Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
- Member for
- 4 years 2 weeks
An introductory Spanish class piloted last spring at Greenwood Elementary will return to all the elementary schools for the 2012-13 year. Monday night the school board approved creating a one-third part-time teacher for its world-language program. According to Academic Services Director Mike Johnson, the position will be filled in September. The new hire will help craft specifics for the program curriculum. Teaching of kindergartners and first graders will begin in mid- to late-November at one of the four elementary schools.
Overall reading test scores in the River Falls School District are always above average to some degree. That may be a reason why the district's students, collectively, score high in other core subjects on standardized tests. Reading, especially at an early age, is the No. 1 academic building block. But this is the 21st century. The world, pushed by technology, is rapidly changing.
River Falls Superintendent Tom Westerhaus will continue to be the administrative head of the school district for at least the next two years. Monday night the school board approved his contract that will run through June 30, 2014. Westerhaus got a bump in pay, going from $168,938 to $172,532 for the new school year.
Monday afternoon, Aug. 20, a one-vehicle crash resulted in the death of Steven J. Berends, 29, Prairie Farm. He was driving a 1995 Ford LTL 9000 truck but not wearing a seatbelt. Berends was driving west on County Road G about a quarter of a mile from 290th St., according to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department. Witnesses said the truck went into a south ditch for about 100 yards before hitting a tree. Berends was extricated from the truck's cab.
A 43-year-old River Falls man was picked up for shoplifting twice in three days at Family Fresh Market, 303 S. Main St. According to police, both times he was allegedly stashing away a bottle of vodka in the front of his pants. He was caught doing so on video the first time Thursday afternoon, Aug. 16, but walked out of the store before he could be detained. Then, late Saturday afternoon, Aug.
Randy Baar once had a thriving local and then regional TV ministry that seemed destined for national syndication. That destiny crumbled when Randy's bipolar disorder flared up so bad he nearly gave up on living. A new dosage of drugs and a healthy dose of renewed faith restored his will to live again. That was in 2009.
A 49-year-old River Falls woman was ticketed by police for drunk driving after allegedly jumping the curb while turning, then crashing into and dragging a traffic stoplight 25 yards. The crash occurred just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the intersection of South Main Street and Cascade Avenue. The woman had a prior drunk driving conviction but because it was over 10 years ago that one didn't legally count against her.
The 19th century house where the late Bruce Foster lived will be demolished this fall. A local nonprofit group hopes this will spur fundraising that results in the construction of a two-story, 19,000 square-foot community center called The Gathering Place. That group, Foster Community Foundation, was awarded a state grant of almost $15,000 to raze the old Foster house, 404 S. Winter St.
River Falls already has a reputation as a high-performing academic school district. So why bother with emphasizing character education? Meyer Middle School Principal Mark Chapin said that when asked what makes someone successful in life, people invariably mention attributes like "compassion" and "perseverance" and "setting goals." "It's these and other personal aspects that are always viewed as making a person successful," said Chapin, who heads the school district's character education steering committee that meets regularly.
Let me explain the headline. I need to practice. Earlier this summer I became a proud grandpa. Now I figure I ought to at least sound like one. Charlie is the rugged, gender-bending first name of my delicate, adorable granddaughter. My wife, Kim, is one of her grandmas. Charlie's other grandparents are Mark and Mary Johnson of River Falls. The Johnsons are already a grandpa and a grandma, so they may have a head start spinning yarns about what is was like long ago. I got to thinking about my youth and reliving those days to Charlie during an interview last week with U.S.