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The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to have engineering consultant SEH start plans for a roundabout (circular intersection) where Cemetery Road and Wasson and Knollwood Lanes intersect. City Engineer Reid Wronski fielded questions and presented a detailed proposal summarizing the benefits of a roundabout: Safety, pedestrian friendly, economical, low maintenance and equipped to handle the volume generated by nearby schools, businesses and development.
Tuesday's election fills the four available council seats with unopposed candidates. The mayor, two at-large alderpersons and a new District Four alderperson take office after the city finalizes the process with votes.
Most local residents agree that Main Street needs new businesses. Peter McCarty brings one this spring - a pawn shop - to 117 N. Main, where River Falls Home Furnishings used to be. "I'm shooting for June 1st for a grand opening," McCarty said. "I'm hoping to have it open before then. We'll probably be open six days a week with shortened hours on Saturday." He hasn't decided exactly what to name the business yet.
The city composting site at 901 Locust St. (by the school-bus garage) opened for residents during the early 1990s. Today it looks more like a landfill than a resource. Nobody knows for sure how it got that way, but new Public Works Superintendent Frank Gaillard is taking steps to turn the site around. He's been on the job since late January and was surprised to find the compost site piled high with asphalt, concrete, wood and construction materials. Materials that do belong at the site are all mixed together and not usable because of the mixing.
Donna Karis works for Treasures from the Heart and remembers one couple who came in and did all their Christmas shopping with $100 each. They remarked that they never could have done that at a mall or other large retailer, especially considering that each item was unique. Other downtown business owners have commented to Treasures employees about traffic the store generates, and they're usually not complaining. "We feel like we're part of the community," Karis said. River Falls' Treasures from the Heart celebrates its three-year anniversary Friday.
Kimberly Schoessow won the title Fairest of the Fairs at January's Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in Green Bay. She began her duties right after that as an ambassador for fairs and the dairy industry. The position won't allow her to be a sleeping beauty all summer. She goes on a whirlwind tour of Wisconsin's fairs the Monday after graduating from UW-River Falls on May 13. "I can't believe it's here," Schoessow said of graduation. Schoessow grew up on a farm near Mequon, but has lived in River Falls for the past four years of college.
"People are drawn to moving water, they want to hear it and see it," said Margaret Smith, marketing and membership coordinator at the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT). National River Cleanup Week comes to River Falls May 20, when KRLT-organized volunteers take to the river banks and remove trash. Workers scour the lower, middle and upper parts of the Kinnickinnic River (Kinni) looking for things that don't belong. Margaret Smith of KRLT organizes the event, coordinating volunteers and other resources needed to clean up the river.
Michael Kujak may be named a "scholar" before he even graduates from River Falls High School June 4. "It's getting really close," he said about graduation. Kujak received an official letter from the U.S. Department of Education recently, naming him a candidate in the Presidential Scholars Program.
A.M Structural Engineering makes a new home out of what used to be a Laundromat at 112 E. Maple Street for 30 years. Firm owner Dave Wagner's been doing local work since August 2002 and starts working from his new downtown office March 17. Wagner began by himself in his basement, then built a space over his garage to use as an office. Now A.M. has three engineers, an intern and a part-time bookkeeper. That over-the-garage space got crowded much more quickly than Wagner thought it would.
People living in River Falls and Pierce County probably don't often think about tourism. Many of them did though, as the River Falls Chamber of Commerce hosted speakers over breakfast at The West Wind Supper Club two Thursdays ago. Three people shared their insights into area tourism: Sheryl Williams with Pierce County Partners in Tourism (PCPT); Paige Lackey-Olson with Kinni Creek Lodge & Outfitters; and Russ Korpela, former Pierce County economic development director who recently moved to the New Richmond Chamber of Commerce.