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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St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson is talking with his counterpart in Eau Claire County about taking over the prosecution in the vandalism case involving Hudson High School students and damage they did at five schools including Eau Claire Memorial and North high schools. Menomonie High School and HHS were also targets of the group. Johnson said he may have a conflict in the case since he knows some of the Hudson families who have students allegedly involved in the vandalism.
The Hudson Police Department will be conducting some additional interviews and doing some more investigation in the school vandalism case following a meeting with the St. Croix County District Attorney Wednesday morning. The meeting which was held at District Attorney Eric Johnson's office included Hudson Police Chief Andrew Smith, HPD Det. Jeff Knopps, New Richmond Chief of Police Mark Samelstad and representatives of the Hudson and New Richmond school districts.
The residents of a 10-unit apartment building are safe as a result of the quick thinking of three Hudson police officers. After hearing the report of a fire at 1601 Aspen Drive around 2:20 a.m. on Monday, Sgt. Eric Atkinson, officers Geoff Willems and Lisa Opel sped to the scene and arrived before the Hudson Fire Department. The fire appeared to be located at a rear entrance, and the building was full of smoke. The officers entered the building and went immediately to pull the fire alarms to wake the tenants, but none of them worked.
The Hudson Police Department officials were scheduled to meet with St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson Wednesday morning to present the results of their two-week investigation into the involvement of approximately 40 Hudson High School students in the vandalism of five schools, including Hudson, on June 3. According to lead investigator Detective Jeff Knopps, the department is recommending that 13 of the students be charged with felonies and the remaining 23 with related misdemeanors. Knopps said they had spoken with most of the suspects, some through their attorneys.
Hudson School District Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten read a statement to a small group of reporters at a press conference Friday at Hudson High School. HHS Principal Ed Lucas also made a statement. Neither took questions citing the ongoing police investigation and student privacy guidelines.
The vandalism that was discovered at five Big Rivers Conference schools last week, including Hudson High School, appears to be the work of Hudson students. According to the Hudson Police Department, 17 students were involved in the vandalism itself with as many as 26 playing a part in the planning of the crimes. The other schools hit around midnight on June 3 were New Richmond, Menomonie, Eau Claire North and Eau Claire Memorial. Investigators believe the suspects divided into two groups with one group dispatched to New Richmond and Hudson and a second group to Eau Claire and Menomonie.
Visitors might be surprised to see an ATV or two traveling through Lakefront Park this summer, but they are there for a reason. The Hudson Police Department recently conducted training for its patrol officers in the use and operation of the all-terrain vehicles as an alternative to squad and foot patrols. They will be used primarily in Lakefront Park and should give the police more and faster access to all areas, including the dike road and the more than six-block-long area of the park itself. They may also be deployed to other areas if needed. Lt.
If the nine Hudson High School seniors interviewed for this story are any measure, the class of 2007 is one that cares. Their concerns spread far beyond high school and Hudson to issues like homelessness, poverty, race, peace and the environment. As one of them put it, "What I do won't save the world, but it could make a difference if enough of us try." Ge Moua Ge Moua is finishing his time at Hudson High School a much different person than he was as a freshman. Moua, 18, describes himself as childish back then. "It was just about letting life go by. Nothing mattered.
Hudson High School is offering a $250 reward for information leading to the conviction of the persons responsible for the graffiti found Monday at the school. The person may remain anonymous. To provide information call HHS at 715-377-3800 and ask for Officer Mark Crimmins or contact Det. Jeff Knopps of the Hudson Police Department at 715-386-4771.
It took less than five minutes for vandals to do an estimated $10,000 worth of damage at Hudson High School Monday just after midnight. The Hudson Police Department is investigating the vandalism, which consists primarily of graffiti, some profane, painted on the south and east sides of the school building, on windows, some outbuildings and on the adjacent athletic field including the scoreboard. Several positive references are made to the River Falls Wildcats in the graffiti, but it is not clear if the vandalism was done by students of River Falls High School or residents of the city.