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Next week, the Hastings Arts Center will host two events around world-class pianist, Mariki Bournaki. Bournaki is the subject of a documentary, "I am not a Rockstar," directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, that follows her early life as a pianist. HAC will be showing the film on Friday, April 26. The next day, Bournaki will perform at the HAC. Bournaki has been playing the piano since she was 5 years old. Her interest was sparked when her father, a violinist, and his piano accompanist would play music at their family home in Montreal, Canada.
The Hastings City Council accepted a nearly $100,000 donation at Monday night's council meeting to fund the reparation of soccer fields at Veterans Park that were destroyed by vandals last month. City Council also accepted a proposal for the repairs from Precision Landscaping and Construction, who estimate the cost of repairs to be just over $90,000. The only unknown for the repairs, Parks and Recreation Director Chris Jenkins said, is the fields' irrigation system. With the donations given by Caroline Amplatz, there is room to figure the issue out as repairs begin.
Two bills that will secure funding for the Highway 316 improvement project and Hastings City Hall renovations have been included in a Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee bonding proposal for this legislative session. The two bills, both sponsored by Rep. Tony Jurgens, D-Cottage Grove, requested a total of $3 million in bonding for projects in Hastings. One bill would give $1 million in funding to the Highway 316 project, and the other would secure $2 million for the repairs and renovations at City Hall.
Ron Martino always liked to create things. The passion to create is what drove him to be an electrical engineer in his early adult years, and it was his work with electronics that later brought him to pottery. Now, Martino has own his own shop, Mississippi Clayworks, in downtown Hastings for almost 30 years. In the early 1970s, Martino said, a friend who taught art asked him to build an electric potter's wheel.
In a statement made this week, Astrup Drug Inc., President Sam Ewing announced that Sterling Pharmacy in Hastings would be permanently closed, effective Thursday, April 11. "As everyone knows, times have changed since we opened in 1998. Brick-and-mortar retail is, to say the least, challenging. This is especially true in communities that offer so many options close by," Ewing said. Sterling customers' prescriptions will be transferred to Walgreens, located at 1017 Vermillion St.
The Hastings Area YMCA opened its doors in 2007, after a group of Hastings residents brought the idea forward over 20 years ago. Due to costs, the facility had to be split into two phases. The second phase was finished in 2017. "Now that we have it built," Hastings YMCA Executive Director Derrick Jaeger said, "we want to sustain it together." To help secure the future of the YMCA in Hastings, the Hastings Area YMCA Board of Directors approved a plan for a $7 million giving initiative to establish an endowment fund last month.
On Monday, April 8, the city of Hastings Planning Commission voted to approve the site plan for improvements to McNamara Stadium. A new synthetic turf, a handicap bleacher lift and ticket buildings are among the planned stadium improvements. A paved parking lot, a trash enclosure and reconstruction of the concessions buildings are included as well. There will be no changes to the number of parking stalls with the new parking lot. The project is expected to cost just over $2 million.
Legislation that would help secure $1 million in funding for the Highway 316 project was heard by the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee on Wednesday, March 27. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Tony Jurgens, R-Cottage Grove, would help fill the projected $1.5-$2.5 million gap in funding to have the project completed. Through the bill, $1 million would be received in general obligation bonds. Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger gave a testimony at the hearing.
Hayley White was officially sworn-in as Hastings' new postmaster on Friday, March 29. She has been serving the position of postmaster since October 2018, after serving as the officer-in-charge for four months. Kelsey Roy / RiverTown Multimedia
The Mississippi River crested at a stage of roughly 19.5 feet Sunday afternoon, according to National Weather Service data. "The forecast showed the river crested between 19.4 and 19.5 feet Sunday into Monday, before slowly backing off," Hastings Public Works Director Nick Egger said. Two weeks ago, the forecast predicted that the Mississippi River would reach a major flooding stage of 21 feet. On Saturday, March 23, hundreds of volunteers assembled nearly 11,000 sandbags in preparation for the spring flood event.