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Sometimes things just feel right. It is hard to explain, you realize that you have discovered a person or a group who has the potential to make a difference in the world. That was how I felt Sunday evening, while attending the Reach for the Stars fundraiser for Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley. I have to admit that the theme Reach for the Stars-Under the Bella Luna (which changes every year) was based on Italy. Almost anything Italian will get me off in a positive direction. Over the years I have attended an assortment of fundraising events.
Bob Barabe, a Mellon native, is wrapping up more than 35 years in education, 26 of them in the Hudson district as an elementary school counselor. After graduating with a two-year degree from a teacher's college, Barabe taught for a short time at a parochial school in Port Washington. "I found out I was doing a lot of counseling," said Barabe of his first job. "The teachers didn't have a lot of time to work with these issues and I really liked that part of it.
Antarctica seems like a distant place of mystery for most of us, but for 2001 Hudson High School graduate Michelle LaRue, it is a familiar location with areas she knows intimately well. LaRue is a Geospatial Analyst for the Antarctica Geospatial Information Center at the University of Minnesota.
Artists work in many mediums. For Bobby Gray, who is a watercolor artist, painting with fabric is how she describes her quilts. There is no question Gray is an expert in quilting, and for the last six years she has taught children much more than how to sew. Her present students include Suzy Metcalf, 11, Molly Metcalf, 8, and Reneah Arndt, 10, all of whom are home schooled which allows them to attend quilting class once a week in the afternoon beginning in October.
For St. Paul native Paul Gerst, moving his acupuncture practice to Hudson was meant to be. Coming from a western medicine tradition, Gerst was set to follow in his family's footsteps until he read the book, "The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine," by Ted Kaptchuk. It was one of those ah-ha moments for Gerst who planned to become a physical therapist. He went on to graduate from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul with a degree in counseling and holistic studies and continued his education at the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal studies.
China's awakening means more than economic growth to Hudson resident Nancy Lawton-Shirley. She recently returned from her fourth trip to China where she volunteers for Red Thread Charities. It was a River Falls doctor, Tim Steinmetz, who encouraged Lawton-Shirley to go on her first trip in 2007. "What he saw was that most of the children needed occupational and physical therapy," said Lawton-Shirley who is an occupational therapist and founder of Special Children's Center in Hudson.
Almost anyone can tell you the job market is a different place today, especially if you are looking for work. The old rules of being there in person, knocking on doors and calling to bring your resume back to the top of the pile are as old as dust. It is also different for the employers who are looking to fill positions. They are looking to professional recruiters to do the work for them, right up to the point of finding the right person who can step right into the job without an interview. JP Staffing has a new recruiting manager based in Hudson.
St. Croix Animal Friends hosted its annual fundraiser on March 27 at The Valley House. A near capacity crowd of 150 showed up to enjoy an evening with theme of a "Blast from the Past." Included in the activities were a silent auction, raffle, door prizes, a hula hoop contest and a limbo contest accompanied by cutouts of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to the price of a ticket, you could add a few more "funds" to the event by having a button made from photos taken of everyone who attended. The event raised $5,000 for the organization.
Whether you are looking a bit older than you want or you want to remove a tattoo that reminds you of a day gone by, the mother and son team of Laurie and Tony Wall can help. She opened the Transcend Medi-Spa in Hudson and Tony opened Lasered Ink in the same location. Wall, no stranger to Hudson or the medical world, has been working in the medical field since she was 18, most of it as an EMT, including stints with St. Croix EMS, Lakeview and North Memorial. After she met Dr. Scott Jenkins, her world changed from saving people in crisis situations to a different kind of saving.
March can be a lovely time to travel, especially if it is spring break and you are in the Hudson High School Choral program. This year 74 members, all junior and seniors from the Chamber and Chanteuse choirs, traveled to four countries, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Austria from March 12 to March 21. Including parent and administrative chaperones the total traveling was 95. They departed Minneapolis on three separate flights and started their tour in Prague traveling on two buses.