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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Hastings native Kristen Kilpo was recently selected as a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She is one of 37 semifinalists that were narrowed down from 132 candidates across the state. "I was definitely surprised and very humbled by it all because I feel like I work with some really incredible people," Kilpo said.
The Hastings Police Department is looking into a security camera registration program to help aid future criminal investigations. They recently released a request for residents and businesses to fill out a survey regarding the possibility of creating the "virtual safety network." "The idea of (the network is) really just creating a map throughout the city where we can see where exterior cameras exist," said Chris Nelson, HPD investigator.
When Kevin Rotty had the the opportunity to bring in a second player for his cabaret work at Jitters in northeast Minneapolis during the late 90s, he knew who to call. He asked his friend Mike Borash to help him out. They didn't plan a set list, but they ended up filling four hours with music and chit chat. "It was kind of an odd foreshadowing of getting a chance to work together," Rotty said.
A female is sitting on a bridge, out on a ledge that is about six feet beyond a gate. With no way of physically getting to her, how would an officer react? Amber Hentges, a detective at the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, recently went through Crisis Intervention Training. As part of the training, she was required to participate in a scenario with professional actors. During the bridge scenario, she had to talk to the female actor, establish a rapport with her, gain her confidence and keep her engaged. The actors made the scenario feel like reality, Hentges said.
Community members "Let the Good Times Roll" at the Mardi Gras celebration at Hastings High School o Feb. 28. The HHS French program hosted the event in the HHS commons area with game stations, a bounce house in the shape of a castle, food, face paint, balloon hats and more. Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday, is celebrated all over the world on the day before Ash Wednesday.
The District 200 School Board approved a budget reduction of up to $500,000 for the 2017-18 school year at its meeting Feb. 21. Even with the reduction, the district will still be about $1.3 million over budget. Superintendent Tim Collins said that more cuts are expected. "As we look to the following year, we know as a board too, that we could be making up to $2 million in cuts a year from now," Collins said in the meeting.
Hastings Family Service declared a "City-Wide Food Fight" during the city council meeting at City Hall March 6. Any money or food donated from Feb. 24 to April 2 will be matched proportionately by MN FoodShare and remain in School District 200 to help families in this community. "Their goal is to restock food shelves around the state after the busy holiday season," said Amy Sutton, associate director at Hastings Family Service; "it's a time when all food shelves are a little depleted."
Smoke was detected at Hastings Middle School this morning due to a mechanical malfunction. School officials issued a statement around 7:52 a.m. that students had been evacuated from the building and were taken to Pinecrest Elementary until the smoke was cleared. There was no fire in the building and there was no danger to students. As of 8:30 a.m. students and faculty were back in the building and classes will resume as scheduled.
Local students showed appreciation for their bus drivers Feb. 22, Minnesota's first-ever Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Pinecrest Elementary School students made banners that thanked their bus drivers for keeping them safe and driving them to and from school. The students lined up along the sidewalk and held the banners up for the drivers to see.
Lights, camera, action. The big screen be could in the future for three Dakota County Sheriff deputies. They recently had the opportunity to work as extras in the upcoming Woody Harrelson movie titled "Wilson." According to the Internet Movie Database ( www.imdb.com ), Wilson is about a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man who reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.