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 City Council Member Diane Odeen has been on the city's Utility Advisory Board since she was first elected to the council in 2013. Earlier this summer, Odeen represented River Falls Municipal Utilities and WPPI Energy (of which RFMU is a member-utility) at the American Public Power Association (APPA) National Conference in New Orleans. "I learned that public power is a big deal," Odeen said. "RFMU is not huge - we have around 6,700 customers—but it is part of a national organization that represents 2,000 public utilities serving 49 million people."
This summer, two River Falls High School students traveled to Baltimore, Maryland for a national Future Business Leaders of America competition. This past year, Jessica Lindall and Olivia Miller developed an app in time for an FBLA competition. They went to the state competition in La Crosse in April, where they took fourth place. That allowed them to move on to the national competition in Baltimore. Lindall said students were given a "situation" and were asked to create their own app to meet certain requirements.
The Swinging Bridge was built in 1925, and has been a part of River Falls ever since. It is widely thought of as an iconic part of River Falls. In February, the Swinging Bridge received wider recognition from the state of Wisconsin, when it was added to the State Registry of Historic Places. The recognition has not stopped there. On July 19, the city was informed that the Swinging Bridge has been added to the National Register for Historic Places.
On Thursday, Dec. 14, around 8:30 p.m. multiple people reported hearing a loud noise like a firework in the 600 block of South Main Street. They later realized it was at least one gunshot, according to police reports recently released to the River Falls Journal after an open records request. 9-1-1 dispatchers received more than one call regarding the incident, which caused a stir on social media after UW-River Falls posted an alert about "possible shots fired." This post said the incident did not present a threat to the campus.
It has been a busy year thus far for business development in River falls. Aldi, Dollar Tree and Culvers have made plans to come to town, Chippewa Valley Technical College is working on an expansion, and the River Falls Gymnastics club is construction a new building near the high school. Many of these projects have already begun construction. New development Aldi
Summer renovations just getting started at Spring Valley Middle/High School. The school board heard an update on the status and timelines for summer renovations and repairs at its June 18 regular meeting. The renovations include a new parking lot, new LED lighting and new floors in the locker rooms. This is all in addition to normal summer maintenance, according to Superintendent Dr. Don Haack. Haack said Backwoods Electric started installing new LED lighting in the gym on Monday, June 18. The project will take about a month.
The River Falls Police Department is looking for information about two homes that were recently vandalized with racial slurs. The doors of two homes were reportedly written on in permanent marker. The writing said "Go Back to Africa" and also included several racial slurs and profanity. The homes were located in the 400 block of Kennedy Street and the 400 block of Griffey Street. The vandalism happened between 9 p.m. Thursday, June 21, and 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 22.
The River Falls School District has been working hard on planning projects stemming from two referendum questions passed on the April 3 ballot. The referendum questions were as follows:
Dave Ostendorf had been aware of Meteorologist Paul Douglas for a long time. "He's a pretty well-known figure up here," Ostendorf said. "I thought, given what we've been doing as churches in the community, it might be interesting to see if he might be able to come over and speak with us."
Craig Lewis taught for 35 years. As the Hudson resident neared retirement, he made a decision that's made a big impact on his life. "I knew I wasn't going to be able to just go cold turkey on having kids around," Lewis said, "So it just seemed like the right thing to try." Lewis decided to become a foster parent. For three years he was a teacher and a foster parent. Then, he retired and went into foster care full time. "Every day is rewarding," Lewis said. "Every day is fun. Something different."