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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Rising Sun Farm has been in Ryan Browne's family since about 1974. Browne's father, Roger Browne, started the farm with Keith Kozub. In the 1990s, the property was split into Rising Sun Farm, operated by Roger Browne, and White Pine Orchard, operated by Kozub. Ryan Browne grew up on Rising Sun Farm, doing chores. "After college, it seemed like a good opportunity to come back here and do this," Browne said. So he moved back to River Falls with wife Lindsey Baris. They started working on the farm in 2012, and bought the business in 2015.
Spring Valley School District residents have been asked to complete a survey regarding the future of the district's elementary school. Superintendent Don Haack said surveys were mailed to every household in the district. Households with more than one voter can request a second paper copy of the survey or a digital access code by contacting the district office. All surveys were due back by Oct. 15.
River Falls area residents have been turning the dial to 88.7 and tuning in to WRFW-FM since the station launched in November 1968. UW-River Falls launched the station on a budget of $9,000. Lorin Robinson was the station's founder and the first faculty manager. He said there was an effort made to start a radio station at UWRF in 1966, but the project ran into two problems: budget and finding a space that could hold the station.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, a new academy opened in River Falls: Buckthorn Academy of Magical Arts. "Buckthorn" is the brainchild of Fox Den Used Books owners Heather and James Williams, their son Evan and their staff. "My husband started it," Heather said. "He set the stage and the rest of us on staff ... started fleshing it out. Buckthorn is entirely our original creation, our own fresh new material. Pulling from mythology, local, plants, folklore. "This story became our love song to River Falls."
The Spring Valley School Board received an update on wind damage repairs to Spring Valley Middle-High School at its Oct. 1 regular meeting. Superintendent Don Haack assured the board the school had been made weather-tight. The school was damaged by a storm Sept. 20, and the school for the day Sept. 21 while damage was assessed. The board commended school staff present on keeping those who were at the school calm and safe when the storm hit.
The current River Falls Town Hall is located at the Randall School House, at the intersection of 770th Avenue (Randall Road) and Highway 65. The historic one-room schoolhouse also serves as a polling place for the town. With no internet, no air conditioning, no running water or indoor plumbing, it's not an easy place for poll workers to spend long election days, said Town Zoning Administrator Jerome Rodewald. The town also doesn't currently have an office for Rodewald's zoning administrator position or for the town clerk.
Gretchen Cipriano, Middle/High School principal What is new in your building this school year? We have new teachers: Travis Carlson (science), Sean Hoolihan (social studies), Brittany Hoolihan (sixth grade school counselor), Catelynn Clark (Spanish intern), Rachel Traynor (special education intern). We are continuing building renovations: new LED lighting in some areas, new parking lot asphalt and signage, epoxy on the locker room floors. Are there any new programs/initiatives starting this year?
The Spring Valley School Board heard a presentation on the proposed 2018-19 budget during its regular meeting Monday, Sept. 17. The numbers presented were estimates. Final numbers will be available in mid-October.
The community came together to mourn with the Janicki family when 11-year-old Meyer Middle School student Nola Janicki died by suicide in March. Her mother, Jenna Janicki, said the community has been supportive of her family, and she's heard that Nola's story has touched many people's lives in ways she hadn't realized. Jenna said her family appreciate the outpouring of support. Now, Jenna is asking the community to help her family create a memorial to Nola at the city's new dog park.
Bacon Bash brought bacon-lovers, pig-caller, pig-wing competitors, flying pigs, even Captain Bacon to River Falls Sept. 15-16.