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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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.
The Hammond Police Department may be turning to an online police auction website to sell evidence and unclaimed goods that fill up the limited storage room. Hammond Police Chief Rick Coltrain said the department doesn't currently have any evidence items, but when it does acquire more, it may use propertyroom.com to sell those items not retrieved by the owners after the required wait period. Coltrain said everything from bikes found in bushes to chairs and tools that fell out of pickup trucks can be placed in the evidence room.
Two unique activities at The Centre put a twist on the traditional sports of logrolling and soccer. The Centre is currently offering logrolling classes in the pool and Futsal, a variation of soccer, usually played indoors in a small playing area using a weighted ball. Logrolling Logrolling is often associated with big, burly lumberjacks in flannel. At The Centre, they prefer their logrollers in swim suits.
In less than one week, the Roberts Police Department issued eight citations to parents dropping off their children in the bus zone at St. Croix Central Elementary school. Since September, elementary school officials and the Roberts Police Department have noticed an increase in the number of parents dropping off their children in the restricted bus zone, despite the three signs on the property saying not to. During the school week it is illegal to drive in a school bus zone between 7 and 8:10 a.m. and 2:45 and 3:45.
The St. Croix Central School District needs to review and update some of its policies, but it can't do so without a current reference or policy service. Prior to the Feb. 21 school board meeting, the board had looked into the Wisconsin Association of School Board Policy Reference Guide and Neola Policy Services. While the WASB is more cost effective at $5,800, it requires time, as someone within the school district would have to do all the work to make changes to current policies.