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Hudson names street after newspaperman Willis H. Miller

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The newest street in Hudson's St. Croix Business Park will be named after longtime local newspaperman Willis H. Miller.

When it is completed, Willis Miller Drive will run from Heiser Street to Tower Road just west of the new General Motors parts distribution center. Construction of the street began last fall.

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Noting that Miller wrote the personal column "Along Our Street with Willie" for nearly 40 years, Mayor Jack Breault said, "We might as well name a street after him."

The Hudson City Council approved the street name at its Feb. 18 meeting.

Council President Scot O'Malley agreed that Miller was worthy of the honor. "He's a walking history book of Hudson," O'Malley said.

The St. Croix Business Park board, chaired by Breault, recommended the name.

Kelly Dunn, vice president of First National Bank of Hudson, and Paula Stolp of Xcel Energy were the other members of the business park board when it recommended the name. Stolp has since been replaced on the board by Trudy Popenhagen of Xcel Energy.

"I just thought Willis was the kind of individual who has served the community and represented the community in so many fine ways over the years," Breault said following the City Council meeting. "Willis is certainly deserving of some type of recognition, and I thought we should acknowledge him."

Miller grew up in Hudson and attended St. Olaf College at Northfield, Minn. He began working at the Hudson Star-Observer in August 1940. Over the years, he wrote local news, sold advertisements, did the bookkeeping and billing, covered government meetings and operated the mailer and subscription list.

He became editor and general manager of the Star-Observer in 1952 after Yvette H. Ward purchased it. When Ward decided to sell the newspaper six years later, Miller formed a corporation of local investors to buy it. He became publisher, president and treasurer, positions he held for 30 years.

Miller also has edited and written several books on Hudson history. The Hudson Area Biographical Index he maintains contains the names and information on some 200,000 former and current Hudson residents.

At 85, he continues to play an active role in the week-to-week publication of the Star-Observer by writing obituaries and contributing pieces on Hudson history.

Miller is seen as a vital part of the office family and provides the staff with a thread of continuity to the past that is dearly valued, according to Star-Observer Publisher Steve Dzubay.

Randy Hanson can be reached at rhanson@rivertowns.net.

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