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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A Hastings man was arrested following a standoff with police Saturday, Sept. 9. Warren Kocurek, 57, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault after Hastings police responded to the 2300 block of Pine Street at 12:04 p.m. for a report of a domestic disturbance. According to police, a female victim escaped the address after being threatened with a handgun. The woman told officers that there was a male in the residence with a potential mental health crisis.
Hastings Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt is on paid administrative leave, according to the city. Schutt was placed on paid leave Wednesday, Aug. 30, City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee confirmed. There is an ongoing city investigation while Schutt is on leave. John Townsend, assistant fire and EMS director, is taking over fire chief responsibilities during Schutt's absence.
Farmers Insurance in Hastings will have a new location to call home after the Labor Day weekend. Shane Lanning, owner of Farmers Insurance at 1640 S. Frontage Road, will be moving to a new building. Beginning Sept. 5, the Pearson Lanning Agency of Farmer's Insurance will be open for business at 1350 South Frontage Road. "It's just got such a charm that you just don't see every day," Lanning said.
There's a monster coming to town next month. That is, in the new Hastings High School marching band production. The preview show will be 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, at Todd Field and it will feature this year's theme: Frankenstein. Each year, the marching band has a different theme or story that they portray. Emily Chandler, director of the HHS marching band, said that it is like a theater production on a football field for about six and a half minutes. After selecting the music, the theme Frankenstein was chosen pretty easily.
Aren Schluessler has always loved animals. She would love to have a job where she can help make a difference in their lives. It was that love for animals that recently took her all the way to South Africa at a cheetah sanctuary. The 2014 Hastings High School graduate is a student at North Dakota State University studying veterinary technology. She spent two weeks at Feracare Wildlife Centre helping animals and learning hands-on what it's like to be a veterinarian through Loop Abroad, a study abroad program for students pursuing a career working with animals.
Forty-two arrowheads were recently donated to the Pioneer Room at Hastings City Hall. The little piece of history was donated by longtime Hastings resident Jeanne Buckley. Buckley is a descendant of the Gillette family. The Gillette family had a homestead in Mower County in southern Minnesota more than a century ago. It was at a time when people were given land in the Minnesota territory if they could make an improvement upon it. It was on that land that the arrowheads were found. They were found by a member of the Gillette family while he was out farming.
One small town idea will have a big reach starting this month. Jessica and Courtney Wagner will soon have their handmade jewelry designs available in every Herbergers in the state of Minnesota. The two sisters began creating bracelets as gifts for their family and friends a little over a year ago. The creations were a way to create personalized gifts and it was fun for them to find the beads and design them. "And then the people that we were giving them to fell so much in love with them that they asked us to start creating customized ones," Jessica said.
The LeDuc Historic Estate hosted the third concert in the Apple Orchard Concert Series Aug. 20. The concerts take place each Sunday during the month of August. BrassZilla, a jazz quartet, performed an assortment of music highlighting "decades of jazz." The band is made up of a trumpet, trombone, tuba and drums. Pie was available during the concert, provided by Our Savior's Lutheran Church. After a brief rain delay in the middle of the concert, the band resumed playing music.
Anna Fox is no stranger to back to school shopping. Walking from aisle to aisle in the school supplies section, Fox filled her basket with items on the shopping list. Fox was shopping for two children in the Hastings school district, one in elementary school and the other in middle school. Back-to-school shopping can be fun for the kids, Fox said. But for the parents, it can get a little frustrating. Some of the items on a school supply list might be very specific or the store might run out. Then there is the price tag.
Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks recently joined the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. He met with the executive director of MRCTI, Colin Wellenkamp, and discussed Hastings' priorities related to the Mississippi River. MRCTI is a coalition of mayors from Minnesota to Louisiana who focus on improving the ecology and economy of the river to drive local development and opportunities. "The coalition of mayors within MRCTI is dedicated to protecting, enhancing and promoting resources that are unique to a river city," Hicks said. "I am glad to be a part of it."