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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Visitors to this weekend's River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Festival had to make their way to events through the snow. A lot of snow. Six bands couldn't make the event due to the weather. Three shows were cancelled and three replaced with others. River Falls Chamber Executive Director Chris Blasius said the chamber "made lemonade out of lemons" and pulled together some "outstanding entertainment" for visitors to enjoy, despite the snow. River Falls Public Works employees estimate the city got around 12-15 inches of snow over the weekend, said Operations Director Mike Stifter.
The organization American Rivers recently announced that the Kinnickinnic River is number 10 of 10 rivers included on its list "America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2018." The news release cites "outdated dams that are harming fish and wildlife habitat and limiting recreation and economic revitalization opportunities. American Rivers and its partners called for removal of two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers locks and dams in the Mississippi River Gorge in Minneapolis, and two aging dams on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin."
On Tuesday, March 27, River Falls Police Officer Greg Lotze was named the department's second annual Officer of the Year at the River Falls City Council meeting. Police Chief Gordon Young said he was proud to honor Lotze with the award. There was a large turnout at the meeting, Young noted, which he said "speaks for itself" and says a lot about why Lotze was named Officer of the Year.
Thanks to two referendum questions that both passed on the April 3 ballot, the River Falls School District has its work cut out for it over the next several years. "We're awful proud and thankful and appreciative of our community's support for our kids, and their education," said River Falls School District Superintendent Jamie Benson. "For the value that the community places on education for investing in today's children and their future." The referendum The referendum questions were as follows: Question 1:
The Pierce County - River Falls Relay For Life held its 20th annual event at River Falls High School Friday, April 6. Opening ceremonies were kicked off by survivors entering a packed event.
River Falls is once again tuning up for its annual Roots and Bluegrass Festival, set for this weekend, April 13-15. New this year, Chamber Marketing and Communications Specialist Meghann Witthoft said, is a Flapjacks and fidles event at Riverwalk Square, which will include Pancakes, Syrup and bluegrass music by Riverwalk Junction band. That will kick off Saturday's events at 9:30 a.m. at Riverwalk Square. Witthoft said the chamber is partnering with the River Falls Public Library for a hoedown barn dance.
Local artist Harold Henson has long been a part of the arts scene in River Falls, from Art on the Kinni to speaking at schools, and more. One of Henson's latest works is a mural painted on a wall in a long hallway inside Kinnic Falls Alcohol and Drug Abuse Service Inc.'s building in River Falls. Kinnic Falls Executive Director Kate Ihus said the mural is more than just artwork.
"I guess you could say I've always been an activist," said Lisa Mueller. She grew up in Madison and has been a champion for various causes over the years. That's part of why she decided to join the March for Our Lives event Saturday, March 24. "This one spoke to me in a very personal way because I have two school-age kids," she said. Mueller joined Juliet Tomkins and others from the area in going to the march. Tomkins said she was inspired to attend the march by the activism of students in Parkland, Florida, and all over the country.
The annual River Falls Lions club Easter Egg hunt was "another huge success," according to Lions Club President Ryan Leitch. "We were a little bit nervous about having a lower turnout this year compared to years past due to the egg hunt falling on the first weekend of Spring Break for the school district," said Leitch. "We ended up having about 400 participants this year, which is actually an increase from the past couple of years." Leitch said kids of various ages participated in the egg hunt in the high school gym, and the "carnival" in the high school commons.
The River Falls American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the River Falls Optimists Club hosted a River Falls City Council candidate forum last week, which was moderated by Rita Kozak Monday, March 12. The forum included two mayoral candidates: incumbent Dan Toland and Aaron Taylor; four candidates for two alderperson-at-large positions: incumbent Jeff Bjork, incumbent Scott Morrissette, Judie Foster-Babcock, and Michael Page; and two candidates for district four alderperson: incumbent Todd Bjerstedt, and Ben Plunkett. Opening statements