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 barn at Settlement Hill Farm has seen a lot since the structure was first built in 1854, and now it's the scene of some people's happiest memories. Evonne and Michael Ganz have transformed the space into a wedding venue that will host ceremonies and receptions once a week through the summer season, May into October. The Ganz's own daughter, one of twins, was the first to get married in the barn years ago, after it had initially been redone for a church dance.
Ralph Bader was a man who walked the walk. As the St. Croix County Sheriff for nearly 10 years, Bader held all of his deputies, and any law enforcement he was around, to high standards. "He wanted you to make sure you were of high moral fiber — those were the words he used — and he preached it quite often," said retired Sheriff John Shilts, who was hired to the department by Bader.
Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Hudson, the common council heard at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 6. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection notified the city that the invasive species had officially been found in the city in July, first in a fast food parking lot at Crest View Drive and Carmichael Road and then also in the town of Hudson along Fraser Lane. Urban Forestry Board Chair Ken Holman said the board has been working to prepare the city for emerald ash borer at least eight years. "If not more," Holman said.
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.
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 Hudson Common Council approved setting a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 4 for rezoning of three parcels of land located west off Highway F from agricultural residential to one-family and multi-family residential. Council Member Randy Morrissette II said he wanted to make sure the council had all the maps and information needed so the public could be informed before the hearing. The property totaling about 40 acres was annexed into the city from the town of Troy in June.
The city of Hudson is moving forward on its own to do a study of St. Croix EMS with a request for proposals from consultants approved at the Monday, July 23 meeting. Council Member Bill Alms, the city's representative on the EMS Commission, said the next steps would then be candidate interviews. Once a candidate is selected, that recommendation would come to the council.