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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The River Falls School District's tax levy is set to go down for 2018 taxes, according to district Finance Director Chad Smurawa. The annual budgeting process for Wisconsin schools is a long one, Smurawa said. It starts about a year ahead of the actual budget year. "Many factors go into the budget building process," Smurawa said. "And the School District of River Falls Board of Education always takes a very conservative approach in estimating each of those factors so that there is not a 'surprise' property tax rate increase."
River Falls High School senior Marcus Califf, 18, spent the 2016-17 school year in Lecco, Italy. The son of Bill and Jenny Califf, Marcus plans to go to college and "study something involving business" after he graduates. He shared some memories from his trip with the Journal. How did you decide to go on an exchange trip? I had seen two of my cousins do exchange with Rotary before me, so I always had a pretty good idea that I wanted to do an exchange trip at some point. Why did you decide to travel to Italy?
Those walking along Main Street Saturday, Oct. 21, will see more than the usual offerings in 16 local businesses. Those businesses are hosting a combined total of 26 artists for the River Falls Community Arts Base (CAB)'s annual Main Street Art Crawl, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 "It's a special time to patronize local businesses and see the work of our wonderful River Falls area artists while getting in some early Christmas shopping," said CAB president Steve Preisler.
As the Kinni Corridor Committee's work continues, the community's input is being sought through a four-day long corridor planning event. A design charrette is set for Wednesday, Oct. 25 through Saturday, Oct. 28. "Three-and-a-half days of an interactive discussion is probably the best way for me to describe it," said SEH project consultant Mark Lobermaier. The charrette will start with a public presentation Wednesday evening. Following that, planning and design teams will be available in an open studio set up in the River Falls Public Library.
Brittany Shermach was home in Osceola on her winter/holiday break from UW-River Falls last January, when she came down with what she and her family thought was a bad cold. It later turned out that Brittany had a form of viral encephalitis. She was in a coma for nine days, and spent months in recovery after that. Now, her family has taken their struggle and put it to music, in an album they're calling "The Awakening." The concept album follows the story of Brittany's illness. It all started, said Brittany's mother, Kate Shermach, when Brittany became sick.
About six years ago, Pierce County Youth Development Agent Frank Ginther was teaching internet safety training for adults and youth development professions, while working with UW Extension and 4-H programs. High school library media center specialist Cheryl Hoffman was a 4-H volunteer. The two decided to start a program to help teach kids internet safety. From their first conversations came the iMentors, a group of high school kids who teach elementary kids about internet safety.
Naked man screaming Joshua Wayne Van Beek, 20, Hammond, was arrested for disorderly conduct at 4:04 a.m. Sept. 23. Police were sent to the 100 block of South Third Street for a report of a naked man running around the area screaming. Van Beek was located pacing in a yard, naked, and yelling "mostly unintelligible" things. He was sweating profusely. Officers suspected VanBeek was experiencing "excited delirium" due to the use of a substance. EMS, and more officers were called.
Lately, people going to Subway downtown at 201 N. Main St. have been stopping to chat with David Markson and Amy Noonan as they work on a new mural. This new mural is across from the existing mural that's on RiverWalk Square, also painted by Markson. The new mural is the vision of the building's owner, Charla Moore Kusilek. It depicts the scene in front of the veterinary practice that used to operate inside the building on which the mural is being painted. "All these stoppers by remember this time period, so it's been a real memory thing for those people," Noonan said.
Most people don't put much thought into getting into their car and driving off to wherever they need to go. Not everyone has that opportunity. "It seems like a simple thing to do," said St. Bridget Deacon Greg Miller. "But to them, it's like giving somebody who lost an arm a brand new arm back." Miller, in his ministry work, often finds people calling in with no transportation.
River Falls will be taking a look at future housing needs soon. The city recently approved a $20,420 contract for a Comprehensive Housing Study and Needs Analysis with Maxfield Research and Consulting, LLC. Of that, the city will pay $13,613 and the River Falls Housing Authority will pay $6,807. The study was included in the 2017 budget. City Development Services Director Amy Peterson said this study will tell the city what its housing needs are and help city employees and elected officials plan for the future. The study will include: