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
- 1 year 3 months
It was a boy's first birthday party. After the memorable party, the family left the decorations, the presents and the cake on top of the stove so that they could visit a relative. The house was empty, except for Skyler, the dog. Skyler stood up on his hind legs to reach above the stove and get a taste of the cake. His front paws accidentally turned on the stove, which ignited the cake box and started a fire. That very real insurance claim turned into a Farmers Insurance commercial. The commercial, based on an incident in Hastings, was submitted by insurance agent Katy Lindberg.
The music career of one 2017 Grammy Award winner started in Hastings. Peter Martin of Third Coast Percussion won the Grammy for his work on the album "Steve Reich." Martin, David Skidmore, Robert Dillon and Sean Connors accepted the award for best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance at the 59th Grammy Awards Feb. 12. In addition to being nominated and winning a Grammy, Martin and his group performed on stage with Ravi Coltrane. They performed "Mallet Quartet: III (Fast)." Martin said that they performed the piece and then about 15 minutes later, their category was announced.
The Hastings High School French program invites the community to "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler," or "Let the Good Times Roll" from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 28. The HHS commons area will be transformed into a Mardi Gras celebration area. "We're trying to connect the community to something French and that's one celebration that's fun to celebrate," said Erica Petersen, a HHS French teacher.
February is Black History Month. The month was first recognized in 1976 as a way to honor the accomplishments of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Today, one Hastings woman is looking back on the history of African Americans in the Hastings community. Heidi Langenfeld works in the Pioneer Room at City Hall. She recently researched the timeline of African Americans in Hastings from 1857, when Hastings became an incorporated city, to 1954.
Nearly 200 community members attended the Level III Community Notification Meeting at Hastings Middle School Auditorium Feb. 15. The meeting was a way to inform the public that Randall Scott Wunderlich, a level III predatory offender, would be transitioning into the city of Hastings during the week of Feb. 20. The notification meeting included information about Wunderlich's criminal history, safety topics, rights and responsibilities of the offender, and community members were given the opportunity to ask a panel of experts questions.
Two Hastings Reads events were held at Pleasant Hill Library Feb. 16. Children ages 6-12 spent the afternoon learning about Gyotaku fish print, a Japanese art form first used to document the size of a prize catch. Later in the evening, adults explored the customs and traditions of Japanese culture with Japanese Folk Art Traditions. Community members learned how to make origami, dress in a kimono, what is used in a traditional Japanese dance and more.
More than $2,500 was raised for the early childhood programming Feb. 10 at Tilden Community Center during the Little Raiders Winter Jam. More than 200 people attended the event, which was specifically held in order to raise funds for field trips. Field trips provide hands-on learning experience that takes place outside of the classroom.
The LeDuc Historic Estate has recently received some updates to two of the outdoor buildings and will soon receive some significant repairs. The chicken coop and Simmons Shed recently had lights and outlets installed. The electrification was a nominal expenditure, but the update was a big deal for the LeDuc Estate, said site manager Amy Deaver. "Now we have a space that we can actually use throughout the year and it just makes it a lot easier," Deaver said.
There was a two-vehicle crash near the intersection of Pleasant Drive and South Frontage Road Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m. There was damage to both vehicles. One of the vehicles ended up driving off the road several feet into a grassy area. No further information was immediately available.
Community members had the opportunity to comment on three floor design concepts for the Pleasant Hill Improvement Project at the library's open house Thursday, Feb. 9. Margaret Stone, the library director for Dakota County Library, said that Pleasant Hill Library has not been renovated since it was initially built in 1994. The way people use libraries today is very different than it was in the 90s, she said. "People come in now and they need collaborative space, they need a place to plug in their device and they need to be able to get power and data," Stone said.