Top 10: A new mayor for Hastings
Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2018. Find the rest of the series here: Top Ten 2018.
On Monday, Jan. 7, the City of Hastings will swear in Mayor-elect Mary Fasbender.
Fasbender defeated opponent Danna Elling-Schultz on election night, capturing nearly 60 percent of the vote.
In her first steps as mayor-elect, as she promised election night, Fasbender held a "Chat with Mary" event Monday, Dec. 10 that allowed community members to come meet her and ask her questions.
"It was very resourceful. I do want to continue to do this," Fasbender said. "Everyone appreciated me taking the time, and being open and transparent."
The event saw roughly 15 people, according to Fasbender. Councilwoman Tina Folch was in attendance and helped Fasbender answer public questions.
The next meeting has not been scheduled, as Fasbender decides what direction to take. One possibility, according to Fasbender, would be having meetings in each of the wards. Nothing is set in stone yet, Fasbender said.
Fasbender has been a business owner and active community member for over 30 years, having served on the Public Safety Advisory Commission, the Hastings Charter Commission, the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and more.
"I want to see Hastings develop into a community with vibrancy, transparency, momentum, pride for all ages, so young families see Hastings as a place to raise their children," Fasbender said of why she wanted to run for office in an October Q&A interview with the Hastings Star Gazette. "I want Hastings to be the best it can be."
In another Q&A with HSG before the primary vote, Fasbender said that her priorities would include strengthening relationships with local businesses and addressing the lack of transportation around town.
"This hampers our ability to attract new businesses and jobs to town. I will reach out to private companies willing to provide service to Hastings, and consider public-private partnerships," Fasbender said.
Mayor Paul Hicks announced at a press conference this past April that he would not be seeking re-election after serving three terms as mayor.
"Besides being Danielle's dad, the honor of serving as mayor has been the greatest privilege of my life," Hicks said at the press conference.
Before serving as mayor, Hicks served as an at-large city council member for four terms, and as the chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission for six years before that.
The City of Hastings held a farewell open-house celebration Dec. 12 to honor Hicks' nearly 30 years of service to the Hastings community.