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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A crowed packed the River Falls Public Library's lower level Thursday, March 9. About 185 people had come to listen to a panel of experts at the city's second Tech Talk. The four panelists discussed river ecology. The panelits began by answering a series of set questions, and then the audience members were given 30-40 minutes to ask their own questions.
River Falls is gearing up in green for the city's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. As St. Paddy's Day falls on a Friday this year, River Falls Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Maranda Mahr said she expects the event will be lively. "I think it puts everybody in a good spirit," she said, "and they're able to kick back and enjoy the event." The downtown celebrations start at 1 p.m. with the hunt for the "Pot of Gold" Medallion. First clue is posted at Veterans Park. Subsequent clues are posted every half hour after that until the medallion is found.
Sara Rodolfi had never had a white Christmas until this past year. The River Falls High School senior exchange student from Italy can go skiing and snowboarding in the mountains at home, but the snow doesn't stick around in her home city Guastalla. She said she's had a lot of fun in the snow this year. "I'm not a fan of cold, but snow, it's good," she said. Rodolfi has had fun making snow angels and rolling in the snow with her young host siblings, Wesley and Cece Steiner.
Not everyone feels they can sing. In fact, local resident Katharine Grant said many people feel they can't sing. But Grant says that's not true. "We are all innately able to sing," she said. "If you can talk you can sing. It's kind of like, if you think of birds sitting on a wire, and one bird is singing away and the others go, 'You can't sing.' It would just be kind of ridiculous. Leave it to humans to think of that idea."
David Cronk decided to run for River Falls City Council after a local citizens committee approached and encouraged him to do so. "That piqued my interest," Cronk said. "I went over to City Hall and then talked to Jan Linehan, who at that time was the city administrator's right hand person... Jan sat down and talked to me and gave me the whole lowdown, and all of a sudden I had papers and I was out looking for signatures." Council candidates are required to get a certain number of signatures in their favor before their names are put on the ballot.
Inspired by the upcoming River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Festival, owners of Junior's Bar and Restaurant, 414 S. Main St., have decided to hold their own, smaller festival this Saturday, March 11. They're calling it "Smoke on the Kinni," and according to Cory Hart, one of the bar's owners, it's all about the blues. "We're really excited," Hart said. "Our goal is just to have fun, bring in people from out of town, as well as provide some local entertainment to the town and the community."
St. Mary's - Big River chruch, W10137 570th Ave., is planning its first-ever Meals from the Heart meal-packing event. The event is set for 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11. The goal is to pack 30,000 meals. There are two types, vegetable rice, and pizza macaroni meals, each of which costs $0.25.
Lights were low, music pumped through the speakers and hundred of well-dressed little ladies and their escorts filled the River Falls High School commons. Dozens of dads and daughters danced together Friday, Feb. 17, during the annual River Falls School District/Community Education Daddy Daughter Dance. The annual dance — the sixth one — keeps drawing increasing numbers since it started. Last year's dance drew some 670 dads and daughters. This year, that number topped 800.
When Dave Hovel started as a city building inspector in 1997, he said River Falls averaged 40-50 new single family homes each year. When the Great Recession hit in 2007-08, the city's housing market started to drop, though it didn't really hit its low until 2011, Hovel said. Now, he said, the city's housing market is pretty much back where it used to be. "The last few years we've been hanging around 50, if I'm not mistaken," Hovel said.
For the past several years, a Fly Fishing Film Festival has made its way to River Falls. This year it starts Friday evening in the UW-River Falls University Center Ballroom with a film festival that includes, in addition to several fly-fishing films, a pre-event social gathering with fly fishing demonstrations, auctions, food, beverages and more. The proceeds support the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust. The nonprofit works with landowners, private organizations and governments to preserve the Kinnickinnic River.