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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Dirk Vrieze, 30, of Hammond, has a not-so-traditional Christmas day tradition. For the past six years the Vrieze family has had a demolition derby on Christmas morning. Immediately after opening presents the Vriezes and around 250 spectators head to Dirk's dad's farm land at the corner of County Road E and 200th Street for a chilly morning of crashed cars and good company. The derby usually starts at 10 a.m.
Think you have the cutest kid? Want to help a worthwhile cause? Local photographer, Stacey Knoebel of Knoebel Portrait Design is participating in the 2011 International Charity Model Search to select North America's Cutest Kid and to raise funds for the non-profit "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation." Photo contests the last two years featured more than 2,600 model's images nationwide and raised $184,775 for the NILMDTS organization.
Although Caleb Peterson, 21, is still a sophomore working to earn a teaching degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, he is already teaching everyone lessons on living life to the fullest. Peterson, a Roberts resident and 2008 St. Croix Central graduate, is currently battling brain cancer for the second time in two years. While on a family vacation in 2008, Peterson said he began experiencing symptoms of dehydration like nausea and "migraine-like headaches." After returning home, an MRI showed that Peterson had a tumor in his brain. He had surgery on Aug.
When Royce Fritz, 67, of Hammond, was taking his garbage to the curb around 10 p.m. Dec. 2, he fell on a patch of ice. In excruciating pain and unable to move, Fritz thought he would freeze to death. Fritz almost fell twice while walking his garbage to the end of the driveway. The first time he caught himself before falling. The second time he slipped, he was not as lucky. Fritz fell in such a way that he ripped the tendons from the kneecaps on both legs. "Needless to say there was a lot of pain and screaming and crying," Fritz said.
Eric Fisher, 44, of Roberts, leaves for his sixth deployment after the holidays. The busy husband, father of three, Boy Scout Troop #161 Scout Master and active church member has been in the military for 25 years and says he rarely has spare time. Fisher works in transportation with the Air Force in the 934th Airlift Wing, 27th Aerial Port Squadron. "Basically we move anything and everything that needs to go anywhere.
Despite recent shifts in the housing market and economy, the most recent school enrollment projections show an increase in enrollment in the St. Croix Central School District over the next 10 years. At the Dec. 13 school board meeting, Richelle Winkler, a demographer and associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shared a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted key points of the 33-page school enrollment projection report. The report contained four different projection models.
Hammond and Roberts residents may notice new red and green recycling carts on their streets this week. Veolia Environmental Services Solid Waste is introducing "single stream recycling" to customers in the area. The changes come after Veolia purchased new automated trucks in order to become more efficient and environmentally friendly. "By adjusting our routes to every other week, we have less exhaust fumes and wear and tear on the roads.
On Dec. 13 the village board voted to reward village employees with a holiday gift that will also help support Hammond businesses. In an effort to become more effective and more efficient, Village Trustee Erin McComb said, "We leveraged our committees to bring vetted ideas and recommendations and made a commitment to getting educated so we could reach decisions faster." McComb said the effort paid off, and the money the committee did not use for trustee meetings was used to fund this year's holiday gift.
Since she was 3 years old, Beth Monson has considered Hammond her home. Her father Veldon "Doc" Monson was a doctor in town for 18 years and her mother Mary had a yarn shop in the family's basement. Monson said her future was influenced by St. Croix Central teachers, and knew by her junior year of high school that she wanted to be a family and consumer education teacher, although back in the day it was referred to as home economics. Monson graduated from St.
Sandy Brecht Photography studio, 940 Davis St., Hammond, goes beyond the camera lens with crafts, trinkets and treats. Since she moved to her new location in September, Brecht has transformed what was once a blank wall, into a picture-perfect little gift shop, featuring a number of items made or distributed by local individuals. Brecht said she's glad she can share her studio space with other people in the community.