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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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.
Spring Valley School District staff completed a staff climate survey for the fourth year in a row. Superintendent Dr. Don Haack said this year's survey had stronger positives than in the past. "I think we're heading in a good direction," he said, "but we've still got a lot of work to do." The survey is done to discover things that need to be worked on, things that are going well, and what the district can do to keep improving.
River Falls is once again tuning up for its annual Roots and Bluegrass Festival, set for this weekend, April 13-15. New this year, Chamber Marketing and Communications Specialist Meghann Witthoft said, is a Flapjacks and fidles event at Riverwalk Square, which will include Pancakes, Syrup and bluegrass music by Riverwalk Junction band. That will kick off Saturday's events at 9:30 a.m. at Riverwalk Square. Witthoft said the chamber is partnering with the River Falls Public Library for a hoedown barn dance.
The Spring Valley School Board has set two listening sessions for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday, March 15 at Spring Valley Elementary School. The listening sessions are aimed at gathering community members' opinions on the direction they'd like the district to take with the aging elementary school building. "We will have representatives from Market Johnson and SDS Architects there to answer questions," said District Superintendent Don Haack. "They've been doing the facility analysis and they can give more in depth responses to questions about the present facility."
After years of discussions and study, the River Falls City Council has reached a decision regarding the issue of relicensing the city's two hydroelectric dams. At its regular Tuesday, Feb. 27 meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution, after approving several amendments, that endorses a long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River, but also approves the relicensing of the hydroelectric project for the final time. The resolution includes plans for removing first the Powell Falls and then Junction Falls dams.
The River Falls City Council is getting ready to make its final decision on whether or not to relicense the city's hydroelectric dams. In preparation for that decision, the council heard a presentation by Mark Lobermeier of Short Elliott Hendrickson. Lobermeier presented to the council a draft of a resolution that was recommended to the council by the Kinni Corridor Committee. The drafted resolution states that it is based on a "long-term vision of a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River" and mentions maintaining the health of the river as a Class I Trout Stream.
Spring Valley Elementary School is showing its age, said District Superintendent Dr. Donald Haack. At a Feb. 5 special meeting, the school board went over the schedule for its planning process and reviewed some of its options for the elementary school. Haack said it's important to the board to find out what the community wants. "We want to get all the feedback we can, find out what people want," Haack said. "And hopefully, we can give people what they want."
As the snow piled up Monday, Jan. 22 River Falls' snow maintenance staff was working hard to clear roads and keep driving conditions as safe as possible. But even as they worked on the large storm, they were being conscious not to over-use one go-to snow and ice removal tool: salt. "You can overdo salt," said City Operations Director Mike Stifter, "and salt has a real negative effect on the environment." And especially on water resources, like the Kinnickinnic River.
Athletes haven't been the only ones practicing after school, working hard, and preparing for competitions at Meyer Middle School. The MMS Lego Robotics Club's three teams have been working hard, training and competing this year.
Tenth-grader Hunter Jamison has been fishing all his life. When he was in seventh grade, his father gave him the idea to start a fishing club. He brought that idea to life this school year. "I went and talked to Mr. (Kit) Luedtke," Jamison said. "He likes fishing too, so he thought it was a great idea." Jamison said Luedtke helped get the ball rolling, and Jamison started asking teachers if they'd be advisor to the club. Matt Smith agreed to be the advisor.