An 8th-grade boy at Meyer Middle School was expelled through the next school year for allegedly writing a bomb threat last month. The school board voted on the expulsion in a closed special meeting last week. If the boy fulfills various unspecified conditions, he's eligible for an early return in September, according to Superintendent Boyd McLarty. The bomb threat was written on a boys' bathroom wall at the middle school Monday afternoon, April 18.
The school board met Monday night following the spring election to vote on new assignments for each member. Dennis Behnke's colleagues reelected him to serve again as school board president. Chris Wing, who just won re-election to the board this month, will again serve as vice president. Rick Blakeley will again serve as treasurer. Sheila Steiner was chosen to serve as school board clerk.
School bus driver Karl Nelson had little time to think last week Wednesday afternoon during a thunderstorm.
Elizabeth Lindquist is about to slap shot her way through the glass ceiling. The high school freshman was one of several teenage girls to beg the school board Monday night to approve a varsity girls ice hockey team. Lindquist has played youth hockey for years. But for girls, organized competition in this area melts away by age 14. "I have no team to play on next year," Lindquist said. "You can change that.
Another two-year school contract - this one for secretaries - has been decided by a state arbitrator. And again, an arbitrator has ruled in the school district's favor by picking its final offer to the secretaries. So far this year state arbitration has settled three other deadlocked negotiations for school employee groups - bus drivers, special-education assistants and paraprofessionals. The arbitrator has picked the district's offer in each of those instances. The new contract for the school district's 17 secretaries covers the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school years.
Bye Barsness says he's merely "stepping into the breach" left with the recent departure of Executive Director Rick McMonagle. On the other hand, Barsness had been president of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust since 2001.
Two growth factors have contributed to a soon-to-be completed business deal. First National Bank of River Falls has signed a purchase agreement with owner David Wolf to buy a five-acre site in the 1200 block of North Main Street. The site is now leased by New Richmond-based auto dealer, Bernard's of River Falls. First National President Tom Palmer said the purchase will be finalized next month.
A two-year deal between the school district's 38 paraprofessionals who assist teachers in the classroom was decided last week. A state arbitrator ruled in favor of the district's last offer. The two sides were divided by insurance benefits. Late last month an arbitrator also ruled in the district's favor involving contracts for bus drivers and special-education assistants. Again, insurance coverage was the sticking point. In talks with the paraprofessionals, the district offered to continue a $286 per month contribution for health insurance coverage.
A start-up, home-based business grew up fast. It's now a key corporate player on the local scene. In late January Sajan Inc. began operating out of a spacious new facility in Whitetail Ridge Corporate Park. Now owners Shannon and Angel Zimmerman invite anyone interested for an open house visit, complete with appetizers, refreshments and local dignitaries from 3-7 p.m. Friday. "Everything has come together here in one place," Angel Zimmerman said. "We've found a home." Indeed, Sajan started in the Zimmerman's River Falls home in 1997.
The school board may vote later this month on funding a new high school girls varsity hockey team that would compete next winter. The plan was briefly discussed at Monday night's regular school board meeting. If approved in late March, such a team would actually be a "co-op," mostly formed by high school girls from River Falls and Baldwin, with a few others possible from St.