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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More than 40 people have joined the effort to get a new elementary school built in the Hudson School District. The group, Friends of Hudson Public Education, supports the estimated $15 million referendum that will go before voters on Dec. 12. The plan calls for the construction of a 588-student K-5 elementary school to be located on property the district owns on Coulee Trail, south of I-94.
Yanchy Lacska of Hudson was in a meeting last week with co-workers from the St. Paul Public Schools Office of Safety and Security when he was interrupted to take a call -- from the office of the president of the United States. He admits he couldn't resist telling his colleagues, "You'll have to excuse me -- it's the White House calling." After a 30-minute interview last Monday, Lacska was invited to leave immediately to attend the president's school safety summit at the White House the next day. As exciting as the call was, it was the invitation that was important.
The subject of chain mail doesn't come up often these days, and if it does, it probably conjures up images of medieval knights charging one another wearing what was then the equivalent of a bulletproof vest. But the art of chain mail is a whole lot more, especially at the hands of Michelle Baranick. A banker by day, Baranick has been creating Norwegian chain mail jewelry for the past two and a half years. Norwegian herself, Baranick was immediately interested in how the jewelry was made and with some help from a contact in Norway taught herself the art of chain mail.
Retirement in Hudson is a relative term to people like Myrtle Spielman. Spielman officially retired from her position at First National Bank in December of 1986 after 25 years, only to come back two years later as a part-time teller working onsite with the residents of WinterGreen -- for the next 20 years. So with her 80th birthday approaching, her co-workers at the bank decided to throw her a party at WinterGreen. She was greeted by a large number of the residents as well as friends, co-workers and fellow "retirees" at the gathering held Wednesday in the WinterGreen atrium.
Becky O'Keefe is the new administrative assistant for the North Hudson Police Department. While her job may be new, she's very familiar with her surroundings. O'Keefe is a Hudson native, the daughter of Bev and the late Darrel Wert. She attended school in Hudson and is a 1975 graduate of Hudson High School. She also married a native son, Mike O'Keefe, who was recently named to head the state' probation office here, which prompted the family's move back to Hudson. The couple moved to Spooner 16 years ago and raised their three children there. Their two sons, Corey and Justin, are teachers.
When I attended a presentation last week entitled "In Search of the Proper Autistic Friend," I wasn't quite sure what to expect. But then, that is usually the case when it comes to my experience with autism and with the children and families who live with it. James Williams was no exception. He has written several books and speaks across the country about living with autism, and he is just 18 years old. Tara Tuchel, a Willow River teacher who works with autistic children, met Williams when both presented at a national conference in Rhode Island earlier this year.
While the Hudson Board of Education is convinced the district needs a new elementary school, members also are concerned about what to do at the secondary level, especially at Hudson High School. At a special meeting last week, the board decided to address both needs with the $4.5 million allocated from the general fund for capital projects plus an additional $1.4 million surplus from the 2005-06 budget. After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to set aside $3.5 million to offset the cost of a new elementary school should voters approve it in a bond referendum.
Timberlake will read from her new book at Back to Books Saturday at 6:30 p.m. There may be something familiar about Amy Timberlake's new book, "That Girl Lucy Moon." In her first book for middle grade readers, the author drew on memories of growing up in Hudson to create Lucy's world. Timberlake grew up Amy Richardson, the daughter of Barbara Richardson and Jim Richardson, and the granddaughter of the late Harry and Marie Blakeman, who founded Nor-Lake, one of the city's largest employers. Timberlake attended school in Hudson and graduated from Hudson High School in 1985.
Enrollment in the Hudson School District as of the third Friday in September is 5,162 students, up 313 over last year's enrollment of 4,849. The count is required by the state Department of Public Instruction and is used to calculate state aids to the district. The number represents a 6.4 percent increase in the student population, which stood at 4,849 this time last year.
Friends since their school days, Jim Burton and Barbara Blakeman Richardson will be together again at this year's Hudson High School Distinguished Alumni presentation Oct. 4. Richardson, Class of 1957, and Burton, Class of 1958, join the 32 other HHS graduates who have been named to the school's Wall of Fame since its inception in 1994. Graduates are recognized for their professional and personal achievements and for their contributions to the communities where they live. An induction ceremony will take place Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at the school.