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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While most travelers were canceling trips to the Middle East in recent weeks, Paula Bhagyam is glad she went. It is something she felt she needed to do. Bhagyam lives in the town of St. Joseph and is a teacher at St. Croix Academy in Stillwater. She is also a wife and mother of three. With the conflict in Israel, Lebanon and Gaza growing in the days before her July 26 departure, her husband and children were not excited to see her go. But for Bhagyam, the trip was something she has wanted to do for a long time.
Wally Gregerson was expected to be released from United Hospital in St. Paul this week after being treated for a massive heart attack there since last Friday. As anyone who knows the longtime North Hudson resident would expect, Gregerson, 77, was at Pepper Fest Park on Friday morning setting up for the village's annual Pepper Fest. He has been a Pepper Fest volunteer every year since the celebration was conceived in the 1950s as a way to fund a new school. According to his daughter Debi Copeland, Gregerson went home for lunch and complained to his wife Bernadine that he wasn't feeling well.
The news is good when it comes to the ACT scores of 2006 Hudson High School graduates. Their scores were higher not only than those of the previous year's class but a full point higher than this year's average composite score statewide. The ACT scores statewide put Wisconsin and Minnesota as the top performers nationwide. The college entrance examination is a "college readiness indicator," according to the district's Director of Instructional Services Sandi Kovatch.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about the people around me growing up and growing older. It's better to think about them than me. Our kids are about to start their senior year, which my friend Diane reminds me is a year of "lasts" -- the last teacher convention vacation, the last first day of school, the last parent conferences and maybe the last year they live with us full time. Like so much in life, that's both good news and bad all rolled into one. Strictly in the good news category was my dad turning 90. Dad just isn't getting old gracefully, he's doing it vigorously.
Members of the Hudson Board of Education were presented with goals for the upcoming school budget that seek to maintain a balance between a quality education and the best use of taxpayer dollars. Among those goals are a decrease in the mill rate and a less than 6 percent increase in the taxpayer levy. The goals were part of a presentation from the new fiscal services director for the district, Tim Erickson.
While there are still a few weeks before the first day of school, it appears that enrollment in Hudson schools will exceed projections. Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten made the report to the school board. She stressed that the numbers were preliminary and would likely change before the beginning of the school year on Sept. 5. She said the district is not always notified when students move out of the district and doesn't find out until after school starts.
Dan O'Connell's parents and siblings think they have found a way to make something good come from the tragic murder of their son and brother. They filed a lawsuit last week against all 194 U.S. Catholic bishops for the names of the estimated 5,000 priests the American church has identified as sexual abusers and predators since the 1950s. "We just want them to do the right thing. We don't want to see any more children hurt by these evil men," said Janet O'Connell, Dan's mother. At a press conference in the office of the family's attorney, Jeff Anderson of St.
The family of murder victim Dan O'Connell filed a lawsuit Tuesday against all 194 U.S. Catholic bishops demanding that the names of predatory priests in America be made public. The action was prompted after St. Croix County Judge Eric Lundell ruled last October that there was probable cause to believe that O'Connell and James Ellison were murdered by the late Father Ryan Erickson after O'Connell confronted the priest with allegations of sexual abuse and other criminal behavior with minors. Erickson committed suicide in December 2004 after being questioned by police about the murders.
Among the options the Hudson School Board heard to deal with overcrowded schools at their recent work session was vouchers to pay for private education. The idea was presented by Steve Hermsen, a Hudson resident who has been a critic of the district's financial operations. Hermsen was invited by the board to present a school voucher proposal along with several other options the board was exploring to address the need for more space at Hudson schools.
The Hudson Board of Education has placed the need for more space at its elementary schools at the top of the district's priority list. The question now is how to address that need -- by adding on to existing schools or building a new one. At its annual work session held July 18 at Camp St. Croix, the board heard a presentation by Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten that detailed the pros and cons of several options to address current and future space needs at the elementary level.