These days when it comes to the cost of living, everything seems to be going up - as in way up. Gas. Home heating. Health care. College tuition. Property taxes. This year, however, the school portion of your property taxes won't jump. In fact, the rate of taxation - called the mill rate - will actually drop 7%. "That's the good news," said the district's finance director, Chad Smurawa.
Two high school students were expelled by the school board in a special closed meeting last Wednesday. The expulsions were the first ones for the 2005-06 year. Superintendent Boyd McLarty said the two expelled students were boys - one a sophomore and one a senior. In separate incidents, both were accused of bringing drugs and drug paraphernalia to the high school grounds Thursday, Sept. 29. "Our position on this is pretty much as it has been for years," McLarty said.
In the late 1990s the local Chippewa Valley Technical College operated in cramped quarters at the old Pizza Hut on North Main Street. Then in fall 1999 the Eau Claire-based CVTC district opened a new 20,000-square foot campus just north of Moody's auto dealership. Today - just six years later - CVTC President Bill Ihlenfeldt says the River Falls campus is full. "It's really started to take off. The growth in your area has simply outstripped what our plans were," Ihlenfeldt said. "The River Falls campus is bursting at the seams from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Space is at a premium but interest is high and membership has tripled in the past few years. The River Falls Gymnastics Club would like to follow the skating path of the local youth hockey association and build its own facility near the high school. The cost of the four lots of just-annexed city land with a new 10,000-square foot gym would be in the $800,000-$900,000 range. "It just makes sense at this time to have a building of our own," said Connie Foster, UW-River Falls dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, a former gymnastics coach and club
We're spoiled in River Falls. For the first time since 2000 - five long years - the high school Marching Wildcats brought back the top trophy for best overall performance during statewide competition Saturday at the UW-Whitewater campus. "It was a great time to peak when you're at state," said band co-director Joe Coughlin. "We're excited.
Police are still trying to find the culprits of three home break-ins on the city's south side from Oct.
Business owner Ila June Brown-Pratt looks out her store window with a weedy view of the Kinnickinnic riverbank and says, "We're the forgotten people back here." Brown, owner of Global M.A.D.E., has been open for nearly a year. The store's address is listed as 109 N. Main St., but that's a stretch because Main Street is on the other side. Global M.A.D.E. is in the back of a building with Interior Concepts.
Six broken windows up and down Main Street were reported to police in the past week and a half. The damage may have been caused by BB gunfire. Police have no leads, no suspects. The public's help is requested. "We'd love for whoever is doing this to be caught and have to pay restitution," said Michelle Schneider, pharmacist/owner at Freeman Drug, 104 S. Main St. Schneider said Freeman's windows have been hit three times the past few months by small projectiles that appear to come from a BB gun.
This Tuesday night eligible voters in the River Falls School District can vote on the new tax levy that goes to pay for more than half of the 2005-06 general fund budget. The voting takes place during the district's annual meeting. It starts at 8 p.m. and is held in the high school auditorium. Voting on the levy is not binding. The school board this fall can override the levy vote. The proposed new tax levy for the school district is $14,331,844, a 3% increase above the current levy.
In 1963 Paul Barkla attended the great civil rights demonstration in Washington when Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech. Later in the '60s he returned to Washington for Vietnam War protests. In recent years Barkla was again in Washington - and in New York and San Francisco - to protest the American invasion of Iraq. Saturday the 73-year-old Barkla - who lives in River Falls and serves on the Pierce County Board - will attend the big peace rally in Washington. Barkla's driving to Washington, taking his dog, Notta, and a friend from La Crosse.