John R. Russett
John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts.
You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett
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Woodbury graduate Njeri Waititu, picked by her peers to speak at commencement, took a moment Sunday to address some of the lasting events in schools throughout the nation this past year. "Before I begin, I think it's important to take a moment and acknowledge some members of the class of 2018 who were supposed to graduate at ceremonies like this across the country, but who were never given the chance to," she said. Overall, the ceremony at Aldrich Arena was filled with laughter and excitement for what's to come for the class of 2018.
In Polk County, Wis., a man — young by most standards at no more than 23 or 24 — picked up the phone, dialed 911, then sat down on the couch next to his gun and waited for an officer to arrive. Little more than an hour's drive north of Spring Valley Police Chief John DuBois' office — up through Baldwin, past Pine, Bear Trap, Wapogasset and Deer lakes — sits the town of Centuria. Years before he became a chief, DuBois patrolled the streets of Centuria with its roughly 950 residents, anxious and unsure, awaiting a solitary call.
On a good day, Trish Nolan never would have met the man. It began as a group of four. They would sit around and talk regularly, usually until around 2 a.m., as music from the employee lounge permeated the halls. He kissed her behind the scenes when he thought no one was looking. He lied to her about his alcoholism. He lied to her about his marriage. He got her phone number. Then he showed up at her apartment and raped her. "It was like," Nolan paused, "going into hell."
Far from a new issue, law enforcement and mental illness have become increasingly more entangled since state governments began to close their mental health hospitals in the 1950s, continually taxing the agencies tasked with responding to those in crisis.
RED WING, Minn. — By the time the flurry of back-to-school bedlam begins to subside, the proverbial dust begins to settle, and the sun sets on the final day of summer freedom, many teachers have dipped into their own pockets to purchase supplies for their classrooms. On average, according to education publishing company Scholastic, educators spent an average of $530 of their own money for classroom items last school year.
Carrie Kahl wakes up around 6:15 a.m. nearly every day and goes downstairs to see her sons. Then, she waits. At about 7:30 a.m. they are ready for breakfast, then a few adjustments and they're out the door. Kahl's twin boys were diagnosed at age 5 with Becker muscular dystrophy, a genetically inherited degenerative disease that weakens the muscles. "We were told they wouldn't need wheelchairs until they were 40," Kahl recalled. "They were 11."
An assistant Woodbury High School principal will step into a larger role in southeastern Minnesota. Red Wing Public Schools has hired Todd Herber as its new high school principal, pending...