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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After finishing a listening session Wednesday, May 2, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis) stopped over at Juliet Tomkins' home, a farm in the town of Martell, to talk with a group of 10-15 local farmers about the Farm Bill. "I organized this as an outcome of having visited Kind's office last November," said Tomkins. She worked with Brad Faff, Kind's deputy chief of staff, to set up the meeting. The group included a wide range of farmers who produce crops, dairy, and beef. They discussed many topics related to the United States Farm Bill, but Tomkins shared some highlights.
UW-River Falls student Kristy Strain had volunteered to help with dementia patients at Hudson Hospital in the past. Later, she wanted to continue volunteering within the health care system, and looked on the UWRF website for volunteer opportunities. One of those listed was a chance to work as an Allina Health Hospice volunteer. Strain's grandmother went through hospice care. "So that was kind of one of my areas of interest," she said. "Eventually, I'd like to run my own hospice or manage a hospice in the long term."
When Kinnic Health & Rehab Assistant Activities Director Kristin Herum heard Janet and Doug Hansen's wedding story from 54 years ago, she was inspired to throw them a real wedding celebration. "It took a little convincing on Doug's part, but Janet really wanted to do it," said Herum. Janet, who has been staying at Kinnic Health & Rehab, said their vow renewal ceremony and celebration turned out even better than she'd expected. The whole event was very different from Janet and Doug's wedding 54 years ago.
The city of River Falls is moving forward with its plans for hydroelectric relicensing. The city council approved in February a resolution to relicense the hydroelectric project (which includes both dams) for the final time, and remove each dam "At the end of its useful life." The city is now moving forward with the relicensing process and has approved an agreement with TRC Solutions consulting firm. TRC Solutions will help city staff complete the initial application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relicensing.
The year 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, established in 1918 to protect birds and educate the public about the importance of their conservation. It has therefore been declared the year of the bird in a joint venture by National Geographic, Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International.
River Falls High School crowned the 2018 prom king and queen Saturday, April 28. Queen honors went to Eden Foster, while the king title went to Clayton Favor. Other prom court members were Sarah Langlois, Charlie Jerry, Raina Alboes, Nolan Bechtold, Chance Kamrowski, Jacob Miller, Amaya Schultz, Autumn Gray, Leila Dexheimer, princess; and Rensley Priestley.
This year's annual Kinni River cleanup held Saturday, April 28, included a record number of volunteers, according to the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust. Kim Davis, of the KRLT said some 200 people attended and removed trash from the Kinni. Trash collectors filled half of a recyclables dumpster; and 80 percent of the garbage dumpster space available was filled, Davis said. Some interesting items picked up included: • An entire container of golf balls • Training wheels • orange headphones • two shovels • a beat-up wagon
River Falls residents will eventually see new signs going up around town, directing people to local destinations, thanks to a city Wayfinding project. The project was started years ago with some internal work, but had stalled before it was revived last year, said Senior Planner Brandy Howe. Lat year, city staff got permission to hire a consultant for the planning process. The design work has now been completed and the next step, Howe said, will be bidding the project out to manufacturers.
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.