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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If I had a genie and a trio of wishes, I'd use all three to ensure that nobody in Hudson missed "Disney's Aladdin Jr." at The Phipps Center. Based on the successful animated film, the stage version keeps all the best music and action of the original, made even better by these talented real, live actors. John Potter selected and directed a dream cast, many of them seniors in their last Phipps Children's Theater effort, who all gave enthusiastic performances from the leads to the beggars in the bazaar.
The talk was all about the future last week when the Board of Education and most of the school district's administrative team met to begin work on a long-range plan for public education in the Hudson School District. The plan is called "HSD 2025." The plan calls for a comprehensive study of what public education should look like in order to prepare district graduates for the future they face over the next 15-20 years.
Andrew Smith will take over as Hudson's new chief of police beginning early next month. Smith, who has been a resident of Hudson for six years, is leaving the Minneapolis Police Department after a career that saw him rise from patrol officer to the rank of captain in just 16 years. But he says the chief's job is his last big career move. He's here for the long haul. When he describes his career to date, Smith, 39, says he's had the equivalent of 30 years' experience in his 16 years with the Minneapolis department. "I've been incredibly fortunate to have the experience I've had.
The Hudson Middle School was locked down and searched by police Thursday afternoon following the discovery of a message on a restroom wall that a student had a gun at school. According to a notice on the Hudson School District website from Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten, "police were called and arrived at the school within a few minutes. The school was locked down and searched, including lockers and backpacks. The film from the security camera was reviewed; students were identified who entered the restroom; and these students were interviewed.
A Minneapolis Police Department captain has accepted the position as Hudson's new chief of police. Andy Smith, a resident of Hudson, was the first choice of the Hudson Police and Fire Commission from the most recent candidates. Smith has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 16 years and sought the Hudson job because he wanted to move to a smaller department. Smith and his wife moved to Hudson several years ago. Their children attend Rock Elementary School.
A Hudson police officer did some quick thinking in the cold wee hours of Sunday morning that may have prevented several teens from suffering more than just a hangover after a night of underage drinking. HPD Officer Todd Ludvik was called to a residence in the city around 12:30 a.m. and through a window observed four or five juveniles inside the house who appeared to be drinking.
We lost someone very special from our Star-Observer family last week. Catherine "Kay" Johnson died Thursday after gracing this world for more than 96 years. And to say "graced" is not an exaggeration or even a compliment. When it comes to Kay, it is just a fact. Even as I write this, I worry a little about my grammar. When I first started writing for the paper 17 years ago, I was even sloppier than I still can be these days.
While the creative process for most visual artists seems to be a singular pursuit, for glass sculptors Renee and Jim Engebretson it's all about collaboration. The couple has been a team both personally and professionally for more than 20 years. They met when Renee was a fine arts student at UW-River Falls and Jim, a North Hudson native, was an art professor there. They eventually married and now live and work at the old fish hatchery in the town of Hudson, a setting that provides lots of natural inspiration for their work with water, woods and lots of wildlife.
The Board of Education needs to make a decision soon about where to relocate the district's administrative offices. At the top of the list of options are leasing or buying existing office space or leasing or buying portable trailers. The offices are currently housed in Hudson High School but the school is over capacity and needs the space back, hopefully by the start of school next fall. In order to meet that deadline, the current offices should be vacated by the end of this school year to allow for the space to be refitted into seven classrooms.
While the lawyers are still fine-tuning the paperwork, the contract between the Hudson School District and Hoffman LLC of Appleton calls for the architectural firm to get 5.3 percent of the cost of construction for the new southside elementary school. According to Financial Services Director Tim Erickson, Hoffman's bid was one of the lowest the district considered. While exact construction costs will not be available until after a construction firm is selected, the recent bond referendum was based on an estimated cost of $15,540,000.