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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Mary Havens lived with secrets for most of her life. They were secrets of subjects that most people do not want to talk about. Those family secrets are revealed in her new book "The Shadows In My Heart," a memoir of her life story. "It's a subject that nobody wants to talk about and it's a subject we need to talk about which is domestic violence, sexual abuse (and) incest," Havens said.
Hastings High School celebrated homecoming 2017 during the week of Oct. 2-7. The week consisted of several dress-up days, activities, Dig Pink Volleyball, powderpuff and Raider football games, and the homecoming dance.
The halls of Hastings City Hall will come alive with theater this month when Black Dirt Theater performs Shakespeare's comedy "Much Ado About Nothing" inside the historic building. Audiences can expect to experience the play through a promenade style experience. They will be led throughout parts of the building as the classic romantic comedy unfolds before their eyes.
A new piece of art is expected to to bring a "pop" of color surrounded by the blank canvas of the snow this winter. A mural will be added to the warming house that is seasonally placed at Levee Park in Hastings. Sarah Hodder, deputy city clerk, said that the warming house was chosen for a commissioned piece of art in order to bring brightness and interest to Levee Park when everything is typically washed out.
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.