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Editorial: Community benefits from upgrade, upkeep of Golf View fields

A new 20-year lease between the city and River Falls Wildcat Soccer is welcome news for local parents and the 800-900 kids who play this game every summer and fall.

Many cities have set aside large, flat tracts of land for soccer fields, but that never happened in River Falls.

For years local soccer kids and their coaches have practiced and played on a drainage basin off Golf View Drive that was created for stormwater discharge. The level and size of this drainage basin made it usable for soccer, but hardly ideal.

That should change now that RFWS has signed to take over maintenance and carry out improvements on two Golf View field sites separated by the Hwy. 65 bypass.

For one thing, the reconfigured playing fields will include space for a 130-vehicle parking lot. The lot should greatly reduce the rows of parked vehicles that line both sides of Golf View Drive when multiple games or tournaments go on. Neighborhood residents can breathe a sigh of relief to have that hassle done with.

Golf View playing fields will be seeded and cultivated with a quality of turf that will make for a safer surface with better traction suitable for soccer's fast pace. Depending on the time of year, heat and rainfall amounts, Golf View fields are often weedy, with patches of dead grass and bare dirt.

An irrigation system will keep the new turf in prime-time, game-ready condition. Funds permitting, RFWS would also like to build a pavilion someday. The soccer group and its legions of volunteers will also handle mowing and trash removal.

All this and more will be done while the so-called drainage basin retains its original function -- as a runoff to channel the city's excess storm water.

That's a pretty sweet deal for all of River Falls, especially when you consider that the public can also use the soccer fields when there are no youth soccer games or practices.

As a form of exercise, soccer is hard to beat. The sport is about kicking, jumping, lunging and running...and more running...and still more running. There are many game strategies to master, but the emphasis is on ball and body movement.

Traveling summer soccer at various age levels draws lots of visiting teams and their families and friends each week. Those visitors circulate and shop, which means youth soccer produces good business for River Falls.

So it's fitting that soccer participants have gained better control over their playing conditions. Credit the organization that made this happen -- RFWS -- and city officials for cooperating on behalf of our community.

Online Poll: Majority say firing was justified

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: Was the school district right to fire a bus driver for failing to report that her bus had spun out of control while carrying two four-year-old special needs children? There were no injuries or property damage resulting from this incident.

As of Monday afternoon, the results were:

  • Yes, firing justified, driver didn't follow school policy, 57.1%
  • No, firing wrong, technically no accident occurred, 42.9%

    A sampling of online reader commentary about this school bus driver story includes:

  • I remember being a student in this district growing up riding the school bus every day. Back then I was on the bus going up into Golf View before everything was built up on top. We had to turn around every day in one of the little side streets. In the winter, it was more of a bet whether we wouldn't get stuck. It happened almost every day. That driver stayed on the route that year. I missed field trips and was late for school numerous times. I also know this bus driver and she was one of the drivers I had when I was living in the country. She was a very kind, safe driver. She always made sure the other kids and I were safe. I don't think that this is fair. -- Laina h, River Falls, WI
  • It is unfortunate that Ms. Anderson was terminated by the school board on the recommendation of Superintendent Westerhaus...For the school district's sake, they better hope Ms Anderson wins her arbitration hearing and is reinstated. If she is not, she could do what the last person did when Supt. Westerhaus recommended a school employee dismissal (in Prior Lake-Savage). Run for the school board and get elected. Apparently Supt. Westerhaus does not like working for people whom he has fired to become one of his bosses. If prior comments are any indication of the respect Ms. Anderson has amongst residents of the River Falls school district, there is a distinct possibility that could happen again. --Eric D., Spring Valley
  • Every employee of the River Falls School District should be aware of their jobs are also on the property damage, no personal injuries, an incident deemed an accident by the administration...yet this bus driver was dismissed after 21 years of service. This is a total waste of our taxpayer dollars...The lawyers are now going to cost the taxpayers more because this matter is going into arbitration. Could the real problem be this driver was a union representative for 10 years? --C.C., Hudson
  • Decisions like this(firing and reprimanding) must be made by the people in charge of keeping the school children safe on a daily basis...It sounds to me like the proper people in charge were notified and the right decision was made at the time. --Arthur F., Somerset

    To vote in the Journal's online poll, go to

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