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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Community gardens have been sprouting up in the area. Central Community Gardens has locations in Hammond and Roberts and space is still available for residents interested in renting a plot for the summer. The Roberts community garden is 1,600 square feet and is located at Cross Lutheran Church, 1246 County Road TT. There are two community garden locations in Hammond; St. Mary's Catholic Church at 1265 Ridgeway St. starts at 2,400 square feet and the lot starting at 8,000 square feet is located in the Hammond Industrial Park at 1420 Fithian St.
The St. Croix Central School District's 4-year-old kindergarten collaborative committee is having a book drive to raise books for the 4K program starting this fall. Now through May 27, community members can drop of new or used books in the donation boxes at the elementary school library and at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Hammond, one of the 4K sites for this fall.
St. Croix Central High School students are using their small engines knowledge to help area residents through their "Spring Startup Service." On May 4 SCC small engines students started doing minor maintenance and service to small engines brought in by community members. They are providing the free service again on May 11, 18 and 25.
The first item on the Village of Hammond's regular board meeting agenda was the village's 2010 audit review. Village auditor Tom Kortas, of LarsonAllen, was present at the meeting to answer board members' questions concerning the $322,821 sewer deficit.
The Village of Hammond's regular board meeting Monday, May 9, drew quite a crowd as residents packed the board room and outside lobby area to listen to and discuss some of the evenings agenda items. The village's 2010 audit report and sewer account status review weren't the only hot topics at the meeting. Tony Endres' request to sell firearms on the Internet from his home in the Black Duck Point housing development and the village attorney contract sparked a lot of discussion between the board and those residents in attendance.
A new plant shop has sprouted at 940 Davis St., in Hammond. On May 5 Beyond the Garden Gate will be open for business. Owner Liz Beukema plans on bringing personality and plenty of plant knowledge to her gardening business. Beukema, also the owner of Constant Color Perennials, knows her plants well. Beukema grew up in the greenhouse business in Rhode Island and was a science major studying plant genetics in college.
The St. Croix Central High School sewing, career foods, landscape and shop classes are putting on a fashion show for more than just showcasing their work. Around 30 high-schoolers have been preparing for the school's first fashion show to benefit children with cancer. The fashion show for cancer, scheduled for Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. was the students' idea. When Family and Consumer Science teacher Crystal Bell suggested her sewing classes host an event to showcase their work, her students had a few stipulations.
From pirates and ponies to hundreds of prizes, the St. Croix Central Elementary School Spring Carnival on Friday, April 29, had it all. According to Panther Parent Group President Missy Gruenes, there were an estimated 200-300 people in attendance at the event, raising around $6,000. A Schwan's Truckload Sale earned an additional $850 for the school and Panther Parent Group sponsored activities. With more than two dozen activities, there was no shortage of fun for those families in attendance.
When it comes to forensics, St. Croix Central senior Krysta Fisher has all the characteristics of perfection. Fisher achieved her fourth perfect score in prose at State Forensics, on April 15-16, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Fisher said she participates in the speech and acting club because she has a passion for speaking. Fisher said participating in forensics in middle school helped her overcome shyness and prepare her for forensics at the high school level. She also credits her friends, family, teammates and coach, Heather Jourdeans, for pushing her to be her best.
The St. Croix Central School District is losing 10 percent of its teaching staff due to retirements this year. April 15 was the last day teachers could announce retirement and qualify for the local retirement benefit that is in the district's master contract; 11 SCC teachers are retiring this year. The average number of retirees in recent years has been around three.