Late next month, America In Bloom judges will inspect street corners, yards, houses and building exteriors to see if our fair city is florally advanced or challenged. Local AIB committee members have been toiling away to "beautify" our community with even more flower beds, flower pots and plantings, hoping we make the national cut. It's laudable but we say River Falls doesn't need the recognition. Summer in and out, from yards and storefronts to medians and public buildings, our landscape blooms with a lush array of flowery colors, shapes and textures. No contest required. People do what comes naturally. A more authentic way to gauge communities would be for the AIB to make unannounced inspections. Unprepared, River Falls would still win!"Ellsworth School District lets another good one slip away. First Hatch and now Chapin. Wake up Ellsworth!" That was a Journal online reader's comment about last week's hiring of Mark Chapin as Meyer Middle School assistant principal. Chapin is assistant principal at Ellsworth High School. That a homegrown talent like Chapin -- born here and graduated from River Falls High School just 19 years ago -- should return to work and contribute is another positive reflection on the River Falls School District. Chapin replaces two well-respected and liked predecessors, Pat McCardle and the late Greg Danke. He's young, embraces change and looks like the right match for his innovative-minded superior, Principal Mike Johnson.A head's up: With warm weather's arrival and school ending, parents and kids should be mindful about local curfew and laws pertaining to bicycling and other wheeled transportation. Reporter Deb Griffin wrote in last week's Journal that summer's the time when police hand out more tickets for anyone -- not just kids -- who bike, skate, scooter or skateboard on Main and side street sidewalks. Wheeling doesn't mix safely on sidewalks used heavily by pedestrians. Also, kids 15 and under can't be out in the city between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. If caught, the fine's $77.50.If you didn't join the many, many hundreds for the Monday morning dedication of the new Veterans Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery, stop by soon. Admission's free. Local architect Neil Anderson's design is graceful, the setting is serene. The finished product is striking not only for its appearance, but for its volunteer nature and hyper-charged schedule. It took only a year to plan, design and build! Now it's there for all of us -- veterans and non-veterans -- to share. Go there and pick a spot, then sit and reflect. Take your time. You won't be chased out. May you be at peace.
Don't pump it up
What's going on? Local critics have long complained about high gas prices in River Falls and the fixed price system.
The latter hasn't changed. Except for Swede's service station that cuts a penny per gallon off the city's going rate, local gas prices are all the same, no matter where you buy.
What changed for Memorial Day weekend was the singular River Falls gas price compared to nearby towns, including those in Minnesota, where gas normally sells for anywhere from 15-25 cents per gallon cheaper.
Gas in River Falls for the holiday weekend was $2.39 per gallon for regular. That compared to $2.49 in Prescott and Hudson, and $2.42 -$2.45 in the St. Paul metro. Over in the Minneapolis metro, only a few stations in Crystal and New Hope were also at $2.39. The rest were higher.
Hurray! We can't recall the last time River Falls gas stations equaled or beat their Twin Cities' brethren at the pump.
With gas prices now surging, let's ask for continued restraint this summer from local station owners.
Showtime: Wizard's choice
The Journal's online poll question this week asked: What movie are you most eager to see this summer?
As of Tuesday afternoon, the results were:"Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen," 18.84% "Public Enemies," with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, 20.29% "The Taking of Pelham 123," with Denzel Washington and John Travolta, 13.04%"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," 33.33% "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," with Ben Stiller, 14.49%
To vote go to www.riverfallsjournal.com.