Thursday, Sep. 4th, 2014

Eau Claire Transit Ponders Replacing Bus Art

If you’ve noticed there’s less mobile art along Eau Claire’s public transit routes, you’re not imagining things. Over the summer, one of the three Eau Claire Transit hybrid buses wrapped in UW-Eau Claire student art was damaged in an accident, and repairing the bus entailed removing part of the plastic wrap containing the artwork. Replacing the entire wrap would have cost $6,500, money the transit system doesn’t have, said transit manager Mike Branco. As a result, Branco decided to have the entire wrap removed. That leaves two buses still illustrated with images created by UWEC students in early 2013. Branco says he’s in the early stages of working with the university to create new art – potentially by children – to cover the bare bus. If that project is successful, he’d like to see new art on the other two buses. The original wraps were only intended to last about two years, so they will have to be removed or replaced sooner or later.

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Wednesday, Sep. 3rd, 2014

5 horrible picnic spots in the Chippewa Valley

Hey, check out this bear just chillaxing at the Irvine Park Zoo. He looks laid back, but will totally hog the potato salad.
Hey, check out this bear just chillaxing at the Irvine Park Zoo. He looks laid back
but will totally hog the potato salad.

Summer's coming to a close, but that doesn't mean there aren't a basket-load of good picnicking days left. To help you out on your next excursion to the land of checkered  blanks and bug spray, here's a list of local places to NOT have your picnic. Just don't do it. Ever. Have fun.

1. Eau Claire Wastewater Treatment Plant

Sure, it’s on a big piece of city-owned land and there are pools there, but this is not the kind of place you’ll want to enjoy a summer evening on your red-checkered blanket. Whatever you’ve got in your picnic basket, it’s unlikely to pair well with the sights, sounds, and smells of 5.6 million gallons of churning wastewater.

2. Irvine Park Zoo Bear Caves

The appeal of lounging on the rocks inside the Chippewa Falls-based park's bear habitat is certainly appealing, but picnics typically involve eating lunch, not being eaten for lunch. True, the hairy, be-clawed denizens of Irvine Park aren’t guaranteed to eat you, but it’s advisable to enjoy your bologna sandwiches on the outside of the glass just to be safe.

Not great.
Not great.

3. Shores of Lake Menomin

This picturesque lake in the middle of Menomonie turns grotesque when the blue-green algae blooms. On the plus side, the stinking, stomach-churning masses of cyanobacteria may help you stick to your diet – or at least turn you off to kale-infused smoothies.

4. Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Runway

Pluses: Lots of open space and easy access to the rest of the world. Minuses: Noise, lack of shade, and jets careening toward you at high speeds. Really, if all you want is a bite to eat while watching the planes, may we recommend the airport restaurant, The Farm on Starr?

5. Former Huebsch Laundry Building

Voted one of the ugliest spots in our annual Best of the Chippewa Valley poll, the crumbling brick monolith on North Dewey Street is kinda cool if you’re into urban decay. Still, trespassing is a crime and it would be much more comfortable to nibble your pasta salad in nearby Phoenix Park than to dine here in the weedy parking lot.

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Tuesday, Sep. 2nd, 2014

Friday, Sept. 5: Special Deals and Events!

The Local Store is celebrating the return of another school year (and UW-Eau Claire's "UW Meets EC" night) as we welcome hundreds of students into The Local Store on Friday, September 5. Check out our special deals and events:

All Day Deal: As part of "First Fridays in Downtown Eau Claire" – Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off on our Wisconsin and Eau Claire art prints and posters

Student Only Deal: With a Student ID – Get a $5 Local Store gift card with any purchase over $25

Also on Friday, check out our fine friends from Ambient Inks screen printing awesome t-shirts right before your eyes – right in the Volume One parking lot, kitty corner from the store!

And that night, join us for a special in-store performance from local indie-rockers Reverii (7pm). Fresh off a performance at the 7th Street Entry (attached to the historic First Ave venue in Minneapolis, Minn.), this up-and-coming band is already making waves within and beyond the Chippewa Valley.

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Monday, Sep. 1st, 2014

5 Eau Claire landmarks that used to be somewhere else

The Waldemar Ager House
The Waldemar Ager House at 514 W. Madison St. didn't used to be there.

The word "landmark" kind of implies a certain amount of permanence, right? Well, there are a number of long-time local institutions that didn't start out were we find them today. Such as ...

1. The Public Library

Years before it was officially a city, Eau Claire had a library. In 1860, a group of Eau Claire pioneers created a “library” that was kept in a case in the Mahler and Putnam store on Eau Claire Street. It wasn’t a truly public library, however: Membership was 50 cents and checking out a book for two weeks set you back a nickel. Today, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is free to everyone, and it hasn’t moved far in 154 years: It’s still on Eau Claire Street.

2. The Eau Claire County Courthouse

What’s now called Wilson Park in downtown Eau Claire – i.e., the place where Volume One hosts Chalkfest each August – was the site of Eau Claire County’s first courthouse, a wood frame building built in 1862. The second courthouse was built a decade later near the site where the current 1970s-era courthouse and 2010s-era jail now stand on Oxford Avenue.

3. Sacred Heart Hospital

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis opened their first hospital inside the home of Mrs. J. Fitzpatrick on Putnam Street in 1889. The following year, a proper hospital was built on North Dewey Street. Unlike the previous structures on this list, this building still stands: The Colonial/Neo-Gothic revival structure in now part of the Eau Claire Academy, an adolescent treatment center.

4. The Waldemar Ager House

Norwegian immigrant Waldemar Ager was a noted author and journalist in late 19th- and early 20th-century Eau Claire. In 1902, he bought a Victorian-style cottage at the corner of Chesnut and Whipple streets. It eventually became a Luther Hospital resale shop. When the hospital expanded in the 1990s, it donated the house to the Waldemar Ager Association, which moved it a few blocks to 514 W. Madison St., where it can be visited today.

5. The Chippewa River

OK, this one is sort of a trick answer, but it’s true. Sometime in the distant past, the Chippewa River decided to take a shortcut, leaving one of its bendiest bends behind, forming an oxbow lake. What we now call Half Moon Lake was cut off from the rest of the river.

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Sunday, Aug. 31st, 2014
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