Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.
- Member for
- 2 years 2 weeks
SPRING VALLEY--A weekend luxury of brewing fresh roasted coffee has led Pete and Barb Esanbock to an internet sales business with over 8,500 customers. "I've always loved coffee," said Pete, 45, who was born and raised in Spring Valley and still lives on part of the family farm. "I was always looking for better tasting coffee, always wanted a better cup of coffee." For now, the Esanbocks operate Our Coffee Barn from a shop near their house. Except for occasional sales to neighbors, their growing business is over the internet.
A Positive Alternatives group meeting and sections of carpet from an abandoned building now owed by the county led to a sexual assault charge against a River Falls man. Last week Taylor Johnjoonsoo Langer, 21, 5489A Dawes Place, River Falls, pleaded not guilty to sexual assault of a child under the age of 16. He allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old girl in an abandoned house at 388 W. Grove St., Ellsworth, last June 25. Coincidently, the Pierce County Board voted in April to buy property that includes the building in which the alleged assault occurred.
Things got a little tense for a few minutes. After a flurry of shopping, alterations to the floor-length dress and a Saturday spent having her hair, nails and makeup done, Delaine Peterson peeked out her window watching for her prom date. "Do you think he got lost? Do you think he's coming? Should I call him?" she asked. "Don't call him," Katie Rice told her 80-year-grandmother firmly.
The May 8 fundraiser for Verna (Crow) Lifto and her husband Mike was successful beyond organizers' expectations, reports Lorna Ross. "We had 200 people signed up ahead of time, we planned on 250, and we got 300," said Ross. "It brings tears to my eyes," she said.
When Pierce County bought two houses and land last month, it paid over 10 times the amount the seller paid for the same parcel a month earlier. The board voted 16-1 April 20 to buy the parcel--which includes houses at both 388 and 420 W. Grove St., Ellsworth--for $360,000. According to a property transfer recorded March 17 with the register of deeds, Doug and Lori Dodge bought the same parcel from T. Gregory Amann for $35,000.
Creating jobs is nothing new to him and would, though in a less direct way than in his private life, be his priority as governor of Wisconsin, says Mark Neumann. Neumann, one of seven Republicans registered as candidates in this year's race, visited River Falls, Hudson and Menomonie Monday, walking Main Street in all three communities.
In his 25 years as Pierce County judge, Robert Wing has learned a few things, but, like most of those who appear before him, he doesn't think he has changed much. "For some people, being a judge is their identity," said Wing. "But that's not who I am." At age 63, Wing's ready to step down from the bench and focus on the roles he values more: husband, father, friend and, soon, grandfather. So while his term won't officially end for three more months, Wing will retire Friday, April 30. "I'm ready for something else," said Wing firmly.
Pierce County supervisors voted Tuesday to proceed with borrowing $1.695 million and offer bonds for sale, but the 12-5 vote could be a problem later. The board's bond counsel has advised the plan needs a yes vote from at least 13 supervisors--either at Tuesday's meeting or when another vote is taken in May.
With only days left in the current legislative session, local lawmakers are concerned about an attempt to fast-track a bill that would overhaul voter registration laws. Companion bills introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature would make voter fraud easier, would increase costs for property taxpayers and are being rushed through without analysis, say Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, and Assemblywoman Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson. Companion bills, Senate Bill 640 and Assembly Bill 895, were introduced March 23 and 24 respectively. Public hearings were held March 31.
The Pierce County Board will have five new members following the April 6 election. In District 8, Tom Sitz out-polled Katie Pata 277-204 to win the seat formerly held by John Kucinski, who was defeated in the primary election. District 8 includes Wards 1 and 2 of the town of River Falls and Ward 2 of the town of Martell. There was no candidate on the ballot for the District 7 seat formerly held by Ron Lockwood. But write-in candidate Rod Rommel earned 19 votes to Peter Dahm's five write-in votes.