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Many remember the 1970 song "Signs" by the one-hit-wonder "Five Man Electrical Band." The song's chorus lyrics tell part of the story about why city staff and the council recently amended the sign law. City planner Dena Mleziva said grumblings started the process. "We were getting a lot of complaints about how it makes the city look," she said. "People complained about the image they project." City staff members investigated the problems people were pointing out, took pictures, then got busy changing the sign code.
James L. Mohn, 48, of rural Hammond, died late Monday afternoon after the drive unit of a barn cleaner fell on top of him. He had been working in a barn at the Afdahl farmstead, 346 County Road W, also in Hammond, about four miles northeast of River Falls. Gerald Afdahl discovered Mohn about 5 p.m., according to the sheriff's report. He and his son, Kurt, used a skid-steer loader to lift the barn cleaner off Mohn, but neither they nor the St. Croix County deputy on the scene could feel Mohn's pulse.
Trustees have been caring for Greenwood Cemetery for at least the past 136 years, but they have two main challenges: A dwindling number of plots and lack of money. Cemetery association president Howie Nelson estimates that within five to six years, there won't be any grave more sites left. He doesn't know exactly how many plots are left because the cemetery's remaining land hasn't been surveyed yet.
The Cowleys go to great effort each year to arrange holiday decorations in their yard. Last week Monday night they were stunned to find many of their lawn ornaments vandalized. "It takes us about four days to put all that stuff up," said Ron Cowley, former owner of River Falls Tire on North Main Street. What was troubling is how the vandals brazenly carried out their rampage while the couple sat right inside their home. The Cowleys live on Riverside Drive in the town of Troy, just north of County Road MM. They usually turn on their display around 5 p.m.
After two parties last week, Phil Betzel is on his way to retire from the First National Bank of River Falls. Betzel was chief financial officer (CFO) for 22 years but retires at the end of this month. He and wife Mary look forward to spending about a third of their time in a home they bought near Tucson, Ariz. The two have run into man people from River Falls down there. Mary was a substitute teacher in River Falls for years but will also retire soon.
"I like the notion of public service. It's what I'm about," said Frank Gaillard, River Falls' new public works superintendent, who begins Jan. 23. While his first day is more than a month off, Gaillard is already meeting people and getting to know other department managers, as well as the public works crew. Last week, he took part in interviews for hiring a new mechanic at the city garage. Gaillard heard about the job from a friend when the two attended the annual National Public Works Association conference.
A Minneapolis-based private transit service will begin running between River Falls and downtown St. Paul starting Tuesday, Jan. 3. Commuters must subscribe for service to reserve a seat on one of the 47-passenger deluxe coach buses. Steve Miller and his dad, John Miller, started Great Rivers Transit with 40 years of busing experience under their belts. They used to run the Contemporary Bus Company.
A newly established real estate company started operating in River Falls earlier this fall. Consumer's Edge wraps three companies into one - a real estate company, a mortgage broker and a builder - with the goal of giving its customers a "one-stop shop," according to owner Rodney Bahr. He explains that Consumer's Edge wants to be able to take a person all the way from looking at floor plans to turning over the keys to a brand-new home. Consumer's Edge Real Estate offers property throughout the St.
Claire Hove has been helping the River Falls police department run efficiently for the last 13 years. But this Friday she'll wave goodbye as she goes into retirement. "We're going to ease into it," said Hove of retirement. "We'll see if we can afford it." She's administrative assistant to Police Chief Roger Leque and gave notice back in August. Hove said at first she questioned whether she's doing the right thing, but now she's really excited. She doesn't know yet if she'll work part time but looks forward to not having a schedule.
Dave Paulson could use a revolving door at his new auto-repair shop location. He worked by himself before and specialized only in transmissions and drive lines. Now he and two technicians are doing brisk business. "The only thing we don't do now is body work," laughs Paulson. In one swoop, Paulson expanded his space, services and staff. He went from being Dave's Transmission to being Dave's Auto and Transmission. He's having a new sign made for the business that should be up within the next few weeks.