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.
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When her brother asked her to record her young son talking about life as a spider, Sarah Yacoub did not think much of it. Her brother, Joshua Slice, enjoys bringing 3D animated characters to life and has worked on movies like "Big Hero 6" and "Zootopia." About a year and a half ago, Slice was looking for a new project when he saw an image of a jumping spider sitting on a leaf.
Jeff Bjork said he's been trying to help the local turtles since he was a boy. As a child, he'd go out to a sandpit that existed where the city of River Falls' compost site now sits. The sandpit was where turtles would often lay their eggs. Bjork said he and his friends would go out to the sand pit, dig up turtle eggs, and put them in a bucket filled with sand, and bring them to a friend's lawn, where they'd be safer.
The River Falls Public Library's lower level gallery was filled with artwork and visitors last week, some of whom had come a very long way to view the exhibition. The visitors included a delegation from Jeju province, South Korea, who were there as a part of UW-River Falls' Year of South Korea. Hwan-Jun Lee, a representative from Jeju, said "I am so proud of this exhibition." He was proud to be able to promote his "beautiful hometown" in River Falls. The exhibit, titled ""Jeju, The Treasure Island," features the natural beauty and culture of Jeju Island.
"If not us, who? If not now, when?" Those words, originally spoken by President John F. Kennedy, were chosen as the River Falls High School Class of 2018's motto. During the graduation ceremony Sunday, June 3, District Superintendent Jamie Benson told students to think of and thank those who had supported them and helped them reach their graduation day. He encouraged students to contribute to the wellbeing of the world. He said the world needs "good, civic-minded people" to improve it.
River Falls High School was named as a potential target for a school shooting by a man in police custody in Oshkosh this past winter. Christopher K. Mariana, 24, had been incarcerated at the Wisconsin Resource Center (WRC) in Oshkosh. WRC is a state prison that specializes in treatment for inmates "in need of specialized mental health services," according to the WRC website. In late December 2017, Mariana allegedly wrote "The world will remember my name" and "a person can only take so much" on an interview request slip, according to a Winnebago County criminal complaint.
This year as people gathered in Greenwood Cemetery, standing, or sitting on benches, chairs, or the ground, the crowd was joined by two new figures, each just a little larger than life. A new statue, depicting a grandfather and grandson, was dedicated at this year's Memorial Day program. River Falls American Legion member Neal Anderson has been hoping to see this statue made since about 2009, when the Veterans Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery was dedicated.
When chicken fry ticket sales were on the decline, someone at River Falls American Legion Post 121 suggested they holding Bingo games instead. It's been a big win for the Legion. "Each American Legion post in the United States and abroad is self-supported," Bingo Director Martin Tiede. "So if we don't make money, we're not going to get money." That money goes to both supporting the Legion,and the various donations the Legion makes each year.
Tanya Misselt is jumping into preparations to start her new role as River Falls Public Library Director next month. "On both a professional and personal level," she said, "I am thrilled." Misselt's first day will be Monday, June 4. She said she's most looking forward to working with the library staff. "To help the staff find time to do the things that they want to do," she said. Misselt wants the library to offer the things the community needs.
The River Falls City Council recognized Municipal Judge June Cicero in its regular meeting Tuesday, May 8. Cicero retired on April 3 after serving more than 30 years as municipal judge. Mayor Dan Toland said Cicero created a truancy program that benefited students and families, and worked closely with the Renaissance Academy. "We wish you the best in your retirement, and we appreciate everything you've done for us," Toland said. The council and audience stood and applauded Cicero.
Dave Ostendorf had been aware of Meteorologist Paul Douglas for a long time. "He's a pretty well-known figure up here," Ostendorf said. "I thought, given what we've been doing as churches in the community, it might be interesting to see if he might be able to come over and speak with us."