Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
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As a hobby, Tom Caflisch has long enjoyed working with wood. He's made vases, plates, bowls and cooling racks. He's given some of these away as gifts, sold a few at craft sales. Last year Caflisch was driving around when he had a sudden idea for his wooden bowls. To see if it was a good idea, he drove up to Bakken-Young Funeral in River Falls. He went in and asked co-owner Jodie Bakken Young if she thought his small bowl might work as an urn for burial ashes. Bakken Young said the bowls were nicely made but barely half the size of a normal urn.
River Falls police arrested a 47-year-old local woman for driving impaired due to prescription drugs at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. She was driving erratically and her car was screeching.
If you had to apply a metaphor for the typical librarian, what would it be? Bookworm? Teacher? Guide? Mentor? Pedagogue? Those might work. But Susan Pesheck, who keeps a modest profile as youth services librarian, doesn't fit the pattern. At least not for her very young public library patrons. "I think back over the years to all those beaming, shining little faces who look up at me and show such enthusiasm, and I feel grateful for whatever influence I've had with them while doing this job," says Pesheck.
A man in a black-hooded sweatshirt came up and grabbed her purse, then said, "Give me what I want and I won't hurt you." The woman, a 20-year-old UW-River Falls female student, did as she was ordered. The man ran off with woman's purse. She turned and went the other way. The incident occurred at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in the apartment parking lot at 340 Broadway St. River Falls police are still looking for the male suspect described as white, over six feet and wearing blue jeans with the hooded sweatshirt. The purse was later found discarded in the same parking lot.
Next school year the River Falls School District will have to cut about a million dollars out of a general fund budget of roughly $30 million. Superintendent Tom Westerhaus discusses what he calls a "very serious situation" in his personal column that accompanies this story. Part of the solution could potentially result in eliminating 15 or more school district employees for the 2012-13 school year. "That's why it's serious because we don't have a declining enrollment, but we would have to figure out how to get along with 15 fewer people," Westerhaus said. Class sizes may also have to incr
Those wanting to choose the public school district their children will attend next year have a chance to do so from Feb. 6-24. State law allows Wisconsin kids to attend public school in a school district other than the one they live in. The completed application must be submitted to the non-resident school district between Feb. 6 and 24. Early and late applications aren't accepted. Parents may request that a child be enrolled in a specific school or program. Those requests aren't guaranteed and are subject to the availability of space and other limitations.
Joseph Fern, formerly of River Falls, died late Tuesday morning, Jan. 10, according to a Regions Hospital spokesperson in St. Paul. River Falls police say Fern was rushed to Regions by ambulance Sunday evening, Jan. 8, after a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in the parking lot of St. Croix Lanes bowling alley. According to police, Fern, 27, was in the bowling alley earlier in the day Sunday. He was in his pickup truck when the shooting occurred. Police say no one else was hurt and no foul play is suspected.
River Falls police were called to assist several female tenants at 203 Broadway St. who found a strange man in their apartment Friday morning, Jan. 6. The suspect appeared drunk. He had walked into a bedroom, startling the occupants, then went to a bathroom before getting snuggly on a couch. Officers finally woke the very groggy 22-year-old River Falls man. He had a large bloody bump on his head, and his face and clothes were muddy, as if he'd fallen. The suspect couldn't say what happened to him.
GREEN BAY - Two of the nation's leading Midwest-based general merchandise retail chains, ShopKo Stores and Pamida, said they will merge to create one of the largest U.S. retail chains focused on serving smaller and rural communities. River Falls is the site of one of the 149 Shopkos located in 13 states. According to a news release, the merged chain will have nearly 350 stores in 22 states with plans for more store growth coming later in 2012. Shopko's annual revenues are said to be $2 billion.
Despite its name, the third annual Whitetail Ridge Snowshoe Challenge is not snow dependent. Translated: If the relatively brown winter lingers, the Snowshoe Challenge this Saturday, Dec. 7, will still be held, though participants will change footwear. "There's still going to be a race," said Nick Caliva, president of the Kinnickinnic Off-Road Cyclists, the group sponsoring the event. KORC also sponsors the annual mountain bike Border Battle race every August at the same location -- the hilly trails overlooking Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park. The Snowshoe Challenge will start at 10 a.m.