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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Around 375 people showed up to watch local residents hoof around the St. Croix Central High School gym Thursday, March 17. The donkey basketball fundraiser raised $1,200 for the SCC Graduation Association. While some stubborn donkeys made it difficult for their riders to maneuver around the gym, unwilling to move after pushing, pulling and pleading, more outgoing donkeys bucked and ducked at pivotal points in the game, sending their riders flying and the audience laughing. Four teams competed in the donkey-back basketball game; Roberts Lions Club, Loco Talent, SCC Staff and SCC Seniors.
The issue of how to fill the vacancy of the deputy clerk position after Mary Hemenway's retirement raised questions about cost-savings versus continuity in the office at the regular Village of Hammond board meeting on March 14. The board looked at two options for filling the vacancy -- either hiring two part-time employees or one full-time employee. Trustee Erin McComb explained both options, including the potential savings of each.
It's safe to say Daisy Troop 54321 is in a bit of a cookie crunch. The troop has 130 cases of cookies that still need to be sold. With 130 cases, 12 boxes of cookies per case, at $3.50 a box, the troop currently has $5,460 worth of cookies that they hope community members will want to buy. The troop is made up of 19 kindergarten and first-graders, ages 5-7; Led by Robin Marx, Molly Henderson and Autumn Afdahl. With the girls' young age, door-to-door sales are sometimes difficult especially with the recent winter weather.
How do you dispose of your unwanted medications? Do you flush them down the toilet, throw them in the garbage or leave them in the medicine cabinet? As of March 1, residents in Hammond and Roberts can dispose of their old or unneeded prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications in secure bins at the local police departments, as part of the St. Croix County Medication Disposal program. Hammond Police Chief Rick Coltrain said the program is aimed at keeping prescription drugs out of the "wrong hands" or into the sewer system.
The Opera for the Young performance at the St. Croix Central Elementary School on March 3, was an opera full of fun. The Opera for the Young program presented an adaption of "Pirates of Penzance" to all elementary school students. The performance included humor, student involvement and exposed students to a style of music they may not have been familiar with. "Opera for the Young brings live opera to students at an age-appropriate level.
In an effort to put "all options on the table" in response to Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget cuts, the St. Croix Central School Board discussed the possibility of economic-based layoffs and other cuts within the district at the board special meeting March 7. Layoffs were just one of the many budget cutting options. As the district has no real reserve money, the only options to cut costs are in staff, building maintenance or facility improvements, extracurriculars or by cutting programs or looking at different health care plans.
The St. Croix Central Elementary School cafeteria resembled something out of a Dr. Seuss book on March 3. The ALIVE group hosted a Dr. Seuss family night and dinner followed by an evening talent show. The cafeteria was decked out in all things Seuss, from well-known Seuss character cut outs to Seuss-themed games and activities. There may not have been any talking cats, but there were plenty of people in striped hats. After enjoying a dinner of ham sandwiches, veggies, chips and bars, children and their parents participated in many of the Seuss-tivities happening around the room.
It's important for residents to know where village board candidates stand on important issues, before they head to the polls on April 5. Around two dozen residents attended the first candidate forum in Hammond on Feb. 15. The forum was a way for residents to ask questions and get answers from board candidates on important issues related to the village. Residents had the opportunity to mail in questions during the week or submit them at the door the night of the forum.
A story in the Dec. 30, 2010 issue of the News, titled, "Hammond man thankful for neighborly rescue," told of Royce Fritz's struggle to stay alive after a traumatic fall on a cold night. After five hours of surgery at Regions Hospital and 63 wire staples in his two knees, to trim and reattach the tendons, Fritz was sent to the American Heritage Care Center, in Hammond, to recover. When the News met with Fritz on Dec. 15, he was feeling down both physically and emotionally.
Anyone stopped at a railway crossing in the past week may have noticed the train chugging past faster than usual. On Feb. 21 Union Pacific Railroad increased train speed on its rail line by 10 mph and another 10 mph on Feb. 28, when the new maximum speed limit of 50 mph went into effect. The speed increase is a result of recent track improvements between Hudson and Menomonie.