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 Hazel Mackin Community Library was decorated in bright green Shamrocks, for an event that brought a little taste of Ireland to Roberts. Author Erin Hart and her husband, musician-turned-author Paddy O'Brien, held an event March 7, filled with storytelling and traditional Irish music. Hart and O'Brien have been presenting events at libraries for years. Hart said she started speaking at libraries after her first book was published. "When they found out my husband was a musician...they were really excited by that," Hart said.
Somerset High School's third annual Polar Daze assembly was Friday, March 8. The Polar Daze celebration featured a talent show, with performances by the finalists; remarks from the captains of the winter and spring sports teams and the announcement of the class spirit point competition winners. Clues to a riddle were given away every day at lunch. Derek Schutte solved the riddle.
When three third-grade girls came to St. Croix Central Elementary School Principal Steve Sanders asking if they could sell homemade bracelets, fortune-tellers and bookmarks to raise money for the school, he said yes. "I said, 'Well, you need to get your inventory ready,'" Sanders said. Nine-year-olds Ella Fern, Alexis Epstein and MacKenna Kusilek were given two separate weeks during which they could sell their wares for 25 cents a piece to raise money that will be donated to the Kids Club fund. The girls said they got started on the project doing crafts on days they had inside recess.
The fourth annual Showcase Hammond is set for Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Croix Central High School. Michelle Johnson, who helped coordinate the showcase, said the event, dedicated to promoting local businesses, is important because it gives locals an idea of what products and services are offered in the area. "Buying local is important for any community, so this is a way for people to get to know what is in our community...that they may be able to utilize," Johnson said. Johnson said 60 vendors have registered so far.
When memberships began to dwindle in the Somerset American Legion Post 111, Legionnaires brought in the next generation. Legionnaires spoke with five or six interested people, including Mike Davis, and together they formed the Somerset Sons of the American Legion. The Sons of the American Legion (SAL) is a national organization that was founded in 1932, but it came to Somerset just two years ago, according to Davis, who is now the commander of the Post 111 Sons.
In her first few weeks at Roberts United Church or Christ, Rev. Melinda Feller has been very busy. "I've already had communion, I've had a funeral, I've had a double baptism, and I've been doing lots of visiting and being out in the community," Feller said. "And I had to unpack." Feller's ministry at Roberts UCC officially started at the beginning of February. One of the first things Feller did upon starting at Roberts UCC was begin learning her new parishioners' names. "First and last," Feller said.
Students jumped up and down, waved their arms and danced to "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen), "Baby" (Justin Bieber) and other popular songs during a not-so-typical school assembly at Somerset Elementary School Friday, Feb. 22. The PowerUp School Challenge kickoff assembly was led by Radio Disney employees, who used popular songs to get the kids up and moving throughout the approximately 45-minute assembly. "It went incredibly," said SES Principal Darren Kern, "The kids did a great job. Radio Disney did a great job. Lakeview Health does a great job.
Running the Hammond and Roberts Senior Nutrition sites is a lot like running a restaurant, according to Jordan Pechuman, new site manager for the Hammond/Roberts senior centers. "There's a lot less stress and pressure at this job," Pechuman said.
St. Croix Central Middle School's upcoming performance will be a full performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Preparing for the performance has been challenging, middle school music teacher Michelle Schmitt said, because the 90-minute performance contains no spoken words. The performance is entirely sung. "It helps them remember the words, but the vocal stamina is tricky," Schmitt said. "We did incorporate some of the harmony too." Schmitt said the students have risen to the challenge well.
The unusual variety of weather this season has made it difficult to keep the roadways clear of ice and snow,according to St. Croix County Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg. One of the most difficult weather conditions to deal with, Ramberg said, is freezing rain. "You can't really plow ice," Ramberg said. He said it needs to be melted off with material like road salt.