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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The State of Dakota County is strong, according to Commissioner Kathleen Gaylord, chair of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners. Members of the six Dakota County Chambers gathered together April 4 at the Southview Country Club in West St. Paul for the State of the County Address. "We're fortunate to live and work in Dakota County," Gaylord said. "It's the premier county in Minnesota."
Mayor Paul Hicks announced his decision not to run for a fourth term as mayor at a press conference April 2. Hicks has served for 28 years in public service to the City of Hastings; 12 as Mayor and 16 as a city council member. "Besides being a dad, the honor of serving as mayor has been the greatest privilege of my life," he said. "I am extremely proud of the many important accomplishments we were able to bring to Hastings during my tenure." Hicks said he has loved his job working as mayor, but it is time to start a new chapter.
Eighth graders at Hastings Middle School learned what it is like to manage an income and pay for necessities like insurance, housing, groceries and more through the Reality Check program March 19. Cheryl Fitzgerald-McNelis, fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, said the program gets kids to start thinking about expenses and it makes them realize the sacrifices their parents make when it comes to finances.
The City of Hastings and Xcel Energy have partnered up in an effort to fill undeveloped land in the city's Industrial Park. A 50-acre space in Hastings Business-Industrial Park recently received Site Certification following a 12-month process between the City of Hastings and Xcel Energy. Morgan Hill, economic development coordinator for the City of Hastings, said partnering with Xcel Energy for Site Certification adds more reason for potential businesses to consider investing in Hastings.
The three Hastings High School show choirs performed for packed audiences in the Show Choir Post Season Shows in the HHS auditorium March. 20. Riverside Company still has one competition left on April 7 in Branson, Missouri. It is a national competition with groups from all over the country. Divaz This year, the Divaz were directed by Meghan Knoke and choreographed by Jeni Donahue. Knoke said the Divaz performed amazing throughout the season.
Elementary students in District 200 may find themselves attending a different school next school year. Superintendent Tim Collins announced at the March School Board meeting that the district is considering a change to the boundary lines. "I definitely, as superintendent, along with the three elementary principals, will be proposing to you as a board to change the elementary lines," Collins said to the board at the March meeting.
A new part of the riverwalk will have a front row seat to Rivertown Days festivities this year with other changes in store to make the 40th anniversary of the event special. The City Council approved the change request at their March 19 meeting; however, Mayor Paul Hicks said the agreement is subject to change as they continue to work out logistics between now and the event.
HASTINGS — It was a desire to do more that sparked Chris Kummer's interest in a Guatemala volunteer trip. Kummer is an occupational therapist with Regina's Cardiac Rehabilitation department. Through the Global Fund program at Allina Health, she was able to participate in a one week trip with 22 Allina Health employees where they engaged in humanitarian efforts. "It was a really great experience," Kummer said. Kummer spent the week in Antigua, Guatemala, building a house for a Common Hope family, visiting a public government-owned hospital and other various projects.
HASTINGS — Last summer, Lisa Sieben's adult son went through a period of displaying aggressive behavior. Ian Kennedy has autism and he was going through some issues with his medication causing a lot of anxiety. "It made me rethink this Vitals thing and I thought, if we were at Target and (Ian) had a meltdown, we would really be in trouble because someone would call the police and he would wind up getting arrested or at least restrained and that would not do him any good at all," Sieben said.
Things got a little messy at Hastings Middle School as several staff members received a tasty treat at the HMS assembly March 19. Four teachers were pied in the face as well as student resource officer Ryan Kline of the Hastings Police Department. Three students were selected to throw a pie for each teacher participating. The fifth graders pied Eric Mace, the sixth graders pied Miki Atkins, the seventh graders pied Lori Best and the eighth graders pied Christian Waage.