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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Chris Kober has finally achieved the goal he's had since age three. "I remember playing when I was like three, four years old as a cop," said Kober. "I have pictures of me even dressed up like a cop that young." Kober was hired by the River Falls Police Department Jan. 4, 2011, and just finished his training. Kober has served in the United States Air Force Security Forces, and was a security officer at River Falls Area Hospital before he joined the RFPD. When he was young, Kober told people who asked that he wanted to be a police officer when he grew up.
With the 2011-12 school year fast approaching, students in River Falls are buying supplies to prepare. They aren't the only ones preparing. The River Falls schools are gearing up for the new school year too, and there are new programs, new staff, and more at each. River Falls High School is starting a new intramural program.
Kelly Gregg was about to take a bite of a piece of papaya, when a Capuchin monkey jumped onto her lap from a nearby tree, and snatched it from her hand. It was one of six apparently hungry monkeys who came to steal Gregg's group's papaya. The monkeys weren't zoo escapists--they were wild white-faced Capuchin monkeys in a rainforest near the Panama Canal. Gregg was part of a group of 15 RFHS students (13 current students, 2 alumni) that spent Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 in Panama, studying wildlife, and meeting the locals.
LeKenneth Miller is one of the newest members of a drum line that has been growing in popularity since starting in 2008. Miller is one of four alternates on the Vikings Skol line. The Skol, a drum line, began as a new type of game-day entertainment for the Minnesota Vikings' home games, according to the Skol line page of the football team's website. The ensemble of 20 percussionists and four alternates plays at the Mall of America every game day, and at certain special events.
On Thursday, Aug. 25, parents and kids can check out the new Little Minds Learning Center building, and learn more about the new daycare that will have kids playing with play dough, finger-paint, and learning Spanish and sign language. Megan Gaulke, director of the River Falls location of Little Minds Learning Center, said she hopes the open house will show families that Little Minds is not an average daycare. "We use what's called 'high reach curriculum' as our base," said Gaulke.
From classic sports cars to a 1910 model T, cars lined up and drove around River Falls Main Street for the third of four Summer Cruze ins put on by the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. Many cruze in visitors stopped to look at Debbie Brannigan's 1910 Model T ford. Debbie and her husband Pat say they've driven the car to Mount Rushmore three times, but this is their first cruise in. Not everyone brought a car to the cruze in.
As early as this fall, preliminary construction could begin on the newest housing development in River Falls, Habitat for Humanity's EcoVillage. Area residents aren't the only ones watching EcoVillage's progress. Larry Gluth, senior vice president for US & Canada's Habitat of Habitat for Humanity International, has also been following the project's progress closely. Jim Farr, executive director of the local St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, met Gluth at a national conference and talked with him about the EcoVillage project.
Greenwood Elementary School has a new addition to its front lawn. A young maple tree has been planted to replace the recently removed old maple that had stood in the Greenwood lawn since the school was built. The old maple tree was cut down for safety reasons, as it was threatening to split and crush bystanders at any moment. The new maple is the largest transplantable tree Greenwood was able to get.
Tyler Grenzow is biking hard and grooming the trail in preparation for the fourth annual Border Battle Aug. 21 presented by the River Falls Economic Development Corporation. The Border Battle is one in a series of state championship off-road bike races for Wisconsin and Minnesota. It takes place each August in River Falls. The racers in the state championships are scored, and all of the Wisconsin competitors' points and all of the Minnesota competitors' points are totaled. The state with the most points wins a travelling trophy.
Digging artifacts out of storage for display on the lower level of the River Falls Public Library gave Linda Dahm, Katy Pupungatoa and Charlotte Roth a chance to reminisce about the good time they had in the Peace Corps. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the United States Peace Corps. The River Falls Public Library is celebrating with an exhibit showcasing artifacts brought back by former Peace Corps volunteers from River Falls.