Chad Richardson is the news director for RiverTown Multimedia. He was the publisher of four RiverTown publications until 2016, when he was named news director. He was previously general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He worked at the Hastings Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
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The state government shutdown lasted just three weeks, but its impact will be far greater. On Monday, the project manager for the new Highway 61 bridge in Hastings, Steve Kordosky, said the shutdown will result in a delay of at least six months. The bridge had been scheduled to be completed by May 31, 2013. Now, it appears that the earliest the project will be finished is November 2013. The more likely scenario puts completion at May 2014. What happened? First, high water kept construction crews out of the river this spring and summer.
Anyone hoping to watch the construction of the new Highway 61 bridge in Hastings can do so by visiting the Star Gazette's website. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has webcams mounted in Hastings, and the Star Gazette thanks MnDOT for sharing the feed with us and our readers. A link to the page is attached to this story.
Emergency teams from Hastings are busy scouring the area below the falls of the Vermillion River where a body was seen floating. Teams are searching to recover an adult woman. Witnesses reported seeing the woman enter the river near the park along 21st Street. She was quickly sucked under the fast-moving water, then apparently went over the waterfall. The person was seen floating below the falls by another group of witnesses. A possible victim has been identified.
All work on the new Hastings bridge has ceased. With the state shutdown putting the Minnesota Department of Transportation on hold indefinitely, all work on state projects has come to a stop. The setback is nothing new to the project. High water late last fall slowed down work, but crews were able to catch up. The bigger problem came this spring with significant flooding and then an extended period of high water. Crews were just preparing to get back in the river, but the shutdown foiled those plans. It is unclear how the shutdown will affect the long-term project schedule.
More than 2,000 area residents turned out Saturday to watch eight birds of prey released back into the wild at the Carpenter Nature Center along the St. Croix River. A broadwing hawk, a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk were among the birds released. All were nursed back to health by the Raptor Center, housed at the University of Minnesota. For Carpenter Nature Center, it's a unique opportunity to let nature impact the lives of those in attendance. "With the nature center, we protect habitat, but teaching people is our key mission," said Jen Vieth, the development director at Carpenter.
A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the construction of a new Highway 61 bridge in Hastings over the Mississippi River is planned to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Levee Park in Hastings. An informational open house is planned to begin at Hastings City Hall at noon on Sept. 22.
For good friends Randy Johnson and Jim Hunt, Monday morning was supposed to be spent floating on the St. Croix River and catching walleyes. Instead, the two Farmington men escaped tragedy, then spent the new few hours watching from shore as crews fished their truck and trailer out of the water. At 6 a.m., Hunt picked up Johnson and they traveled to the public boat launch in Hastings, located on the Mississippi River. They got the boat in the water, but it wouldn't start and they eventually drained the battery on the boat.