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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A couple weeks ago the St. Croix Central School District began piloting a new program to promote student and teacher communication and collaboration over the Internet. Half a dozen students in Nicholas Haug's business class began using Live@edu , an online Microsoft communication and collaboration program that is free to K-12 educators.
St. Croix Central Middle School students with severe communication deficits will soon be using iPads in an effort to communicate more effectively and increase independence. A month ago, Shannon Donnelly, special education teacher at St. Croix Central Middle School, was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Baldwin-Woodville Area Community Foundation, as St. Croix Central provides the educational services for Baldwin-Woodville students with mild to severe cognitive disabilities.
After years of planning and months of construction, the Hazel Mackin Library found a new home at 311 West Warren St., in Roberts, with the help of generous donations and dedicated volunteers. Library Director Brenda Hackman said National Volunteer Week, commemorated April 19-25, is about "Celebrating people in action." Hackman said the theme captures the meaning behind this signature week -- "honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action such as Peter Close does and solving problems in their communities.
In January the St. Croix Central School District re-evaluated its crisis plan, part of the plan included having a "crisis kit" in each school classroom. After months of planning, the crisis kits are almost ready to be distributed to classrooms.
According to the 2010 audit in March, the Village of Hammond has seen a sewer deficit of $322,821 over the last three years. Former Village President Vince Trudell mentioned the deficit in his "goodbye" speech at the April 11 regular board meeting. In his speech Trudell said, "The recent finding of an over $300,000 deficit in sewer funding means there are going to be some tough decisions ahead.
Receiving a St. Croix Valley Foundation Music Education Grant was music to Michelle Schmitt's ears. Schmitt, the St. Croix Central Elementary and Middle School vocal music teacher, applied for the grant in October 2010 and in December received $4,140 to purchase some "rocking" instruments for her classroom. "With the grant, I hired the Whitesidewalls to perform at our school (their first school performance), and bought four electric guitars, two bass guitars, amps, a drum set, as well as the accessories that go with these instruments.
The Village of Hammond board room was full during the April 11 meeting, as residents and business owners had opinions and concerns about a few of the night's agenda items. One of the major discussion topics centered around Tony Endres' request to sell firearms on the Internet from his home in the Black Duck Point housing development. Endres said his intent was to selling firearms over the Internet as opposed to having potential customers coming to his house. "In hopes that we will alleviate some of the concerns from my neighbors," he said.
A little red shovel has sparked a friendly competition between two local churches. The little red shovel has a history with both the Cross Lutheran Church in Roberts and Trinity Lutheran Church in Hammond. During an open house on September 19, 2010, the people of Trinity received a gift from Rev. Emil Evenson. The gift was a little red shovel that Evenson said was used at Trinity's groundbreaking in 1973. Trinity's Pastor Mike Briggs said he put the shovel on his desk and didn't look at it for a couple weeks.
The winter of 2010-11 has been brutal on everyone and everything in St. Croix County, including mailboxes along county roads.
The St. Croix Central School Board is continuing to look at options to effectively communicate with the community about what is happening in the district, especially those who may not have a vested interest in the schools. The review and discussion of community engagement materials raised a major discussion among those board members present at the board learning meeting on Monday, April 4.