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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The waters of the St. Croix River host a variety of creatures, and this weekend they will be seeing a few more. Mermaids will make their way to the shores of Hudson on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Lakefront Park. Among the scaled visitors will be Hudson native Claire VanValkenburg, donning her tail alongside other mermaids including Willow Ries as Seaspray Mermaid for a beach cleanup at noon. The event, the second the group has done but the first in Hudson, is designed to engage children in cleaning up the environment.
Representatives from Hudson's EMS boards and the city's partners will help select a consultant to study structure and delivery models for St. Croix EMS. Mayor Rich O'Connor made the appointments to the committee that will review proposals and make a recommendation on the consultant during the council meeting on Monday, Aug. 6. Hudson Council Members Jim Webber and Bill Alms, O'Connor, Village of North Hudson President Stan Wekkin, Town of Hudson Chair Jeff Johnson and Town of Troy Chairperson Dan Pearson were selected for the committee.
A crowd filled Lakefront Park on Tuesday, Aug. 7 for the annual National Night Out event. Hudson Police Department, Fire Department, St. Croix EMS and other law enforcement and public service agencies were at the event that helps foster relationship between law enforcement and the community. Visitors watched demonstrations from the St. Croix County K-9 unit and the Hudson fire department, and helped fundraise in a dunk tank competition between Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems, Fire Chief Scott St. Martin and St. Croix EMS Chief Brandon Lyksett.
Mustapha Hammida delivered an Islamic blessing without disruption during the invocation of Tuesday night's St. Croix County board meeting, though residents made their voices heard before and after the meeting and in public comment. Hammida, the first non-Christian clergy to lead the regular invocation, delivered a blessing that encourages success, calling on God to place light in hearts, sight, hearing and tongues. "Show us the truth as truth and inspire us to follow it. Show us falsehood as falsehood and inspire us to abstain from it," Hammida said.
A wedding venue has received the nod of approval from Town of Troy Plan Commission after it had previously been operating without a permit. The commission recommended approval of a conditional use permit for Settlement Hill Farm, owned by Michael and Evonne Ganz, at its meeting on Thursday, Aug. 2. The Ganzes purchased the historic farmstead property off County Road U in 1996, and started fixing up the barn first for a church event, then a fundraiser and then their daughter's wedding. The economy had crashed and the budget was tight, so their barn became her wedding site.
When the 19 St. Croix County supervisors gather each month for their regular board meeting, the business begins with a prayer or a moment of silence. These invocations are led by different clergy people each time, coordinated by the county clerk. At Tuesday's meeting, Mustapha Hammida of the Islamic Society of Woodbury will lead the invocation. County Administrator Patrick Thompson said Hammida's presence came after a county staff member suggested the county be more inclusive with the clergy who leads the invocation. Thompson then reached out to the Islamic Society.
Plans for a new baseball stadium at the Hudson Gateway redevelopment were once again recommended for approval by the plan commission at its meeting on Tuesday, July 24. The final development plans for the first phase of redevelopment at the former St. Croix Meadows Dog Track were approved last summer, but after a year the city needed to approve the plans again, Community Development Director Mike Johnson said. "When it took a pause, there's a year where if something doesn't happen the plan needs to be updated and re-reviewed," Johnson said.
For the last three years, Blake Fry has been Hudson's biggest cheerleader. It's been his job, as the president of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. "The chance to be Hudson's biggest cheerleader as the chamber president was such a great opportunity because what a magnificent community to get to tell people about," Fry said. Fry is leaving his position as president, with his last day on Thursday, Aug. 9.
The EMS ad hoc committee has requested to be appointed as the committee to interview and select a consultant to study St. Croix EMS. Mayor Rich O'Connor will appoint the committee, with approval from the Hudson Common Council. The idea to hire a consultant was first presented by the ad hoc committee to the council earlier this month. The council approved moving forward with the search for a consultant at its last meeting on Monday, July 23.
The Rev. Kendra Grams is a Midwesterner, through and through. After more than eight years in the suburbs of D.C. with her Minnesota-born husband and their two kids, the Nebraska native is excited to be coming back to the region as the new pastor for Hudson's First Presbyterian Church. "I just really felt called to be here to help them grow in new ways, serving the community and see what God is calling us all to next as we witness to God's love here and everywhere," Grams said.