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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From dogs right here in Hudson to children in Bolivia, River Crest Elementary students teamed up to help those in need locally and globally during the school's annual service day Friday, Feb. 17. Each year the school holds the day with a focus on either a local or global service. This year Principal Kathleen Coppenbarger said the school decided to do both, focusing on a mission of caring for friends near and far. "This year we're combining it and upping it," she said.
The Public Safety Committee called for more collaboration between the Hudson School District and parents after the members chose not to take action on a proposed bullying ordinance Thursday night. The ordinance was brought to the committee by Hudson father Jonathan Hayes, who said he felt more needed to be done to combat bullying. "Bullying has been an issue in town for years," Hayes said. Hayes' proposal, based off an adopted ordinance in Shawano, Wis., would outline a response following the school's current policy of restorative justice for first offenses.
The City of Hudson Common Council will have three district seats up during the spring election on April 4. In District One, incumbent Randy Morrissette is running unopposed. In District Five, incumbent John Hoggatt is running unopposed. In District Six, incumbent Joyce Hall and William Sames are running for the seat.
While scams targeting Xcel Energy customers come and go depending on the season, a recent increase in activity has the company again cautioning customers to protect themselves from this nationwide threat. Recent scamming incidents have occurred in Hudson, La Crosse and Eau Claire. Residents and businesses in other parts of Xcel Energy's Wisconsin service area have been targeted in the past.
Though Angel Duratti of Angel's Pet World has been a part of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce for many years, it wasn't until the store moved downtown in 2013 that she became active in the organization. After attending the first few meetings, she knew she should have been more involved from the start. "Boy I made a mistake," Duratti said. She was pulled in by the energy of the group and everything it does. "They make you want to do good or want to do better. They make you want for everybody to succeed," Duratti said. "That's how energetic they are, and I love it."
After five years providing art, coffee and chocolate to the community, ThunderWillow Community Arts has expanded its offerings with a new yarn nook and weekly open knitting groups. "We have yarn in every nook and cranny we can find," owner Donna Ernst said. Ernst said the store decided to expand into yarn sales in order to better serve and draw in the community. She said ThunderWillow is now the only specialty store for yarn. The nook offers quality yarn from several independent local spinners and dyers, mostly those based in Wisconsin.
After several traffic problems during the Final Stretch St. Croix Valley Triathlon in September 2016, the Hudson Common Council has implemented a new policy on races and other processions. City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick explained the new ordinance covers public safety issues with these runs and races, including routes and time of day concerns. The ordinance does not apply to gatherings of more than a thousand, as that falls under the large assembly ordinance.
Hudson father Jonathan Hayes will propose a new ordinance to the Hudson Public Safety Committee Feb. 16 that would require more interaction from parents in a bullying incident and could impose a fine on parents of the bully. The issue of bullying was first brought to Hayes' attention when his own daughter's behavior changed after she experienced bullying at school. Though the situation with his daughter was handled through the school, he heard from others with similar experiences.
The Hudson Flower Shop has had a lot to celebrate lately. After marking 70 years in business, 20 years for current owners Linda and Shelli Erck, the shop was also recognized as the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year during the annual awards ceremony in January. "Looking back the last month, I'm thinking we've done a lot of partying and had a lot of cake," Shelli said. "We can't eat any more cake." Still, Shelli said it's important to take the time recognize the little things in day-to-day work life.
Standing in a wicker basket a couple thousand feet in the air, with all of Hudson and a good portion of Wisconsin spanning below, pilot Ken Walter admitted it was an experience he would never get used to. Even after 30 years. Walter has been a balloonist since the late 1980s, when a friend recruited him to go up as part of his crew. "I was hooked," Walter said. After starting as a crew member, Walter went on to get his pilot license, and started WindDancer Balloon promotions.