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Town of River Falls farm could host "Loon Fest" music festival

Isaac Fuhr of the Minneapolis-based band the Wailing Loons approached the River Falls Town Board at Monday's meeting about hosting a music festival at Amy Field's farm, W8198 Hwy. 29.

The event would host bands from the Twin Cities area, River Falls and university open-mic night participants.

Field and Fuhr described the festival as "family friendly and all-inclusive." The money raised would go to the St. Croix Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Field, who recently bought the Lamb family's old farm, said they want to "bring artists and the community together."

The event, open to the public, would be all day Saturday, Sept. 14 and feature 12 hours of music.

The group expects roughly 300 people to attend and said it would cooperate fully with the Town Board's laws concerning large gatherings. No alcohol will be served at the festival.

Town Chairwoman Diana Smith told the duo they will have to have a licensed food vendor if they plan to sell food, which they do. She also suggested they call the Wisconsin DOT to discuss possible signs and procedures for traffic since the farm is on a state highway.

The Town Board also named these stipulations: no advertising or charging money for camping or opening camping to the public; talk to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department to see if extra patrols or a deputy are needed; discuss the festival with surrounding neighbors; no music can be played after midnight; carry liability insurance.

Fuhr, who plays percussion, described the Wailing Loons as a "folksy mix and earthy blend of music." Twin Cities band One Ukulele is another confirmed participant.

The board asked Fuhr and Field to complete the suggested items and come back to the next board meeting Aug. 5.

The town is still struggling with how to collect the many unpaid fire calls. It's developed a protocol to follow:

  • Letters will be sent to people owing for fire calls every 30, 60 and 90 days.
  • If this doesn't produce a payment, the fire call will be turned over to Credit Service International of Hudson for collection.
  • The collection agency will work with people to make payments. If this doesn't work, the collection agency determines if the fire call recipient should be taken to small-claims court.Tony Roberts of Credit Service International said the goal of the company is to contact people and work out voluntary pay arrangements. Their intent is not to harm credit or take people to court, Roberts said. People will be taken to small-claims court if their employment is verified, they have the means to pay and are choosing not to when it is rightly owed, Roberts said.

In other business:

  • Smith reported that board members and Brian Weber, Highway Department supervisor, inspected 805th Street on July 11 and found the road to be in better shape than expected. However, safety is a concern. The decision was made to follow Weber's recommendations to remove trees from the right-of-way, do ditch work on the west side to improve water flow, grade the road, add rock and extend the culvert near the end of the road at the hammerhead turnaround.
  • The town recycling center is looking for a part-time employee for Wednesday nights from 5-8 p.m. Applicants must be at least 18, able to lift 70-80 pounds and be a town resident.
  • A resolution amending the town's fee schedule passed. A nonmetallic mining operator's license is $600; an annual renewal of the license is $600; base administration fee is $10,000. The board also voted to require the business name and contact information on a nonmetallic mining operator's license application form.
  • Board members agreed to give Bob Bliss until Aug. 17 to respond to a letter concerning his intentions to use the radio tower he owns off 950th Street for ham radio use.
  • Clerk Ruth Stern reported at the July 1 meeting that a journal containing the original road layout records from 1855 for the town of Greenwood (now the town and city of River Falls) had been found at the Town Hall. It will be donated to the UW-River Falls archives.