Phil Pfuehler has been editor of the River Falls Journal since 1991.
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River Falls and the northern half of the state will be the first Wisconsinites to start using a new area-code phone procedure. Called an "overlay," it involves adding a second area code to a region now assigned the prefix 715. The additional will be 534. According to Wisconsin Public Service Commission spokeswoman Teresa Smith, the overlay starts at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 17. Smith says there are a few key points: For local 7-digit phone calls, you'll have to remember to dial 715 to have your calls go through.
Last week a homeowner in the 1500 block of East Division Street came upon a garage sale sign in his yard. No one asked for permission to post the sign, so he took it down. Next day another garage sale sign appeared. With it was a warning note to leave the sign alone or face physical harm. For emphasis, the warning included a profanity. Feeling threatened, the man took the note to the River Falls police. They investigated and ended up ticketing a 31-year-old woman who lives in the nearby 200 block of North Eighth Street for disorderly conduct.
On a recent Sunday evening the 29-year-old St. Paul man said he was heading home from drinking at a Beldenville bar. What he couldn't explain was how his northbound 1997 Jeep Cherokee veered right and toppled a traffic light at the Hwy. 29/65 bypass intersection. The Jeep then swerved uncontrollably for another 100 yards before coming to a stop in the east highway's ditch. The driver was later taken by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital. Described as uncooperative, he was soon arrested for drunk driving.
In a special meeting June 14 the school board voted unanimously to hire Mike Johnson to become the district's new academic services director. He replaces Rick Osterhaus, who retired. For the past four years Johnson has been Meyer Middle School principal. For three years before that he was River Falls High School assistant principal. Johnson was one of 16 applicants for academic services director. He was the only applicant from the River Falls School District. A 13-member committee reviewed the applications, interviewed the finalists and recommended Johnson.
A 22-year-old local man was picked up in the Greenwood Cemetery and cited for disorderly conduct and drug paraphernalia possession late Sunday night. The man was believed to be the suspect who frightened a 16-year-old girl who was walking her two dogs at the Greenwood Elementary School playground. The girl said he came close and stared at her, then chased her as she ran off with her dogs and called 911 on her cell phone. The man's bike was soon found across the street in the cemetery.
A 29-year-old St. Paul man crashed into a traffic light Sunday evening by Moody's auto dealership. Kale D. Kenyon was later cited for drunk driving and not having vehicular insurance. The latter is the result of a new state law that went into effect this summer requiring all drivers to have car insurance. According to a preliminary police investigation, Kenyon, driving a 1997 Jeep, was northbound on the Hwy. 65 bypass when he crashed.
"Are you ready to sit in the driver's seat of a large dump truck, cement truck, road grader or 170-ton mobile crane? Or get behind the flight controls of a C-140 Air Force military transport plane or captain a Huey Army helicopter" asks Joe Covelli, who at his wife's urging founded the Touch-A-Truck for Kids event. Since its start in 2004 -- and held every other year since -- Touch-A-Truck's reputation and turnout has expanded. This year it will include at least 50 machines. "The very first one, we had maybe 500 attending," said Covelli, who lives in the town of River Falls.
River Falls police arrested an 18-year-old local woman for domestic battery after midnight last week Thursday in the 500 block of East Walnut Street. The 18-year-old male victim, the boyfriend, claimed the pair argued and then she smashed his face with a coffee pot, and also punched and slapped him. Scared, he took a rock, broke his room window and jumped to escape. She gave chase briefly but he got away, saying he needed to go buy cigarettes and stay where it was safe at his mother's house. Just over a week ago, the same couple were involved in another serious disturbance.
Just after 2 p.m. Friday a male pedestrian on the sidewalk of Main Street paused and looked around before saying, "What's everybody waiting for?" The answer was soon clear: More than two dozen cars and pickups carrying the high school class of 2010, as the seniors were let out early and did the traditional drive up and down Main Street before going on to honk their horns outside the other local schools. The seniors were greeted by many people waving and holding cameras downtown. High school commencement is Sunday afternoon.
A large turnout Wednesday afternoon, June 2, came for the ribbon-cutting dedication of the Greenwood Elementary School community gardens. According to teacher Steve Papp, this was a first- and fourth-grade service project. Produce grown will be given to the River Falls Food Pantry and to Our Neighbors Place, which serves the homeless. For more on this story, check the June 9 print edition of the Journal.