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Departments get OK to replace paramedic, clerk

Permission to refill two soon-to-be vacant positions was granted by the Hudson City Council on Feb. 25.

Jennifer Hintze-Olson has resigned from her job as a full-time paramedic with St. Croix Emergency Medical Services. Miranda Kustrich is leaving her part-time position as the records/account clerk for the Hudson Fire Department.

Some years ago, the City Council adopted a policy that departments must justify refilling any vacant positions, and receive the council's approval.

St. Croix EMS Chief Kim Eby and Fire Chief Jim Frye made the requests to replace the departing employees in brief appearances before the council.

Eby said Hintze-Olson has completed work on a college degree and is moving on to another position.

In a later phone call, Eby said Hintze-Olson has taken a job as a patient advocate with the National Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis.

Hintze-Olson has served as one of three full-time paramedics for St. Croix EMS. In the ambulance service's two-tier response system, the on-duty paramedic driving an SUV responds immediately to an emergency, followed by two crew members in an ambulance.

Frye said the records/account clerk is "extremely valuable" to the fire department.

Last November, Frye asked for money in the 2013 budget to make the position full-time, but was denied. The position is 24 hours a week.

Kustrich, when contacted by phone, said she is going to work as an executive secretary for River Falls Area Hospital. She said she needed the new job to afford health insurance for her children.

"It's very hard for me to leave, but I have to, unfortunately," Kustrich said. "I'm going to miss it, definitely."

Another eight hours of work a week would have been enough to keep her with the fire department, she said.

"The job definitely needs to go to more hours than it is now," she said.

Kustrich also is a firefighter - and the only woman on the department's roster. She's the first woman to have made it beyond the probationary period, she said, and has been a member of the department for five years.

Kustrich said the department hopes to find someone with a firefighting background to replace her. "It makes the job much easier," she said.

She has been contacting people in the firefighting community to see if they know of someone qualified for and interested in the job.

Kustrich said she would continue to enter fire reports and do payroll for the department until someone is hired to replace her.

Other action

In other action on Feb. 25, the council:

--Approved Dominium Development & Acquisition's request for the Hudson Housing Authority to issue up to $7 million in revenue bonds to pay for Dominium's acquisition and renovation of the Cedar Ridge Apartment buildings at 1400 and 1401 Namekagon St. Neither the housing authority nor the city will bear any responsibility for the repayment of the debt. The City Council also approved the issuance of the bonds in 2012, but the project was delayed and needed re-approval. Each building has 36 units of what will be designated as low- and moderate-income housing.

--Approved an application by the Hudson Hockey Association to sell beer and wine at the Hudson Hockey Bean Bag Tournament on Saturday, April 6. The tournament will be held at the Hudson Sports & Civic Center, 1820 Hanley Road.

--Approved the route for a Celebrate the Difference 5K run and walk that will begin and end at Willow River Elementary School on April 6.

--Approved a special event permit for the annual half-marathon Gopher to Badger footrace set for Aug. 10. The Stillwater-to-Hudson race ends in Lakefront Park.

--Approved a taxicab driver's license for Lorilee Ziemer, Lake Elmo, Minn., an employee of Kilimanjaro Taxi Service.

--Approved bartender's licenses for Jordynn Caster and Sarah Hartstein, both of Hudson, and a temporary license for Charles Silver, who will work at a March 8 Knights of Columbus fish fry at St. Patrick's Church.

--Approved the appointment of Brian J. Bushaw, Madison, as the liquor license agent for Chipotle Mexican Grill, 1021 Pearson Drive.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066