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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The Tri4Grace Memorial Triathlon began as a way to support Grace Goblirsch and her family, as she battled leukemia. She died of leukemia in 2013, but the triathlon has lived on in her memory. Instead of raising money for medical expenses, the race now funds scholarships for graduating River Falls High School seniors who have been directly affected by cancer. "We are very proud of the recipients and all they have achieved," said Sue Goblirsch, Grace's mom. "We are honored to be a part of their journey on their road to success."
After years of discussions and study, the River Falls City Council has reached a decision regarding the issue of relicensing the city's two hydroelectric dams. At its regular Tuesday, Feb. 27 meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution, after approving several amendments, that endorses a long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River, but also approves the relicensing of the hydroelectric project for the final time. The resolution includes plans for removing first the Powell Falls and then Junction Falls dams.
Rev. Daniel Meyer originally came to River Falls as a travelling missionary, raising support to go to the Philippines. However, Meyer ended up becoming pastor of First Baptist Church of River Falls. The previous pastor's health hadn't been all it should be, Meyer said, and through prayer and discussion, it was decided Meyer would take over. Meyer said his path to the ministry first began in the 2000s. "Me and my wife and my family, we got saved in 2004," he said. "We were living in Menomonie at the time."
The River Falls City Council is getting ready to make its final decision on whether or not to relicense the city's hydroelectric dams. In preparation for that decision, the council heard a presentation by Mark Lobermeier of Short Elliott Hendrickson. Lobermeier presented to the council a draft of a resolution that was recommended to the council by the Kinni Corridor Committee. The drafted resolution states that it is based on a "long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River" and mentions maintaining the health of the river as a Class I Trout Stream.
Proceeds from the annual River Falls Garden Club plant sale are used to benefit community projects and organizations such as Assistance and Resource Center (ARC). ARC is the primary resource in the community for those needing short-term support to get back on track. The Garden Club presented ARC with a donation following their inspiring talk on the work done in the community by the organization.
Michael Fecht hasn't missed one of the River Falls Fire Department's annual awards banquets since he started with the department, though this year he and his wife, Laura, had to adjust their work schedules to be able to attend. "I lucked out," said Fecht. At the Saturday, Jan. 20 event, Fecht was named Firefighter of the Year. Fecht has been a firefighter for 37 years - 10 of those with the River Falls Fire Department. He also currently works as a firefighter for Metropolitan Airports Commision Fire.
Bill Lubich has been a valuable asset to the River Falls Fire Department, said Pauline Williams, who has worked with Lubich since she started with the department some 25 years ago. Lubich has been on the fire department for about 29 years. Lubich has retired for health reasons. He said it's tough to leave the department. Williams said she's describe him as "A genuine heart." "He really wants to be helpful to people," she said.
Greenwood Elementary staff say they're looking forward to seeing families enjoy themselves at the annual Greenwood Carnival and Silent Auction. The event, hosted by the Greenwood PTO, has been a tradition for more than 20 years. This year's event is set for Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Greenwood Elementary. "Our goal is to provide a cheap option for families to entertain themselves," said Principal Nate Schurman. "And also to raise funds for Greenwood that will likely be used to upgrade technology and replace outdated classroom furniture."
The Falls Theatre has been an iconic part of the River Falls downtown since it opened in 1927 Owner Michelle Maher said it's an integral part of the Main Street economy. "I think in general, our community, people end up seeing more movies in a theatre than they would in most communities," Maher said. "And in doing that, they bump into friends and neighbors that they haven't seen and didn't expect to see. They have an experience that they cannot necessarily anticipate because it isn't like it's in their living room."
A car hit and knocked over a median sign on Main Street at its intersection with Union Street by the River Falls Public Library. As a result, the flashing lights on that intersection are both out. The cross walk is still open, City Communications Manager Mary Zimmermann said. However, pedestrians have been urged to cross with caution, and reminded that orange flags are available to use while crossing the street. A Facebook post by the River Falls Police Department said the department is looking for the public's assistance identifying the vehicle and person who hit the sign.