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 serving as master of ceremonies at HPD Chief Dick Trende's retirement party last week, Lt. Paul Larson has also stepped up to serve as acting chief of police for the Hudson Police Department until a permanent replacement has been named. Larson has been with the department since 1973, rising through the ranks from patrol officer to sergeant to detective for both juvenile and adult investigations. He was promoted to lieutenant in January 2004 and was second in command to Trende.
Katie Brokaw is the first student from Hudson to be recognized by the Prudential Spirit of Community Award program for her extensive volunteer service to school and community. The award was presented to the Hudson High School junior by HHS Principal Ed Lucas at the annual Community Action Volunteer Recognition Awards program. Brokaw is also an active CA volunteer. The program is a partnership between Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
The Hudson Board of Education voted unanimously to extend Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten's contract for another year effective July 1. They also voted to give her a 3.8 percent increase in salary including benefits. Currently Bowen-Eggebraaten is paid $120,000. Her total package with benefits for her first year on the job was $156,531, according to fiscal director Arnie Fett. Fett said the new package has to be calculated based on insurance premiums that have gone up 19.6 percent for health insurance and 10.6 percent for dental coverage.
Kathy Andrewson has spent most of her adult life around great books and teenagers, a combination that on the surface doesn't seem a natural. But Andrewson wouldn't agree. In her more than 33 years of teaching English at Hudson High School, the best days have been when those teenagers "get it" about a great read. "When everything clicks in a classroom, it's special. Nothing feels better. Boy, will I miss that." Andrewson will retire at the end of this school year. She grew up in St. Croix Falls and loved school.
Keller Williams Realty, one of the nation's largest real estate companies, now has a home in Hudson with some familiar faces at the helm. The new franchise is located on the lower level at 1810 Crest View Drive and is owned by Sandy and Roger Gehrke, Randy Cudd, Reid and Jennifer Ferguson, Sharen Kortas, Carolyn Hansen and Mike Cylkowski. The new agency will have 23 agents and will service a territory that stretches from Hudson to Menomonie and south to Prescott. The office location is temporary.
The Phipps Center production of "Anne of the Thousand Days" is wonderfully cast, skillfully directed and beautifully presented. That said, I think Anne deserves a medal for living one day with this jerk, let alone 1,000 days. Her untimely demise may have been the most merciful thing that happened to her since she first encountered the world's most infamous chauvinist pig, England's Henry VIII. I'd be curious to know if others in the audience felt any of the anger I did at Henry's self-indulgence and pitiful justification for everything from adultery to murder.
At last week's board of education meeting, the Hudson School District administration revealed its plan for how to deal with overcrowding at two of its elementary schools. But even if the plan is successful, the solution is only short term. The plan will require that some kindergarten students from both Rock and Hudson Prairie Elementary schools attend either North Hudson or Willow River schools next fall. The district is asking for volunteers. If not enough families volunteer their students, the district may have to resort to a non-voluntary method of determining who will be reassigned.
The Hudson Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 19-year-old at his home on April 19. Michael D. Rajala, 806 River St., was found by his girlfriend in his parents' home early last Wednesday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Hudson Police Detective Jeff Knopps said an autopsy was performed as well as several toxicology tests. The results of those tests could take four to six weeks, and an official cause of death will not be available until they are completed.
Jan Phillips' own education in the small southern Wisconsin community of Darlington began in a one-room schoolhouse where she was one of five girls who made up her class. As she prepares to retire after 38 years as a teacher, her career has taken her in many directions, but has seemed to lead back to her roots. While Knights House at Hudson Middle School is far from a one-room schoolhouse, it is as close as public education gets these days.
Four months after her unexpected death, Angie Larson and a cause close to her heart were the subjects of a candlelight vigil in Birkmose Park Good Friday evening. More than 35 people attended in remembrance of her and their shared commitment to organ donation. Larson-Coleman was born with a congenital heart condition and was a candidate for an eventual heart transplant. But on Jan. 15, just weeks before she was scheduled to have her current pacemaker replaced, she died when the device failed. Larson-Coleman attended school in Hudson and graduated from Hudson High School in 2001.