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requires a conditional use permit.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been renovating and updating its on-campus dairy plant for the past nine years and the process is coming to an end. This two-phase project will be completed officially by 2022 before the fall semester.

Two Ellsworth High School students have started a fundraiser for a new playground at the Brown’s Field Complex. Students EmmaJo Meier and Morgan Kolodzienski have been involved in the Ellsworth Baseball Softball Association (EBSA) for many years and created this service project for their service-learning capstone project.

There’s a story behind the Aim Joy Boutique logo that adorns Prescott’s newest must-see shop at 209 Broad St. It represents one Prescott woman’s story of realizing a lifelong dream, a dream that ignited in her childhood and never dimmed.

Sept. 16

While Pierce County is unique in countless ways, some don’t realize that many of the leadership positions in the county are held by women. Differing from surrounding counties, Pierce County leaders who are women include Public Health Officer AZ Snyder, Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Rohl, Sheriff Nancy Hove, District Attorney Halle Hatch and Human Services Director Julie Krings.

This year, River Falls Community Arts Base celebrated its 25th annual Art on the Kinni, which was back in person. With more than 50 art vendors, live music and free admission, many people strolled the White Pathway taking it all in.

Throughout the summer months of 2021, the Prescott Foundation, Community Education and the City of Prescott worked together to finance the painting of pickleball lines on the tennis courts which were already scheduled to be resurfaced during the summer.

During a recap of the school year’s beginning days, Superintendent Barry Cain stressed that parents must keep ill children home from school to help lessen the spread of COVID and other general illness.

Sept. 23

Ellsworth Village Board officials aren’t too thrilled a tobacco and vape store set up shop in the Midway Business District without their knowledge, as expressed at the Monday, Sept. 13 meeting. They first became aware when the sign went on the building at 159 W. Main St.

Jennifer Rebecca Kohl, 44, River Falls, posted a $25,000 signature bond on felony solicitation of kidnapping/carry without consent and felony solicitation of substantial battery – intend bodily harm charges. If convicted, she faces up to six years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000 for each charge.

A Spring Valley family lost their beloved Saint Bernard and two cats in a house fire on Thursday, Sept. 9. The cause of the fire is undetermined and still being investigated at this time.

The Prescott School Board annual meeting, held Wednesday, Sept. 15 covered a lot of ground, including the upcoming maintenance referendum, plus good news for taxpayers in the form of a lower mill rate.

Sept. 30

The Prescott Parks & Public Property Committee and Cedar Corporation provided an update on the riverfront project to local businesses Sept. 22. Constructions will start as soon as weather permits next spring and will continue through the majority of the summer.

On Monday, Sept. 27, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and UW System President Tommy Thompson visited University of Wisconsin-River Falls to kick off homecoming week and to encourage students to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The community is invited to join the Friends of the Ellsworth Public Library in celebrating and financially supporting the library during a once-in-alifetime gala event, appropriately called “Once Upon a Library.”

Pierce County local Phil Roberts is creating a series of children’s books based on the lives of his four Alpacas. Geno and Vinnie are featured in his first book, “Geno and Vinnie Come to America.”

October Oct. 7

The Prescott School Board voted 5-0 to approve the key factors which could result in school, classroom or grade closures, at a special board meeting Sept. 29. These factors are related to the possibility that the district would be unable to provide ongoing, high-quality instruction to its students due to COVID-19’s impact.

Spring Valley Stagehands is back with a new show that premiered Friday, Oct. 1. The production “How I Became a Pirate” is based on the children’s book by author Melinda Long, written into musical form. Director Ann Turner chose this specific show because she has always loved working with children.

Young Acres Family Farm, formerly Nesbitt’s Nursery, opened its doors three weeks ago under the new name. New owners Rachel and Tucky Dias Bandaranaike recently moved to Wisconsin from southern California and are excited to be part of the Prescott and Pierce County communities.

Oct. 14

Five felony theft – business setting charges were filed in Pierce County Circuit Court Oct. 4 against the former Ellsworth Baseball Softball Association president. Whitney Ann O’Neil, 44, Ellsworth, is accused of stealing $111,714.82 from EBSA bank accounts to fund personal expenses, such as shopping, hotels, air fares, parking fees and bills.

The Happy Earth Orchard is a place where digging your bare feet into dirt is encouraged, where embracing nature is essential and where spreading positivity and joy is a way of life. Because who doesn’t want to be happy?

Ezekiel Lutheran Church in River Falls celebrated its installation of a 129 solar panel array with a ribbon cutting and grab and go picnic Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The Prescott Hall of Fame grew by three new members after the annual induction ceremony Saturday night: Roy Finley, Char Magee and Nick Schommer.

Oct. 21

The River Falls High School library was abuzz Tuesday, Oct. 12 as visitors chatted before the “Dream Big” event, the kickoff introduction to an initiative geared at developing the school forest into a district and community asset for generations to come.

For the last 26 years, Prescott couple Heather and David Herme have built and decorated what they call “Deadman’s Haunted Grave” and welcome hundreds of families to admire their work.

On Sept. 25, 2021, an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Montana and several passengers were injured. The cause of the accident is still undetermined, but many passengers are faced with the aftermath of the traumatizing event, including Pierce County residents who were aboard.

Oct. 28

The Prescott School Board approved a balanced Prescott School District budget and tax levy for 202122 at the Oct. 21 board meeting, which resulted in a lower mill rate, which in turn translates to lower taxes for district residents on the school portion of their tax bills.

When a community comes together with a common dream and purpose, magical things can happen. The “Once Upon a Library” Gala held Saturday, Oct. 23 raised an additional $65,382 to be put toward making the new Ellsworth Public Library location a legacy for generations to come.

Martha’s Quilt Group from Saint Bridget’s Catholic Church in River Falls showcased its unique, handmade quilts at a River Falls Community Arts Base meet and greet event Thursday, Oct. 21 at City Hall. The group donates all quilts to local charities.

While birthday celebrations are a beloved part of childhood, it’s not often that a “liverversary” is celebrated. One special little boy in Elmwood celebrated his third liver transplant anniversary on Oct. 7, a day his mother had only dared dream of while spending weeks watching him recover in a hospital room.

November Nov. 4

The afternoon and evening hours of Saturday, Oct. 30, were special for River Falls High School students, staff, alumni and fans as both the RFHS boys soccer team and girls volleyball team earned state appearances after winning their respective sectional final matches throughout the day.

With a policy regarding controversial topics and a statement concerning critical race theory on the agenda, the River Falls School Board was expecting public comment at its Monday, Oct. 25, meeting and therefore laid out clear expectations.

Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena announced Monday, Nov. 1 that Camille Dennis-Bond, age 19, of Burnsville, Minn. has been charged with two counts of murder in the third degree (perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind), two counts of criminal vehicular homicide (gross negligence) and one count of criminal vehicular operation resulting in great bodily harm (gross negligence), in connection with the fatal crash on County Road 42 in Burnsville on April 4, 2021 that killed 22-year-old Tayler Nicole Garza of Woodbury, Minn. and 22-year-old Dalton Lee Ford, of Burnsville, Minn.

The former Bendilly’s Bar and Grill has officially reopened as the 63 Bar and Grill. After Sept. 1, Prescott couple Wendy and Scott Peplinski renamed and revamped the bar and menus.

At the Monday, Oct. 25 Prescott City Council meeting, the C-2 Highway Commercial Zoning ordinance was sent back to the Ordinance Committee and did not go through the second and third readings. Several business owners voiced concerns about this possible ordinance change at the previous city council meeting and again at this meeting.

Nov. 11

The Ellsworth Panthers football team, under the direction of head coach Rob Heller, is on the verge of making a state championship game, something that only a handful of teams in Ellsworth history have done. The Panthers are slated to face the Freedom Irish in the Division 4 Sectional Final game.

Each Christmas and holiday season, the Angels on Earth Giving Tree program, in partnership with the River Falls Assistance and Resource Center (ARC), provides gifts and support to many families in the River Falls community. Prescott High School drama students will perform their fall play, “Peter/Wendy” this upcoming weekend. The play is a spin-off of the classic Peter Pan story. After working on this for several weeks, the cast is excited to perform in front of an audience.

Ellsworth American Legion Post 204 will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 14 to raise funds for their building remodel. The Legion post has been going through a renovation and this fundraiser will help with the last project of the remodel.

Nov. 17

On Friday, Nov. 12, the Ellsworth Panthers football team defeated the Freedom Irish 46-7 in the Division 4 Sectional Final game to advance to the state title game against Catholic Memorial on Thursday, Nov. 18.

Town of Gilman resident Tiffany Hayes shares her story of long-hauler COVID symptoms, a terrifying journey that has taken her in and out of emergency rooms, to multiple doctors and specialists.

What can City of River Falls residents expect the city portion of their property tax bill to look like in 2022? Based on a $250,000 home, the 2022 projected portion of city taxes would be about $1,330, said City Administrator Scot Simpson at the Nov. 9 city council meeting.

At 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northwest Region Communications Manager Christena O’Brien uttered four words that residents have been waiting months to hear: “Highway 29 is open.”

Nov. 24

Ellsworth football players gathered after the WIAA Championship Division 4 game on the turf at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison Thursday, Nov. 18. After a first-quarter scoring barrage from Catholic Memorial, the Panthers fought back but fell 21-12.

Timothy Adam Chambers, 23, Prescott, is facing a long list of felony charges related to area vehicle and UTV thefts, property damage, receiving stolen property, reckless driving and two high-speed pursuits in which he fled law enforcement this past summer.

For the past 30 years, the Grumpy Old Men Food Drive has been a familiar and beloved sight curbside near Veterans Park downtown River Falls the week after Thanksgiving. After a virtual event in 2020, the food drive will return downtown 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30.

December Dec. 1

It came as a shock to many in attendance at the Wednesday, Nov. 17 Prescott School Board meeting when District Nurse Cassie Butler read her resignation letter during public comment time at the meeting’s end.

Carin Thoms, River Falls, has turned cherished childhood memories of fishing with her grandparents into a children’s book, which she hopes inspires girls of all ages to fish and have fun outdoors.

A small group of weary travelers discover the power of the season in the Spring Valley Stagehands next production, “A Candle in the Window,” by L.Don Swartz.

The village of Elmwood is unique in many ways, one being that their police department is run and operated by one police officer. Overseeing the village of around 800 people, the police chief is in charge of all aspects of the one-person police department.

Dec. 8

At a special meeting held Wednesday, Dec. 1, the Prescott School Board voted 4-1 to ask voters to approve a $15 million facility maintenance referendum at the April 5, 2022 election.

Tattersall Distilling, located at the former Shopko building at 1777 Paulson Road in River Falls has officially opened its doors to the public. Celebrating its grand opening on Dec. 1, the distillery showcased its tasting room, self-guided tours and new restaurant for the first time.

After many months of construction, State Highway 29 from River Falls to Prescott is finally open. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s extensive project, which began May 10 and ended in November, included removing and replacing existing pavement, culvert pipes and guardrails. It also included modifying three intersections.

Tensions crackled at the Monday, Dec. 6 Law Enforcement Committee meeting as Pierce County Sheriff’s Office employees spoke up about a deputy/secretary/ jailer position that has been removed from the collective bargaining unit and is proposed to be changed, as far as job description and pay scale go.

Dec. 15

On South Main Street in River Falls, passersby familiar with the landscape may notice a big, gaping hole in the 600 and 700 blocks. A developer demolished three historic houses this fall in the area known to many as the McEwen block to make room for a new senior living and memory facility.

If you’re looking for a local holiday light display to add to your family’s viewing traditions, check out 1443 Glenridge Drive in Prescott. It is truly a sight to behold, but has a special twist – the lights are timed to music.

After a record-breaking 2021 fair and 23 years of service, Pierce County Fair Manager Ann Webb decided to retire on a high note. Her last day is Jan. 3.

Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove was honored Sunday afternoon with a First Responder of the Year Award for the 93rd Assembly District. Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington) presented the award to Hove in a ceremony with colleagues and friends Sunday at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery.

Dec. 22

A Romanian teen suspected to be part of a family crime ring is facing four felony charges in St. Croix County Circuit Court for his role in an ATM skimming scheme that bilked WESTConsin bank customers out of more than $100,000 in 2020.

During the Tuesday, Dec. 14 River Falls City Council meeting, Assistant City Administrator Jason Stroud updated council members on the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. He gave an in-depth presentation about what can be expected from the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Team.

When 12-year-old Kaden McMurray, Plum City, zeroed in on the buck through his scope Nov. 22, he thought it was a big 10-pointer. He was wrong. It was an 18-point monster that he had been eyeing for years. His stepdad and hunting partner in the blind, PJ Hines, said it was either a really big doe or a monster buck, but at just over 400 yards away, they couldn’t quite tell. It was about an hour before dusk on the Monday of gun deer week.

Muddy Waters Bar & Grill, located downtown Prescott at 231 N. Broad St., celebrated an official ribbon cutting on Friday, Dec. 10 with the Prescott Area Chamber of Commerce. The ribbon cutting marked a grand reopening under recent new owners, Mitch and Sarah Wormington and Eric Christenson.

Dec. 29

At its Dec. 15 meeting, the Prescott School Board voted 41 to go to referendum in April 2022, asking taxpayers to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $15 million, which would be used to perform maintenance on three of the district’s four buildings. The lone dissenter, Board Vice President Steve Sizemore, said he’s dedicated to supporting the referendum from the standpoint that the buildings do indeed need the work, but still voted no because he wants the district to have a comprehensive master plan in place first.

Last week Bold Burgers, located at 106 N. Main St. in River Falls, opened its doors to the community. The new restaurant is currently featuring a limited menu and limited hours before the new year to get started.

On Monday, Dec. 13, a group Ellsworth High School students involved with the student organization “Hearts and Minds” had the opportunity to deliver school supplies to Afghan refugees staying at Fort McCoy, located between Tomah and Sparta, Wis., after raising more than $12,000 in donations.

Ellsworth High School students EmmaJo Meier (left) and Morgan Kolodzienski (right) at the Hager City fields where the playground will be built.

Gov. Tony Evers speaks to students, community members, staff and faculty, encouraging vaccination and wishing the university well during homecoming at the UW-River Falls kickoff event Monday, Sept. 27.

New Prescott Hall of Fame inductees (from left) Char Magee, Nick Schommer and Dave Finley (representing his father, Roy Finley) stand in front of the Hall of Fame display in the Prescott High School commons. The induction ceremony was held at the high school.

The “Once Upon a Library” Gala held Saturday, Oct. 23 raised an additional $65,382 to be put toward making the new Ellsworth Public Library location a legacy for generations to come.

The River Falls volleyball team including Kinsley Albores, Abi Banitt, Brianna Brathol, Haley Graetz, Morgan Kealy, Brynn Johnson, Hannah Jarocki, Olivia Redmond, Maddy Range, Becca Randleman, Dani Lien, Maddy Doerre and Taylor Peterson, and the River Falls boys soccer team including Sam Durocher, Remy Espanet, Julian Duran-Marin, Tustin Todd, Thomas Moua, Elliot Auderieth, Zach Geerdes, Trevor Haefner, Jack Stang, Marvin Manzano, Parker Benda, Zack Nye, Isaac Carns, Evan Luedtke, Michael Putzier, Mathom Johnson, Justin Elsesser, Libero Ricci, Theo Syverson, John Kolars, Caleb Selleck, Miles Longsdorf, Joey Butz, Connor Hedlund, Robbie Anderson and Gabe Selleck. Both teams took a group photo together after securing state appearances in their respective sport within hours of each other.

Tattersall Distilling founders Jon Kreidler and Dan Oskey in front of some of the spirits that are produced at the new River Falls facility, which opened at 1777 Paulson Road (the former Shopko) on Dec. 1.

January 11, 2022