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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After saying all summer that the idea of having an empty nest would sound a whole lot better if I could get Kevin to head off to college with the kids, now that the time has arrived, I'm glad he's still around, if only to take some of the phone calls and answer the e-mails. The two kids may be no longer feathering the nest, but I think I've talked to them more in the last week than I did all summer. Never in the history of parents and kids have we been so connected -- I can tell by my declining cell phone minutes.
The news was good for Hudson School District taxpayers at the annual meeting held Monday night. The 2007-08 school tax levy rose less than 1 percent over last year, and the mill rate, the cost per $1,000 of property value, went down by just over 3 percent. The small number of voters who turned out for the meeting passed the levy of $24,267,230 by a voice vote. Last year's levy was $24,037,800. The new mill rate was set at $6.93 per $1,000 or $1,386 on a $200,000 home. Last year's mill rate was $7.16 per $1,000.
More than 75 people filled the community room above the Hudson Public Library last Wednesday night to hear the details of the shootout Aug. 24 between police and a Minnesota man at 1505 Ward Ave. Acting Police Chief Eric Atkinson held the public forum to give residents, particularly those living in the neighborhood, more information about what led up to the shooting that Friday night and what actions police took in trying to arrest Daine Linderman.
Hudson School District enrollment was up 143 students as classes began last week. While the official enrollment count will not be taken until the third Friday of this month, the initial numbers show a 2.8 percent increase over last year. Total enrollment last week was 5,299 as compared to 5,156 on Sept. 15, 2006. The increase breaks down as follows: --Grades K-5, 2,428 this year versus 2,351 last year. --Middle school, 1,165 this year versus 1,110 last year. --High school, 1,706 this year versus 1,695 last year. The official enrollment number is used to calculate state aids.
Nine of the 14 young men charged in the June vandalism of Hudson and New Richmond high schools were in court Wednesday for a status of their cases in front of St. Croix County Judge Edward Vlack. Appearing with their attorneys were Brandon Crockett, Nathan Kovatch, Michael Perucca, Jacob Walczak, Peter Maki, Travis Melchert, Aaron Ludgatis, Andrew Olson and Michael Van Ness. Michael Zuehl was not present but both he and his attorney phoned into the hearing.
Residents of the Hudson School District will be asked to approve the school tax levy for the 2007-08 school year at the annual meeting on Monday, Sept. 10 at Hudson High School auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. The budget amount for the upcoming school year was not made available by press time to the Star-Observer but will be presented at the meeting Monday night. However, School Board members got a preliminary look at this year's tax levy at their meeting last month.
In a summer when news about some Hudson High School graduates hasn't been good, the recently released ACT college entrance exam results are welcome news. Across all four subject areas, English, math, science and reading, the average scores for the 254 Hudson students who took the test were between one and two points above the state average. Hudson's composite score of 23.7 put it ahead of any of the surrounding schools. The only subject in which Hudson did not place first among its neighbors was in English, where their score landed second place behind River Falls.
The produce stand in the 1900 block of Crest View Drive was robbed Sunday around 4:15 p.m. According to police, a man approached the 19-year-old woman manning the stand and struck up a conversation. After a short while, he calmly said he was going to take the cash box. The young woman said she thought he was kidding and responded as such. The man then forcefully told her to sit down and to hand over the cash box. The woman said she became very frightened since it was obvious he was serious about the robbery.
Chris Lownsbury of Hudson learned firsthand this summer what it is like to have a fantasy become reality when he participated in WaterSki magazine's Fantasy Camp Pro Am. Lownsbury, who is married to Hudson native Emily (Hutton) Lownsbury has been water-skiing since his family moved to a lake in Wilmar, Minn., when he was in the fifth grade. Being on the water immediately appealed to him. "It was both calm and quiet being on the water but fun and exciting to ski, all at the same time.
The process begins next month of deciding who will attend the new River Crest Elementary School and who will be teaching there when it opens in fall 2008. Deputy Superintendent Nancy Sweet gave the Hudson School Board a rundown of the process at last week's board meeting. Sweet said the process will begin in September with parent meetings at each of the district's elementary schools to discuss the current boundaries for attendance and the guidelines the district will use to redraw those boundaries.