Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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As I was walking with my oldest daughter to the St. Patrick's Day festivities downtown, she said something that got me thinking: "I love living in a small town. We can walk to all these neat places and things." As we continued walking I thought about all the fun things we have in our small town, things that we may take for granted. One place in town that my family really enjoys is Glen Park. We have always appreciated being able to cross the South Fork on the Swinging Bridge and spend a day in the wooded and spacious park.
While pregnant with her first child 11 years ago, River Falls resident Amanda Nyberg got the idea to start quilting. "We were remodeling and had some friends helping us -- he was a cabinet maker and she was a quilter," said Nyberg. With the help and guidance of her friend, Nyberg finished what would become the first of over 200 quilts she has made. With encouragement from her family including her husband Kevin, Nyberg took to the web and started a blog: www.crazymomquilts.blogspot.com in November 2006.
A new church is forming in River Falls -- St. Croix Valley Wesleyan Church. It meets Sundays at the Crossings Inn and Suites, 1525 Commerce Court (near ShopKo). A member of the National Association of Evangelicals, the church was formed by members of a Bible study group who decided they wanted to start a church. After about a year and half of debating, the members contacted Oakdale Wesleyan Church in Oakdale, Minn., about becoming a satellite location -- though they are still considered an independent church. In January, the associate pastor in Oakdale, Dr.
River Falls native Tom Rusterholz has taken his love of acting to the "big time" by going from an ensemble or supporting role in 'Hairspray' to one of the leads, playing Link Larkin. Now staring in the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre's production of 'Hairspray,' the 2005 RFHS graduate has seen his career advance since joining the production in summer 2011. When asked what the difference is between the two roles, Rusterholz explained, "It's very different -- I do less physically challenging stuff on stage, but it is more mentally challenging.
Since I began working here, I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. I've been reminded of the amount of talent our small town has. We've got comedians, actors, singers, academic all-stars, sports phenoms and more. Over the weekend I travelled to Chanhassen and watched Tom Rusterholz, a RFHS graduate, perform in "Hairspray" (see accompanying article). I was amazed at his talent and professionalism. During his big solo number, his mic malfunctioned.
A true artist can take a block of anything -- wood, clay, marble -- and craft it into something wonderful. For local resident Cliff Jennings, custom callmaking is his art form. "Calls are tools to be used in the field for duck or goose hunting," he said. When hunting, waterfowl hunters use decoys and calls to entice the birds into the proper position. Jennings, a quality data analyst at the River Falls Area Hospital, clarified, "Unlike deer hunting, where you can track patterns all year, waterfowl hunting is based on migration." The type of sound the call makes also makes a difference.
Passersby may hear a lot of laughter coming out of the high school the night of Feb. 12. That is the night that 1983 RFHS graduate, Tom Steffen, and friends use their comedic skills to raise money for the RFHS band. Steffen, a professional comedian, will be bringing his comedy show back for a fifth year.
This year marks the 21st annual Westside Elementary School musical. Students, staff and parents will be presenting Pete's Dragon and The Aristocats.
Reduce, reuse and recycle -- we all learned about this in school. But what does it mean and how do we implement these ideas? The Sustainability Environmental Education Committee (SEEC) is seeking to answer these questions. As part of the school district's Strategic Plan, the SEEC, formed in March 2011, was asked to come up with a sustainability framework. The committee is made up of a diverse group including: the local school district, public-sector, private-sector and university employees.
Hollywood likes to sensationalize many things -- the Freemasons have been no exception. In movies such as National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code, the Masons have been portrayed as a group with deep, dark secrets. According to Freemason Steve Schwartz, this is not true. "We are not a secret society. We are a society with secrets." "The Masons, a fraternal organization, are much like other organizations, the inner group knows more," he said. During World War II, Masons were being persecuted by the Nazis and had to hide their status.