Monday, November 23, 2015

Ace Hardware to fill portion of Goodwill property

Contacted this afternoon, Zander Fried, leasing agent for the former Goodwill property in Westview Center, confirmed the hardware store planned for the site will be an Ace Hardware. No additional details are available at this time. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hastings Happenings reaches a milestone - more to come!

As you have probably noticed, Hastings Happenings has primarily been active on Facebook over the past year or so. We continue to see steady growth in the number of Hastings residents (and others) who see the page as a place to see news, information and opinions related to our great community. In fact, earlier today, we reached a milestone that is worth mentioning - we reached 1,500 "likes" (followers) on our Facebook page. (We also have 667 followers on Twitter - @hastingsminn).

Judging from the positive response we have received to this approach in the past year, it is clear that readers enjoy having the opportunity to learn more about what's happening in Hastings, freely share what their organizations are doing (events, fundraisers, celebrations, etc.), and openly contribute their opinions as well. 

In recent months on our Hastings Happenings social media channels, we have shared posts from other news sources and simply asked readers to give their opinions. And at other times, we have raised questions that are particularly "hot" at the moment and solicited feedback from residents. In the near future, we will be writing more original stories here at and posting them to our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

In other words, our objective is to increasingly be known as a multi-channel news source for all things Hastings. A few things to keep in mind: 

- We are locally owned, not run by an out-of-state corporation with news outlets in multiple cities.
- We are dedicated to providing accurate information about issues affecting Hastings residents and business owners. 
- We believe a news-gathering organization has an obligation to cover all sides of the news and keep an open mind.
- We will share our opinions on issues (and endorse candidates) just as other news outlets have done. But our endorsements will come from us, not someone who doesn't live or work in Hastings.
- Guest opinion pieces and news stories are welcome. Please feel free to send us an email with your letter or story idea. 

Thank you again for your support for Hastings Happenings since we started in 2008. The best is yet to come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hastings City Council approves own double-digit salary raises

In a vote that came as a surprise to no one, the Hastings City Council approved salary raises for itself last night in a unanimous 6-0 vote. Mayor Paul Hicks, who received a 12.5% raise effective January 2015 (he will now earn $9,600 annually), was on vacation and not present for the Oct. 20 vote. Also in January, council members will receive a 16.7% salary increase for their part-time work representing Hastings residents. They will each make $7,200 annually.
One of the council members present Monday night, Tony Alongi, made a point of reminding the viewing audience that members of the Hastings City Council had not received a raise since 2000, and had even decreased its pay for one of those long 14 years, seemingly in solidarity with the Hastings city staff, before returning its pay to its original level the following year.
Fast forward to 2014 and it was Alongi, along with Council Members Schultz and Nelson, who formally recommended the very raises that passed on Monday night. As members of the council Finance Committee, the three officials said they studied other cities’ council and mayoral salaries and learned that Hastings was paying less than the average. None of that is in dispute.
What some in the community may call into question is the large leap the Hastings council is taking to “catch up” with other cities. Many of those other cities have been, and still are, in better economic shape. If it’s critical that Hastings council members get paid the same as other cities our size, why not just increase salaries in 3-5% increments over time?
We also thought it was telling that, during his commentary on Monday night, Alongi described the salary he receives as a “stipend.”  Some folks may think that $600 per month (after the raise) qualifies as a bit more than a stipend – some might even call it “grocery money.”
So, if the “stipend” our council members and mayor receive is so insignificant, why the need for such a large increase? And if it’s truly such a token amount of money, why even collect a salary at all? Why not just earn $50 per meeting? Or, better yet, if the mayor and council would work for nothing, as true “public servants” and “volunteers,” that would put another $52,800 back into the Hastings general fund.
I’d like to see at least one of the council members (or mayor) turn down this raise and give it to the charity of their choice. $1,200 would be a great donation – and think of the positive publicity.     (breath not being held).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hastings Council Candidate Forum Now on YouTube

Here's the link to the Hastings City Council candidate forum held July 24. Please remember to get out and VOTE on Tuesday, Aug. 12. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hastings City Council candidate forum now airing on Channel 15

A big thank you to the four Hastings City Council candidates who appeared at the Hastings Happenings candidate forum on Thursday, July 24. Thanks also to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church for use of your wonderful facility.

Hastings residents will have four great candidates from which to choose on Tuesday, Aug. 12 (primary) and Tuesday, Nov. 4 (general election).

Candidates include: Joanna Bayers, Lori Braucks, Ian Martin and Mark Vaughan.

Those who couldn't make it to the forum may now watch replays of the event on Hastings Community Television - Channel 15. It will air each day at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.. 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Stay tuned to Hastings Happenings here at www.HastingsHappenings.CO, on Twitter at @HastingsMinn and on Facebook for upcoming coverage of the local Hastings election. Please let us know what you would like us to ask these candidates in the coming months.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hastings llama breeders mentioned in New York Times article

Sue Morgan and one of her mini-llamas in Hastings.
Susan and George Morgan of Hastings have an unusual side business - they raise llamas just outside of town.

The couple, which operates Gemini Mini-Llamas, was recently mentioned in a New York Times article about folks around the country who have taken up this vocation.

From the Times article:

It’s part of the bonding process, said Susan Morgan, 54, a home-care nurse in Hastings, Minn., who breeds miniature llamas with her husband, George, 56, an engineer. “They recognize each other by the hum,” she said. Two months after one of her females gave birth, Ms. Morgan said, they were still humming at each other.
Her husband said he gets a lot of questions about it. “People come up to me and ask, ‘Why are the llamas humming?’ ” he said. “And I’ll say, ‘Because they don’t know the words.’ ”

Hear of something going on in Hastings that you'd like us to investigate? Have a good story idea? 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hastings in the news: Voices of Hope DVD for breast cancer caregivers

Inspiring today to see a press release come over about Voices of Hope: Family and Friends, a DVD dedicated to the caregivers of recovering breast cancer patients.

This was put together by the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group - a local group that has done great things to benefit patients, their friends and family members all over the United States. Congratulations to them for their success, and thanks for your efforts! (And they are taking donations, so please give what you can).

The release was picked up by the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee.

From the release: Voices of Hope: Family and Friends is in DVD format and may be played on any TV, computer or DVD player. It is the second DVD in the Voices of Hope series created by the Hastings Breast Cancer Support Group of Hastings, Minnesota. Voices of Hope, first in the series, was designed to offer comfort, direction and helpful resources for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer and the people who love them. You'll hear first hand from real women sharing their journey from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. Voices of Hope speaks from the heart in only the way a survivor can to talk to someone newly diagnosed. This DVD has made a huge difference in the journey of many, many patients.  

The Voices of Hope series is available online at On this website you are able to view three minute trailers of both of the DVDs available. Please note that these DVDs are not-for-profit and that Voices of Hope makes no income from this labor of love. However, due to costs of production and distribution, any donations are greatly appreciated.

Read more here: