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Beth Dusek, left, and Ann Bruggeman, who customers have seen at the front counter of the River Falls Post Office for the past 27 and 30 years respectively, work their last day Thursday, Jan. 31, and head for retirement. Read more on this story in the Feb. 7 print edition of the River Falls Journal.
Confusion ensued as city residents received and reviewed their quarterly garbage-hauling invoices this month and wondered why they saw not a Veolia logo, but that of Advanced Disposal. Customers called the city to ask, "Who is this company and why weren't we notified of changes?" City Engineer Kristy Treichel confirms that people also want to know if any aspects of their garbage service will be different. She said the city has had limited information about the acquisition and how it might affect people locally.
The Journal reported early in January about the city's plans to rehabilitate the battered concrete pavement of South Main Street from Locust Street to Cemetery Road during the time frame between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The city invites anyone interested to an informational public meeting about the concrete-pavement maintenance project 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the downstairs training room of City Hall, 222 Lewis St. Citizens can stop by anytime during the two hours to talk with project engineers about the plans and learn more about the project.
A recent Plan Commission meeting featured the annual report of the Community Development department, including construction and building permits. Building Inspector Joe Lenzen presented the numbers, commenting that while the average rate of population growth in River Falls is usually about 1.6% per year and has been as high as 4%, it was zero for 2012. Lenzen said it was the first year since 1990 with no population growth. He said the phenomenon probably results from the roughly 100 foreclosures still in the process of happening.
For the sixth time in as many years, people from River Falls and its surrounding area gathered for the Martin Luther King, Jr., commemorative breakfast Monday, Jan. 21, the national holiday that honors the civil rights activist. Subzero cold did not dissuade about 200 guests from coming to share a meal, hear the River Falls Community Gospel Choir, listen to local kids read essays and poetry and watch the 'main breakfast' keynote address given from Minneapolis by founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman.
Ambassador links community to health resources Brandi Poellinger and Kali Higgins started in mid-December as the human engines in River Falls for the Healthy Communities Partnership initiative, a program Allina announced in the fall. A $500,000 commitment from Allina makes the program possible in 13 rural communities, including River Falls.
When Bernie Van Osdale retired from his job as River Falls city administrator late in 2008, he said he was bound for more time with his boats, a book and family bonding. Since then he's gotten to hang out much more in his big and beloved 'boat barn' at home in the town of Kinnickinnic and watched his family grow with three more grandchildren. Van Osdale also got busy penning the book that's been building in his head for 38 years.
The River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism dusts off the red carpet in preparation for its annual awards banquet, the Chamber Oscars, or Choscars, beginning 5 p.m. Feb. 7 in the University Center at UW-River Falls. Chamber Event Coordinator Maranda Mahr said a Hollywood theme has dominated the past few years, with people dressing up as their favorite celebrity or "putting on the glam" for an evening. The planning committee decided to try something different for 2013 -- a masquerade theme. Mahr said, "This year we're working with Second Star," a downtown River Falls consignment shop.
Emergency responders sped to the north-end Kwik Trip station, 1238 N. Main St., after a caller reported a fuel spill around 10:45 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 and said gas was "running" across the parking lot. Arriving within minutes, firefighters began spreading a drying agent on the fuel, dumping large amounts of it in front of the nearby storm drain to stop the gas from running into it. Witnesses at the scene said gas began leaking near a silver Dodge pickup as it pumped gas. The driver called for help when he saw it.
A small news tip to the Journal led to a discovery: The American Legion wants veterans' war stories. Legion Commander Ed Miller and member Larry Waters confirm that about a year ago, they started asking members to submit information about themselves and their service history. Miller said one day after a funeral, it bothered him that the Legion has few details about some members, making it more difficult to honor their memory and service. Legion leadership agreed it would be great to have some of that information in a file. Waters said at first submissions came slowly and not often.