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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Helen Crary Stassen was deeply affected by the loss of her son Benjamin to suicide in 2010. She tried all kinds of therapy. Finally, she and her husband decided to buy a horse, a Paint called Mara B. Having Mara around has made a huge difference in Stassen's world. But Mara hasn't just had an impact on Stassen and her family. Wanting to share Mara with the world, Stassen shares her story via a blog and Instagram. It was through Instagram that Stassen met Anastasia Hirst and John Fulton. Those two are going to make Stassen's and Mara's story reach even further.
Local mom and librarian Heather Johnson said she had been having conversations with her fifth grade daughter about how fifth graders were using technology. "We grew up in a generation where you had to learn how to craft an email and how to use online formats with communication that is positive and effective," Johnson said. It was out of her concern as a parent that she began to look for resources on how to help her child deal with the digital world.
One day, when Lily Van Allen's dad John Van Allen came to pick his daughter up from preschool, he found young Lily reading a story to the other kids. Some of the other kids were older than her, Lily's mom Leanne Van Allen said. "It was really fun to see at that young age," said Leanne. Lily has stayed an avid reader throughout the years. She's read Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" three times. She's read "Pride and Prejudice" twice, and enjoys Charles Dickens, as well as some more modern authors.
Members of Rush River Lutheran Church have been cooking lefse, gearing up to feed a crowd at the70th annual Harvest Dinner, set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. "The Harvest Dinner is an opportunity to live our mission to 'Reach Out In Love' to each other, our neighbors, our friends, and every guest we serve," said church member Lisa Anderson. "Involvement of the whole faith community nourishes and builds the relationships that we have with each other."
St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity is current on all its loan payments as of Tuesday, Sept. 12, after 13 months of no payments on a $400,000 loan from the city, according to Assistant City Administrator Julie Bergstrom. The loan was originally given to Habitat in 2012 to fund the Eco Village project, with a 10-year repayment term. In July, SCVHH and the city reached and signed a forbearance agreement, through which the city agrees not to take legal action against SCVHH, provided Habitat meets the terms of the agreement.
The River Falls Public Library's lower level meeting space was packed Thursday, Sept. 7 as the Kinni Corridor Project Committee hosted the final of six "Tech Talks." This talk's theme was recreation, tourism and economics, and featured three speakers, including: • Ed Freer, of SEH, the consulting company working on the Kinni Corridor Project. • Patrick Seeb, director of the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency in Rochester, Minn. • Bob Kost, of SEH, who spoke about the planning charrette set for Oct. 25-28.
The scent of bacon may linger around town this weekend, as the River Falls Chamber of Commerce gears up for its fifth annual Bacon Bash, set for Saturday, Sept. 16 -and Sunday, Sept. 17. Chamber CEO Chris Blasius said the Bacon Bash is the nation's largest free bacon festival. She's expecting another big turnout this year. "Last year we estimated between 10,000 and 12,000 people through the weekend," Blasius said. The estimated number of visitors is similar. However, as the festival is free, it's difficult to keep track of numbers, Blasius said.
Another record crowd jammed the White Pathway Saturday, Sept. 9 for Art on the Kinni (AOK), River Falls Community Arts Base (CAB) president Steve Preisler said. He said some 5,760 people came out to Veterans and Heritage Parks and the White Pathway to enjoy AOK. Earlier in the day, attendance was lighter, but after the first half hour things really "took off," Preisler said, and didn't slow down until around the last hour of the event. "I talked to every artist and all but a few reported brisk sales," Preisler said.
The River Falls School District is planning a referendum for the April election, pending community feedback. The idea, said District Superintendent Jamie Benson, is to do some long-range planning.
Over the past couple of months, Reubin Herfindahl has seen numbers of people coming into his computer repair shop, Digital Brigade, increase dramatically. Herfindahl said up until recently, he'd see one or two people reporting so-called "Call this number, you have a virus" phishing scams each week. A few weeks ago, he had a dozen customers who had problems related to such a scam. He said numbers have stayed similar. Herfindahl said the "Call this number, you have a virus" phishing scam starts with a phony webpage.