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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The Two Rivers Vintage Crawl was held May 4-7 in the cities of Hastings, Stillwater and Afton. Eye Candy REfind hosted the event in Hastings. Lacy Vreeland, owner of Eye Candy, said that this is the fifth time having the vintage crawl in the past three years, but it will now be an annual spring event. A number of Etsy stores were on location in Oliver's Grove selling their products including Tinsel & Twig, LoLo Lettering, Sayer Goods, Joyful Revival and It is Well Woodworking.
Hastings has had a bakery in town for over 100 years and according to the co-owner Norine Bishop, Emily's Bakery and Deli isn't just any ordinary bakery. "We're one of the rare kind of bakeries that are left that do so many things," Bishop said. Emily's makes cakes, cupcakes, pies, deli sandwiches, breads, buns, rolls and much more. Now, Emily's is in the running for the Sweetest Bakery in America. The Sweetest Bakery competition, sponsored by Dawn Foods, began in February and will continue through July 31. "We encourage people to vote every day," Bishop said.
Artspace Hastings River Lofts are quickly approaching their completion goal of July. During the afternoon of May 2, hard hat tours were conducted for about 56 people showing how far the project has come.
The Hastings City Council voted at their May 1 meeting to support the recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Committee regarding boulevard tree maintenance. Chris Jenkins, Parks and Recreation director, presented the recommendations to City Council. Jenkins said that he was pleased with the questions the council had for him and what they asked him to clarify. "It shows me they are tuned in and interested in this topic and understand it is a big topic; one that we will all have to work through together," Jenkins said.
After searching for a way to get more involved with the creative and artistic side of theater, Caitlin Weber and Libby Wasylik decided to take things into their own hands. The two co-founded (lumin)theater lab, a theater collaborative that began in November 2016. They will perform their first official production at the Hastings Arts Center May 11-13 and May 19-21. (lumin)theater will perform "Escape from Happiness," a comedy of sorts, but Wasylik said that there is more to it. "It's a comedy with a brain and a heart attached," Wasylik said.
Janet Gratz's favorite memories of Hastings Family Service had to do with giving and thanks, she wrote in an HFS booklet. It was the middle-aged man who bought her groceries when he found out she was buying for the food shelf, the 7-year-old boy who brought in coins from his allowance to help another child who needed it more, the mother and son who came after work to help distribute Christmas boxes because someone helped them last year, and many more stories representing a caring community.
The Link Crew at Hastings High School led students in a Kindness Week initiative beginning April 24. "We thought this was an incredible opportunity to bring the best out in people to really slow down as a school community and focus on kindness," said Laura Newton, one of the Link Crew advisors. Newton said that the idea of Kindness Week began after Gabrielle Novak, a senior Link Crew commissioner, approached the advisors with a desire to perpetuate kindness throughout the school.
There are four things that Superintendent Tim Collins said he foresees happening as a school and community within the next six years in District 200. It would include a bond in 2017 to reinvest in the facilities, budget reductions for operating expenses in 2018, a renewal of an eight-year operating levy in 2019 and the renewal of a 10-year operating levy in 2023. By being upfront and transparent about what the district will need in the coming years, Collins said that he hopes to continue to receive the support from the community that they have always seen in the past.
The City Council considered action at their May 1 meeting to impose a civil penalty to Due Olives LLC, formerly known as Vista Rio and currently Lock and Dam Eatery. The council had the ability to impose a penalty that included suspension or revocation of their liquor license, but chose not to invoke any penalty.
The Hastings High School drama club will perform "Les Miserables" at the Hastings High School Auditorium May 5-7. Shows will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 5-6, and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7. The cost will be $5 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door with cash or check only. Cast Matthew Leifeld: Jean Valjean Yohan Morales: Javert Becca Francis: Fantine Micah Walt: Marius Annie Fox: Cosette Ian Sundberg: Enjolras Ellie Gullicks: Eponine