Shortcuts | May 19, 2010
MOGENSEN OPENS TWO NEW BUSINESSES, PLANS TWO OTHERS
New buildings, new businesses, and revitalized businesses are the cornerstones of a growing cityscape. At 131 North Barstow St., a familiar taproom has received a thorough going over from downtown building/business owner John Mogensen. Formerly Jolly Jerry’s or the Corner Inn, the new Sports Page Bar and Grill opened on May 14. According to bar manager Marnie Ward, the formerly “dungeon”-like space has gained three big screen TVs and a much brighter, more pleasant atmosphere. For five years an empty Burger King building has languished on the corner of Barstow and East Madison. Pay attention to this lot, as it came under Mogensen’s ownership last month. However he first plans to reopen the Stones Throw, on the corner of Barstow and Eau Claire streets. Nearly a year since its last closure, the music venue will quietly open its doors the week of June 1, rumored to be a similar set-up to its last emalgamation. That same week, the City Plan Commission will approve or deny another Mogensen plan for a three-story commercial and residential building at 522 Water St. (the empty lot across from Holiday).
LOCAL TOURISM NUMBERS ARE IN
2009 wasn’t the Chippewa Valley’s best year for tourism, but our spendy friends from out of town still contributed greatly to the local economy. The official number of tourist dollars spent in the Valley last year was $317 million. That’s a $12 million decrease from last year, although the figure is still 12 percent higher than the $284 million the Valley netted in 2000. Eau Claire County pulled in $174 million last year, ranking it 19th of the 72 counties, while Chippewa and Dunn counties gained $94 and $49 million respectively. All this money directly sustained more than 4,000 jobs last year, generating more than $88 million in wages and salaries, and provided $16.33 million in revenue to local governments.
SMOKING BAN PRODUCES THREE MORE LOCAL BEER GARDENS
Three Chippewa Falls taverns can go ahead with plans for outdoor beer gardens just in time to beat out the new July 5 statewide indoor smoking ban. Leroy’s on Spring Street, Burley’s Bar on Canal Street, and the James Sheeley House at River Street were each voted on and approved by the city council in early May. Regardless of where you fall on the smoking ban, you gotta admit the recent rise in outdoor accommodations for drinking, smoking, and socializing is a big plus for all involved.
SEVEN LOCAL STUDENTS MAKE A SPLASH IN STATE TALENT SEARCH
Adding to the area’s wide base of homegrown talent, seven Eau Claire Area School District students were among the top scorers in Wisconsin for the 2009-2010 Midwest Academic Talent Search, an out-of-level testing program for gifted students in grades 3-9. The students were nominated for participation through one or more criteria indicating potential for high academic achievement. About 6,000 students are a part of the program yearly, and the aforementioned ECASD kids scored among the top 5 percent in the state. The students were recognized with medals at the WCATY Awards Ceremony at UW-Madison on May 8, and we would have loved to list their names, but they were not released.