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 working together for five years, the Hudson High School Destination Imagination team heading to the global finals in Knoxville, Tenn., is preparing for their last performance together. All seniors, Ashley Anunson, Emily Kepulis, Josh Kock-Fogarty, Sydney Malanaphy, Adam Selon and David Sjoberg have already been to the global finals three times and have taken the top honors at the competition twice before. But this year, if they win, it will be all the sweeter.
Before Brent Ellwanger was a full-time member of the Hudson Police Department, he was already a decorated officer, having earned both a Medal of Valor and a Purple Heart in the line of duty. Ellwanger, 22, earned the awards for his role in the shootout last August at the Ward Avenue Apartments. He was wounded in the arm by a bullet fragment from an assault rifle believed to have been fired by a fleeing suspect. At the time, Ellwanger was a part-time officer with the HPD.
Three juvenile girls have been cited for their role in the recent vandalism at North Hudson Elementary and to several cars in the surrounding neighborhood. Police received information from a parent of one of the girls about the participants. Following interviews, each of the girls was cited for disorderly conduct.
Joan Thompson said she began thinking about retirement last year but it just didn't feel right. This year it does. Thompson starting teaching in Hudson as a substitute teacher in 1979. She became a part-time physical education at Rock Elementary in 1983 and went full time in 1987. She has a bachelor's degree in physical education and biology from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, a master's in education in professional development from UW-River Falls and is a certified learning disabilities teacher.
The information age took an ugly turn recently at Hudson High School when a so-called collage of partially naked pictures of a female student turned up in a boys locker room. A copy of the photos was found by a teacher, and school administrators and police began an investigation. The photos, 11 of them, were compiled into a collage and reprinted by two male students now facing misdemeanor charges for defamation of character. The two students accused of printing the collage of photos and passing them around are Tyler J. Schultz, 17, and Michael Meyer-Senty, 17.
Sometime overnight on Sunday, North Hudson Elementary School on Lemon Street North was targeted by one or more vandals. The vandals used colored chalk to write profanity, obscenities and hate speech at 15 different locations around the school, mostly on doors and windows. The damage was discovered by a North Hudson Police officer doing a building check around 3 a.m. on Monday. After taking photographs of the damage and detailing what was found, police notified school authorities so that they could begin cleanup prior to students reporting for school on Monday morning.
The Hudson Police Department has two new full-time patrol officers following swearing ceremonies last week at City Hall. Traci Haines, 24, of Somerset, and John Worden, 37, of Hudson, fill vacancies in the department. Haines was born in Hudson but grew up in Somerset. She holds an associate degree in law enforcement from Alexandria (Minn.) Technical College, and a bachelor's degree in vocational rehabilitation with an emphasis on community policing from UW-Stout. Haines has worked part-time for the Hudson Police Department since 2004.
Kay Couch has spent her career in one of the busiest spots in the Hudson School District -- the office. That's two offices, really. She was the first secretary at the newly created Hudson Middle School in 1975 under-then Principal Bill Hickox and was at the post for 10 years. She relocated for her husband's job, spending 10 years in Phoenix. But the family returned to Hudson, and Couch has been secretary to the Hudson High School associate principals since 1996. In June she will retire after 22 years. Couch is a product of the Hudson School District.
By all accounts, space is tight at Hudson Middle School. With a capacity of 1,125 students, the school has an enrollment of 1,155. But Principal Dan Koch said there is more to the situation at his school than just the numbers. In a report to the Hudson Board of Education recently, Koch said the overcrowding and large class sizes at his school are eroding the house system, which is at the center of the district's middle school program. "The house system is the best way to educate kids in this developmental phase of their lives.
Victoria Bear was found guilty Monday in St. Croix Circuit Court of homicide by negligent use of a vehicle in connection with the death of Michael Strauch on Sept. 23. Strauch, 55, was killed after his motorcycle struck Bear's vehicle on Coulee Road, after she pulled out in front of him from 18th Street around 6 p.m. Strauch's widow, Barbara, and his children were in the courtroom along with other family members and friends. At her arraignment before Judge Eric Lundell, Bear, 56, entered a plea of no contest to the felony charge.