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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Growing up, John Hyland enjoyed English classes in grade school. When he attended Wartburg College, in Waverly, Iowa, he decided to major in English. He later earned a master's degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and a doctorate in English from UW - Madison. Throughout his studies he developed a desire to write "clearly and precisely" and "in interesting ways."
Surprise was Chris Gottfredsen's initial reaction when he found out he'd been named the River Falls Police Officer of the Year. "Later I felt very honored knowing that we have so many excellent officers on this department," Gottfredsen said. Police Chief Gordon Young presented Gottfredsen with the award at the City Council meeting Tuesday, June 27. Young said this was the inaugural Officer of the Year award. "I'm very proud that you're the recipient," Young said to Gottfredsen at the meeting. "It was a tough decision."
When one of hairstylist Cyndi Cashman's employees came to her wanting to take training to be able to work with a Look Good Feel Better program, Cashman decided to go with her. They drove to Tomah for the training session. That was in about 1992. "There wasn't even a place to hold the sessions at that time, and I was busy with my kids, so I didn't think a whole lot about it," Cashman said. "And then my neighbor boy in Prescott got cancer, and lost his hair. He was in elementary school, and he was so affected by it, and didn't want to go to school and stuff."
July has arrived, and with it comes River Falls Days. "River Falls (Days) is such a fun, fun event because it's the one opportunity throughout the year when the community can come together and share what a great place we choose to live, work and play here in River Falls," said Chamber CEO Chris Blasius. "It's fun to see old school students gathering together and having a reunion, it's fun to see the families come together and enjoy the kids' activities and the parade, friends gathering to celebrate. It's just a super-enjoyable event and a great way to celebrate."
Hudson native Amelia Skye Dunlap grew up watching the Miss USA pageant. "I loved watching the different girls compete in their evening dresses," she said, "and seeing the diversity that when on up on this Miss USA Stage." She's also long had a love of performing on stage. So when she came across a Facebook ad for Miss Wisconsin USA auditions, it caught her attention; she applied. She wasn't initially sure she'd go to the auditions, but made a last-minute decision to go for it. "I just had this calling to do it," she said. That was last year.
Chelsea Fiedler grew up in River Falls. Now she is hoping to give back to the community through her new job as executive director of Have a Heart, Inc. "What I'm looking to do is have more community involvement," she said. "Make sure that the community knows we're here, that we're looking to help, that we're looking to better the River Falls community, in our own way." Her mission is to add services that will better the lives of River Falls and St. Croix Valley area residents.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office has issued a media release warning citizens of phone scams in the area. According to the release: "In recent citizen reports, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and says that two certified letters have been sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens to arrest the victim ifa payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. "Please remember that the first contact you receive from the IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call."
There are many sports open for younger kids in the area. Youth Hockey, football, soccer, gymnastics, and now, cheerleading. Sarah Jenkins, herself a former cheerleader, has started the new nonprofit River Falls Cheerleading group. So far, about 25 girls have signed up. "It's going well," she said. Especially as the season doesn't start until August. Jenkins said her own daughter has participated in short-term clinics run by high school cheerleaders.
Lori and Jason Kjos said their place is "definitely a family farm." Lori's aunt and uncle live down the road, and her uncle often helps out on the farm. Her four siblings also often come over to help out, and/or bring their kids. "It really is our extended family farm," Lori said. And for one day, Lori and Jason are going to extend that a bit more. One June 17, they will hosting this year's Pierce County Dairy Breakfast 8 a.m. to noon.
Tara McCracken had never volunteered for a Habitat for Humanity Women Build event before. In fact, she had never volunteered for Habitat at all when she received an invitation to join this year's group of volunteers. "I'm not exactly sure how they got my name," she said. "They called and it just kind of sparked my interest right away." McCracken gathered a group of other volunteers from WESTConsin Credit Union, where she is vice president of the Ellsworth and Prescott offices.