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My wife and I traveled to Florida recently and I had an opportunity to visit the Twins' spring training facility, but the most adventurous part of the trip was coming home Saturday, Feb. 24. As has been the norm the past couple of weeks, it was a day filled with snow in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and questionable travel arrangements. We went to Fort Myers and stayed with my wife's sister and husband, Sandy and Tom Wells, of New Richmond. They own a home on Fort Myers Beach. When it was time to come home, however, we had a couple of issues.
Three St. Croix County businesses were honored at the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. annual awards banquet Thursday night (Feb. 1) in New Richmond. Selected as the EDC's 2006 Business of the Year recipients were: Interfacial Solutions (Hudson), 2006 Emerging Business of the Year (based in St. Croix County and in business for five or fewer years); Action Battery Wholesalers Inc. (Somerset), 2006 Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees); and McMillan Electric Co.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, spoke at the St. Croix Economic Development Corp. annual awards banquet and said Wisconsin is making strides forward in technology, but more work is needed to keep the Badger state competitive. "In the 19th century Wisconsin developed bigger and better farms; in the 20th century it was bigger and better factories," Still said. "In the 21st century we need bigger and better ideas -- it's a knowledge economy." Wisconsin is currently lagging the nation in average income and is far behind Minnesota. "Wisconsin is 98 percent of the U.S.
Hudsonites Sally and Bill Friedlander had the adventure of a lifetime last November when they hiked the Himalayas in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Bhutan, nestled in the eastern Himalayas, is about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire. The country's population is about 750,000. The Friedlanders were able to hike parts of the country that have just been opened to tourists within the past year. "We were able to visit the Monpas Tribe," Bill said. "They live in an area that was just opened to tourists.
Age 94 is not a routine retirement age, but there was nothing "routine" about Star-Observer columnist and writer Catherine "Kay" Johnson, who died Jan. 25 at the age of 96. Kay, a Fourth of July baby, always lived her life with zest and had an outlook on life that matched the beauty of July Fourth fireworks. Kay started working at the Star-Observer in 1949. Former Publisher Willis Miller was planning a six-week vacation, but then-publisher Clarence Reiter told him he couldn't go unless he found a replacement. The temporary replacement was Kay Johnson.
Numerous awards and other festivities highlighted the 2007 Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau annual Awards Banquet at the Hudson Golf Club Thursday, Jan. 25. First National Bank employee Susie Gilbert was the winner of the Marie Blakeman Award. The award was presented by Barbara Richardson, daughter of the late Marie Blakeman. An owner of Nor-Lake, Blakeman was a business and community leader in Hudson for more than 52 years. She died Dec. 31, 1999. "The winner of the award best exemplifies the qualities of Marie Blakeman," Richardson said.
A Sunday morning fire destroyed a town of Troy home at 597 White Oak Drive, just off Gilbert Road about a mile south of the TA truck stop. The home is owned by Richard and Mary Woodmansee. Fire Chief Jim Frye said the call came in at 10:41 a.m. "Mr. Woodmansee was in a hot tub at the home and smelled smoke," Frye said. "When he went to investigate he discovered a fire in the garage. Both Richard and his wife were home when the fire was detected." It has not been determined how the fire started. There were no injuries. "That will be left to the insurance investigators," Frye said.
Hudsonites were shocked last Wednesday night when it was announced that the First National Bank of Hudson had been sold to Associated Bank, based in Green Bay. First National is Hudson's second oldest business and has been family/locally owned since being chartered in 1863. Despite the fact that most everyone was caught "off-guard" by the sale, First National Bank President Ken Heiser said the sale process began about six months ago. Owners John and Ruth Huss have owned the bank since 1977. "Like the rest of us, John and Ruth have hopes and dreams about retirement -- time marches on.
As many of you know, I was out of commission for pretty much all of December, but am now back on the job. Every once in while I go into the Star-Observer archives and begin looking back through history. A paper that caught my eye was one dated Jan. 19, 1967 -- exactly 40 years ago. A front-page headline read: Industrial Corps Sells Common Stock. Essentially, an organization was started in an attempt to attract industry to Hudson -- I'm guessing it was probably a pioneer in an area that is now commonplace.
Little did I know that when I went home from work on Monday, Nov. 27, that I wouldn't set foot back into the Star-Observer office until more than a month later. Little did I know that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas would be one big blur! I don't want to bore anyone with my medical problems -- but, they are about the only thing I've been exposed to in the past month.