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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Construction workers at First Congregational United Church of Christ have been answering questions about the ongoing construction at the church for children and passers-by. First Congregational Church's Pastor Chris Myers said the workers are patient, fun and respectful when explaining construction work to kids. "It's nice to see them," said Myers. The children of the church have had an avid interest since seeing the excavator help demolish the old fellowship hall, Myers said.
Eighty-one-year-old Calvin Jennings spent two days trapped in a skid loader with swarms of insects buzzing in the air, buzzards flying overhead, and the smell of the dead animal he'd just buried before he got stuck. Jennings was trapped in the skid loader for two of the hottest days of the month on the Jennings farm, 8748 County Rd. F. The temperature was in the 90s both days.
Starting Tonight Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m., running Aug 5 and 6, and Aug. 11-13, the Under the Moon Theatre Company is presenting a show called "Garden Shorts Dessert Theatre: "Love and Other Afflictions". The show is a serios of one-act plays, four of which are written by Rick Burgteiner of River Falls. Tickets to the performane are $15 dollars and include dessert, a beverage, and the play, performed on the patio behind the Dish and the Spoon. Emily Lyon Hanson, co-owner of the Dish and the Spoon, is also performing the first one act play "Mrs. Sorkin".
The Hope Lutheran Church's softball team has a new member, and so does Hope Lutheran Church. But she's not just any member.The Rev. Sandra Johnson is Hope Lutheran's new pastor. Prior to her 2007 ordination, Johnson was an elementary teacher in Osceola where she lived with her husband Jed Reiten and her two sons. Johnson said she felt called to switch from elementary education to being her parish's Christian education director.
Mary Solum is 66, but said she feels like she's 45. She doesn't get backaches from bending over in her garden, and she can play with her grandsons. "I'm able to keep up with them," said Solum, "Not many grandmas like me." And Solum said all of this started when she retired, and started taking Silver Sneakers classes at the River Falls YMCA. "I feel like I'm doing something good for my body," said Solum, "that maybe I'll live longer and enjoy my grandkids longer." Vallie Ericson, 63, has osteoporosis, but said that Y Silver Sneakers classes have improved the condition.
The year Gene McKahan started working at the River Falls Municipal Utilities barcodes were used for the first time, President Nixon was impeached, and postage was 10 cents. Seven presidents and 34 more postage cents later, McKahan retired July 15 after 37 years at the River Falls Municipal Utilities, but he said he isn't going to let that take him away from his hometown. "I'm just retiring" said McKahan, "I'm not going away." McKahan was born in River Falls, graduated in 1967 from River Falls High School, and went to UW-River Falls for three years until he started working at RFMU in 1974.
Not only will customers find the fruits and vegetables they expect to see at the River Falls Farmers' Market, like lettuce, broccoli, peas and carrots, but they will also find a few things they don't necessarily expect to find at that type of setting. For example: Scones, maple syrup, and bread. Lisa Showers' new business, Lisa's Scones, officially opened the first of this month. Saturday, July 23, was her fourth Saturday at the River Falls Farmers' Market selling blueberry almond, cinnamon, raspberry dark chocolate, lemon poppy seed, and chocolate chip scones.
Red Cross donations have always been lower in summer than any other time of year, but this summer, the Red Cross might not have enough blood for everyone who needs it. The Red Cross does normally see a decline in summer blood donation largely because schools are not in session, which means blood drives cannot be held at universities or high schools. These schools, including River Falls High School and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, donate 20% of American Red Cross blood donations for each year.
On Oct. 24, 2010, Amanda and Torey Kauth took their 6-year-old daughter Julia to the walk-in clinic at the River Falls Area Hospital with a bad stomach ache. Soon, she was having a CT scan, and Amanda and Torey were being told their daughter had a "growth" on her kidney. "It was scary because we didn't know what was going on," said Amanda. "We thought maybe appendicitis, worst case." But what Julia had wasn't appendicitis. It was cancer. Julia had a Wilms' tumor.
A River Falls woman has been chosen to be an ambassador, but not the kind with a tiara. Maj. Caroline Jensen of the United States Air Force was recently chosen to become a member of the "Ambassadors in Blue" with the USAF Thunderbirds for the 2012 demonstration season. Jensen, daughter of Gayle and Larry Westrum of River Falls, said she saw a Thunderbirds airshow in 1991, which influenced her decision to join the Air Force. "Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be in the Air Force and the Thunderbirds were a big part of that," said Jensen.