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 High School Wildcats have a chance to be Falcons as well, thanks to a new dual-credit program between RFHS and UW-River Falls, announced Thursday, May 9, at RFHS. Through the program, RFHS students can earn college credit from UWRF by taking classes taught at River Falls High School. Right now, those classes will be taught by teachers Sue Popelka, and Stacey Matter.
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.
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.
More than 200 people gathered Tuesday evening, March 5, at the Academy Building, 211 Fremont St., to say goodbye. Deconstruction began on the original 1927 and the 1970s portions of the building Wednesday, March 6, with the process of removing "relics" or historical pieces intended to be re-used in some way. Asbestos removal also began, said River Falls School District Director of Finances and Facility Management Chad Smurawa.
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."
The River Falls Community Theatre aims to amuse with its annual evening of one-act plays. This year's performance is titled "LOVE(ish)." The show, which opened at Junior's Restaurant and Tap House Friday Feb. 15, also runs Feb. 16, 22 and 23. Performances include: • "The Philadelphia" by David Ives, starring Kellie Burrows, Aleisha Miller and Brett Severson • "Canker Sores and Other Distractions" by Christopher Durang, starring Michele Myrick, Denny Cooper and Barrie Mayer
When Johnathan Harsdorf was 8 years old, he liked to watch artist Mark Kistler's PBS show. "I watched him almost every day, I'd draw along with him," Harsdorf said. "It was great." Harsdorf continued drawing, doing cartoons for school newspapers and majored in website design in college. "It influenced my decision a lot in what I did as an adult, in choosing a more creative career path," Harsdorf said. Now, Harsdorf does website work for Kistler. And Harsdorf and his son, Christian, now 8 years old, draw together.