Lydia Birt is the Hastings Star Gazette's summer intern. She is a 2014 graduate of Hastings High School and plans to study journalism at the University of Missouri this fall. She is part of the Pohlad internship program through the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
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For nine dollars an hour, Hastings residents of all ages can participate in a local dance camp that is unique for its area. Co-owners of the Rain Academy of Dance Paul and Kristan Woog and Katie Vortherms are excited to bring back a hip-hop camp to their schedule this year. Rain Academy has been open for four years, and the hip-hop camp was only tested once in the academy’s first year of operation. This year, new instructors at Rain bring a fresh style and perspective of hip-hop straight from the Twin Cities. “Everything is family appropriate, it’s nothing like a rap video,” said Paul Woog.
Trash turns to treasure in the new vintage shop downtown called Eye Candy Refind. Lacy Vreeland founded Eye Candy REfind in Afton, and recently leased a location on Second Street in downtown Hastings. At EyeCandy, vintage pieces are discovered by dealers and refurbished or repurposed according to the customer’s’ needs. Because new pieces are brought in daily, there is always new inventory to be chosen from. Dressers, cabinets, armoires and dining room sets are just some of the larger pieces that can be found here, and many of the pieces are interchanged between locations.
When Nancy Ahn first started teaching in Hastings in 1973, it was pretty easy to spot her. She was driving what she called an “old art car” between schools. The car, a Buick, was given to her by her parents. It was a necessity then, as Ahn was traveling from school to school as an art teacher. “I was either working at Kennedy Elementary School and Tilden Elementary School at the same time, or Kennedy and McAuliffe Elementary School at the same time,” Ahn said. “Sometimes I worked at all three. You had to be very organized.” Ahn recently taught her last class in Hastings.
This year marks the fifth time in a row that Pinecrest Elementary School has celebrated the end of the school year with a game of Bingo for each respective grade. Some of the teachers and faculty who make the day of Bingo possible include Elizabeth Caroll, art teacher; Lisa Poncelet, music teacher; Sherry McPherson-Ness, secretary; Jeff Hoffman, physical education; and Barb Ginther, computer lab.
Although Robert Majeski is one of many retirees this year in Hastings, he is one of few to hold more than one educational position in our school system. A native of Hastings, Majeski first attended St. Boniface Elementary School (now SEAS), and later was a standout football player for the Raiders while attending Hastings High School until graduating in 1973. While enrolled in Concordia College, he obtained a teaching position in ISD 200 which led to a career that lasted almost 38 years.
In the story of DC Entertainment’s “The Flash,” a young boy transforms overnight into a super speedy superhero through the effects of a lightning strike. The quick transition from average human to super being must be a startling one, but perhaps just as startling as a lightning strike is the final step from the average high school experience into the super speedy adult world, which many of Hastings High School’s seniors will undergo this week. Graduating senior Christian Flasch felt a connection with “The Flash,” and chose to make his senior year pictures unique and memorable.
The Dakota County Fair has something to pique everyone’s interest. At every turn, there is a little bit of everything under the sun. In addition to the chance to see your neighbors’ and friends’ talents, projects or possessions, the county fair gives a way to show off your own hard work. A resource provided by the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the Dakota County Fair is the Minnesota 4-H program. The Strommens, a Hastings-area family, are members of the Vermillion-based 4-H club Top Notchers.
Choosing to live as an artist came late in life for Hastings resident Dale Lewis. “I’m 58 and I finally I figured out what I want to do when I grow up,” he said. Lewis has been an artist for only seven years, but his works are proof that all you need to create art are time and talent. Before experimenting with art, Lewis and his wife, Carol, rehabilitated houses until the market collapsed in 2006. He had already retired and found himself with enough time on his hands for a hobby.
Planning a road trip with your family this summer? The Hastings Pleasant Hill Library offers an educational entertainment option for the long drive. Instead of a DVD or video game, you and your family can enjoy a book on tape or CD and have a reading adventure while on vacation. Thanks to a thousand dollar donation made by the friends of the Pleasant Hill Library, the audio book section at the library recently acquired titles for all ages, from “The Dog Says How” to “World War Z”.
Like all athletic teams or musical ensembles, the Hastings High School marching band is accustomed to long hours of practice. In the summer, they use their rehearsal time to prepare for their field shows, where they compete with other marching bands. Last year, they proved that practice makes perfect when they won a Class A state championship title at the Youth in Music Marching Band State Championships in Chanhassen. In hopes of defending that title in the 2014 championships, the marching band has been hard at work learning their choreography and music for upcoming competitions.