Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
- Member for
- 3 years 5 months
River Falls Area Hospital is scheduled to do its first robotic surgery using the newly purchased da Vinci system on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Spokeswoman Beth Nelson said RFAH is the first hospital in western Wisconsin to use da Vinci -- the latest medical technology that blends three-dimensional, high definition endoscopy with state-of-the-art robotic operating instruments to virtually extend the surgeon's eyes and hands. "The da Vinci System is an exciting addition for River Falls Area Hospital's surgery program," said Dr. Kevin Hallman, who is also medical director of the robotics program.
Continuing a tradition that dates back to the 1990s, the city of River Falls will not be enforcing public parking meters from Saturday, Dec. 10, through Sunday, Jan. 1. Parking meter usage is monitored weekdays by a police officer monitor Eve Cole. Parking meter enforcement will resume Monday morning, Jan. 2. The parking meter winter holiday abatement gives local shoppers a chance to park for free in the downtown area. Police Chief Roger Leque reminds drivers that odd/even overnight parking restrictions are still being enforced over the holdays.
Classes will start a little later in the morning next school year. That could mean an extra 15 minutes, maybe a half hour for some, of extra sleep. Last Monday night the school board approved a committee's recommendation to go with these morning and afternoon times, beginning next September: --7:45 a.m. to 2:50 p.m., for Meyer Middle School and the high school --8:50 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. for the elementary schools. On average, the board's action delays the start of the school day for 15 minutes.
A 53-year-old rural River Falls man is a suspect in a petition-shredding incident last Wednesday, Nov. 23, after 5 p.m., in front of EconoFoods on Main Street. After he pretended to sign a recall for Gov. Scott Walker, the man allegedly jabbed at the petition form with a pen and then ripped the paper. He was confronted by recall petition volunteers. As he walked away, the man gave his name as "George Washington." One witness snapped photos of the George Washington suspect's car and license plate as he drove off. Police arrived right after he left.
Pierce County Democratic Secretary Tammy Tollefson said the recall movement since the one against state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf has "matured and become more focused." "We started out earlier this year more willy-nilly and spontaneous," she said. "The level of commitment is just as intense this time, but now we're more organized and systematic.
Denton R. Ewers, 48, 1546 S. Wasson Lane, was charged Monday, Nov. 21, with robbing a Plum City Bank and drunk driving-7th offense. The charges were made in Pierce County Circuit Court. Ewers will have a preliminary court hearing Wednesday, Nov. 30. He's being held in jail on a $10,000 cash bond. According to the criminal complaint, Ewers is accused of robbing the bank of about $4,700 late Friday afternoon. He allegedly threatened to shoot a teller though he didn't actually display a weapon. Ewers was stopped driving west on Hwy. 10 after he left the bank.
By the next school year, parents of four-year-olds may have the option of enrolling their kids in pre-kindergarten classes with local childcare providers. The program, if passed next month by the River Falls school board, would be financed and sponsored by the school district. The classes would be taught by state-licensed teachers hired by participating local providers.
Salvation Army bell ringers are already making noise at the entrances to EconoFoods, Dick's Fresh Market and ShopKo in River Falls, and Hinck's Economart in Ellsworth. Local Salvation Army Chairman Ed Paulson says the aim is to capture the charitable spirit during the busy shopping days leading up to Thanksgiving Day. Last year charitable giving for the Salvation Army nosedived.
Just after 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, power was cut off at most buildings on the UW-River Falls campus. The culprit was an unlucky squirrel that chewed through some electrical power lines. A transformer blew. According to UW-RF spokesman Blake Fry, power was restored faster to some parts of the campus. North Hall, Kleinpell Fine Arts and the University Center were the last buildings to get power back. All it all, it took about an hour and a half before the entire UW-RF campus was back operating at full power.
Over the years Nettie Nolen has been hospitalized and treated for bipolar II disorder. This means she's had to endure reoccurring bouts of severe depression. Beyond vital medical care, Nolen says what a person with a mental sickness often needs most is camaraderie. "It's good to be with peers, those who've been through mental-health issues," Nolen said.