Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.
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Eighth graders at Hastings Middle School learned the eight stages of genocide from Holocaust survivor, Fred Amram, May 7. Amram related his experiences as a Holocaust survivor in Nazi Germany with the stages of genocide. "It doesn't just happen overnight," Amram said. Things happen much more slowly. It took a while before Jews started to be hauled off to concentration camps where they were murdered, he said. The eight stages of genocide include: classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination and denial.
A one-stop shop for all things "gifts" will not only be joining the businesses in downtown Hastings, but it will add to the growing arts community. Products will include everything from flowers, cards and balloons to candy, oils, soaps, books and more. Quaint & Quirky, located at 202 Second St. E., will open June 1. Owner Jodi Norgaarden said the focus of the shop is on unique Minnesota businesses with many of the products coming from Minnesota artists. Her goal is to have 90 percent of the shop products come from Minnesota artists.
A Baby Café will launch May 17 in Hastings. No, the "café" will not be serving coffee to babies. Instead, it will act as a drop-in center that provides experts, support and breastfeeding encouragement for moms. The Café is a collaboration between Regina Hospital's Family Birth Center, part of Allina, and TLC of Hastings. It will offer resources such as nurses, lactation counselors, a board-certified lactation consultant and a place for new parents to relate about pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, newborn, infant, toddler and child-raising experiences.
Students at Hastings High School learned about electrical safety May 2 in Dave Davenport's industrial technology class. Kevin Fowler was one of several speakers visiting Davenport's class throughout the year. As manager of safety services at Dakota Electric, Fowler spoke about his career in the field, how students could become lineworkers and safety as a lineworker. Fowler said a career in the trades is often overlooked. Most high-school students are going to a four-year college out of high school. "Not all of us were cut out for that; I wasn't," Fowler said.
National Geographic's 2014 Adventurers of the Year made a stop in Hastings May 2 as they journey 1,750 miles by bicycle from Ely, Minnesota to Washington D.C. Dave and Amy Freeman are pedaling to the country's capital as a campaign to save the boundary waters. They will stop in a number of cities along the way to promote their book, A Year in the Wilderness, and ask supporters sign a canoe they have in tow as a petition to stop copper mining that would threaten the Boundary Waters Canoe Area watershed. "It's a national treasure that belongs to all of us," Dave said.
Shakespeare in the park is taken to a whole other level with the (lumin) theater lab performance of Twelfth Night at Spring Lake Park Reserve in partnership with Dakota County Parks. The show will be performed promenade style, where audiences follow the performers for about 1.5 miles through the trails of Spring Lake Park Reserve, Schaar's Bluff Trailhead.
A building fire in the 600 block of Greten Court resulted in a total loss Saturday, May 5. Firefighters were called to the single family home at 4:50 p.m. after a neighbor discovered the fire. No occupants were in the home at the time of the fire. Hastings Fire Department received mutual aid from Cottage Grove, Miesville, Prescott, Randolph-Hampton and Rosemount fire departments. The fire was located in the attic, but the cause of the fire is currently undetermined. The home is considered to be a total loss with an estimated $350,000 in property loss and $200,000 in content loss.
There is much about the wolf that still remains unknown, but research continues to discover more every year. For one local resident and former Hastings Star Gazette editor, wolves have become the focus of his work day. Not necessarily in a research capacity, but Chad Richardson has worked at the International Wolf Center for about a year.
A couple hundred people attended the kickoff event to begin a discussion about diversity in the Hastings community April 29. The event is a collaborative effort between the Hastings Public School District and City of Hastings. The event included information from a number of speakers and a group discussion through table talks in which attendees were asked to answer questions about diversity. A proclamation was made by the City and the School District and discussion continued with an ice cream social at the end of the event.
The Veterans Home facility in Hastings is nearly a century old. As with any aging building maintenance is required, and it could see funding for much needed repairs through Governor Mark Dayton's bonding bill. The bill includes $13.1 million to fix and upgrade five state Veterans Homes across Minnesota and the Little Falls State Veterans Cemetery.