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by V1 Staff

LOCAL PHOTOG GETS ATTENTION FOR NORTHERN LIGHTS IMAGE
Timing is essential, as every photographer knows, and a Chippewa Falls freelancer is living proof. On Aug. 3 Tony Wilder headed out to Lake Wissota, grabbed his camera, and captured the natural phenomenon of aurora borealis. Wilder is far from the first to photograph it, but conditions were in his favor and news outlets around the state and nation picked it up. It first went in the Chippewa Herald before spreading to Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Twin Cities station KSTP, the Weather Channel, Spaceweather, and even led to an interview on ABC’s Prime Time World News.

COUNCIL BANS WEED-LIKE HERBS
Following a 9-2 vote by the Eau Claire City Council, synthetic cannabinoids (known as K2 or Spice) are officially illegal in the city. These chemically treated herb mixtures are rumored to mimic effects of marijuana and have 100 times the potency, but before the council made its decision, no official studies were presented as evidence. Yet the new ordinance will allow citations similar to small amounts of marijuana; $500 in fines and 30 days in jail. Eau Claire appears to be the first in the state to ban K2, but statewide bans have already swept the south (Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky) and proposals are spreading (Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Arkansas, and New York).

STOUT STUDENTS TO ATTACK MENOMIN’S ALGAE ISSUE
Science students at Stout will get some hands-on experience to supplement all that book learning. The Menomonie Plan Commission and City Council recently approved a restoration project in Lakeside Park on Lake Menomin in which students will be key participants. Approximately 100 introductory biology students will participate in the project for about five to 10 hours apiece. The restoration is split into three areas, or buffer zones. One is a “no-mow” zone, another allows brush to grow, and a third is reserved for short soil-catching plants. Ultimately these zones intend to reduce nutrient run-off that causes blue-green algae in the lake.

RAPPIN’ ROB RETIRES, YO
He was a children’s librarian who could set rhymes to a beat, and rocked a fedora. Now, 30 years after entering the book-promoting and rap business, local author and educator Rob Reid is retiring his “Rappin’ Rob” persona to carve out more time for his book writing. (Reid has written 13 books on children’s literature.) A lively storyteller, Rob has performed in 22 states and Canada, referencing book titles from Where the Wild Things Are to Harry Potter. Now a children’s lit teacher at UWEC, Reid still has ties to the library. “And don’t pronounce it li-berry!” Reid warns. “We ain’t a place for pickin’ fruit, so don’t give me no raspberry toot.”

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