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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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.
In July, the Hastings Hockey Boosters presented a proposal to the city for the construction of a new hockey training facility on the same property as the Hastings Civic Arena. At the time, HHB thought they might be able to break ground on the facility before year's end. After delving into the fundraising process a little deeper, they've had to put off making any estimates on when the project could start. Instead of launching straight into fundraising efforts, HHB hired a company to conduct a feasibility study that will determine if fundraising is likely to succeed at this point.
For Hastings High School senior Josh Fox, setting up the perfect scare is a calling. He's been doing it at his home since fifth grade, setting up haunted house tours in his parents' garage and around the home. Fox's first haunted house was a small affair, set up in the garage when he was in fifth grade.
Get ready for a musical treat. Sixty-three students in grades six through eight will come together to produce their fall musical, Willy Wonka Junior, Oct. 26 and Oct. 28. Staff decided on the musical, a variation on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, about a year ago, said one of the directors, Michelle Munger.
On Sept. 10, Jaime McNaughton got the call from her father, Bradd, that he was in the hospital. He was on his yearly motorcycle trip with his brother-in-law, heading up to the north shore, when he got in a crash. He had five broken ribs and a broken pelvis and collar bone, but the doctor said he should be able to leave in three to five days, Bradd told his daughter. "Here we are, four and a half weeks later," Jaime said. The crash itself happened the day before Jaime got the phone call. The two men had gotten as far as Two Harbors, Minn., when they ran into a construction zone.
On Sept. 14, four Boy Scout leaders set out in two canoes to paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River. "It's something I've always thought about doing," said Brian Halloran. So he teamed up with Davin and Eric Grapentine and Maggie Matthews on a trip to bring a little extra awareness to the Boy Scout program. What they didn't expect was to be gliding along through fall floodwaters. Fast flowing water means the four are making excellent time; they've been able to move along at 4.5 miles per hour just drifting, Eric Grapentine said.
Last year, Kristie Wilson of Hastings and staff at Hidden Greens Golf Course teamed up to raise about $1,500 for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota by letting people come jump in massive leaf piles. This year, Leaf for Lupus is back, and word on the street is that the leaf piles will be even bigger this time, Wilson said. It will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17. The event started last year after staff at the golf course found out that Wilson, an employee at the time, has lupus.
With a spectacular view of the waterfall and access to trails that wind around the city, Vermillion Falls Park is one of the most popular parks Hastings has to offer. The Parks and Recreation Commission is considering giving one part of the park a makeover. The best known part of the park is east of Vermillion Street. The part being discussed is on the west side of Vermillion, stretching along County Road 46/47 nearly to 31st Street, with the exception of one piece of property at Maple Street.