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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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?
The first ever River Dunk drew brave souls to jump into frigid St. Croix River waters in Hudson to support local charities.
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.
For 17-year-old exchange student Alisher Usmonov, visiting the U.S. is a dream come true. "It's amazing to be in America," he said. "It was my childhood dream, you know, and I tried my best, studied hard ... before coming here, I applied for (a) scholarship, and my dream came true."
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here. This April, Hudson students and residents saw ground break on additions to Hudson High School. Work started with outside work, including a new parking lot, field and stadium. Those items were completed before school started in the fall. The stadium was opened in September, with an open house celebration, including performances by the Hudson Marching Band, Hudson Raidaires, Hudson Cheer and Stunt team and more.
On Monday, Dec. 18, the Hudson School Board started its meeting with a tour around the high school's construction zones. School District Superintendent Nick Ouellette lead board members through the high school's construction zones, explaining the status of each area. One of the first areas visited was the auditorium, which was then nearly done, and has since been completed enough to be used.
The River Falls Public Library hosts a gingerbread contest each year in December. The winners were declared last week and include: Youth Traditional: 1st place - Ellen Somerville 2nd place - Anika Hovland Graham Cracker: 1st place - Emmett Matter 2nd place - Hailey Perfect Adult Traditional: 1st place - Jill Wurdell (also People's Choice Winner) 2nd place - Kim Kiiskinen Youth Whimsical: 1st place - Sebastien Bowden 2nd place - Harvey Bowden Adult Whimsical: 1st place (tie) - Roseanne Olsen
The Hudson City Council had a very young visitor during its Dec. 4 regular meeting. Dressed in a pink dress with a tiara and sash, 6-year-old Izzy Kramber introduced herself. "Big things come in small packages," she said, introducing herself. "And that's very true for this little firecracker ..." She told the council she loves to dance and make people smile. She is the 2017 National American Miss Wisconsin Princess. She shared a speech she had prepared for the competition with the council, inspired by the words of Dr. Seuss.
Writing a book has been a lifelong dream for Linda James. "It was always just something I wanted to do," she said. "I didn't know if I would really do it. I hoped that I would do it." About 15 months ago, she began working to make that dream a reality. And as of Oct. 11, James' dream had officially come true. She's published a book titled "The Space in Between." Set in 1968 in the fictional town of Springville, Minnesota, "The Space In Between" tells the story of a 10-year-old girl, Anna Hendricks, and her family.