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 Spring Valley School Board has set two listening sessions for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15 at Spring Valley Elementary School. The listening sessions are aimed at gathering community members' opinions on the direction they'd like the district to take with the aging elementary school building. "We will have representatives from Market Johnson and SDS Architects there to answer questions," said District Superintendent Don Haack. "They've been doing the facility analysis and they can give more in depth responses to questions about the present facility."
After years of discussions and study, the River Falls City Council has reached a decision regarding the issue of relicensing the city's two hydroelectric dams. At its regular Tuesday, Feb. 27 meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution, after approving several amendments, that endorses a long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River, but also approves the relicensing of the hydroelectric project for the final time. The resolution includes plans for removing first the Powell Falls and then Junction Falls dams.
The River Falls City Council is getting ready to make its final decision on whether or not to relicense the city's hydroelectric dams. In preparation for that decision, the council heard a presentation by Mark Lobermeier of Short Elliott Hendrickson. Lobermeier presented to the council a draft of a resolution that was recommended to the council by the Kinni Corridor Committee. The drafted resolution states that it is based on a "long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River" and mentions maintaining the health of the river as a Class I Trout Stream.
Spring Valley Elementary School is showing its age, said District Superintendent Dr. Donald Haack. At a Feb. 5 special meeting, the school board went over the schedule for its planning process and reviewed some of its options for the elementary school. Haack said it's important to the board to find out what the community wants. "We want to get all the feedback we can, find out what people want," Haack said. "And hopefully, we can give people what they want."
As the snow piled up Monday, Jan. 22 River Falls' snow maintenance staff was working hard to clear roads and keep driving conditions as safe as possible. But even as they worked on the large storm, they were being conscious not to over-use one go-to snow and ice removal tool: salt. "You can overdo salt," said City Operations Director Mike Stifter, "and salt has a real negative effect on the environment." And especially on water resources, like the Kinnickinnic River.
Athletes haven't been the only ones practicing after school, working hard, and preparing for competitions at Meyer Middle School. The MMS Lego Robotics Club's three teams have been working hard, training and competing this year.
Tenth-grader Hunter Jamison has been fishing all his life. When he was in seventh grade, his father gave him the idea to start a fishing club. He brought that idea to life this school year. "I went and talked to Mr. (Kit) Luedtke," Jamison said. "He likes fishing too, so he thought it was a great idea." Jamison said Luedtke helped get the ball rolling, and Jamison started asking teachers if they'd be advisor to the club. Matt Smith agreed to be the advisor.
A crowd packed the River Falls City Council Chambers Monday, Jan. 15 during the River Falls Utility Advisory Board's regular meeting, with many people standing along the back and side of the room. During the meeting the UAB voted to make a recommendation regarding relicensing the city's two hydroelectric dams. The UAB voted to recommend relicensing the Junction Falls hydro facility, and surrendering the license for the Powell Falls facility and removing the dam at some point in the future.
Spring Valley High School senior Sergio Rivero said the United States and Spain aren't necessarily all that different. For example, friends hanging out in Spain do things such as go the the movies or bowling. In Spring Valley, kids also like to go to the movies and bowling as well. "I think my favorite thing was going bowling because we were laughing a lot," Rivero said. "And then we went to eat pizza and that was a very fun day." Homecoming week was also fun, he said.
Spring Valley is a very different place from what Anna Maute is used to. She's an exchange student from Germany. It's "totally not" what she's used to, but she said she's become fond of the little village. "I really like it," Maute said. So far, she said, she's had a lot of fun. One place she's visited has been the Mall of America. "It's too big," she said of the mall. "We were there the whole day. My feet really hurt. But It was fun."