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The Minnesota-based arena rock tribute band Hairball prides itself on near-identical portrayals of icons like Alice Cooper. So when a white vocalist appeared wearing dark makeup to play Prince's "Purple Rain" to a crowd of 7,500 at the Minnesota State Fair recently, it was business as usual, said their manager Mike Findling. "They wear makeup on KISS. They wear makeup on Alice Cooper. They wear makeup on Prince," Findling said, adding that he didn't consider the powder vocalist Kris Vox wore to look black to be blackface. "How would we do it in any other way?"
Editor's note: Look for a follow-up piece on the Prince impersonation early next week. It's Wednesday morning, and Bobby Jensen is making final tweaks to his guillotines. His hanging devices and "things that blow up" have to look just right for his Friday night concert in Hastings. At Levee Park, Jensen's band Hairball will play for the United Heroes League concert, which fundraises for military families. There, six men will break out hits from rock greats like Alice Cooper, KISS and Journey — but not as a cover band, Jensen is quick to clarify.
With a crowd of about 40, the Wise Family Funeral staff celebrated the start of construction for a new crematory and parking lot June 5. Owner Michael Wise and outreach coordinator Melissa Stevens spoke about the value of keeping the deceased in their care throughout the entire process, rather than conducting cremations at an off-site facility.
Editor's note: The Gazette's photos from 2018 graduation ceremonies are available to purchase here . Last week, six graduates gave speeches congratulating each other and thanking staff with individualized compliments — moving some of their family and friends to tears.
Hastings City Council updated the city's criteria for how it charges special events and added a new policy offering city employees a bonus for giving 90 days or more notice before leaving a position. Approval of both policies came following discussion at the June 5 meeting, with concerns pertaining to cost and logistics. The council also spoke about whether it should have a role in adjusting the legal age limit to purchase tobacco, ultimately deciding to leave it open for a future discussion. Special events policy
More than 70 years after the end of World War II, Hastings is still learning more about five of its soldiers. The American Legion Post 47 will open its new "Hastings Five Gold Room" on Saturday. The room memorializes five deceased local veterans who served in the First Special Service Force — an elite commando unit of 1,800 men from the United States and Canada who specialized in fighting under hazardous conditions during WWII. The unit, also known as the "Devil's Brigade," is credited with liberating several areas, including southern France and Rome and Monte La Difensa in Italy.
With the temperature hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 veterans, friends and family members walked from Red Wing to Hastings to honor U.S. soldiers who died in their service. The walk was part of the annual March and Mayhem, organized by U.S. veteran Tom Wright and Kris Hinderscheid. Wright, who served three years in the Army and four for the Minnesota National Guard, founded the event three years ago to draw renewed attention to Memorial Day.