Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
- Member for
- 4 years 3 weeks
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.
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.