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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Wausau Homes, located at 507 Vermillion Street, celebrated their grand opening and announced that they are now building homes in Dakota County and the surrounding area. The custom home design studio, owned by Hastings native Tyler Walker, opened its doors in December 2016, but the business celebrated with an official ribbon cutting April 27. Walker said that is has been amazing to receive so much local support from fellow business owners and residents of Hastings.
A new MetroPCS store opened its doors April 13 in Hastings at 300 Vermillion St. The wireless store is known for offering great value in devices and plans. The company partners with T-Mobile for 4G LTE and coverage. The MetroPCS store originally opened in November, but it reopened under new ownership in April. Mike Kohler, the new owner of the MetroPCS in Hastings, has been working in wireless for about 20 years. He said that he began working in wireless when he sold bag phones. He has worked in the industry ever since and has seen phones change throughout the years.
In the middle of May, Hastings will see Jim Crigler pass down the Mississippi River on his canoe as part of his solo canoe trip paddling the entire length of the river. Crigler, a Winona resident and Vietnam War veteran, began his journey in Lake Itasca April 22 and will make his way to New Orleans with the hopes that it will only take him 67 days to finish. "I'm going to start a movement to get normal American citizens to find a Gold Star family in their community ... and write them a thank you note," Crigler said.
The Hastings bridge is one of three bridges being used to study the impact bridges along the Mississippi River may have on migrating birds. On April 24, a small-scale avian radar was set up at Jaycee Park in Hastings that will track birds as they migrate during spring 2017.
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.