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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Maintenance of Oakwood Cemetery has continued to get harder and harder since 2014 when lawn care service was left to volunteers. The county used to care for the lawn through its Sentence to Serve program, but in 2014 they no longer had any money in the budget to put toward mowing the cemetery. Oakwood Cemetery was established in 1856 and it has more than 500 people interred on the property. Heidi Langenfeld, president of the Friends of LeDuc and Historic Hastings, said the site is historic and that taking care of it is a worthwhile project.
After 30 years of service, Hastings Police Department Lt. Joe Kegley will retire this month. His last day will be July 21. Over the course of his three-decade-long career in the police force, Kegley said that he has seen a lot of changes. When he first joined the department, the office was located in a single hallway building near the fire department. This was before the Government Center was located in the city and when the middle school was located at Schoolhouse Square.
The Carpenter Nature Center summer programs are in full swing. The Fishing Fun program and the Raptor Camp were held July 6. The fishing adventure involved a half day of fishing fun. Children brought their own rod and reel if they had one or used a provided one. Another Fishing Fun day will be held July 19.
The Miss Hastings Scholarship Pageant has partnered with several businesses in Hastings Independent School District 200 for the Pageant Pennies fundraiser. Jars will be placed at various businesses throughout the area from July 14 through July 24. Community members are encouraged to place change or donations inside the jars during that period of time. Pageant Pennies donations will go toward operating expenses for the Miss Hastings Scholarship Pageant that recently revived after a three-decade hiatus. The program will return in 2018.
The wooden signs on the side of the major highways entering town that say "Welcome to Hastings" will soon have a new look if it is approved by City Council. The city recently asked for input on the final two design options that they have come up with through an online survey. There was $25,000 budgeted in the general fund for the 2017 fiscal year to remove and replace one of the welcome signs in Hastings. The remaining two signs would be phased in as money is set aside in future budgets.
In the July 6, 2017, edition of the Gazette it was incorrectly stated that the pool at the Hastings Family Aquatic Center was repaired. The pool was closed June 29 through July 1 for the second repair of the season, but maintenance crews were unable to repair the leak. The pool reopened, but there is still a leak. Chris Jenkins, the parks and recreation director, said that a leak was detected, but the area where they thought the leak was located had been inaccurate. The leak was eventually located underneath the toddler play structure.
According to 1974 graduate of Hastings High School, Scott Wakefield, it's a big deal to make captain rank in the commercial airline business. Wakefield is now based in Detroit as a pilot captain for Delta Airlines. "(Becoming a pilot captain) is the ultimate achievement in the airline business," Scott said.
Olive Dogs Grooming Salon just opened up in Hastings and lead groomer Crystal Rego said that she is ready to serve the canine clients of Hastings. Rego and her husband Robert Coonrod, both Hastings High School graduates of 2005, have opened a dog grooming salon in the middle of June at 1030 N. Frontage Road, Hastings. The salon has a shabby chic decor and Rego said that she is going for a charming and mellow vibe that will help dogs feel at home.
Black Dirt Theater performed at the Rotary Pavilion in Levee Park June 27 as part of the Parks and Recreation summer programming. The Black Dirt Theater Improv team performed improv in the outdoor setting. There were two half hour improv sessions with an intermission. During the intermission, two actresses from the upcoming show Mary Poppins helped sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
The District 200 School Board voted to approve a new unpaid lunch policy at their June 22 meeting. The state mandated that school districts establish and clearly communicate a local meal charge policy before July 1 for the 2017-18 school year. Although there has been a process in place, this will be the first time the district will have a policy for unpaid meals documented.