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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Though the day dawned cold, wet and gray, a group of people still gathered at Heritage Park Saturday, May 18, to walk the White Pathway. "The weather didn't stop us - we will keep growing," said organizer Kathy Allen. Those gathered were there to join in the inaugural Lyme Disease Awareness Community Walk—a success, according to Allen, who organized and hosted the event with Jill Magee. "A great group" turned up for the event, Allen said, despite the weather.
Dale Griffey told firefighters the smell of smoke awakened him in the early hours May 23, according to Assistant Fire Chief Mike Moody. When Griffey got up and looked outside, the barn was on fire. The River Falls Fire Departmentment was called at about 1:10 a.m. for the fire at 1341 Oak Drive, in the town of Kinnickinnic. Moody said Griffey is the owner and resident. "Our first arriving unit found the original barn fully engulfed," Moody said, "and rapidly spreading to an attached pole shed."
River Falls School District recently honored this year's volunteers of the year. Representatives from the schools at which the honorees volunteer shared a few words about each volunteer. Rachel Schultz Greenwood Elementary Principal Nate Schurman "Rachel Schultz is co-president of our PTO and work limits her day-to-day volunteering, but she has been a member of the PTO for many years and helps a lot behind the scenes preparing between events, and is present working at events as well." Jamie Partyka
The River Falls City Council voted at its May 14 regular meeting to request a waiver on a Wisconsin state law that would require the city to produce a Housing Affordability Report and a New Housing Fee Report by Jan.1, 2020, and to update that annually.
Aleisha Miller is often recognized by kids around the community as the "Energy Lady." "I'll be walking in the grocery store, and I'll hear somebody whispering 'Mom, that's the energy lady,'" Miller said. The River Falls School District works with the city of River Falls and its Powerful Choices Initiative to hire Miller, through her company Miller Escape, to do energy education for all second and fourth grade students in the district. Miller was recently recognized in a different way for her energy education.
River Falls High School Wildcats have a chance to be Falcons as well, thanks to a new dual-credit program between RFHS and UW-River Falls, announced Thursday, May 9, at RFHS. Through the program, RFHS students can earn college credit from UWRF by taking classes taught at River Falls High School. Right now, those classes will be taught by teachers Sue Popelka, and Stacey Matter.
River Falls K-12 students may be seeing animals in school more often in the future. The River Falls School District recently approved a new therapy animals policy. District Director of Student Services Jackie Stienhoff said the idea came from a discussion she'd had with staff at a conference. The teachers asked for guidance with animals coming in. She said she spoke with the district's principals, who also asked for guidance and direction. The goal, Steinhoff said, is to make sure that students, staff and any visiting animals are all safe.
River Falls High School has rearranged things a bit in its administrative configuration and is welcoming new Assistant Principal Lisa Goihl to the team. Previously the assistant principal title was split into two roles: Assistant principal of academics and assistant principal / activities director. Rollie Hall served as assistant principal / activities director. His activities director role has now been expanded to a full time position.
Jill Magee didn't realize how serious her illness was about a year ago, when she came down with flu-like symptoms: fever, aches and pains. She said she let things go on for a month or two before she ended up going to the doctor where she learned she had Lyme disease. Even with relatively quick intervention, Magee said, the disease \ took its toll on her. She developed Bell's Palsy, a form of temporary partial facial paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Mayor Dan Toland made a statement during the public comment section of the April 23 River Falls City Council meeting regarding an article in the Sunday, April 21 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, regarding dam removals in Minnesota and Wisconsin, particularly in the greater Twin Cities Metro area. "Part of the article focused on the Kinni and the future dam removal," Toland said. "I want our council members, residents, community partners and visitors to know that there are some concerning issues with the article."