Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D.
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When the buses rolled back into New Richmond after a week on the road, Rich Gregerson couldn't help but smile. "Florida was great," he said. "It was a magical experience that a lot of these kids will never have again." New Richmond Middle School's marching band left for their week-long road trip on June 5, the day after school let out. Students boarded the buses at 9:30 p.m. and traveled overnight to Memphis, Tenn. "We like to make it a road trip so we can make more stops and perform more," Gregerson said.
It was back to school for some New Richmond students on Monday when Summer Stretch started. The program, which focuses on enrichment and review classes, is free and open to district residents entering kindergarten in the fall through seventh-graders. Summer Stretch started Monday, June 14, and will continue for 14 days through July 1.
Middle school girls who think New Richmond is a boring place with nothing to do now have a space they can meet with their friends to socialize, have fun and build self-esteem. The New Richmond "Girls Only" club started June 10 at New Richmond Middle School and the girls immediately jumped into planning mode. The club, which is free to any middle school female, is designed to scrap the drama and have fun this summer through local activities and trips. Headed by Julia Campbell, the club was formed after roughly 70 girls showed an interest in having a place of their own to meet and have fun.
Hundreds of students dressed in caps and gowns walked through the doors of New Richmond High School for the last time on Friday. That's when the Class of 2010, the last class to graduate from the current high school building, held its commencement ceremony. The Class of 2011 will be the first class to graduate from the new high school being built across from Hillside Elementary on East Richmond Way.
New Richmond middle schoolers will race through the streets of downtown New Richmond on June 3 in a mad scramble to be the first to finish The Amazing New Richmond Race. The race, planned by seventh grade faculty at NRMS, will replace the annual reward trip. "It's still a rewarding trip for them," said Ryan Schradle, one of the teachers planning the race,"it just ties more academics into the trip." Each challenge groups face will require students to use the skills they've learned throughout the school year, he said. "I think they're pretty excited about it," Schradle said of the students'
It didn't take long for the house on the southeast corner of South Montana Avenue and West Fourth Street to be reduced to rubble. The New Richmond Fire Department used the dilapidated house as training last week and on Saturday morning, the house was set ablaze to simulate a real house fire, said Robin Haffner, captain of training for the fire department. The house, last owned by Bruce Otto, was scheduled to be demolished and replaced with new construction, Haffner said. Earlier in the week, crews used different scenarios to test their fire and rescue skills before the big burn on Saturday
Rich Gregerson doesn't view his retirement as an ending, but a new beginning. "It's not like I'm dying," he said. "I'm just retiring and starting a new chapter." Music has always been a part of Gregerson's life and it's not something he plans to let go of after retirement, he said. "I plan on clinicing bands, judging and doing a lot of the things I haven't been able to do," he said.
Carol Johnson doesn't think she'll have a hard time walking away from her job as a speech therapist at Starr Elementary this June -- that's because she has four grandchildren (and another on the way) waiting for her to retire. On the first day of school, her grandchildren sent her flowers with a note saying, "Happy LAST first day of school." Johnson, a Chisago Lakes native, started teaching in New Richmond in 1975. "I mainly work with kids with communication problems," she said.
More than 500 people shuffled through the doors of Hillside Elementary on April 22 to take part in New Richmond Empty Bowls 2010. The event, which encourages participants to buy bowls created by New Richmond students and staff, is designed to help raise money to end hunger locally. The proceeds will benefit Five Loaves Food Shelf and the New Richmond Happy Kids Backpack Program. This year the preliminary numbers indicate a total of $11,156.84 -- the most raised at a New Richmond Empty Bowls event.
Nancy Willson is already planning her travel schedule, even with almost two months left in the school year. The third grade teacher plans to retire when school lets out in June. The trips she has planned are a way to distract her from what she's giving up. "We're going to Alaska in August," she said. "An Alaskan cruise." That cruise directly overlaps with the start of the new school year. "My husband wants to get me out of here when the buses start rolling," she said.