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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Local Hastings author Ann Makena will launch her new book Parenting Children into Wholeness at the Barnes and Nobles in HarMar Mall in Roseville March 31 at 2 p.m. Parenting Children into Wholeness is a book about general parenting, single parenting and advanced parenting. It focuses on raising great children, developing healthy and lasting relationships and maximizing their potential. When those things are accomplished, it brings fulfillment and wholeness into lives of the family, leaving parents happy and fulfilled.
HASTINGS — Mobile Food Units, also known as food trucks, could see some changes to permit access with the City before the snow disappears this spring. Updates to the city's current mobile food unit policy will be brought forward at an upcoming city council meeting following the public safety committee meeting that occurred March 8. Committee members Lori Braucks, Tina Folch and Lisa Leifeld discussed a change in policy with several downtown business owners and city staff.
A Hastings resident was in the right place at the right time last May when his quick thinking helped save the life of an injured woman. Earlier this month, Andrew Ahern's actions were recognized when Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie presented him with a commendation for his heroic actions. Ahern works in operations training at the Prairie Island Nuclear Plant. He works the night shift and usually heads home in the morning. This particular morning, he happened to stay an extra hour or so answering questions for a student.
HASTINGS — What role does the arts play in the Hastings community? The Hastings Prescott Area Arts Council contributed $1,500 for a study with Creative Minnesota that would answer the question. The results of the study were presented to the Hastings City Council Feb. 20. With 16 Hastings organizations participating in the local study, Creative Minnesota looked at what impact the arts and culture community has on the Hastings economy.
Seventh- and eighth-grade Hastings Middle School students performed in the HMS Choir Concert Feb. 27 in the HMS auditorium. The concert was directed by Cheryl Borgen with accompanist Sarah Lockwood. The performing choirs included One Voice, Spiral Singers, Raider Chorus and Colla Voce. Borgen said she was very proud of the performance the students put together in eleven rehearsals. "The evening closed with a three-part acapella piece by the eighth-grade girls called 'Old Joe Clark' that was really a challenge," she said.
Hastings area seniors have been receiving fresh fruits and vegetables through a new pilot program at Hastings Family Service called Market Cart. The pilot program is a way for seniors to have access to fresh produce that might be costly. "It's a way for seniors to be able to have access to fresh produce that might be costly; sometimes it's a cost preventative thing to be able to eat healthy so it was a partnership with Alline and Hastings Family Service to offer this to the senior population," said Mary Kocak, food shelf director at HFS.
The Hastings Fire Department spent part of the morning on Feb. 21 at Lake Rebecca training for ice rescues. John Townsend, assistant fire and EMS director, said it was an annual training for part of the crew. One firefighter was dressed in a wetsuit to stay warm as he got into the cold water in Lake Rebecca. The rest of the crew practiced the process of rescuing someone who may have fallen through the ice or into the icy waters in the middle of winter.
The City of Hastings declared a snow emergency March 5 at 5:15 p.m. The snow emergency status will remain in effect until the snowfall has stopped and streets have been cleared from curb to curb. The cleanup may take between 24 to 48 hours to complete.
The February school board meeting marked 236 days teachers in District 200 have been working without a contract. Similar to the January board meeting, a number of teachers attended the board meeting causing the conference room to overflow with people into the hallway. The board and teacher negotiating team have been working to understanding each other's position and some progress was made at the latest meeting according to Jessie Holm, lead negotiator and HMS math teacher.
The concept and design renderings for the Pleasant Hill Library renovation were revealed at an open house Feb. 22. About 50 people attended the open house inquiring about the project with some asking very good questions, according to Dakota County library director Margaret Stone. The most common questions was: when will the library close and when will it open? Stone said there are no official dates set just yet, but the library will close for construction sometime in fall 2018 with plans for it reopen in the spring 2019.