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Most people don't think much about building permits. Maybe someone who's building a new house or doing a major renovation does. River Falls' two building inspectors, Joe Lenzen and Dave Hovel, think about permits every day. They're the guys who issue them on the city's behalf. They're also the ones responsible for making sure everything gets built right in order to prevent shoddy construction and accidents. Lenzen and Hovel just finished giving a presentation all about 2005 permits to the Plan Commission.
From a quiet corner of River Falls' industrial park, Best Maid Cookie Company cranks out yummy confections that rival Grandma's best efforts. While the company's grown since coming to River Falls in 1996, its focus stays the same, according to co-owner and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Deb Dartsch: Produce high-quality, great-tasting cookies.
"Our market analysis showed nothing else like it in River Falls," said Shari Frisbie about the warehouse and office/condo space now available through Frisbie Properties. Matt and Shari Frisbie, owners of Frisbie Architects on Second Street in River Falls, bought the property last July and plan to divide the 16,000-square foot building into eight spaces.
Many remember the 1970 song "Signs" by the one-hit-wonder "Five Man Electrical Band." The song's chorus lyrics tell part of the story about why city staff and the council recently amended the sign law. City planner Dena Mleziva said grumblings started the process. "We were getting a lot of complaints about how it makes the city look," she said. "People complained about the image they project." City staff members investigated the problems people were pointing out, took pictures, then got busy changing the sign code.
James L. Mohn, 48, of rural Hammond, died late Monday afternoon after the drive unit of a barn cleaner fell on top of him. He had been working in a barn at the Afdahl farmstead, 346 County Road W, also in Hammond, about four miles northeast of River Falls. Gerald Afdahl discovered Mohn about 5 p.m., according to the sheriff's report. He and his son, Kurt, used a skid-steer loader to lift the barn cleaner off Mohn, but neither they nor the St. Croix County deputy on the scene could feel Mohn's pulse.
Trustees have been caring for Greenwood Cemetery for at least the past 136 years, but they have two main challenges: A dwindling number of plots and lack of money. Cemetery association president Howie Nelson estimates that within five to six years, there won't be any grave more sites left. He doesn't know exactly how many plots are left because the cemetery's remaining land hasn't been surveyed yet.
The Cowleys go to great effort each year to arrange holiday decorations in their yard. Last week Monday night they were stunned to find many of their lawn ornaments vandalized. "It takes us about four days to put all that stuff up," said Ron Cowley, former owner of River Falls Tire on North Main Street. What was troubling is how the vandals brazenly carried out their rampage while the couple sat right inside their home. The Cowleys live on Riverside Drive in the town of Troy, just north of County Road MM. They usually turn on their display around 5 p.m.
After two parties last week, Phil Betzel is on his way to retire from the First National Bank of River Falls. Betzel was chief financial officer (CFO) for 22 years but retires at the end of this month. He and wife Mary look forward to spending about a third of their time in a home they bought near Tucson, Ariz. The two have run into man people from River Falls down there. Mary was a substitute teacher in River Falls for years but will also retire soon.
"I like the notion of public service. It's what I'm about," said Frank Gaillard, River Falls' new public works superintendent, who begins Jan. 23. While his first day is more than a month off, Gaillard is already meeting people and getting to know other department managers, as well as the public works crew. Last week, he took part in interviews for hiring a new mechanic at the city garage. Gaillard heard about the job from a friend when the two attended the annual National Public Works Association conference.
A newly established real estate company started operating in River Falls earlier this fall. Consumer's Edge wraps three companies into one - a real estate company, a mortgage broker and a builder - with the goal of giving its customers a "one-stop shop," according to owner Rodney Bahr. He explains that Consumer's Edge wants to be able to take a person all the way from looking at floor plans to turning over the keys to a brand-new home. Consumer's Edge Real Estate offers property throughout the St.