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.
- Member for
- 6 years 2 months
The Spring Valley School Board is moving forward with plans to build a new elementary school on the Middle/High School campus, and to tear down the old building. At its Monday, May 6 meeting, the school board heard presentations from SDS Architects and Market & Johnson Construction on the next steps for the new school, as well as a detailed report of how the planning and eventual construction process will progress. The board also heard a presentation from Lisa Voisin of Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) regarding financing for the project.
Jill Magee didn't realize how serious her illness was about a year ago, when she came down with flu-like symptoms: fever, aches and pains. She said she let things go on for a month or two before she ended up going to the doctor where she learned she had Lyme disease. Even with relatively quick intervention, Magee said, the disease \ took its toll on her. She developed Bell's Palsy, a form of temporary partial facial paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
A group of people filled the River Falls Public Library's lower level Wednesday, April 24. The crowd gathered to learn more about potential plans for commuter trains going from Eau Claire to the Twin Cities. William Draves, co-chair of the St. Croix Valley Rail Group, said his organization and the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition are planning a fully-private train, which would not use taxpayer dollars for support. The group shared some history of efforts to bring a passenger train to the area, where those efforts are today, and then took time to answer questions.
River Falls United Methodist Church is running an ad in the April 11 print edition of the River Falls Journal as a way to dissent against a decision made at the end of February by the international United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church's General Conference, which governs the United Methodist Church internationally, meets every four years. At its last meeting in 2016, a commission was created to help determine the church's overall position on LGBT+ people.
Spring Valley School Board members debated but did not make changes to the district's athletic/co-curricular code during an April 1 meeting where other student-recognition matters came before the board. The board focused much of its attention on a portion addressing "other violations." This section said students could be removed from co-curricular activities due to "activity" that is "not consistent with community standards."
When she lost her apartment in a fire on Jan. 26, Ashley Christiansen lost more than her home and possessions. She lost a piece of her family: Her 3-year-old tabby cat, Tater. Christiansen said she misses Tater, or Tate for short, "more than I could ever explain." "I don't have a home anymore, so having him would give me a sense of home," she said. "He was my family for two years." The fire ravaged Christiansen's apartment at 222 E. Walnut St. in the early morning hours of Jan. 26; its contents were destroyed.
Tables at the Spring Valley Middle/High School library/media center were filled with visitors wanting to learn more about the district's plans for an elementary school referendum Monday, Feb. 25. The district held an information session, which included members from the school board, Superintendent Dr. Donald Haack, Randy LaFaive of Market Johnson, and Dale Poynter of SDS. The referendum
River Falls Days will not have a carnival this year, according to Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Blasius. She spoke at the Feb. 26 River Falls City Council meeting, letting council members know that the chamber has stopped looking for a new location for the 2019 carnival. "We have evaluated over 14 different proposed sites," Blasius said. "At this point all of them have been eliminated for various reasons."
Wendy Wall has spent time at the current River Falls High School building. She is impressed with the layout of the building, and finds it a very conducive learning environment. But, she doesn't feel the same connection and sense of pride she feels when visiting what is now known as the River Falls Academy building on Fremont Street. "It surprised me a little how attached we can become to a building," Wall said. "It's really the memories, not the building."
Between the so-called "polar vortex" and large snowfalls, local school districts have cancelled school several times so far this month. So many times, in fact, that districts are making plans to make up the lost time, to make sure they are giving children the number of instructional hours required by the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website, Wisconsin administrative code requires 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for first through sixth grade, and 1,137 hours for grades 7-12.