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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Two of the Hudson High School graduates charged for vandalizing Hudson High School on June 3-4 have been bound over for trial before St. Croix County Judge Scott Needham. The two, Colin Courtney and Travis Melchert, made their first appearance before Needham on Friday. Needham was assigned to the case last month after all 14 of the defendants requested a substitution following Judge Edward Vlack's refusal to accept a plea agreement that would reduce the charges against all of the defendants from felonies to misdemeanors in November.
A lot has changed at the bank where Ginger Spinks has worked for almost 30 years, but the biggest change for her is just around the corner. Spinks, who began as a drive-up teller at First National Bank (now Associated) in 1978, will retire at the end of this week as a senior vice president and Associated's downtown Hudson branch manager. Spinks grew up in Glenwood City, one of nine children. She graduated from UW-Eau Claire and worked for a while at 3M Co. in St. Paul before heading to California with some college friends.
Daniel Ziegler is the newest member of the North Hudson Police Department. He completed his field training this fall and serves as a patrol officer. Ziegler grew up in Wisconsin Rapids and graduated with a degree in criminal justice from UW-Oshkosh. He said he has wanted to be a police officer since he was a boy. "I looked up to them as a kid and knew that was something I wanted to do. I believe it is a noble and honorable job," said Ziegler. Ziegler has been on the job for several months and said there haven't been any real surprises.
While the student body of 1,710 at Hudson High School is over the school's official capacity, there's a little more breathing room this year at the district's largest facility. With the departure of the district's administration offices from the west end of the building late last summer, seven rooms became available for use as classrooms, a computer lab and additional technology space. The move also means fewer outside adults in the building and 40-50 less vehicles on campus every day, which frees up some much-needed parking space and cuts down on traffic congestion around the school.
The Hudson Board of Education will hold what they call a listening session Jan. 7 about the proposed new elementary attendance boundaries. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Lee auditorium at Willow River Elementary School, 1118 Fourth St. According to information about the session, comments will be limited to three minutes or less per person, depending on the number of parents who wish to speak. Board members will not respond to individual questions but will comment at the end of the session.
For years now, Community Action teen volunteers have been presenting workshops to Hudson Middle School students on the subject of bullying and teasing. But their experience left them feeling the message could also be delivered a little sooner, so they recently took it to fifth-graders as well. The teen volunteers, some 70 of them every year, work in groups of five or six and use a curriculum guide to develop their own training on the subject of bullying and teasing. Over the years, groups have perfected their presentations and learned from their experiences.
The Hudson Board of Education got its first look at the proposed new boundaries for elementary school attendance at last week's School Board meeting. Deputy Superintendent and District Transportation head Nancy Sweet presented the map of the new boundaries that will go into effect in fall 2008 with the opening of the new River Crest Elementary School on Coulee Trail south of I-94. The board had previously approved the use of a Montana consulting firm in establishing the new boundaries.
The quick action of a Hudson police officer may have saved the lives of two small children last Sunday. A mother called police to say she was concerned about the welfare of her children who were spending the day with their father, Steven J. Drees, her ex-husband, who she believed had been drinking when he picked up their two sons. Officer John Grass went to the man's residence at 453 Hunter Hill Road around 4 p.m. on Dec. 9. Upon approaching the residence, Grass rang the doorbell several times but there was no answer.
When visiting the Wolkoff home in rural Hudson, one of the first things to notice is the great light -- not only from the abundance of windows throughout, but also from the faces of the owners, Patty and Don Wolkoff. The Wolkoffs have been married, not just happily but energetically, for 47 years. They used to spend summers in Hudson along the Willow River but moved here permanently 15 years ago.
In a less than legal effort to make $5 stretch a little further, someone has been laundering $5 bills and making them look like $100s. Hudson Police Officer Pete Schultz says three of the phony bills have been recovered from businesses or individuals on the hill. One employee was suspicious about one of the bills and used the security pen to check for its authenticity. When the mark on the bill turned the appropriate color, the employee accepted the bill. The pen only checks to verify that the paper is real.