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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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.
River Falls cosmetic company Klass has found a new home in Hudson at 155 Second St. The makeup and skincare company started back in 2014, when Nick Raehsler teamed up with his employers Crystal and Tim Knotek of River Reflections Med Spa and Salon. "We just knew that this is what God wanted us to do," Crystal said. The company's line, from primer to lip gloss, focuses on natural ingredients, many of which are made in the U.S. All cosmetics are also cruelty-free. Product are given names with personal meanings—from their faith and family.
Gail Doblar and Roxanne Murray are no strangers to Prescott's business scene, or the building that now hosts their quilt shop Two Meandering Ladies at 220 Broad St. The two started it all seven years ago with a long-arm for quilting. After building up orders, they built a connection with Char Glamm, who housed her quilt and gift business at 220. "Slowly but surely we started to build a little clientele," Doblar said. When Glamm left the space for one down the street, Doblar and Murray saw an opportunity. "We decided we're here now," Doblar said.
The Hudson Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of its annual window decorating contest between businesses. Four categories were named: most traditional, most creative, most contemporary and most appealing.
More than 1600 people lined up over the course of the weekend to visit the annual Christmas Tour of Homes throughout Hudson. Each year, four homes to be a part of the tour alongside the St. Croix County Historical Society Octagon House. This year guests toured 28 Spring Brook Bay, 593 Schwalen Drive, 1009 Fourth Street and 2313 Donegal Court, all decked out with decorations, including some items from local businesses.
After more than 30 years at its original spot, Kelley Gallery is all moved in to its new space just down the road at 125 Second St. The new location takes up one of the new spots in the recently completed building at the start of Second Street off Interstate 94. This location draws more attention to the Hudson institution that still is unknown to some. "The visibility of this new location is fantastic," owner Don Kelley said.
Hudson played host to former Sierra Leone Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana this month as he visited old friend and Hudson grad Todd Franck. Sam-Sumana was in the country to receive an IChange Nations award ahead of his presidential campaign in Sierra Leone. The relationship between Sam-Sumana and Franck started years ago when Franck was looking to set up a diamond export business from Sierra Leone. Franck made his first trips in 2008 getting the lay of the land, and began business in 2009.