to display all their items. The front of the building has gotten a facelift as well, as has the parking lot.
Since Mark Wilson stepped down from his position as president and CEO of Regina Medical Center in May, Regina's board of directors has been working to find his replacement. The process is near its end, however, and a new CEO could be selected by Thanksgiving. The board created a search committee and hired Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm, to help in the process. Witt/Kieffer met with senior leadership within Regina, medical staff and community members to determine what it was Regina needed in a position.
With all the activity and changes happening at the southern end of the bridge project, some in Hastings say this is the perfect time to take care of a long-standing concern in the downtown district. The downtown power substation, which is owned by Xcel Energy, was built in 1949. The location was chosen for its central location, which would best serve the load center in Hastings.
When Duane "Dewy" Dreyer was a kid, he always looked forward to seeing everyone's homes lit up and decorated for Halloween. Now that he's an adult, he misses seeing those decorations. Most people put out a pumpkin or two, he said, and that's about it. "I don't see a lot of Halloween anymore," he said. That's why every year, he outdoes himself in decorating his home for the holiday.
If you like spiders, take a drive down Highway 61 south of Hastings. Just a few miles out of town, there's a prize of a spider poised at the side of the road. Its body is about six feet long and its legs reach out about as far as a car is long. It's the creation of Norma Berens, and although it might look frightening in the dark, it's entirely harmless. The body is made of two 55-gallon drums, and plastic flex tubing make the legs. Berens set the giant spider up in the front of her yard along the road to help celebrate Halloween. It's not her first large-scale decoration.