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.
- Member for
- 9 months 3 weeks
A group of Hastings women organized Lakeside Cemetery more than a century ago as a nonprofit organization that would benefit the community. May 6 will mark the 150th anniversary of the organization. "(Lakeside Cemetery) was organized to honor the dead and be a credit to the living," said Rich Manke, administrator at Lakeside. Lakeside Cemetery will hold a anniversary celebration at its grounds from 1-3:30 p.m. All activities and events will be free and open to the public.
Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center will host the Hastings Area Birding Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Advanced registration is preferred, but walk-in registration at CNC on festival day is welcome. "This year it's an early spring, so there are many great opportunities to get outdoors and learn about birds," said Jennifer Vieth, executive director at CNC.
Skate stoppers were added to the bottom of the pavilion stairs this month as a deterrent to discourage skateboard and scooting damage. The Rotary Pavilion at Levee Park located in downtown Hastings opened less than a year ago, but it has already sustained some damage due to misuse of its amenities, said Parks and Recreation Department Director Chris Jenkins. "Those amenities ... were not built to be a skate park or scooter park, but people are using it for that purpose, so they are causing damage," Jenkins said.
Hastings firefighters assisted in extinguishing a fire in the 2000 block of Ashland Street around 1:30 a.m. April 12. All occupants were safely evacuated prior to the firefighters arrival. Upon arrival, heavy fire was visible on the rear of the structure both on the exterior and interior. Fire was in the attic traveling both north and south. Firefighters performed an offensive interior attack while crews laddered the roof and vented the attic area and assisted in working to extinguish the fire.
Seven local students attended this year's Model United Nations conference in Minneapolis on March 30 through April 1. The conference, hosted by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, brought together nearly 700 students in grades 7-12. "Model U.N. helps students develop a global perspective," said Orville Lindquist, state program executive for Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government. "They will sharpen their researching, writing and speaking skills; but more importantly, they will grow as leaders and learn to respect opposing points of view and bring about peaceful change in the world."
Police said a suspect fled on foot Sunday after a vehicle pursuit that started in the west metro ended in Hastings. Authorities said the incident began in Hennepin County. Hastings police became involved about 9:30 p.m. as the vehicle continued to the west side of Hastings. The vehicle was rendered inoperable, the driver stopped the vehicle and fled on foot.
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. Community members in Hastings volunteer with several organizations. The Star Gazette took some time to talk to local volunteers with Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care. Judy Plucker, volunteer coordinator with Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care, said they currently have 350 volunteers and about 640 patients. "The family is always grateful when they can get respite," Plucker said.
In addition to working full time as a sergeant with the Hastings Police Department, James Galland has been working one or two shifts with the Metro Transit police. He was recently honored for his part-time service with Metro Transit by receiving the Timothy Bowe Memorial Award. Timothy Bowe was a Minnesota State Trooper who worked part-time for Metro Transit. He was killed in the line of duty while assisting Chisago County deputies in 1997.
The public safety committee reached a consensus during their second meeting regarding a predatory offender ordinance that will be recommended to Hastings City Council. City Council members Lori Braucks, Lisa Leifeld and Tina Folch, City Attorney Dan Fluegel, City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee, and Chief of Police Bryan Schafer were in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the drafted ordinance, idea of a retroactivity, the impact of various "safety zone" ranges, listen to public comment, and discuss a recommendation to bring forward to City Council.
Dakota County Board Chairman Mike Slavik had a positive outlook in his April 5 State of the County address at Royal Cliff Conference Center. Dakota County is a great place to live, work and play, Slavik said. In a residential survey conducted by the county in 2016, 95 percent of residents rated having a high quality of life in Dakota County. Slavik said the results of the survey reinforced the work that the county is doing.