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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Copper continues to be a hot item among thieves in the Hudson area. Last week, Hudson Police began an investigation into the theft of 400 10-foot copper pipes from Menards at 1400 Gateway Boulevard. The three-quarter inch pipe is valued at more than $8,100. It arrived at the store on Sept. 28 and was unloaded into the locked yard area of the store. Less than two days later it was discovered missing. HPD Det. Shawn Pettee said they are investigating the theft and don't know yet if it is tied to any of the other Hudson area thefts or two other copper thefts in New Richmond recently.
The Hudson Police and Fire Commission is once again seeking applications for a permanent chief of police for the Hudson Police Department. The position is currently being held on an interim basis by Chief Eric Atkinson, who has been with the Hudson Police Department seven years and was promoted to sergeant last April. He was appointed to the interim job by the commission Aug. 24 following the resignation of Chief Andrew Smith. Filling the leadership position at the HPD since the May 2006 retirement of Chief Dick Trende has been a challenge for the commission.
Ann Mitchell never set out to be school principal, but through a series of events she now finds herself as the new principal at Houlton Elementary School. Mitchell took the job this summer to replace Peg Shoemaker, the new assistant director of curriculum for the Hudson School District. Prior to her new position, Mitchell was principal of St. Anne's Catholic School in Somerset, a position she held for 12 years. Her career in education has included stints teaching high school and middle school, family consumer education, social studies and history.
Lisa and Jeff Szumilas of Hudson have been watching the Ken Burns film "The War" with more than the usual interest. Lisa's grandfather, Charles Mann of Luverne, Minn., is one of the WWII veterans featured in 14-hour documentary. Another grandchild, Scott Mensen, also lives in Hudson. The Hudson families attended the premiere of the film in Luverne in September and met Burns and the others associated with the project. Mann was the first soldier from Rock County, Minn. where Luverne is located to be wounded in the war.
The buzz about a proactive vs. reactive police department in recent weeks isn't confined to the city of Hudson.
Since the Hudson High School Wall of Fame was established, the idea has been to recognize graduates who are a credit to the school they attended, whether they left Hudson or stayed right here. This year's Distinguished Alumni both chose to live and work in the Hudson area, and the community is the richer for it. Mike Wakeling, Class of 1964 Mike Wakeling thinks his place on the Wall of Fame at Hudson High School just might have caused the late E.P.
In what has been a very busy couple of months by any standards, the Hudson Police Department has been making progress on several of the recent robberies in the city. Interim Police Chief Eric Atkinson said Monday that an arrest has been made in the case of the produce stand robbery that took place on Aug. 26 in the 1900 block of Crest View Drive. Using a license number provided by the victim at the stand, HPD detectives traced the vehicle to a woman in Iowa who had reported the car stolen.
Michael Strauch, 55, of 110 Stratford Way, was killed Sunday after his motorcycle struck a vehicle on Coulee Road. The driver of the other vehicle, Victoria Bear, 51, of 473 Country View Road, was arrested at the scene for injury by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. She was not injured. According to Hudson Police Chief Eric Atkinson, Strauch was traveling westbound on Coulee Road approaching 18th Street when Bear turned in front of him from 18th Street onto Coulee Road. Bear is the ex-wife of former Hudson School Board member Peter Bear.
After saying all summer that the idea of having an empty nest would sound a whole lot better if I could get Kevin to head off to college with the kids, now that the time has arrived, I'm glad he's still around, if only to take some of the phone calls and answer the e-mails. The two kids may be no longer feathering the nest, but I think I've talked to them more in the last week than I did all summer. Never in the history of parents and kids have we been so connected -- I can tell by my declining cell phone minutes.
The news was good for Hudson School District taxpayers at the annual meeting held Monday night. The 2007-08 school tax levy rose less than 1 percent over last year, and the mill rate, the cost per $1,000 of property value, went down by just over 3 percent. The small number of voters who turned out for the meeting passed the levy of $24,267,230 by a voice vote. Last year's levy was $24,037,800. The new mill rate was set at $6.93 per $1,000 or $1,386 on a $200,000 home. Last year's mill rate was $7.16 per $1,000.