Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
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"There's a hole in the dike now. Let's hope it keeps going." That's how Tom O'Connell characterized the news last week that Delaware Bishop Michael Saltarelli would make public the names of 20 priests who have been found to have sexually abused children or who have admitted to sexual abuse. The move was the first since the O'Connell family filed a lawsuit last August against the bishops of all 194 Catholic dioceses across the country demanding that the names of predatory priests be made public. Dan O'Connell and James Ellison were shot to death at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in 2002.
Jaclyn Zimmerman is the newest Americorps worker at Community Action in Hudson. She has been on the job since September and with fellow Americorps worker Jenna Evenson has already been in the same circles as the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Zimmerman is also hard at work closer to home with CA teens doing everything from raking leaves to learning how to be effective leaders. Zimmerman is a "local," having graduated from Hudson High School in 2001.
The Hudson School District got high marks from accountant Steve Tracey on its 2005-06 financial audit. The annual audit was conducted by Tracey and Thole Certified Public Accounts of Hudson. Tracey made his report at the Board of Education meeting last Tuesday and at the finance committee meeting held earlier. Tracey described the audit statement as a very positive report that showed the district to be in sound fiscal condition.
Turning 13 is an important birthday by any measure, but for Micah Pederson and his new family it will be especially sweet. After living in an orphanage in Russia for two years, Micah was recently adopted by Steve and Dawn Pederson of Hudson who have three biological children, Hannah, 18, Gretchen, 14, and Noah, 10.
While the man they were there to honor might have wondered why they weren't all out deer hunting, family, friends and colleagues of Rich Jansen gathered Monday at his funeral to remember and honor him. Jansen died Nov. 14 at his home in North Hudson from cancer. He was 72. Jansen first joined the North Hudson Police Department in 1967 and became chief in 1980. He held the position until his retirement in 1999. But if anything was evident from his funeral, it was that the chief wore many hats. He also owned and operated Hillside Nursery on Sixth Street North up until the time of his death.
A group of Hudson residents has formed Friends of Hudson Public Education in support of the school district's Dec. 12 referendum to fund construction of a new elementary school on Coulee Trail south of I-94. The group, which formed in October, has adopted the motto "Support our Kids." Their yellow "yes" signs began appearing in the area last week. According to Butch Schultz, one of the group's organizers, more than 500 people have pledged their support to the effort and the $12 million referendum.
After almost eight months on paid administrative leave, Hudson Police Sgt. Robert Oehmke is scheduled to appear Dec. 12 at a hearing before the Hudson Police and Fire Commission to face charges connected with an on-duty incident. The exact charges against Oehmke have been filed but cannot be released until he has been notified of the Star-Observer's request to make the charges public. According to Hudson city attorney Catherine Munkittrick, Oehmke will be notified of the request this week and has five days to take legal action to keep the information from being released.
The problem is the same for a lot of non-profit organizations these days. Money is tight. But facing its own budget crunch, Community Action is hoping to raise funds necessary to continue offering programs that help youth in the community. Community Action has operated in the Hudson area for more than 25 years. While the specifics of its mission have changed over the years, its focus has always centered around the welfare of the community's youth.
Laura and Todd Franck's home has never looked more beautiful. After weeks of preparation it is ready for this weekend's Christmas Tour of Homes, one of five private residences that will be featured. The Francks' holiday decorations are lavish and a wonderful accent to a home that is already a showcase. The Francks say they created the home they wanted "book by book." That's how Todd Franck, a Hudson native and 1985 Hudson High School graduate, described the process the couple used to design their 5,000-plus-square-foot home in the town of Hudson.
Things just won't be the same without her. It's an overused cliché, but sometimes it just fits, especially when it comes to Rita Horne. Horne has been synonymous with the town of Hudson for more than 25 years. She will retire as clerk of the town on Nov. 20. It brings to a close one of the longest running careers in local government in recent history. When Horne and her husband, Einar, moved their family to the town in 1968, there were only about 400 people living there.