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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While students at local schools may be receiving or preparing to receive their report cards, it's also the time of year that River Falls School District receives its report card from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. River Falls' overall score this year, a 77.7, is very close to last year's 77.6. "I think that we kind of expected to be very similar to what we were last year," said River Falls Director of Academic Services Jennifer Peterson.
River Falls Community Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" lives up to its name, sharing with audiences the heart and hilarity of the original novel. Like the beloved classic, the play tells the story of a small town and a family of "the worst kids in the history of the world," the Herdmans: Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claud, and Gladys. The Herdmans come to church for free snacks and shock the kids and adults in town by taking over the annual Christmas pageant.
Toastmasters invites the public to its open house 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 8 at the River Falls Public Library (140 Union St.) The guest speaker will be Dustin Dodge, co-owner with Mike O'Hara of the Swinging Bridge Brewery. Dodge, an air force veteran and firefighter in the Twin Cities, was always interested in a small business. He will share how Swinging Bridge Brewery got its start, how he found the space and financial support with the tutelage of the UW-River Falls Small Business Development Center, a mentoring organization called SCORE and a regional business fund.
A box covered in red wrapping paper sprinkled with snowmen and candy canes is sitting in the River Falls Police Department lobby, waiting to be filled. The police department is collecting non-perishable food items for the food shelf. And they're giving something back to those who donate. From Dec. 3-20, the police department is offering $5 off any outstanding parking ticket, said Investigator Jennifer Knutson, who brought the program to the RFPD.
River Falls author Michele Klecker-Sailor wanted to write a children's ABC book back in 2009, when she first started writing kids' books. She said the challenge was creating a new ABC book when so many already existed. "The idea came to me late (or early) one morning last December," she said, "and even though it was 3 a.m., and I really wanted to go back to bed ... I was compelled to go to the computer and type up the first draft of this story." Klecker-Sailor's book is about pieces of fabric lying on Mrs. Claus's sewing room floor.
It was a chilly group bundled in winter gear that gathered on the corner of Main Street and Cascade Avenue with lit candles Monday evening, Nov. 26. With lows dropping into the teens and a biting breeze, it was a little hard to keep candles lit, said town of River Falls resident Jackie Brux, who organized the candlelight vigil held in support of immigrants. Though some candles struggled, the determination of those holding the candles held strong, Brux said.
Though she now lives in Los Angeles, Amelia Skye Dunlap has not forgotten her roots. Dunlap grew up in Hudson and attended UW-River Falls, receiving a marketing degree. Dunlap is now living her dream, and she wants to thank the Hudson and River Falls communities for helping her reach those dreams. The 2014 Hudson High School graduate earned a marketing degree in 2018. By July 1, she packed up and moved to LA. She was following a dream she'd had since she was a little girl, to go to LA to pursue a career in acting, modeling and the arts.
The River Falls City Council recently approved its 2019-2020 biennial budget, which includes the 2019 tax levy. The property tax levy proposed at the Oct. 27 council meeting was reduced from $6,641,126 to $6,550,000 due to increases in other revenues, such as transportation aid. The city's mill race increase is 2.4 percent this year. The new budget focuses on:
The Roberts Village Board approved raising the sewer rates by 10 percent during its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 12. The same motion that approved the rate increase also called on the board to revisit the rates at the December 2020 meeting, to see if there is an opportunity to lower the rates again. The rates were raised in order to help repay the loans the village has taken out to pay for the CLEARAS water treatment facility. Board member Katy Kapaun said she hopes the rates will be able to be lowered again in the future.
In the wake of the tragic death of three Chippewa Falls Girl Scouts, and one mother, the River Falls School District was one of a number of districts in the region that reached out to support the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District. River Falls Superintendent Jamie Benson said River Falls reached out to Chippewa Falls to see if it could help in any way.