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When it comes to helping less-fortunate neighbors stay healthy and fit, New Richmond Area YMCA members are a generous group. Through the Y Partners Program, funds are made available to help individuals and families pay all or a portion of the membership fees to join the local YMCA. Last year more than 400 families received some financial aid through Y Partners.
This week's paper is filled with things our community should be thankful for. So many of our stories show the power of individuals who seek to help the community and their neighbors who are less fortunate. Gabrielle Schwan is heading down the right track at the ripe old age of 8. She's already organized a school supply drive for classmates who can't afford to buy stuff for school. Now she's on a quest to bring care packages to injured soldiers.
A six-month undercover drug investigation has yielded 15 arrest warrants for the New Richmond Police Department. At a press conference Monday, Police Chief Mark Samelstad reported that his department had completed an impressive operation to weed out drug dealers in the city and surrounding area. Arrests were conducted starting Friday, with 12 suspects held in the St. Croix County Jail by Monday morning. A handful of additional suspects were still being sought. "The intent of this investigation was to make a statement," Samelstad said.
Social studies teacher turned politician Kerry Kittel returned to his high school classroom Wednesday, following his defeat in the race for the District 29 Assembly seat. Kittel lost the seat by about 1,700 votes to Republican John Murtha of Baldwin. He was happy with the showing and doesn't regret throwing his hat into the race. "We felt all along that it would be a close election," he said.
The television cameras were zooming in on Pamela Peterson of Star Prairie last week. As an invited guest on the Rachel Ray show, an NBC morning talk program, Peterson recounted her story of successful weight loss that proves nutrition experts right. The media buzz started Wednesday after Peterson was featured on a KARE 11 Extra segment. Her appearance on the Rachel Ray show will air in early December. "My dad says I'm the talk of the town," Peterson said with a laugh.
Marilyn Everson has a nice new plaque to hang on her wall. But don't expect her selection as the Alzheimer's Association caregiver of the year award to go to her head. "I was touched and it was a big honor," Everson said of the special awards ceremony she attended Friday in Eau Claire.
The dedication ceremony for Roberts' new veterans memorial was full of pride and a few tears. A good crowd of about 50 people was on hand for the dedication, held at 10 a.m. Saturday. The American Legion Post 432 provided the appropriate beginning for the event, marching the colors and quietly leading a group of area veterans down the street to the new memorial site. Roberts Police Chief Ricci Prein led the way in his squad car. Pastor Mary Schmotzer, with Roberts Congregational Church, provided the opening prayer. "Oh God, we ask that you bless this memorial," Schmotzer prayed.
Sometimes the science and math don't work. That's the lesson learned after crews working on Hammond's new water treatment plant discovered that the newly excavated seepage cell wasn't doing its job properly. Tom Pulse, project consultant with Ayers & Associates, reported at Monday's Hammond Village Board meeting that the soil in the cell was not draining quickly enough to keep up with the system. "We've done quite a few tests trying to figure out why," he said.
A record number of trick-or-treaters walked to area New Richmond businesses as part of the Oct. 31 festivities. Many downtown businesses reported more than 800 kids coming by. That was up considerably from last year, when about 600 pieces of candy were handed out to costumed kids. A number of merchants did their part for the day.
Testing designed to uncover the cause of health problems among teachers at West Elementary may have uncovered a safety issue instead. Several staff members who have been diagnosed with unexplained illnesses have urged the district to conduct tests in the school to pinpoint possible environmental causes. State investigators previously tested the building to see if possible cancer-causing issues existed.