Bob Schwalen, Brian Hatch and Bruce Lloyd are three River Falls Power Plant employees soon to be jobless after the plant shut downs for good. Also affected by the closing are Ken Dopkins and Mark Freeborn. For Hatch, 53, this is the second job closing he’s faced. He worked at Kolpak Refrigeration in River Falls until that plant closed in 2005. Schwalen, 57, the city’s former fire chief, loves working on and fixing the power plant’s complicated array of machinery. He said it’s a thing of beauty to hear the big engines weighing tens of thousands of pounds churning loudly at 400 rpm “while operating just perfectly.” Each employee said it’ll be hard to walk away because the plant is a place they value for its long local history and because they take immense pride in maintaining the building and its equipment.
Phil Pfuehler photos
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