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The boxes are packed, the stained glass window has been removed and the ministry year is winding down at the Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ Church. It must be time to move. The Roberts community fixture on West Warren Street has been part of the local landscape since 1884, when the congregation purchased a building from Hudson and moved it to its present location. But the finishing touches are being completed on a new facility along Highway 12 on the northern edge of town, and preparations to occupy that space are moving quickly forward. Of course, there are mixed feelings
Jean Johnson loves her hometown. That's what made her selection as the 2008 Roberts Good Neighbor particularly special. "They say home is where your heart is," Johnson said following the award announcement at Friday night's Miss Roberts coronation, "and my heart has always been here." Johnson was born and raised in Roberts, and left briefly for college and a job, but eventually she returned to the area she loves. "Even though Roberts has grown much bigger, it still has that small town feel. It's still a caring town," she said.
J.A. Counter & Associates of New Richmond is on the cutting edge of new ways to conduct business and they're getting some national attention. The local investment and insurance firm was featured on "Good Morning America" Tuesday, June 3, for a segment on a new business model the company has implemented. The local firm is only the second company worldwide to use the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) where employees no longer punch a time clock.
Water could be more expensive in New Richmond come July 1. The New Richmond Municipal Water Utility has filed for a rate increase with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. If approved, the rate adjustment calls for a two-stage bump upward. The first step would be a 23 percent increase. The second bump would result in a 41 percent hike in the current rate. For a typical residential customer, who uses 5,000 gallons of water per month, the current $18.10 rate will increase to $22.45.
The area's newest siding and roofing company expects to be pretty busy after recent storms damaged local homes and businesses. Ultimate Exteriors opened for business about a month ago, offering homeowners help with roofing, siding, gutters and decking. The owner, Tom Peterson, is no stranger to the community. He's president of the Star Prairie Lion's Club and has worked in construction locally for many years. "I've been in the construction business all my life," Peterson said.
Speed is important to have the best chance to survive a heart attack. New Richmond Postmaster Joe Bolder found that out last week, when he suffered a major attack while at work. "I wasn't an impressive health specimen, but I wasn't unhealthy either," Bolder said as he prepared to leave United Hospital last Thursday. "It was a huge wake-up call for me." Bolder, 52, started out his work day May 19 with what he thought was indigestion. He popped a few antacid tablets and eventually the pain in his chest went away. "I didn't have some of the classic symptoms," he said.
John Garrity reached inside a cloth bag and pulled out a beautifully crafted wooden box, placing it on the ground near a similarly-sized hole. Here, on a cemetery plot behind Immaculate Conception Church in New Richmond, a Friday funeral service would bring the life and death of a man full circle.
Better organized camping may be on the horizon around the Cedar Lake Speedway and Sandbox Arena complex. A proposal is being considered by the Town of Star Prairie Board and St. Croix County for a 50- to 70-site campground on the properties. Camping has taken place on Cedar Lake's land for years, particularly when the race track had special events or big race weekends.
Area businesses are looking for information from New Richmond area residents about their spending habits. The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce will mail out several thousand consumer surveys on Friday, May 16, to kick off the second phase of an extensive retail research project. Chamber Executive Director Russ Korpela urges all who receive a survey to take 15 minutes to complete it and send it in promptly. About one out of every three households in the 54017 zip code will be asked to participate. "We wanted the sample size to be large enough to give us significant data," Korpela said.
Lynn Forrest couldn't believe the surprise gift he received in the mail May 3. Inside a registered letter from Atlanta was a Navy dog tag he'd lost more than 40 years ago. "I was kind of shocked," said Forrest, who owns and operates Forrest Bobcat Service in New Richmond. "I didn't remember losing one, but that was a long time ago.