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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One of City Engineer Reid Wronski's first meetings, when he started working for the city of River Falls in 1999 involved planning for Town 'N Country Day. "They were describing something to the effect of 'cow patty bingo,'" Wronski recalled. Basically, he said, bets were taken on where a cow was going to leave a "cow patty." "And I thought, what kind of town have I moved into here?" Wronski said. Twenty years later, Wronski is still here. That's because, he said, River Falls has been a wonderful place to live and work.
Wednesday, July 17 the 1-128th infantry (River Falls Army National Guard) left town, traveling by buses northbound on Main Street from Cascade Avenue. The busses left the armory around 1 p.m. and reaching the downtown area around 1:10 p.m. Community members showed support by lining up along Main Street. Many waved flags and signs. The local troops are part of 400 WI Eagle Bat troops deployed and celebrated this past Sunday in Menomonie.
A River Falls Days event put together by local Elm Street businesses ran Saturday, July 13 without the open container exemption originally granted to organizers. Mayor Dan Toland vetoed the open container exemption, which was granted at the June 25 City Council meeting. A group of Elm Street area businesses organized the event which featured face painting, temporary tattoos, kids crafts and more.
In 2015, Tony Jilek read an article in the River Falls Journal about River Falls First Congregational United Church of Christ adding solar panels to its building. Jilek said he went to talk with the administrator at his own church, St. Bridget Catholic Church, and asked why St. Bridget wasn't adding solar panels. The Rev. Gerald Harris said the idea of adding solar panels to St. Bridget arose when First Congregational UCC added solar panels to their building. Harris said he had some conversations with Mike Noreen, River Falls Utility Conservation & Efficiency coordinator.
The Copper Kettle was the clear winner of this year's Burger Battle, according to Craig Hofland, one of the organizers, and Teri-Gene Conlan of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Copper Kettle owner/operator Ted Leier said it feels good to win. "We've got a great staff," he said. "And this kinda shows everything that we're doing." Leier said the winning burger was a good product for a good cause —one that he's glad Copper Kettle could be a part of.
The Roberts and Warren Twin Lakes Committee heard reports on studies done on Twin Lakes during it's Monday, July 1 meeting. The committee learned more about the problems caused by the flooded lakes, the causes of the flooding and discussed possible solutions. Flooding issues Town of Warren Chair and Twin Lakes Committee member Geno Hanson reported to the committee that the town of Warren has declared a state of emergency due to the Twin Lakes flooding.
Saturday morning, June 22, a group gathered at Kinnic Health and Rehab to plant two prairie fire crab trees. The trees have big, dark pink blossoms and are "just very beautiful," according to Sarah Nelson. The trees were planted in honor of Nelson's mother-in-law Deanna Nelson, and in honor of her mother, Joann Thinesen. "Both my mother and mother-in-law had dementia," said Nelson, "We lived with that for years with my mom, and with then again with my husband's mother more recently." Joann Thinesen died in 2009. Deanna Nelson died in 2017.
A crowd of people gathered in the grass behind the River Falls Academy building Thursday, June 27, for the opening of a time capsule found in the 1927 cornerstone of the building. "All of it is just a good reminder to all of us, of people that came before us and built a solid, strong educational institution here in this community, you know, decades ago," said Superintendent Jamie Benson. Benson said a new time capsule will go into the new addition of the Academy building, which is to be ready for use by the 2020-21 school year.
There will be fewer stop signs on Golf View Drive, following the River Falls City Council's decision at the June 25 regular meeting. The stop signs on Golf View Drive at Cudd Avenue will be removed, changing the intersection from a four-way stop to a two-way stop. Traffic would continue through the intersection on Golf View Drive. Cudd Avenue traffic will continue to stop at the intersection. "Cross traffic does not stop" signs were set to go up to warn drivers of this change, according to the council packet.
Jasmine Estey joined the Meyer Middle School girls' basketball team in October. She almost wasn't able to play basketball, said her mom, Melissa Hejl. Sometimes, Hejl said, she wondered how things would have gone if Estey hadn't joined the team. "They're the biggest supporters that she's got," Hejl said. Estey was diagnosed with osteosarcoma early this year. Around Christmastime, Estey's coach Chantele Torrez said Estey started complaining of hip and leg pain. At first, Torrez thought it was a basketball injury.