Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
- Member for
- 4 years 9 months
A resolution to dissolve River Falls' two public-access cable channels sparked much discussion during the City Council's regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28. Four local residents spoke out against the resolution during public comment time. Tim Montgomery, a 15-year River Falls resident with a TV and communications background, is a RFC-TV community producer. He said people stand "to lose a good community-building tool" if the cable stations were axed. He said RFC-TV also provides news and information to local residents who don't have access to the internet.
The City of River Falls budget has officially been set at $41,829,197 for 2018, following approval by the City Council Tuesday, Nov. 28. This is the second year of the two-year budgeting process, said City Finance Director Alan Rolek. "At this time staff is recommending no changes from last year," Rolek said. "As well, we are looking at the same levy that was being considered by the council back in 2016 for 2018."
Several community member and city council members spoke out against a resolution supporting the development of 70 units of housing at 700 S. Main St. The city was approached by Kansas-based development group Cohen-Esrey. The group asked for support of the proposed multifamily housing project at property formerly owned by the McEwen family.
As the weather gets chillier, and the days get shorter, many people around River Falls are decorating and preparing for the holidays. For a lot of people, that means Christmas. For members of the local Karuna Buddhist Sangha, that also means Bodhi Day. Bodhi Day is a celebration of the enlightenment, or awakening of the Buddha, according to the Rev. Shinko Rick Sloan, a zen priest and a leader of Karuna Buddhist Sangha. A sangha is a group of Buddhist practitioners.
Town of Oak Grove resident Tom Winkler was working at the St. Croix County Jail as a chaplain's assistant. One day, an inmate told him, "it was great that I came in and tried to 'save' the inmates, but maybe I should try to save somebody before they get put in prison," Winkler said. "I came home and I said, hey, this is what this guy said to me," Winkler said, "And we talked about it, and at the time, our kids were gone, and where we are in this big house with not enough people in it, and a desire to help people who need help, and off we went."
The RiverDazzle event Friday, Nov. 24 in River Falls enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures as people flooded downtown in shirt sleeves. Events included: • Santa & Mrs. Claus at the Riverwalk Mercantile. • The Annual Chili Crawl, with more than 20 participating locations. • New this year, live ice carving from Metro Ice Sculptures in Veteran's Park, where people could watch the artists work. • Free horse-drawn wagon rides starting in Heritage Park. • Main Street lighting up followed by the lighted parade.
Barbara Johnson and several others spent Saturday morning, Nov. 18 outdoors, moving fences, cleaning up after a devastating house fire with one volunteer operating a skid steer. Though the day was chilly, they kept themselves busy. Meanwhile, Johnson's dog, Rhett, ran back and forth in a pen, watching the humans work, keeping an eye on Johnson. Johnson said Rhett has been keeping an eye on her ever since a fire destroyed her house at N7521 Highway 65 Saturday, Nov. 11. Johnson and Rhett, and two cats, survived the fire.
After years as River Falls' Emergency Medical Services director, Jeff Rixmann is stepping into a new role. Rixmann has accepted the position of Community Relations Coordinator, said Assistant City Administrator Julie Bergstrom. "It's basically what Jeff has been doing, along with the EMS director duties," Bergstrom said. "And with the growth in the organization, it's just too hard to get everything done." So, Rixmann has stepped into the newly-created position.
The River Falls City Council took a first look at its 2018 budget during its regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 14. The 2017-18 budget was reviewed in 2016 and again last month. No changes were recommended. The proposed levy amount is $6,222,000 for 2018. The total proposed budget for 2018 comes to $41,829,197. This was first reading of the budget; the council will vote on it Tuesday, Nov. 28. Annexation The council approved a resolution to refer an annexation application and petition to the Plan Commission for its report and recommendation.
Writing a book has been a lifelong dream for Linda James. "It was always just something I wanted to do," she said. "I didn't know if I would really do it. I hoped that I would do it." About 15 months ago, she began working to make that dream a reality. And as of Oct. 11, James' dream had officially come true. She's published a book titled "The Space in Between." Set in 1968 in the fictional town of Springville, Minnesota, "The Space In Between" tells the story of a 10-year-old girl, Anna Hendricks, and her family.