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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It has been an "amazing" season for the River Falls High School Forensics team, said coach Kim Miller. "We doubled in size, so we had close to 50 students who where competing," Miller said. When she started about five years ago, the team had 10 students. This year's team competed in about five different tournaments and received first place in team at each tournament; many students received excellent scores in preliminary rounds. But, Miller said, the students gained something much more important than any awards.
River Falls city staff have been analyzing the results of a recent housing survey. Development Services Director Amy Peterson said the survey took a broad view and included demographics, economics, housing stock, the for sale housing market, rental market, senior housing and special needs. The project was paid for by both the city and the River Falls Housing Authority. The goal, Peterson said, was to get a big picture of the housing market within the city.
On Monday, four River Falls High School students found themselves in the hot seat, trying to drive and use their smartphones without crashing, while an entire auditorium of their peers looked on. The students volunteered to take part in a distracted driving simulation that was part of an "It Can Wait" event at RFHS. The volunteers demonstrated how much distracted driving can affect one's driving. Though not all students crashed while using their smartphones, there were several near misses.
River Falls High School would like to invite the River Falls community to the 2018 Prom Grand March Saturday, April 28 in the RFHS gymnasium. The Grand March will start at 3 p.m. with the coronation of the prom king and queen concluding the event around 4:15 p.m. Doors will open to the public starting at 2 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for students (K-12) and children 4 and under are free (cash and check only).
A group of fifth to sixth grade River Falls Public Montessori Elementary students travelled to Chicago earlier this month to attend a Montessori Model United Nations (MMUN) conference.
River Falls is moving forward with Glen Park renovation plans after the City Council approved a series of resolutions at its regular Tuesday, April 10 meeting. The first resolution awarded a bid to Ross and Associates for building and authorized ISG for professional services necessary to construction. Plans call for a new pavilion building and a storm shelter. A preliminary plan, approved Tuesday night, also includes adjustment to the parking and trail system, a splash pad, improvements to the paved trail loop, and repurposing existing buildings for maintenance use.
As River Falls kicked off its annual Roots and Bluegrass festival, music wasn't the only thing that filled the air this weekend. Wind also whipped heavy snowfall through the air. However, said River Falls Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chris Blasius, "The show must go on." "Despite the tricks Mother Nature played, the weekend was fun for those brave enough to venture out," said Blasius.
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.