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 City Council recently moved forward with several items that stemmed from the city's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Tuesday, May 9 the city approved working with Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) for a study on the city's emergency medical service (EMS) department. The study will review current operations and provide recommendations for future planning. Assistant City Administrator Julie Bergstrom said this is part of the CIP.
According to 4-year-old Amelia Neuhaus, it’s “a far walk” to “our pond.” That is the pond she and her dad Max Neuhaus have “adopted” through the city’s Adopt-A-Pond program. The stormwater pond is located off the River Hills development, between River Hills Bluff and the Kinnickinnic River. Max and Amelia said they make the “far walk” to the stormwater pond twice a year for cleaning.
Back home in Japan, Momoka Ito has been learning English for years. She said that's split into four areas of focus: reading, writing, speaking and American culture. "I love American culture," Ito said. That, she said, is why she decided to do an exchange trip to the United States. Ito said her family at home, including mom Yoshiko, dad Toyokazu, and 10-year-old Hiroto love American culture too. The year abroad has been a good one, Ito said. So far her favorite memory is a trip to Chicago she took with her host family.
River Falls will honor police officers who have died in the line of duty, and recognize the contributions of officers in St. Croix, Pierce and Pepin Counties at the River Valley Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Ceremony. The ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, at River Falls High School, 818 Cemetery Road. Refreshments will be served after the ceremony.
Rocks are everywhere, small, large, grey, brown, earth colors. Most rocks blend into their surroundings, and are given little thought. But soon, River Falls residents may see a blue, yellow, or multicolored rock hiding somewhere around town. The rocks are part of the Kindness Rocks program starting up at Rocky Branch Elementary. "In times where we seem to be divided ever more," said Rocky Branch Principal Chuck Eaton. "This is a type of project that brings people together and inspires hope."
A group of Meyer Middle School students lent a helping "paw" to UW-River Falls students in ADEPT (Assistance Dog Educational Program and Training), formerly known as the Service Dog Training Program during a Paw-A-Thon fundraiser Saturday, May 6 at Hoffman Park. The kids are part of the middle school Lego League robotics team. One of the requirements for the competition they in which they competed was to do a project that helped the community in some way related to the year's theme, said coach Jeremy Odegard. This year's theme was "animal allies."
River Falls firefighters, EMS and police were called to an area near the intersection of Cascade Avenue and Highway 65 for reports of a semi on fire not long before 9:50 p.m. Wednesday, May 10. AT ablut 10 p.m. Smoke coukd be seen coming from the semi, from across Cascade Avenue. No flames appeared visible at that time. River Falls Police closed the intersection of Cascade and Highway 65 during the incident. More information will be added to this report as it becomes available
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) was all ears at River Falls City Hall Monday, May 8 where he held a town hall meeting with constituents. Kind started the meeting by listing his main objectives as a congressperson, those he listed included: creating jobs, reducing healthcare costs, simplifying the tax code, working on infrastructure, fiscal responsibility, the farm bill, protection for social security and medicare, and college affordability. Each participating person was given a chance to speak and ask questions.
The city is working with Guide Studio to make it easier for people — particularly visitors — to find their way around River Falls. But, it's not likely anyone will see any physical changes until next year at the earliest. The City Council approved hiring Guide Studio to create a community signage and wayfinding master plan for the city. Senior Planner Brandy Howe said the master plan aims to guide people easily to where they want to go in River Falls.
A group of middle school students has been meeting regularly—just about every Friday afternoon lately — in the band room. The students are joined by several UW-River Falls students, and band director Mike Fuller. The musical gathering is known as the Harmony Bridge program. Last year was Meyer Middle School's first year in the program, participating in the official pilot program. Fuller said the group actually started the year before that, at Meyer. This year has gone very well, Fuller said.