Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.
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The River Falls Chamber of Commerce had known for several years that the space it had been using for the River Falls Days carnival might become unavailable in the future. "So we've been looking for several years," said Chamber CEO Chris Blasius. About a year ago, that search kicked into high gear when Chamber staff learned the previous carnival location would not be available in 2019. Blasius said chamber and city staff met with carnival owners and talked at length about festival ground locations.
Members of River Falls School District's five FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams gathered together Thursday, March 7 and celebrated another successful season. They certainly had much to celebrate, according to coach Jeremy Odegard. One team advanced to the state competition and several advanced to sectionals. This is the second year in a row that a River Falls team has made it to the FLL state tournament. The Geekliens, the Meyer Middle School seventh grade team, advanced to state this year.
More than 200 people gathered Tuesday evening, March 5, at the Academy Building, 211 Fremont St., to say goodbye. Deconstruction began on the original 1927 and the 1970s portions of the building Wednesday, March 6, with the process of removing "relics" or historical pieces intended to be re-used in some way. Asbestos removal also began, said River Falls School District Director of Finances and Facility Management Chad Smurawa.
River Falls Days will not have a carnival this year, according to Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Blasius. She spoke at the Feb. 26 River Falls City Council meeting, letting council members know that the chamber has stopped looking for a new location for the 2019 carnival. "We have evaluated over 14 different proposed sites," Blasius said. "At this point all of them have been eliminated for various reasons."
Wendy Wall has spent time at the current River Falls High School building. She is impressed with the layout of the building, and finds it a very conducive learning environment. But, she doesn't feel the same connection and sense of pride she feels when visiting what is now known as the River Falls Academy building on Fremont Street. "It surprised me a little how attached we can become to a building," Wall said. "It's really the memories, not the building."
Between the so-called "polar vortex" and large snowfalls, local school districts have cancelled school several times so far this month. So many times, in fact, that districts are making plans to make up the lost time, to make sure they are giving children the number of instructional hours required by the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website, Wisconsin administrative code requires 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for first through sixth grade, and 1,137 hours for grades 7-12.
Before he was the River Falls City Administrator, when Scot Simpson was starting off in his career, he had some great mentors. Throughout his career, he's worked to pay it forward by mentoring others who are starting their own career journey.
The River Falls Community Theatre aims to amuse with its annual evening of one-act plays. This year's performance is titled "LOVE(ish)." The show, which opened at Junior's Restaurant and Tap House Friday Feb. 15, also runs Feb. 16, 22 and 23. Performances include: • "The Philadelphia" by David Ives, starring Kellie Burrows, Aleisha Miller and Brett Severson • "Canker Sores and Other Distractions" by Christopher Durang, starring Michele Myrick, Denny Cooper and Barrie Mayer
The River Falls City Council voted not to approve street closure, use of a parking area, or use of water for a River Falls Days carnival, but did grant the chamber's request for assistance with other River Falls Days and annual chamber events. As development is planned to start this summer in the area near City Hall where the RF Days carnival has been held for the past several years, the chamber is seeking an alternate location.
When Johnathan Harsdorf was 8 years old, he liked to watch artist Mark Kistler's PBS show. "I watched him almost every day, I'd draw along with him," Harsdorf said. "It was great." Harsdorf continued drawing, doing cartoons for school newspapers and majored in website design in college. "It influenced my decision a lot in what I did as an adult, in choosing a more creative career path," Harsdorf said. Now, Harsdorf does website work for Kistler. And Harsdorf and his son, Christian, now 8 years old, draw together.