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 of Tuesday morning, the Vermillion River bridge on General Sieben Drive had been closed to allow crews to conduct repairs. There were some "rather significant" bumps in the pavement, said Tom Montgomery, Hastings' director of Public Works. "They've been there for over a year and just gotten progressively worse," he said. Whether caused by the high volume of traffic that crosses the bridge or the weather, Montgomery couldn't say for sure.
As an eighth-grader at Hastings Middle School, Mikayla Zeien was not looking forward to high school. She had been picked on by her classmates enough to disrupt her education, and the prospect of continuing into high school with the same kids was not an appealing one. So she started doing some research on online high schools. A friend of her sister's recommended one called Insight School of Minnesota. "It seemed like a perfect fit," Mikayla said. She's not the only one who thinks so. Attendance at online high schools is growing in Minnesota.
Hastings can't stop Asian carp from spreading upstream, but it, and other sites on the Mississippi River downstream might be sites for alternative technology to deter the invasive fish. In April, a bighead carp - one of four Asian carp species - was caught near Prescott, prompting a new wave of concern for the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers' ecosystems. Of the four species, two pose a threat to local waterways: bighead and silver carp.
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.