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 UW-River Falls University Center Ballrooms were filled with people whose outfits sparkled during the Denim and Diamonds-themed annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Thursday, Feb. 2. This year's winners include: Citizen of the Year - Carole Mottaz Ambassador of the Year - Monica Wright Non-Profit of the Year - Forward: The River Falls Public Schools Education Foundation Small Business of the Year - Fox Den Used Books Large Business of the Year - Best Maid Cookie Company Chamber Champion - Leadership River Falls, Class of 2015-16.
Marharyta Teslenko never thought she'd move to a small town. The 16-year-old junior exchange student said her home city of Dnipro, Ukraine, has a little under a million people — that compares to 15,000-plus in River Falls. "That's a good experience for me," she said of her exchange trip and living somewhere much different. But though River Falls is much smaller, Teslenko said it's easier to get around in Dnipro — thanks to the good public transportation system there.
Molly McLagan Foley was surprised when she heard her accomplishments being described at the River Falls Fire Department's annual banquet last month. That was when she began to realize she was about to be named River Falls Firefighter of the Year. "It's just an honor," Foley said. "I'm proud of what I do, so it was kinda fun to receive it." Foley said she was completely surprised by the honor. Her husband Tom Foley was not surprised. He is also a firefighter and was named Firefighter of the Year in 1992.
Frank Holter's firefighting days may be done, but there sure were a lot of them. His career lasted 43 years and two days. A lot has happened since Holter joined the River Falls Fire Department in the 1970s. "I think when I started, it was more hands-on. You learned by doing, so to speak," Holter said. "As time progressed, it would become more bookwork...in that way you discuss things before you did it I guess." Holter said he became a firefighter 43 years ago after he was asked to join the department.
The public library's lower level was filled with green chairs occupied by the majority of more than 160 people. Some were left standing in the back of the room and around the sides. A table invited visitors to sign in, another table offered refreshments, and another invited people to join in a raffle drawing for one of 10 Kinni Corridor Project T-Shirts. The crowd last Thursday evening was there for the Kinni Corridor Project's first "Tech Talk": Kinni Corridor Planning 101.
Members of the River Falls Chamber of Commerce filled the UW-River Falls University Center Ballroom Thursday evening, Feb. 2, for the chamber's annual awards banquet. This 2016 winners include: Ambassador of the Year Monica Wright Citizen of the Year Carole Mottaz Non-profit of the year FORWARD Foundation Small business of the Year Fox Den Used Books Large Business of the Year Best Maid Cookie Factory
Every day, school children around the country recite a pledge that promises 'liberty and justice for all.' Longtime town of Martell resident Juliet Tomkins said that since Donald Trump became president, many people around the country have said they feel that 'liberty and justice for all' is threatened by his policies.
Public elementary school students recently finished an eight-week long environmental game that had classrooms competing against each other within the local schools. Each week the top scoring class at each school won a prize such a stickers. The students got a lot more than stickers out of the game. Called "Cool Choices," it taught kids about sustainability, which is good for the environment and good for tax and utility rate payers.
Shoenthaler is involved in pep club, student council, prom committee, biology club, the CATS mentorship program, she's a CNA at Christian community Home, volunteers at a local soup kitchen, and more. The youth community service award was only one part of this year's MLK celebration, Monday morning, Jan. 16, at St. Bridget Church, 211, E. Division St.
Carole Mottaz chairs the Big Brothers Big Sisters St. Croix Valley board. She's a Rotary member and the chair of her church's mission committee, serving on two action teams on that committee which address homelessness and veterans' needs. Mottaz volunteers at The Simpson Shelter, an overnight homeless shelter in Minneapolis. She also chairs the Police and Fire Commission and the River Falls EMS board. And when she's not volunteering, Mottaz finds time to travel, read, spend time with friends and golf in the summer.