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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As part of the YMCA 10-year celebration events, the Hastings YMCA celebrated their capital campaign donors on Sept. 18 with the unveiling of a new donor wall. "It's just really nice as a reminder as you walk into this beautiful facility to say we're here because of our donors," said Derrick Jaeger, executive director of YMCA in Hastings.
Hastings native Mary Fasbender announced her candidacy Oct. 4 for the mayor of Hastings in the 2018 election. "I am fortunate to have so much early support for my campaign and am very much looking forward to speaking with many Hastings residents and business owners in the coming months," Fasbender said.
The En Plein Air Invitational with Andy Evansen was Sept. 30. Several artists painted landscapes and local points of interest throughout the day. The art was displayed at a reception held at the Artspace Hastings River Loft Gallery. The event began in Evansen's Art Studio in downtown Hastings for a briefing. The artists then gather their supplies and set up their canvas at locations in Hastings and Prescott. Artists painted areas like Hub's Landing, the river in Prescott, the railroad in Hastings and several other locations.
Hastings Public Schools will ask the community to vote on two referendum questions in the upcoming Nov. 7 election. One question will ask to approve a $49.5 million bond and the other will ask to approve an operating levy. According to school board officials, an approval of both is necessary due to insufficient funding from the state of Minnesota and declining enrollment.
A city investigation of Hastings Fire and EMS Director Mike Schutt has been completed but the chief remains on paid administrative leave. The investigation is now under review by City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee, she said Tuesday, Sept. 26. Lee said that she cannot speak to when the review will be complete, but she does wish to come to a determination soon. Schutt was placed on paid leave Aug. 30 and the city launched an investigation. John Townsend, assistant fire and EMS director, has carried out fire chief responsibilities during Schutt's absence.
Schoolhouse Scoop is now dishing out dessert in Cannon Falls. Hastings' Schoolhouse Scoop expanded this summer with the opening of the new location on July 1. "I feel like every small town needs to have a hard-scooped ice cream parlor," said Amy VanZee, owner of Schoolhouse Scoop. Ice cream has always been nostalgic for VanZee, who has memories of growing up in St. Paul and making frequent visits to the Dari-ette, which also happened to be where she got her first job.
Hastings' Health Solutions Center held its third-annual Kids' Day event raising $2,500 for the six local elementary schools. The event was held over two days. The first day featured a dunk tank, $5 haircuts, a raffle for prizes donated from local businesses and pizza and water for purchase. There was also a bounce house, face painter, police officer and ambulance from the Hastings Fire Department. The event also focused on health by featuring health stations that taught kids exercises. Parents and kids learned how to recognize emotions and kids received spinal screenings.
Something didn't look right to Jerry Harrington when he was on his way out of town for the weekend with his girlfriend, Melanie Olson. The couple was driving down Vermillion Street when Harrington noticed a vehicle parked in a parking lot near the old Mill. A woman's leg was sticking out of the vehicle. Olson told him to turn around and go back just to check it out. Olson hopped out of the car and went over to check on the woman. She immediately yelled back to Harrington to call 911. "It looked really bad, she was cold to the touch," Olson said.
Caturia Smidt Funeral Home will move to a new location in 2018. The funeral home plans to take possession of the Knights of Columbus Hall, 3075 Vermillion St., at the end of December in order to begin construction on a new facility. The Knights of Columbus Hall will be torn down in 2018 to make room for the new 12,000-square-foot facility. It will have a chapel, ample off street parking, a reception space and a crematorium.
A power outage early this morning at the Dakota County Government Center initially caused court proceedings to be cancelled. The power was restored by 10:30 a.m. and courts’ in-custody will resume at 11 a.m. All other court activities will resume at noon.