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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Lisa Hedin was unanimously voted as chair of the Hastings District 200 School Board on Jan. 4, after Vince O'Brien withdrew from the board. O'Brien, who was in the middle of his elected term as chair, stepped down after accepting the executive director position at the Colorado Continuing Legal Education. O'Brien plans to move to Colorado at the end of this month.
Dawn Morningstar, the author of "Venerable Women: Transform Ourselves, Transform the World," will be at BreakAway Arts and Cafe, 111 E. Third St., from 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 9. There will be a social hour from 6-7 p.m. and a presentation from 7-8:30 p.m. "I really want people to walk about with a sense of hope that things can be better, not just for them but for the entire world, and that they play an important role in that," Morningstar said of her presentation.
There were 115 Hastings delegates who attended the Model Assembly conference at the state Capitol Jan. 5-8. Two Hastings delegates were elected to state positions at the conference. Hayden Schutt, a junior at Hastings High School, was elected youth governor at the conference. Schutt campaigned for the position at the conference by asking people for support and handing out buttons and stickers.
The first baby to be born at Regina Hospital in 2017 was David Benjamin Marshall. The baby boy was born at 6:03 p.m., Jan. 1, 2017, to parents Kassey and Aaron Marshall of Prescott, Wis. He weighed 8 lbs, 1.4 oz, and measured 20.75 inches long. David has one sibling, 11-year-old Carter Perry, and Kassey and Aaron said there is already a brotherly connection between the two. Whenever David hears Carter's voice he seems to smile, they said.
Trained tax assistants through the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program are almost ready to offer their help through the Hastings Senior Center. This program is for seniors and low-income individuals who have basic tax returns. Appointments can be made starting Wednesday, Jan. 25, by calling 651-480-7689. Appointments begin Feb. 1 at the Tilden Community Center, 310 River St. Appointments can be made Mondays from 3-6:30 p.m. and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
Vince O'Brien has stepped down from his position as chairman of the Hastings School Board in the middle of his third term. Vice chair Lisa Hedin was voted in to replace O'Brien as chairwoman. O'Brien withdrew from his position on the board in order to pursue a new position out of state. He will be the executive director at the Colorado Continuing Legal Education. The opportunity just sort of fell into his lap, O'Brien said.
Three generations of pilots were aboard the Dec. 28 Delta flight from Minneapolis to Portland and back to celebrate the career of one Hastings pilot. Steve Weber, a Hastings native, piloted his last flight before retiring with some special guests on board. Weber's 93-year-old father Wally, a former pilot, and and his 26-year-old son, Brian, who is also a pilot, were on the flight along with some other immediate family members.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education issued final regulations on accountability, state plans and data reporting for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act. Minnesota will submit their plan for the implementation of ESSA in September 2017. ESSA is the newest version of the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It also replaces the No Child Left Behind Act that was enacted in 2002. ESSA focuses on the goal of preparing all students for success in college and careers.
Kathy Gleich, religion teacher at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, was chosen as Educator of the Year by the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce. According to the Chamber, Gleich was chosen for many reasons, but "one of her strongest qualities is the ability to lead by example, teaching respect to her students by showing respect for them." In addition to teaching religion, Gleich acts as the technology coordinator for the school and promotes the importance of community service to her students. Gleich said she was overwhelmed and humbled by the recognition by the Chamber.
Cindy Thury-Smith was chosen as the 2016 Volunteer of the Year by the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce. For the past 15 years, Thury-Smith has been updating records, rebinding city council books for future historians, providing tours of City Hall and more as the curator of the Hastings Pioneer Room. When the city decided to cut the position in 2012 due to budget restraints, she decided to continue her work there as a volunteer. According to the Chamber, Thury-Smith is a true historian at heart.