Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
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Unlike last year's Hammond Heartland Days, rain didn't interrupt any of this past weekend's festivities. "We had really nice weather and pretty good attendance," said Hammond Lions Club President Jay Ditlefsen. Ditlefsen said attendance was up since last year, which he credits to wonderful weather all weekend long. He said the Lions Club celebration committee did a good job "putting together the nuts and bolts of the weekend," and the weekend ran smoothly. The Hammond Community Library started celebrating early with family fun events on Wednesday night.
As of Wednesday, Aug. 10, the St. Croix Central High School gym has more sports spirit. Last week more than a dozen sports recognition banners went up on the walls of the gym. Mike Nielsen said he always thought the gym walls were pretty bare, so when he was approached about helping make the banners a reality he jumped on board right away. Bob Brooks spent six weeks researching all of the St. Croix Central sports accomplishments.
As the days of summer dwindle down, enrollment in the St. Croix Central School District continues to go up. In recent weeks all three schools have seen an increase in student enrollment. At the school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 15, Elementary School Principal Steve Sanders said in just one week the elementary gained 17 additional students. "I'm at 118 in kindergarten. In five sections that puts 24 in three sections and 23 in two sections, so we're right at the brink on that. With 130 in first grade, what puts me at 21-22 in each class, so that's pretty good.
It was another late night for those in attendance at the Village of Hammond Board meeting Monday, Aug. 8. There were 24 items on the meeting agenda and many of those items raised discussion among board members and resident attendees. Two of the longest discussions stemmed from the village sewer rate item and the village resident petition. Village Financial Advisor, Brian Reilly, of Ehlers Inc., gave a sewer system financial analysis (historical and projected) presentation at the meeting.
There was a steady flow of people heading to the Hammond Village Park on Tuesday, Aug. 2, for the National Night Out Against Crime.
Hammond is going to be a happening place this weekend. Hammond Heartland Days start Thursday, Aug. 11, and there are plenty of activities to keep residents and friends busy all weekend long. Most Heartland Days events are held at the Village Park, located behind the Village Hall. A few changes to this year's celebration include no cover charge to any of the performances in the park, as well as the royalty pageant moving to Friday night instead of Thursday evening like previous years.
Three potential sites for a new Hammond Community Library were briefly discussed at the Village of Hammond finance committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 1. Library Director Michelle Johnson said the library has been looking at potential sites for many months. Two of the proposed sites are on village land while one proposed site would need to be purchased from a Hammond resident. Johnson said a representative from Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. prepared a needs-assessment of each of the three sites, which she shared with the committee members.
Betty McLaughlin was born and raised in Hammond. Now, 70 years later, Hammond is still the only place McLaughlin has called home. Linda Hawkins, co-chair Hammond Heartland Days, described McLaughlin as a devoted community member which is one of the qualities that convinced the Hammond Heartland Days committee that McLaughlin deserved to be this year's Hammond Heartland Days grand marshal. McLaughlin will be honored for her impact on the community in this year's Hammond Heartland Days parade. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14.
Hammond Heartland Days is Aug. 11-14 and preparations are being made for the community celebration. A big part of the weekend's festivities is the crowning of the new royal court. The Hammond Heartland Days pageant is planned for 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at St. Croix Central Middle School. This year's candidates for the Hammond queen include: Name: Makayla Jahns Age: 16 Parents: Dave and Lisa Jahns Siblings: Ashley Jahns How many years have you lived in Hammond? 10 How would you describe the Hammond community?
With summer school classes finished for students in the St. Croix Central School District one might think that things are pretty quiet in the three school buildings ... but that's not the case. Though there are projects the maintenance crew can work on at the start of summer, a majority of the maintenance projects have to wait until the last two months of summer. "We can't get started with a lot of projects until summer school is over," said Greg Green, district building and grounds superintendent.