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Minnesotan actor and comic book writer Harwan Thomas Altman and his friend and fellow actor Landyn Banx were walking in downtown Hastings when they stopped at the aged Riviera Theatre. Altman, to some effect, said "this is where Frank will live." He was referencing detective Frank Boon, the main character of his forthcoming comic book "The Big Bad Book of Boon," a murder-action-thriller story. "I wanted him to have a definitive base of adventures like the batcave for Batman or the fortress of solitude for Superman," Altman said. "Frank's got the Riviera Theatre."
Record snowfall in February led to high costs for Dakota County and multiple, long shifts for the workers who run the plows. "This is the toughest (month) that I can remember where we just had to keep going and going," said Todd Howard, an assistant county engineer with Dakota County. "No one snowfall was especially noteworthy, but they just kept stacking on top of each other."
My family has always loved eating out. We make it a priority to eat out often when we're together and so when my sister was visiting a few weeks ago we did what we always do. We ate out. That night's menu included pastas, meat and one other surprising addition. My sister ordered a seafood dish paired with some mushrooms. Mushrooms?
A Hastings keyboardist and the country band he is a member of was honored at an awards show on Feb. 17. Jake Nelson, a Twin Cities-based country musician, and his seven-member band won Best Music Video and Song of the Year for his song "You're Not Alone." The band was also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year at the Midwest Country Music Association's awards show in Medina. Nelson's band includes Brian Schommer on keyboard. Schommer co-owns Schommer Insurance in Hastings with his wife, Mary.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Tuesday afternoon that Josh McLay, 37, of Hastings has been charged with eight counts of embezzlement of public funds and eight counts of theft by swindle. The charges are in connection with the alleged theft of over $13,900 from the Hastings School District. At the time of the alleged thefts, McLay was working as the Hastings High School head wrestling coach. He has also served as the high school assistant principal since July 2016.
A Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestler is facing battery charges from a Nov. 28 school altercation, according to a criminal complaint. Felony battery charges were filed against Santana Schlegel on Jan. 7, alleging that Schlegel pushed another student into a locker after a brief argument, causing injuries. According to the criminal complaint, Schlegel apologized for pushing the student and attempted to "get [the other student] cleaned up," but the school nurse saw the injured student and took him into her office.
After spending 25 years working for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Steve Albarado took on the department's role as chief deputy at the start of 2019. Formerly filled by Jason Mathys, now the county's administrative coordinator, the chief deputy assists Sheriff Nancy Hove in almost all of the administrative duties. Albarado was picked out of four internal candidates and will now be mostly building budgets and policies, rather than fieldwork.
A Pierce County sheriff's deputy's criminal case over child-sex charges will reset, after scheduling issues arose for the St. Croix County District Attorney's Office, who is prosecuting the case. Allen J. Wojcik, 31, is facing four felony charges of allegedly sexually assaulting a child, but the charges were dismissed without prejudice on Jan. 7, after no prosecuting attorney was available from St. Croix County for a late January trial, said Michael Nieskes, St. Croix County's district attorney. Charges dropped without prejudice can be filed again at a later date.
At Ellsworth High School, a Jan. 12 murder mystery dinner fundraiser for the school will have an appropriately nefarious plot — a killer class reunion. At 7 p.m., the Ellsworth School Foundation is hosting a murder mystery dinner that will feature attendee participation, cash bribes and a play focused on a mysterious murder of a former alumni. Proceeds for the fundraiser are being used to help replace the drama department's outdated wireless microphones.
Ellsworth's Cheese Curd Festival has a new, larger site in hopes to better tackle demand after last year's festival drew an unexpectedly large attendance. At Monday's Ellsworth Village Board meeting, board members approved a roughly three-block setting for the festival that spans from East End Park to Broadway Street in Ellsworth's East End. It almost triples the available space for the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce's festival, which last year was confined to East End Park and vendor space on Crosscut Avenue.