Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
- Member for
- 3 years 9 months
A 21-year-old university student crossed the center line and went off the Hwy. 65 bypass, crashing in a ditch at 4:25 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. He wasn't hurt but didn't know what to do, so he phoned his mother. She came to pick him up. River Falls police later traced the abandoned car to the young man. He said he had swerved on the highway to avoid another vehicle. After being questioned, the man was given a $126.60 fine for driving left of center lane. Police also: --Arrested and jailed a 40-year-old local man for battery and disorderly conduct in a domestic at 177 Bobwhite St. Friday night.
Another community book-reading initiative begins early next year with the selection of a novel by the late Minnesota author, Jon Hassler, known for his character-driven, dignified portrayals of rural living. The River Falls Reads committee picked one of Hassler's early novels, one written in the mid-1980s called "Grand Opening." Ruth Wood, retired UW-River Falls English professor and River Falls Reads committee member, offered her perspective on the choice, saying: "Lots of us who have lived in River Falls for years came from somewhere else.
Firefighters were called to a town of River Falls house for a blaze that had engulfed the attached garage and had spread to the house at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Firefighters from Ellsworth and Spring Valley were called to assist. Strong winds hampered the firefighting efforts and the house, at W7678 770th Ave., was a total loss. There were no injuries to the home occupants or to responders. Firefighters left the scene just after 3 p.m.
As it has during other busy holidays, the River Falls Police Department will join other Wisconsin law-enforcement agencies in keeping a close eye on motorists during the days leading up to Christmas. The so-called "Booze and Belts" campaign will run from Friday, Dec. 9, through Saturday, Dec. 17. According to state statistics, 220 people were killed and 3,500 injured in alcohol-related crashes in Wisconsin last year.
A personal birthday celebration was transformed into a civic fundraiser. The result was a "party" that has contributed to the health and well-being of residents throughout Pierce and St. Croix counties. On Friday night, Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day -- more than 200 friends and family gathered at the River Falls Golf Course to celebrate a milestone birthday for Mary Conroy Johnson, local nurse, and a cofounder and chair of the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties' board of directors. The celebration began with a moving tribute to veterans.
A couple of incumbents have already been certified as candidates for the local spring elections. David Cronk has filed at City Hall to run again as an at-large council member. Alan Tuchtenhagen has been confirmed as a candidate again for the school board. There are four City Council seats that will be up for election in April: Mayor; two for councilmember at large; and one for council member District 4. For school board, there are three open seats. School board members represent the entire school district. Potential candidates must register by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan.
A 31-year-old local man was stopped for speeding not long after he left the Kwik Trip parking lot on South Main Street last Thursday at 2:30 a.m. Officers say the suspect got out of his truck and ran for about 100 yards before finally stopping and raising his hands in the air. He had to be forcibly arrested. Police say it was the man's third drunk driving arrest. They claim an open case of Old Milwaukee beer was behind his truck's front seat. Police also: --Arrested at 18-year-old Hudson woman for drunk driving-2nd offense, driving while revoked and driving with open intoxicants at 2 a.m.
For the season's first winter storm, River Falls got more than five inches of snow Saturday. To clear roads, police were out enforcing alternative parking and snow-removal rules. As a result, 36 motorists had their vehicles towed over the weekend for those violations. Also over the weekend, River Falls police investigated four cases of graffiti. These occurred at 112 E. Maple St., 115 N. Second St., 174 E. Pine St., and 222 N. Main St. No arrests for the graffiti vandalism have been made yet.
Police say a River Falls man who crashed over the noon hour Nov. 25 on the Hwy. 65 bypass was later arrested for driving impaired -- his 9th such offense. Joel E. Sweeney, 45, 1485 Wildcat Court #103, was northbound on the bypass at 12:45 p.m.
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.