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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As the Spring Valley School Board continues working towards a plan for the district's elementary school building, the board has been reaching out to citizens to ensure whatever plan is chosen meets the expectations of the community. "It's their elementary school," said School District Superintendent Dr. Donald Haack. "I take care of the schools, but the schools belong to the citizens of the Spring Valley district. And we want to do with the schools what they want us to do. So we need to get a really, really good feeling for what they want."
Town of Oak Grove resident Tom Winkler was working at the St. Croix County Jail as a chaplain's assistant. One day, an inmate told him, "it was great that I came in and tried to 'save' the inmates, but maybe I should try to save somebody before they get put in prison," Winkler said. "I came home and I said, hey, this is what this guy said to me," Winkler said, "And we talked about it, and at the time, our kids were gone, and where we are in this big house with not enough people in it, and a desire to help people who need help, and off we went."
After years as River Falls' Emergency Medical Services director, Jeff Rixmann is stepping into a new role. Rixmann has accepted the position of Community Relations Coordinator, said Assistant City Administrator Julie Bergstrom. "It's basically what Jeff has been doing, along with the EMS director duties," Bergstrom said. "And with the growth in the organization, it's just too hard to get everything done." So, Rixmann has stepped into the newly-created position.
Plans are in place for consultants to assess the Spring Valley Elementary building to see what needs to be done to improve it. The options could include some amount of restoration, simply building a new building, or doing nothing at all. Spring Valley School District Superintendent Dr. Don Haack said what is to be done is yet to be determined. The original portion of the elementary building was built in 1929. Additions came in 1950, again in 1968, and finally in 1973.
River Falls and other firefighters and emergency responders were sent to the scene of a structure fire near N7521 Highway 65, in the town of River Falls, Saturday morning, Nov 11. Firefighters were called before 6:20 a.m. At around 7:50 a.m., those driving by could see smoke coming from the address on HIghway 65. Law enforcement redirected traffic around the many emergency vehicles at the scene of the fire. More information will be added as it becomes available.
Those walking along Main Street Saturday, Oct. 21, will see more than the usual offerings in 16 local businesses. Those businesses are hosting a combined total of 26 artists for the River Falls Community Arts Base (CAB)'s annual Main Street Art Crawl, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 "It's a special time to patronize local businesses and see the work of our wonderful River Falls area artists while getting in some early Christmas shopping," said CAB president Steve Preisler.
Lately, people going to Subway downtown at 201 N. Main St. have been stopping to chat with David Markson and Amy Noonan as they work on a new mural. This new mural is across from the existing mural that's on RiverWalk Square, also painted by Markson. The new mural is the vision of the building's owner, Charla Moore Kusilek. It depicts the scene in front of the veterinary practice that used to operate inside the building on which the mural is being painted. "All these stoppers by remember this time period, so it's been a real memory thing for those people," Noonan said.
Most people don't put much thought into getting into their car and driving off to wherever they need to go. Not everyone has that opportunity. "It seems like a simple thing to do," said St. Bridget Deacon Greg Miller. "But to them, it's like giving somebody who lost an arm a brand new arm back." Miller, in his ministry work, often finds people calling in with no transportation.
Helen Crary Stassen was deeply affected by the loss of her son Benjamin to suicide in 2010. She tried all kinds of therapy. Finally, she and her husband decided to buy a horse, a Paint called Mara B. Having Mara around has made a huge difference in Stassen's world. But Mara hasn't just had an impact on Stassen and her family. Wanting to share Mara with the world, Stassen shares her story via a blog and Instagram. It was through Instagram that Stassen met Anastasia Hirst and John Fulton. Those two are going to make Stassen's and Mara's story reach even further.
Members of Rush River Lutheran Church have been cooking lefse, gearing up to feed a crowd at the70th annual Harvest Dinner, set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. "The Harvest Dinner is an opportunity to live our mission to 'Reach Out In Love' to each other, our neighbors, our friends, and every guest we serve," said church member Lisa Anderson. "Involvement of the whole faith community nourishes and builds the relationships that we have with each other."