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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Apologies to those of you who fall into any of the following categories: people with no kids; people with kids who are grown, moved away and gainfully employed; and parents of perfect children - that elusive species of offspring who love, honor and respect you despite the fact that they know everything, and you are old. I had another one of those "mother with child about to graduate from high school" experiences this week -- college registration. It was a full-day event complete with a snack in both the morning and afternoon.
While she's aware that school hot lunch sometimes gets a bad rap, Joan Allen will have none of it. As child nutrition coordinator for the Hudson School District, she is nothing but proud of what she and her staff feeds students every day. Allen will retire from her position in June after 28 years with the district. A graduate of UW-Stout, Allen worked as home economist for Hunt Wesson Foods and as a food service supervisor for the Minneapolis School System before coming to work in Hudson in 1979. "I like the school lunch program.
Police "ride-alongs" are something reporters do occasionally to get a feel for what officers do on a daily basis. I've been covering the Hudson Police Department for the Star-Observer since 1999, but for some reason never did a ride-along. But the subject came up recently in an interview with Chief Andy Smith and I mentioned I'd like to go on one. While I was anticipating an evening shift that with any luck included a little excitement downtown as the bars closed, I was surprised when the call came from the chief to see if I was available last Wednesday morning.
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms with assistance from the Hudson Police Department searched a Hudson home Wednesday looking for evidence of illegal gun trafficking. The agents and officers spent several hours searching the town home on Bridgewater Trail in the Lighthouse development off Stageline Road. Not at the residence when they first arrived, officers served the warrant on the man when he did come home about a half hour after police were on the scene.
Ken didn't mince any words when he told his story to the more than 200 people at the Salvation Army breakfast at the Hudson Golf Club last week. The event, entitled "A New Beginning," was held to raise awareness about Grace Place, the shelter in Somerset where Ken lived for about two months a year ago. Also featured were Salvation Army's other shelters -- House of Blessings in Osceola and Faith House in New Richmond -- and the other programs and assistance SA provides countywide. Ken told the audience that he had made a series of bad decisions in his life that led to prison.
The Hudson Board of Education voted last week to issue $9.5 million in bonds for the construction of River Crest Elementary School. The average interest rate on the 20-year general obligation bonds will be 4.31 percent. In a presentation by Brian Brewer -- director for R.W. Baird of Milwaukee, which is handling the transaction -- the board heard that the district's Aa2 credit rating from Moody's Investor Service helped secure the lower than anticipated interest rate. According to Brewer, a conservative rate of 5 percent was used in the original financing plan for the referendum.
The Board of Education gave preliminary approval to the latest schematic drawings for the district's new school, now officially named River Crest Elementary. Hoffman Architects of Appleton, who is designing the facility and the grounds surrounding it, made the presentation at last week's School Board meeting. Tom Cox of Hoffman advised the board that the company continues to be within budget and on schedule with the project.
Hudson School District Director of Personnel Services Jennifer Ninneman has resigned her position effective July 13, one year after being hired. Ninneman said she is leaving to complete the dissertation for her Ph.D. and will likely return to a career in higher education upon receiving her doctorate. Ninneman came to Hudson from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota where she had served as lead human resources consultant. Prior to that, she worked as human resources manager at UW-River Falls.
The case for firing a former Hudson Police Department sergeant will not get a second hearing, according to a recent ruling by St. Croix County Judge Edward Vlack. Robert Oehmke of Hudson had appealed his dismissal -- from the department last December by the Police and Fire Commission -- to St. Croix County Circuit Court.
The judge in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of murder victim James Ellison last week denied a petition by Bishop Raphael Fliss and the Diocese of Superior to have the case against them dismissed. Ellison was murdered at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home along with owner Dan O'Connell in February 2002. An investigation and hearing into the double homicide determined that the likely killer was the late Fr. Ryan Erickson, then an assistant pastor at St. Patrick's Church.