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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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."
UW-River Falls student Kristy Strain had volunteered to help with dementia patients at Hudson Hospital in the past. Later, she wanted to continue volunteering within the health care system, and looked on the UWRF website for volunteer opportunities. One of those listed was a chance to work as an Allina Health Hospice volunteer. Strain's grandmother went through hospice care. "So that was kind of one of my areas of interest," she said. "Eventually, I'd like to run my own hospice or manage a hospice in the long term."
When Kinnic Health & Rehab Assistant Activities Director Kristin Herum heard Janet and Doug Hansen's wedding story from 54 years ago, she was inspired to throw them a real wedding celebration. "It took a little convincing on Doug's part, but Janet really wanted to do it," said Herum. Janet, who has been staying at Kinnic Health & Rehab, said their vow renewal ceremony and celebration turned out even better than she'd expected. The whole event was very different from Janet and Doug's wedding 54 years ago.
Spring Valley School District has expelled a student who threatened to "shoot up the school" via social media around April 4-5. The student was expelled through age 21 from Spring Valley Middle/High School. The student will be allowed to apply for probationary readmittance which could allow the student to graduate on time, according to a news release sent out by the school district.
Hannah Burns loves seeing people use the fitness park located near Hudson's Lakefront Park. Just installed in November, the park was Burns' special project. Last month, she stopped by a Hudson School Board meeting to talk about her project and the award she's received because of it. Burns earned a Prudential Distinguished Finalist bronze award for the state of Wisconsin, and also won on a local level. In addition, Burns received a Presidential volunteer award, according to her mom, Kim Burns. When she started the project, Hannah had no idea all this would happen.