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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About 120 local students will go to Minneapolis and St. Paul Jan. 5-8 to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, cabinet members and media representatives for the Model Assembly conference. The Model Assembly is a simulation of Minnesota state government in which approximately 1,600 students in grades 8-12 throughout the state take part. Model Assembly is a program offered by the YMCA Youth in Government.
Third-graders at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton recently experienced a lesson in geography through a program called Mystery Skype. “Mystery Skype is an education game, invented by teachers, played by two classrooms on Skype,” said Clara Schultz, third-grade teacher at SEAS. Schultz first learned about Mystery Skype when she attended a Technology Integration Workshop sponsored by Catholic Schools Center of Excellence and Tierney Brothers. The goal of the interactive learning game is to guess the location of the other classroom by asking yes or no questions.
Katy Hertel grew up on Ridgewood Court and now has very fond memories of the neighborhood. "We had this really awesome tight knit group of families," Hertel said. The 1997 Hastings High School graduate moved to California about five years ago. She still wanted to see the neighbors and catch up when she returned for Christmas, but everyone was so busy, especially during the holiday, that there wasn't much time. She came up with the next best thing. "Let's just go out in Minnesota style," Hertel thought.
A new auto repair shop will be opening at the start of the new year. Hastings local, Holt Hakseth, said Tri-County Auto Care LLC will be open for business Jan. 1. Hakseth, a 2011 graduate of Hastings High School, said Tri-County Auto Care will be a part-time business for him on evenings and weekends. He has a degree in automotive technology from Dakota County Technical College and is currently working at V&L Repair, a shop for heavy equipment repairs, during regular work hours.
Safety was a top priority in District 200 on Dec. 22. Students had a nonschool day so that staff could be trained in the ALICE model for responding to a violent threat. About 900 teachers, faculty and staff of District 200 attended the active shooter response training. "I am 100 percent confident that the ALICE strategies that we trained our staff on today will help to ensure the safety of our kids now and in the future," said Hastings Middle School Principal Mark Zuzek.
The November election resulted in a mixture of emotions and opinions for people across the country. It was also a monumental moment in history to have Hillary Clinton, a woman, as a presidential nominee for a national party. It was such a historical moment that hundreds of visitors flocked to Susan B. Anthony's grave in New York to leave their "I voted" stickers on her stone as a tribute. The leader in women's suffrage, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founded the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1869.
Police officers go to Walmart, off of Highway 55 and General Sieben Road, nearly every day. Sometimes they go twice a day. However, it's not so they can browse the aisles for a good deal. Most of the time they are called for a shoplifting incident, said Bryan Schafer, Hastings' chief of police. The Hastings Police Department was called to Walmart more than 600 times in 2016. That's an average of 1.7 times per day. In comparison, Target, located just across Highway 55 from Walmart, called the HPD 97 times in 2016 (as of Dec. 15).
A love of theater has brought a Hastings native back to her roots as an actor educator within Hastings Public Schools. Marisa Tejeda remembers her third-grade self sitting class at Pinecrest Elementary watching actors from CLIMB Theatre teach lessons through theater. She thought, "I want to do that."
The eighth-grade math teacher at Hastings Middle School, Rosario Mollo, said he had an interest in math from an early age. Mollo, who began teaching at HMS in September, said it could have something to do with his parents being immigrants from Italy. Growing up, he attended a private school in Chicago. There, he said, he should have been identified as an English learner student because he spoke Italian at home. He wasn't, however, and that made language arts pretty difficult for him in school. Math, on the other hand, is something he really excelled at.
For more than 30 years, the underground tunnel connecting the hospital to Regina Medical Center has featured a brightly painted tunnel with a "Rollercoaster through the Seasons" theme. This month, an addition was made to the mural creating a new look with the theme "Happenings throughout Hastings."