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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River Falls Community Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" lives up to its name, sharing with audiences the heart and hilarity of the original novel. Like the beloved classic, the play tells the story of a small town and a family of "the worst kids in the history of the world," the Herdmans: Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claud, and Gladys. The Herdmans come to church for free snacks and shock the kids and adults in town by taking over the annual Christmas pageant.
River Falls author Michele Klecker-Sailor wanted to write a children's ABC book back in 2009, when she first started writing kids' books. She said the challenge was creating a new ABC book when so many already existed. "The idea came to me late (or early) one morning last December," she said, "and even though it was 3 a.m., and I really wanted to go back to bed ... I was compelled to go to the computer and type up the first draft of this story." Klecker-Sailor's book is about pieces of fabric lying on Mrs. Claus's sewing room floor.
On Monday, Nov. 19, the Spring Valley School Board "approved in principle" an agreement cooperating with the village of Spring Valley on hiring a school resource officer. The agreement would need to be formalized before the officer was hired, said School District Superintendent Don Haack. Haack said the village and school board would also need to agree to a contract between the village and district. Once all this is approved, the village will hire the officer, who will serve both school buildings for eight hours a week, pending details that have yet to be worked out, Haack said.
When Mel Germanson and Jerry Carter announced they planned to retire from managing their annual "Grumpy Old Men" food drive, Rick Bowen and Craig Miles were ready to take up their torch. Bowen had helped Germanson and Carter with the drive for years. Miles, Carter's nephew, started helping with the drive last year. "I think both of us are looking for some form of meaningful give-back community service," said Bowen. Though they'll be carrying on the "Grumpy Old Men's" tradition, Bowen and Miles said they won't take the name.
"My name is Adolf George Koderick. My friends have referred to me as 'the old survivor," said Koderick one afternoon, sitting in his town of River Falls home. Koderick, who goes by the nickname Art, has earned that title over his 95 years. He was born in LaCrosse, and it is there that his story of survival began. Childhood survival Koderick said his father was very strong. "Probably the strongest man I've ever met in my life," he said. "But he was abusive."
The Spring Valley School Board heard an update on the results of its community survey Monday, Oct. 29 regarding the Spring Valley Elementary School building. The survey, conducted by the company School Perceptions, had a 36 percent participation rate, said Superintendent Don Haack. Haack reported the survey had one of the highest participation rates School Perceptions has seen. "So they're pretty pleased with the result rate," Haack said. He noted a nice distribution of ages among those who participated in the survey.
The national news lately has included stories of accidents involving drivers not stopping when school buses stop to pick up or drop off kids. In the past week, said River Falls School District Transportation Director Todd Burnap, there have been four such accidents nationally. Burnap said he'd like to remind local drivers to be cautious around school busses. "If you see a school bus with it's flashing lights and the stop arm out, make sure you stop," said Burnap.
Mayor Dan Toland and the River Falls City Council have declared Saturday, Nov. 3 to be WRFW Day in River Falls. The proclamation is in honor of the 50th anniversary of UW-River Falls' student-run radio station, WRFW (88.7 FM). WRFW was founded in 1968, and joined the Wisconsin Public Radio network, becoming its far western Wisconsin affiliate in 1998. Toland's proclamation also honors the fact that the station gives students and the community news and music and "offers hands-on training for journalism and communication students."
A four-car crash closed down the two right ways of I-94 Monday afternoon, between Carmichael Road and the Highway 35 exit. According to a WisDOT notification, the crash occurred around 1 p.m. by around 1:30, emergency workers were still on-scene. Hudson Police Chief Geoff Willems reported there were minor injuries, and that law enforcement and emergency responders were doing their best to clear the scene. Wisconsin State Patrol, St. Croix EMS, and Hudson Police and Fire Departments responded to the accident.
Now a town of Troy resident, Gary Porter grew up in Greenfield, Iowa. Located southwest of Des Moines, with a population of about 2,000, Greenfield maintains a county seat and a town square with the courthouse in the middle. Porter recently published "Town Kid: Reflections of a Midwestern Boyhood," a collection of 32 essays sharing his experiences growing up in Greenfield in the 1950s and 60s. "Each one is accompanied by an old black and white photo," Porter said. "The majority of those photos came from what's called the Sidey collection."