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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This summer, Hastings Community Education and the Hastings YMCA have joined forces along with several other community partners to offer Summer Programs Arts and Recreation for Kids, a free summer program for youth in the community. "(The partnering organizations) really had the same heart, the same mission in that we could do something bigger and better if we all worked together," said Sara Lawrence, youth enrichment coordinator at Hastings Community Education.
After a 34-year hiatus, the Miss Hastings Scholarship Program will return in 2018 with the Miss Hastings Scholarship Pageant on July 20, 2018. Janelle Almquist Behny, board president, and Wendy Latuff, board vice president, are combining their perspective's to bring back the program to the Hastings area. The Miss America Organization is ranked No. 1 in scholarship assistance for young women in the world and Behny said the Miss Hastings Scholarship Pageant intends to do the same for young women in the community.
The Hastings Parks and Recreation Department will host a Summer Kickoff Celebration from 5-8 p.m. June 6 at Levee Park and the Rotary Pavilion, 20 Ramsey St. The free event will have live music, knocker ball, bounce houses, youth activities and more. Paige Marschall Bigler, the recreation programming specialist at the Parks Department, said that a similar event was held last year with a ribbon cutting. This year and in future years, a summer kickoff event will be celebrated to promote upcoming summer programs.
"Battle for Bentley," a benefit for Bentley Mueller, will be held 1-5 p.m. June 17 at The Coliseum Sports Bar and Grill, 1840 Vermillion St. The benefit will include a silent auction, raffles, meat raffle, tap beer special, food special and a bake sale.
Lin Warren, the choral director at Hastings High School, will be retiring at the end of this school year. He has spent 33 years at Hastings High School shaping the music program into what it is today. The music program at HHS and community has gone through significant changes since he began teaching at the school in the '80s.
Katmint Feline Wellness (Koop Brand) will donate nutritious dry food meals to Animal Ark in Hastings through their Buy One Feed One initiative. For every order that is placed on their website during the month of May, they will donate one healthy meal to Animal Ark. "We were really excited because it's part of our local community too," said Tyler Thompson, founder of Koop Brand.
This year's $2,500 National Merit Scholarship winners were announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. on May 10. The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists.
Last week, the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau hosted two ribbon-cutting events for businesses in the community. On May 11, a ribbon-cutting event was held to celebrate North Risk Partners, C.O. Brown Division's new office. The new office is located at 1640 South Frontage Road, Suite 102. It was also the 100th anniversary celebration of being part of the C.O. Brown Division.
There’s a new food truck in town and owner Fernando Ortiz said that he’ll be seen around Hastings at all the major events this summer. Ortiz recently started Taco Borracho, a food truck that serves “authentic Mexican with a Texas twist,” he said. Taco Borracho will be at Rivertown Days, the car shows downtown and some other events as opportunities are presented.
Hastings residents will see changes to their water and sewer bills beginning with the July 2017 billing. The city council voted 5-0 May 15 to approve changes to the city's utility rate structure and associated fees. One item on the council's agenda this year was to figure out how to bring utility fund revenues in line with expenses, while attempting to minimize the impact on residents. The approved model will increase usage rates and also provide a discount on sewer and water availability charges.