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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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.
Major news media has been filled with pictures of immigrant children in recent days. The accompanying stories say these children have been separated from their parents, and held away from them in separate facilities. Many have spoken out against this policy of separating children from parents. Locally, those numbers include Dr. Jackie Brux and Rev. Barb deSouza.
A group of people gathered at River Crest Elementary School in Hudson Tuesday, May 15 for the first public feedback meeting held by the district as it begins the process of resetting the elementary school boundaries. District Superintendent Nick Ouellette said it was a great turnout, especially considering the sunny, 80 degree weather outside. "This is a great turnout to get people on the front end and understand the information and what we're dealing with here," Ouellette said. "We're very excited."
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."
Renovations at Hudson High School are "exceeding expectations," according to district Superintendent Nick Ouellette. "The kids have been outstandingly accommodating," he said. "The staff has been very accommodating. The workers have been very gracious and very helpful through the project. "It's going as well as we could expect when you're trying to do this level of construction while you're keeping 2,100 people going to school and work in the same building."
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.
About nine years ago, housing development became popular in Hudson, and a group of citizens were concerned that Hudson would lose what makes it unique: the river, nature, and farms. They formed a group to talk about it, said Gloria Adrian. From a sustainability workshop given by UW-River Falls Professor Kelly Cain, Anastasia Shartin developed an idea to get a group of artists together. "It was kind of a radical idea, because getting artists together and to work together is pretty hard," Adrian said, "because they're all so individualistic."
Hudson celebrated the premiere of its second Discover Wisconsin episode Monday evening, April 2. A premiere party at The Phipps Center for the Arts started with a social hour and refreshments, before the crowd moved to the theater to view the episode. It was a special preview as the episode won't air until Saturday, April 7. Mary Weller, Director of Tourism for the Hudson Chamber of Commerce, said a few words to introduce the episode. "Everybody wins when we do this show," she said.
Anne Jackson headed all the way to Puerto Rico last weekend for the 70.3-miles Ironman Puerto Rico. The triathlon is a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. But, for Jackson, the event is about more than a race. "This is my chance to bring awareness and to help the homeless dogs of Puerto Rico," she said. Jackson has done the Ironman Puerto Rico the last two years. Last year, she noticed many stray dogs around. As a dog lover, she said, she couldn't help but feel sorry for them.
Sara Nielsen looks forward to "The Pillow Fight" every year. In fact, she's been nicknamed "The Pillow Queen" by a coworker because she enjoys the event so much. "It's incredible, it's just really incredible, and people just think it's really fun," she said. Well, what is it?