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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It took a jury a little over three hours to reach a verdict in the case of Aaron Schaffhausen, the father who admitted he killed his three young daughters but said he was insane at the time. The jurors said that while they believed Schaffhausen, 35, suffers from mental illness, he knew what he was doing when he murdered his daughters by cutting their throats in their River Falls home in July 2012.
North Hudson police came upon a familiar face recently when they stopped a driver for speeding in the 500 block of Sixth St. N. James S. Meyer, 61, St. Croix Falls, was arrested on March 3 in Washington County after leading authorities on a chase that began in North Hudson, had him driving across a frozen St. Croix River and ended with his arrest in Lakeland. Charges stemming from that incident are still pending. Meyer has now been ordered to appear on charges of obstructing and bail jumping after he allegedly refused to cooperate during the traffic stop.
Heroin is becoming a primary drug of choice in the Hudson area based on the clients they are seeing at Programs for Change, the drug treatment program for Hudson Hospital and Clinic. Pete VanDusartz is the program's director and counseling and social services manager. He says there are three tracks that lead people to addiction to heroin. The first are those people who come across it while experimenting with drugs in general.
When baby boomers think about heroin and who uses it, it is unlikely that young adults in Hudson come to mind. But that's exactly who is using the drug these days according to Hudson police. In the past year, Hudson police have arrested seven people for selling heroin and other controlled substances in the city. In the past two years, there have been four deaths as a result of overdose and twice that number in the larger Hudson area. The most recent was that of Tyler Hole, a Hudson High School graduate who died in a River Falls apartment last month.
Turningpoint, the domestic abuse shelter that serves St. Croix and Pierce counties, may be physically located in River Falls but support for the work they do extends much farther. When Al Duchnowski of Hudson Insurance Agency, 744 Ryan Drive, and his staff heard about Turningpoint, they approached the organization and asked what they could do to help. With help from Liz Malanaphy, Turningpoint's volunteer program manager, the insurance office is now a drop-off point for donations of items like laundry soap, paper products and personal care items for the shelter.
While the inclination may be to literally "hit the ground running," when it comes to making healthy choices, experts seem to agree that small changes are the best way to get lasting results. Hudson Hospital registered dietician Jean Weiler has her top suggestions for making changes that can have a healthy and lifelong impact. First up -- eat more fruits and vegetables. "This is harder than it sounds. It seems simple but most of us don't eat enough of either despite the fact that these days we have a wide variety of choices available throughout the year," said Weiler.
On Monday afternoon, Hudson High School Principal Laura Love announced her resignation effective June 30, pending school board approval. Love has accepted a new administrative position with the Middleton-Cross Plains School District as the Director of Teaching and Learning at the Secondary Level. She will be involved in many of the same initiatives she has been part of at HHS. She has been in Hudson three years. In a letter to HHS parents, Love wrote, "It is important for you to know that HSD 2025 is a tremendous vision and one I believe excites educational leaders.
If the weather and the slow arrival of spring has dampened spirits this year, the Hudson High School play just may be an antidote. "Rumors," by award-winning playwright Neil Simon, gives a talented cast of 10 plenty to work with. The show is a collaborative directing experience for real-life collaborators Kari Heisler, HHS choir and theater director and her husband, Rico, who has choreographed and worked on several of the HHS musicals in recent years.
What a difference a year can make. When I turned 60 last April, it was hard on me. I usually don't mind birthdays but that one made me think about what it would be like to be young -- well at least younger. But here I am a year later now wishing I was 64, about to be 65, and done with a whole lot of things. It's not that I don't like my life -- my job is interesting and never the same from week to week. My kids are grown and relatively independent, not living under our roof and far less judgmental of Kevin and me and the dreary decisions they think we make.
Hometown girl Amy Richardson Timberlake has certainly made good. The award-winning author will return to her hometown of Hudson on March 23 to promote her third book, "One Came Home," with a signing at Chapter 2 Books. Timberlake is the daughter of Barbara Richardson and the late Jim Richardson. She grew up in Hudson and graduated from Hudson High School in 1985 and now lives with her husband in Chicago. But she says that Hudson will always be home and life in Wisconsin continues to inspire her.