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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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.
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.
After requests for public transportation in the city, Prescott is taking the first step for a potential bus line by surveying residents. The survey was mailed out to all Prescott residents starting Nov. 21, and will be open for response through Dec. 20. An online version is also available at the city's website prescottwi.org. "One of the first steps we have to do is to find out if people are willing to use it," City Administrator Jayne Brand said.
His own effort to quit smoking cigarettes was Don Golightly's inspiration for opening Big Top Vape at 123 Main St. in River Falls. "A friend of mine suggested I try an e-cig," Golightly said. "And I did." Another friend was selling the products, leading Golightly to open his own business with them in 2015. Since then the products have continued to evolve and grow in popularity. "I didn't realize how popular it was on the East and West coasts," he said. "There's more to it than basic e-cigs." His store has worked to keep up with the new aspects.
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.
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 the potential placement of refugees caused conflict within the community, a new exhibit at The Phipps Center for the Arts is looking to inspire conversation among community members through art. The exhibit, "In This Place: What makes a place holy?" features three Twin Cities artists, Sylvia Horwitz, Susan Armington and Hend Al Mansour, representing through their art three of the main world religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The exhibit was proposed about three years ago by the artists themselves, but took on new significance as it was set up this year.