Articles in this Issue


The Land Towards Which They Were Going

the story of James Zwerg, a Wisconsin freedom rider

In late February 1961, 21-year-old James Zwerg – a native of Appleton – took his place in a Nashville, Tennessee, movie theater line alongside all the rest. The tall, white Midwesterner was quiet but anxious, confident though a little afraid. To the ticket seller at the front of the line, his exterior surely pegged him as the perfect patron ...

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Editor's Notes

Are "Hangables" a Key to Community Success?

Note from the Editor | October. 14, 2015

At the start of October I realized something I’d never thought much about before – that our communities need more frequent and interesting evening events that: 1) Don’t really cost anything, and 2) Are broad enough that most anyone would feel comfortable attending and socializing ...

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The Rear End

All Across the Floor

our eyes can play tricks on us, but so can something else

It wasn’t “shag” carpet. But it was shaggier than most of the carpet you see nowadays. Inch-long carpet fibers, ranging in color from dark brown to very dark brown. It had rivers of shorter fibers running throughout, corralling the taller bits into irregular shapes and landmasses. Staring down at it, you could see a vast collection ...

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Cover Art

On the Cover | October 14, 2015

learn more about this issue's cover art from Adam Dorn

“New to the area, I knew I wanted to find the darkest skies in Eau Claire County. I set out for Coon Fork County Park just outside of Augusta. It was midnight. I pulled up to the dike of the park and set up. I couldn’t believe how dark the sky was out there. I set up with the shoreline stretching off into the distance ...

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Opening Shots

Opening Shot | October 14, 2015

OCTOBER VIBES. Brian Bethke performs in the outdoor courtyard at The Local Store & Volume One Gallery – it’s just one part of The Night Market, held there 6-9pm every Friday in October. In addition to the outdoor music there’s a local food truck, a firepit, local tastings, five to six local makers displaying their handmade ...

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A Brief Defense of Socks and Sandals

despite years of derision and corniness, the dad-look mainstay is a keeper

From my perspective, sandals without socks have never been a good idea. Let’s be real – even the best pair of leather sandals against the bare foot produces sweat, blisters, a fair amount of chaffing and, in short order, smells like a dead fish. Some dads have always known this and found that pairing ...

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Music Quick Hits | October 2015

Brooklyn electro R&B outfit Doe Poaro released their album “After” on Sept. 25, which was recorded at April Base in Fall Creek – Justin Vernon’s recording studio – and includes a bunch of contributions from local folks like Sean Carey (production), Davy Sumner (arrangements), and Andy Hofer (horns) ...

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What Is Normal?

rock musical aims to destigmatize those with mental illnesses

Theater is more than simply an enjoyable form of entertainment; it also can be used as a channel to open a dialogue about complex issues. One show that opens doors for discussion is Next to Normal, a musical that depicts members of a family trying to help each other ...

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Honestly Spooked

V1’s storytelling series revels in scary stories

Our every-other-month storytelling event, Let’s Be Honest, always takes a turn for the spooky in October. It’s a chance for people to come together, listen, and get creeped out by personal stories of fearful encounters, dreadful feelings, real-life horror, and that eerie thing right around the corner. The theme for the storytelling ...

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Musical, Botanical Madness

feed me! ECCT set to take on “Little Shop Of Horrors”

The Eau Claire Children’s Theatre is setting the stage for a production of Little Shop of Horrors. This zany musical is the comedic tale of a man-eating plant that combines both horror and comedy with rock ’n’ roll. Little Shop of Horrors is guaranteed to send chills down your spine and bring you plenty of laughs ...

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Winning Women

book fest features poetic headliner, honored humorist

Securing a visit by famed Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye – whose list of published works and awards would fill an article unto themselves – was quite a coup for the 2015 Chippewa Valley Book Festival. Then a second coup landed in the organizers’ lap: In late September, Julie Schumacher ...

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Visual Art

Artistic Anniversary

UW-Stout’s Art & Design School celebrates 50 years

In 1964 William J. Micheels – president of what was called Stout State University at the time – and John Furlong proposed the idea of an art and design program at the institution. A year later, their dream would become a reality and the university gave birth to its first art and design degree ...

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A World of Imagination, Nature

UWEC photography prof puts together dreamy, lush show

Wanrudee Buranakorn remembers her time in northeast Georgia on a recent artistic residency fondly. Specifically, she relished being ensconced in the nature, woods, and water of the Blue Ridge Mountains, overcome with solitude. For her new show, “From The Secret World” – on display ...

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Wisconsin Film Fest Wants Your Cinematic Entry

In Hollywood, filmmakers dream of winning Oscars; closer to home, Sconnie cinemaniacs strive for Golden Badgers. If you’ve never heard of the Golden Badgers, then you’re likely unfamiliar with the annual Wisconsin Film Festival – which is a shame if you’re an aspiring filmmaker ...

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Film Lovers Flock to Flyway Film Festival

Get your popcorn and Milk Duds ready: The eighth annual Flyway Film Festival will kick off Wednesday, Oct. 21, at its Pepin home base and will continue through Sunday, Oct. 25. The yearly event – designed to honor the work of both long-time industry professionals as well as silver-screen amateurs ...

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Glassworks' Hilarios, Off-Beat Sketch Episode

the improv trio premiered a set of web sketches featuring well-honed characters

Glassworks primarily dabbles in long-form improv comedy, but with the help of Peter Eaton, an LA filmmaker from Eau Claire, they’ve just finished up a pilot episode for a potential sketch comedy series. You can watch the whole 18-minute episode online now, which features a handful of hilarious ...

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Local Lit

Man with Dog

The lone fisherman, in his red boat with his spotted English setter, glides along the water. There is nothing else to breaks its surface. Out my window is an L.L. Bean commercial: the brightness of the red boat on these blue waters, the perfect dog to take fishing ...

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Chippewa Valley Book Festival 2015

what to do and where to go at the Valley’s celebration of authors and literature

Find full descriptions online at and search for Chippewa Valley Book Festival. Learn more about the festival by email at, by phone at (715) 839-5004, or visit online at All events held in Eau Claire unless otherwise noted ...

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Startup Success

inaugural Startup Weekend helps entrepreneurs boot up

A just-launched Eau Claire tech startup, 15 Second Imaging, was looking for some advice. They had a great idea – create high-resolution 3D images of products that potential buyers could view on the Web – but they needed to find just the right object to demonstrate the process ...

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Plug Into The Sun

catch some rays at the Solar Power Wisconsin conference

The moon isn’t the only celestial body that’s super: The sun – our very own mass of incandescent gas – send enough energy to the earth in an hour and a half to meet humanity’s energy needs for an entire year. (Yes, you read that right: a whole year.) So how can we use solar power to do more than just power our pocket calculators? ...

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Local Look

On The (Rail) Road Again?

public-private approach key to revived rail effort

You’d better look both ways, because there could be a train coming. That’s the message of Chippewa Valley rail travel advocates, who are busy creating a plan for a public-private partnership to foster passenger rail service between Eau Claire and the Twin Cities ...

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Eau Claire-Stream Takes Local Vibe on Road

What’s the best way to see America in style? Inside the sleek, retro luxury of a shimmering aluminum Airstream trailer, of course. What’s the best way to stylishly impress the rest of America so they want to check out the Chippewa Valley? Again, with a classic Airstream trailer ...

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Help Plan Eau Claire's New Transit Center

If you’ve ridden an Eau Claire Transit bus in the last 30 years you’re probably familiar with the transit center on Farwell Street. The original transit center that sits there now was built in 1983 as a temporary structure, and 32 years later it’s still standing, but it’s outlived its usefulness ...

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Dunn Co. Has Questions About Your Health

If you live or work in Dunn County, the Dunn County Health Department has a few questions for you. Don’t worry; nothing’s wrong! In fact, the department – in cooperation with Mayo Clinic Health System and other agencies and nonprofits – is conducting a survey to find out the public’s health priorities ...

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5 Spooky Places in the Chippewa Valley

longtime paranormal investigator Chad Lewis offers his list of top scary spots

As you prepare to engage in the splendid Halloween traditions of putting up decorations, carving jack-o’-lanterns, and deciding on which terrifying costume best suits you, don’t forget about the more sinister side of the holiday. According to legend, as Halloween approaches, the veil that separates our world ...

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Ski Sprites' Downtown Frights

annual haunted house sponsored by the Eau Claire Ski Sprites moves downtown

Halfway up the Dewey Street Hill – in a block of darkness – in a non-descript gray cement building with the windows painted over – projecting out of THE slope of the hill – with newly added bright orange neon lights on the roof – is downtown Eau Claire’s only haunted house, the Van Krumple Mortuary & Crematorium ...

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Where Did All the Interesting Characters Go?

“The festive hobo has begun to make his appearance in the city. He come not singly, but in bunches like the falling leaves of autumn. In municipal court four hoboes were arraigned on a vagrancy charge. They told tales of woe that have never before been made public save in exciting chapters of the yellow-back books ..."

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Get Your Zombie On

you know you wanna party at the Masonic Temple

Zombies, ghouls, and witches can reunite at the first annual Zombie Bash at the Masonic Temple in downtown Eau Claire on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 7pm to midnight. Event curator and temple caretaker Allen Mazuk promises an unusual and freaky time can be had by all. Attendees will enter the ...

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5 Great Money Tips for Young People

RCU Spokester Shelby Wodarck wants you to get money smart so you can have more cash fun

We all have heard it time and time again: Budgeting this, budgeting that. But what if there actually is something to this? Do you really know what your budget is? How much can you really spend on a night out on the town or at a restaurant? Have you ever taken the time to really map it out? If you were like me ...

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Who You Gonna Call?

sorting out the kind of financial professional you need

Need some financial advice, but not sure where to turn? You’re not alone. There are lots of financial advisers with lots of similar-sounding titles out there. We talked to a pair of pros who carry different designations about what they do and how the people in their profession can help you ...

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Wider Scope

The Land Towards Which They Were Going

the story of James Zwerg, a Wisconsin freedom rider

In late February 1961, 21-year-old James Zwerg – a native of Appleton – took his place in a Nashville, Tennessee, movie theater line alongside all the rest. The tall, white Midwesterner was quiet but anxious, confident though a little afraid. To the ticket seller at the front of the line, his exterior surely pegged him as the perfect patron ...

Add a Comment »

Food / Drink

Gather Around Again

Inga Witscher returns for a third season on public TV

If you’re interested in cooking with local flair, then you won’t want to miss Season 3 of Around the Farm Table, hosted by Inga Witscher, on Wisconsin Public Television. Part local farm-interest show and part cooking show, the Witscher family began Around the Farm Table ...

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Fresh From the Farm

dinner to feature local food, raise farm awareness

This Fall, A Second Opinion Magazine will offer Chippewa Valley residents the opportunity to participate in the Eau So Edible Local Food Challenge, the regional component of a national movement united in supporting local farmers and promoting the consumption of food grown and produced within 100 miles ...

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Special Sections

Feeling the Financial Squeeze

It’s no surprise that most of us stress over money. so what can we do about it?

News flash: Money causes stress! As far as headlines go, that’s about as surprising as “Sky appears blue” and “Wisconsin produces cheese.” However, because confronting a problem is the first step to overcoming it, it’s important to examine just how and why finances cause such stress for us ...

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