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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Anna Fox is no stranger to back to school shopping. Walking from aisle to aisle in the school supplies section, Fox filled her basket with items on the shopping list. Fox was shopping for two children in the Hastings school district, one in elementary school and the other in middle school. Back-to-school shopping can be fun for the kids, Fox said. But for the parents, it can get a little frustrating. Some of the items on a school supply list might be very specific or the store might run out. Then there is the price tag.
This year's $2,500 National Merit Scholarship winners were announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. on May 10. The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from more than 15,000 finalists.
A parade of letters could be seen walking and waving throughout Valley Crossing Elementary School on May 5. The fourth-annual Letterland Day event was held in grades K-1 with teachers Kim Wilke and Linda Dobbs. Students dressed in costume according to a letter. There was a Bouncy Ben for the letter 'B,' Uppy Umbrella for the letter 'U' and many more. Even the teachers were dressed for a letter. Wilke dressed as Harry the Hat man for the letter 'H' and Dobbs was dressed as Linda Lamplight for the letter 'L.'
In the middle of May, Hastings will see Jim Crigler pass down the Mississippi River on his canoe as part of his solo canoe trip paddling the entire length of the river. Crigler, a Winona resident and Vietnam War veteran, began his journey in Lake Itasca April 22 and will make his way to New Orleans with the hopes that it will only take him 67 days to finish. "I'm going to start a movement to get normal American citizens to find a Gold Star family in their community ... and write them a thank you note," Crigler said.
Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center will host the Hastings Area Birding Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Advanced registration is preferred, but walk-in registration at CNC on festival day is welcome. "This year it's an early spring, so there are many great opportunities to get outdoors and learn about birds," said Jennifer Vieth, executive director at CNC.
Spring Lake Park The Spring Lake Park Segment of the Mississippi River Regional Trail is now open. The 4.3 mile section of the MRRT through the Spring Lake Park Reserve between Fahey Avenue in Rosemount and 127th Street in Nininger Township had been under construction for about a year and half. "One of the key things the trail does is it provides year-round access to people of all abilities and interests to experience the Mississippi River," said Steve Sullivan, director of parks at Dakota County.
Carpenter Nature Center hosted many fall activities and entertainment during Apple Fest Oct. 8-9. The family-friendly event in Denmark Township had free hayrides, face painting, live music, apple tasting, opportunities to pick your own apples or pumpkins and more. The Kids' Korner activities included the face painting, drawing and pumpkin decorating. A Straw Mountain, or a pile of hay, was nearby the kids' tent where many children jumped and ran around.
A caravan of cars honk their horns as they cross the Prescott, Wis., bridge with the help of a police escort to honor Tyler Orpen. The River Falls, Wis., teen died July 5 after a fiery crash in the town of Clifton, Wis. Friends of Orpen, the son of Shawn and December (Laveau) Orpen, hosted a luncheon in Orpen's honor on the day of his death, then caravaned from Woodbury to the funeral. (Hastings Star Gazette photo by Michelle Wirth)