Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism.
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A traffic study of Hanley Road found that converting the road to three lanes would be most effective to address concerns about turning and pedestrian crosswalks. The Hudson Common Council approved city staff moving forward with plans to turn the four-lane road into three lanes, one for each direction of traffic with a turn lane through the center. Three crosswalks will be included in the plan, with raised medians in the center of the road for safe crossing.
Members of Hudson-based SITTAB are gearing up for a road trip—traveling the 2,000 plus miles from its Wisconsin home to a new facility in the Fresno area in California. The new location will be an expansion of current operations in Hudson, and owner Martin Bertilsson, employee Tom Flaherty and Greger Blomster of the Sweden side of SITTAB will be making the trip. "We in a sense just looked at a map and thought there was a little bit of a black hole in the market on the West Coast," Bertilsson said.
Waking people up and building their strength is the goal of Master Greg Garves, and he hopes to do so for Hudson residents with his new business Hudson Martial Arts at 1615A Maxwell Drive. "I get excited watching people come alive," Garves said. Though new to Hudson, Garves is not new to martial arts. He has practiced for about 35 years, and has been teaching since about 1986, around four years later. The studio teaches Kyuki-do, which means to strike with force or energy. The practice focuses on discerning, and then acting.
With continued development and redevelopment in downtown Hudson, the common council is looking into the possibility of a tax increment financing district in the area. The council approved a feasibility study by Ehlers, Inc. to study the downtown area and determine if aTIF district would be appropriate for the area, and if so the size and projects that would be included. "It's not committing the city to the establishment of a TIF district," Community Development Director Mike Johnson said.
A transit commission would be the next step in addressing transportation needs in St. Croix County, according to members of the St. Croix County Transit Subcommittee. Supervisor Scott Nelson and BRIDGE for Community Life Director Peg Gagnon, two members of the committee, updated the St. Croix County Board on a possible commission during the board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5. "It gives us the ability to get more funding from federal and state agencies," Nelson said.
Hudson residents will have recourse against unwanted aerial visitors now that the Hudson Common Council has approved an ordinance regulating unlawful use of drones at its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 4. The ordinance prevents the use of a drone with the intent to photograph, record or observe someone in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like in their backyard or their residence. Its creation was prompted by complaints from residents including Mike Sanders, who spoke to the Star-Observer in November.
Following a study regarding the needs of the Hudson Fire Department in March, the city has approved moving forward with a study of the Ward Avenue property as the future site of a new station. The study will be conducted by Five Bugles Design, which did the initial needs study. At the common council meeting on Monday, Nov. 20, Five Bugles architect Michael Clark said the city could do a study of the site, or simply move ahead with a full design contract at this time. Hudson Fire Chief Scott St. Martin recommended the study as the first step.
Hudson welcomed the start of December with a weekend of winter celebration with the annual Candlelight Stroll through downtown on Friday, Dec. 1, and a visit from Santa and his critters on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Candlelight Stroll featured the Helmer Dance Holly Dolls as live mannequins in the windows of participating downtown businesses. The next day, Santa Claus made his annual visit to River City Center, this year bringing a variety of animals with him including sled dogs, a camel, an owl and more.
The Hudson Common Council approved a handful of last minute cuts ahead of approval of the 2018 city budget, bringing the total down to $8,501,472 with a mill rate of 5.274. Surpassing its self-imposed mill rate of 5.25, the original budget for 2018 was $8,649,472, with a mill rate of 5.36. Mayor Rich O'Connor urged council members and staff to "roll up our sleeves" to bring the mill rate back down, and get back within the self-imposed number.
More and more children are going through the foster care system throughout the state, and local workers are trying to keep up. In Wisconsin, about 7,800 children went through the foster care system as of July 1. Here in St. Croix County, 47 children are in that system. "That number has significantly increased in the last couple years," St. Croix Foster Care Coordinator John Bretl said. Bretl has worked with the county foster care system since 1991, and said they now have more kids in their care than ever before.