St. Croix Stories

St. Croix Stories

St. Croix Stories aims to highlight the people and places that make the riverside town of Hudson, Wisconsin unique. Hear from local business owners, leaders, and others who contribute to this community in a variety of ways. Whether you're a longtime Hudson resident or someone simply interested in learning more about what this town has to offer, this podcast is for you.


May 21, 2024 21 mins

Four years ago, Tera Busker suffered a boating accident that caused her to be hospitalized for more than a week. While celebrating the 4th of July on her family's pontoon,  a boat sped through a no-wake zone and ended up causing Tera and her niece to get pulled under the pontoon. Tera suffered multiple injuries when the propeller hit her under the water, causing her to eventually be airlifted to a nearby hospital.

In ...

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Every year for the past 21 years, the Hudson Community Expo has brought together local businesses and organizations under one roof, giving residents a chance to learn more about these groups and network with others in the community. This year's event was held on May 5th at Hudson High School and featured dozens of businesses, non-profits, and craft vendors. 

This special episode of the St. Croix Stories podcast f...
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    May is National Foster Care Month, so on this week's episode of St. Croix Stories, we hear from foster care advocates on why this service is so important.

    First, Kelsa Wirth, a community support coordinator for high acuity foster care in several counties in western Wisconsin (including St. Croix County) shares more about the high acuity foster care program and the need for homes for youth in the program. She also det...

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    As a kid growing up in Hudson, Pete Foster recalls the food scene in town being good, but not great. Fast forward many years later, and Pete's three restaurants — Barker's Bar & Grill, San Pedro Cafe, and Pedro's Pizza Lounge — have all played a big part in helping transform the restaurant scene downtown Hudson into something special. 

    On this week's episode of St. Croix Stories, Pete and I sit down...

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    Jess and Jonathan Pressley, owners of Ember and Bean Roasting Co, have a slogan they abide by at their shop: great coffee takes time. The coffee sold at Ember and Bean is indeed great, and an order at the shop might take a bit more. But the wait is worth it.

    On this week's episode of St. Croix Stories, we're talking coffee with Jess and Jonathan, who fell in love with the idea of roasting coffee when they visited...

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    April 16, 2024 24 mins

    Throughout her life, Angel Duratti has had plenty of pets. But she wasn't allowed to have any as a kid, even though she loved animals. Once she and her husband Al got their first dog together, Angel's love of pets grew to a new level — and the couple eventually opened Angel's Pet World in Hudson.

    More than 20 years since opening the pet store, Angel has learned a lot about running a pet store and has develop...

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    April 9, 2024 27 mins

    Rick Reams' life came full circle when he and his wife purchased what eventually became known as RJ's Meats in 1987. It not only brought Rick back to Hudson after spending four years in the Air Force, but he was taking over the store he worked at as a high schooler — known then as Jim's Meats. More than 35 years later, Rick has built RJ's into a state of the Hudson community.

    Rick joined this week'...

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    Jill McNamee became a realtor at an interesting time in the real estate world — during the 2008 housing crisis. But while many realtors were leaving the industry, Jill was just getting started. She knew that making connections would be valuable as she built a name for herself, so she did what she could to meet as many people as possible in the Hudson area.

    Today, Jill works alongside her husband and their son in the real e...

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    The already impressive food scene in Hudson was made even stronger with Rick and Nichole Frazer opened Black Rooster Bistro in the old Winter Stube space in 2022. The timing was right for Rick — the former chef at The St. Paul Grill — and Hudson native Nichole to fulfill Rick's dream of opening a restaurant in the town in which he lived.

    On this week's episode of St. Croix Stories, Nichole and Rick talk about the...

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    Willow River State Park has been a vital part of the Hudson community since it officially opened in 1971. Friends of Willow River & Kinnickinnic State Parks was established as a non-profit in 1990 and has helped maintain the park, offered educational programming, staffed the nature center, and more for decades.

    On this week's episode, we're talking all things Willow River State Park with Rita Thofern, preside...

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    Sometimes, there is power in numbers. That's certainly the case when more than 100 local women from the Hudson area get together and all contribute $100 that goes towards helping a local non-profit. The group is called Power of 100+ | Women of St. Croix Valley, and it meets twice a year to bring awareness and money to groups who could use the funds.

    Renee Frey remembers the first Power of 100 meeting she attended, an...

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    March 5, 2024 62 mins

    Little Free Libraries can be found all over the world — there are more than 175,000 of the miniature libraries on all seven continents, including Antarctica — but this global phenomenon has its roots right here in Hudson.

    Back in 2009, Hudson resident Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library in honor of his mother and put it in his front yard. After connecting with co-founder Rick Brooks, the two of them helped spread ...

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    February 27, 2024 37 mins

    What has eight sides and holds more than 150 years of Hudson history? That would be the Octagon House Museum, located on downtown Hudson's historic Third Street. Established as one of the first houses in the neighborhood, the unique Octagon House was built for a family who moved to Hudson from New York. The house has since been converted to a museum, where it tells stories not only of the families who lived there, but of city ...

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    A common theme among the guests of the podcast so far has an appreciation of the Hudson community supporting local — and the Hudson Grocery Cooperative aims to do just that. With a focus on locally grown and sourced foods, the co-op offers a grocery option to residents wanting not only fresh and healthy foods, but ones that reinvest in the local economy as well.

    On this week's episode of St. Croix Stories, Erica Walge...

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    February 13, 2024 55 mins

    For more than 40 years, the Phipps Center for the Arts has been an important part of the Hudson community. While most people might think of the theater when they think of the Phipps, it offers so much more — from art classes to dance to galleries and more.

    To learn more about the history of the Phipps and about its future, we're joined by two guests on this week's St. Croix Stories. First, new executive director...

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    February 6, 2024 37 mins

    From an early age, Shelley Tougas was drawn to books and libraries — so much so that people used to suggest that she be a librarian when she grew up. Shelley took her love of the written word and turned it first into a career as a reporter, then as a children's author. And a few years ago, Shelley did eventually land a job at a library when she became the director of the Hudson Area Public Library.

    Shelley has helped ...

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    Mary Claire Potter has spent most of her life working for various chambers of commerce. On three separate occasions, that has included Hudson — including her current role as the President of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Mary Claire is about as plugged into the Hudson community as it gets, as she spends countless hours with local business owners, community members, and residents of the town at various func...

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    January 23, 2024 65 mins

    One of the biggest events every year in Hudson is the Hot Air Affair, which brings dozens of hot air balloons and thousands of people to Hudson every winter. Held annually on the first weekend of February, the Hudson Hot Air Affair has evolved into a community-wide event that includes much more than just the launching of hot air balloons. From fireworks and a parade, to a craft fair and local fundraisers, there's something for...

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    January 16, 2024 27 mins

    From a young age, Anna Johnson was an advocate for mental health. But when Anna lost her father to suicide when she was just 22 years old, she decided to create The Butterfly Path, a non-profit organization that provides mental health resources to people in Western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities. Anna credits the Hudson community with providing her family an outpouring of support after her dad's death, and she is now paying it ...

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    January 9, 2024 32 mins

    After years in the restaurant industry, Paul Rode eventually took a shot at opening his own place when he established Agave Kitchen in downtown Hudson, Wis. From the get, the restaurant was a success, as it brought something new to the downtown food scene. Agave his since been a staple of downtown Hudson, and Paul has continued to be a big supporter of the Hudson community through his entrepreneurial ventures and his philanthropy.<...

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