Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Man arrested after knife attack

A man was arrested on Sunday, May 18 in Woodville at his parents' home after a Hudson man was stabbed eight times in the upper torso.

According to River Falls police, Robert D. Close, 23, formerly of River Falls, was arrested Sunday evening after a stabbing that happened about 2:00 a.m. in River Falls. The man who was knifed was Ronald J. Drexl, 27, of Hudson.

According to River Falls police, Drexl was with other people celebrating a birthday and had an argument with Close at The Library Bar in River Falls. After Drexl and others left the bar and walked to a park, they again met Close and began fighting. When it was over Close ran off.

Drexl was initially unaware he'd been stabbed and walked with the other people to their car. He started having trouble breathing and discovered he was bleeding. Ambulance personnel were called and Drexl was immediately taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for emergency surgery.

At Close's parents' home in Woodville, River Falls and Woodville police and a St. Croix County Sheriff's deputy arrested Close Sunday evening.

Close has recently been released on parole from state prison where he was serving a sentence for second degree sexual assault of a child and drug possession with intent to deliver. He was convicted in Pierce County. The stabbing incident violates his parole in several specifics.

River Falls police said that besides the people with Drexl, no other people witnessed the attack. However, using surveillance video from the bar, police said they were able to identify Close as the knifing suspect.

The knife used in the stabbing has not been recovered but has been described as a hunting knife with a four or five inch blade.

Sandee Blakeley retires after 34 years

When Sandee Blakeley first began her teaching career at Baldwin-Woodville in 1977, she was hired as a half-time reading teacher at Greenfield Elementary. She had four years of teaching experience in southern Wisconsin after earning her degree from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 1972. Sandee eventually taught kindergarten, third grade and will end her career at fourth grade this spring.

"I guess I really enjoy the fourth graders the most," Blakeley said, "you can talk to them more like an adult, and they're much more independent than the younger ones."

Blakeley was married in 1976 to the business director for the River Falls School District, so when a position became available in Baldwin in 1977, she took it.

"One of my favorite memories in teaching is the April Fool's joke we played on the fourth graders," Blakeley said. "We told them they all needed to have spring fever shots." The school nurse was in on the prank, so when the students were lined up for their "shots" the nurse presented the biggest syringe she could find.

"I don't think my mom wants me to have this shot," said several of the wide-eyed students. But the teachers assured them that the proper papers were signed and they all needed the shots.

"April Fool's!" said the teachers, much the relief of the students.

Blakeley has a lifelong interest in the arts, which she plans to actively pursue in retirement, she said. "I plan to be involved in the River Falls Theater group and I would like to take painting lessons." She is interested in pursuing work doing voice-overs for film or radio and also recording books-on-tape.

"I think I'll volunteer at the library for story-times, too," she said.

Blakeley also said she is considering working as a medical transcriptionist. "I received some training in the medical field before I got my teaching degree, so the interest has always been there."

"Of course, my husband and I will try to travel more, maybe even spending part of the year in Mexico," Blakeley said. Her husband retired six years ago from 3M.

The Blakeleys have two daughters, one of whom is being married this October and is a nurse at Children's Hospital. Their other daughter is pursuing a career as a school counselor.

Durrence and Angell win first place for third year

Hunter Angell, left, and Brandon Durrence, B-W seniors, received their third first place award for their Animation Trilogy-Park 3 "Day of Ultimatum" at the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association Media Fair.

Two Baldwin-Woodville seniors have achieved a remarkable feat.

They have received a first place award in the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association's annual Media Fair for "computer generated" video for three years in a row.

Hunter Angell and Brandon Durrence's submission this year was titled "Day of Ultimatum" and was part 3 of an Animation Trilogy.

"I think it's safe to say it's a Star Wars inspired animation," said B-W High School Media Specialist Jim Perkins. The third part of the trilogy by Durrence and Angell is about 20 minutes long, he added. The slides in the power point presentation pass quickly and give the effect of animation, said Perkins.

The pair of B-W seniors used about 2,000 slides in the program to create their work.

The Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association is an independent professional association made up of library media specialists, technology professionals and others who work in the areas of school-related informational media and technology. This year Wisconsin students entered about 200 informational media and technology-related projects in the areas of photography, computer-generated media, illustrated books, pop-up books, radio plays, webpage design and video.

Tennis team sends two entries to state Howard is seeded; Zacharias and Rumpel make first trip

Tyler Howard, Baldwin-Woodville's best ever tennis player and four time Middle Border Conference champion, is making his fourth trip to the WIAA Division 2 state tennis tournament.

Howard's record moved to 16-0 as he cruised through sub-sectional and sectional competitors on Monday-Tuesday and Thursday of last week. The sectional win for Howard was his second consecutive year of capturing the championship.

Nathan Zacharias and Ed Rumpel, B-W's number one doubles team, needed just one victory at sectional competition to advance to state, and they did better than that by winning two of their three matches.

B-W Coach Jim Rumpel said a lot of the credit for doubles play goes to Adam Bassak. "I try not to get too involved in doubles matches so Adam handles the coaching and does an excellent job," he said.

According to Coach Rumpel, in every round Howard "faced good, tough competition. And in every round he faced moments when he had to step up his game and he did. He has facets of his game he doesn't always have to tap into but when he had to Thursday he more than did."

Derrek Pedersen qualifies for state

St. Croix Central junior Derrek Pedersen qualified for the WIAA state track meet with a fourth place finish in the 800 meter run at the Division 2 sectional last Thursday at Medford.

Pedersen had finished in third place at the Amery Regional on Monday with a time of 2:05.14. On Thursday he lowered his personal best time to 2:03.15 for the fourth place finish.

Pedersen will run in Division 2 800 on Friday afternoon at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex at UW-LaCrosse.

Wagner qualifies for state in 1600m and 3200m

Baldwin-Woodville's record setting track star Kayla Wagner continued her string of school records while finishing first in both the 3200m and 1600m runs at the sectional meet last Thursday at Medford.

Wagner will compete at the WIAA state track meet at LaCrosse in both events, on Friday in the 3200m run and on Saturday in the 1600m run.

Unfortunately, none of the other B-W sectional competitors finished in fourth place or better to advance to the state event.

Wagner has the top time going into the state event in the 3200m run and stands in second position in the 1600m run. In both races her chief competitor is Ashley Beutler of Belleville/New Glarus, with the second fastest time in the 1600m run and the top time in the 3200m run. Beutler won the division 2 cross country race last fall in Black River Falls in which Wagner finished in seventh place.

"They were impressive races by Kayla at sectional," said B-W Coach Darren Peterson. "She's sitting pretty good. I think she can do really well at state."

Wagner's time in the 3200m run was her first time under 11 minutes at 10:59.65 and 10 seconds faster than her regional time of 11:09.74. Needless to say, both times were school and individual records for Wagner. Beutler comes into the state meet with a time of 11:00.92.

In the 1600m run at sectional, Wagner's time of 5:08.69 bested her regional time of 5:14.84. Beutler's time at sectional was 5:06.27.