Wednesday, Apr. 15th, 2009

Open City Council Seat to Be Influenced Jail Project?

Eau Claire’s newly elected city council will have their first meeting soon, but that big curvy table will have an empty seat – the at-large spot left vacant by Kerry Kincaid who is now the council’s president. The council will decide how the spot gets filled. And here’s where it gets interesting. Soon, the city council will be making decisions about the downtown jail plans, and obviously, that could potentially have a bearing on who gets the open seat. From

  • Here are the options laid out to [WQOW] by Kincaid: the council could decide to leave the spot open until the April election, hold a special election, or appoint someone to the council. 
  • Kincaid says it is likely the council will choose to appoint someone.  Kincaid's hope is that the new council member will not be voted-in based on their stance of the county jail plan, which the city council will have a say on in the coming months.
  • "It is a big vote that is coming up before council and all of us will be weighing the importance of the vote, but if I hear of such conversations, I would come down very hard on that and insist that we proceed above board and do the ethical thing," says Kincaid.

With so many people caring so passionately about that jail project, our city government could be getting relatively exciting pretty soon, here.

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Tuesday, Apr. 14th, 2009

Meridene Rocks
Live, Right Now! You Missed It

You could have checked out Eau Claire band Meridene on a LIVE stream of the Wisconsin Public Television show 30-minute Music Hour today at 3:15pm. The Meridene show should be archived and available to watch on the site tonight, and of course, eventually on TV.

From "The hardest rocking group on Eau Claire's wildly successful Amble Down label, Meridene crunches electric guitars and weaves lyrics that are high bred without being highbrow. Leader Trevor Ives writes songs filled with grit and whimsy, a paradox propelled by a smooth balance of keyboards, guitars and drums. The band will feature material from its new CD, You're Not Pretty, You're Worse."

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Tonight: Man 1, Bank 0

Tonight at the State Theatre – the award-winning Man 1, Bank 0. Patrick Combs' comical one-man show tells the amazing-but-true story of how he deposited a $95,093.35 junk-mail check marked 'non-negotiable', hoping to spread a little banking cheer to tellers, and how it erupted into a staggering and funny David vs. Goliath-like adventure. This is his internationally touring, award winning, off-Broadway one-man show about the incident. The show’s at 7:30pm. Details.

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Cow Fart Task Force?

Here’s a little fun fact for you today! If America could reduce national cow fart production by 25%, it would be equal to removing the greenhouse-gas emissions of 1.25 million cars. Yep, that’s a lot of cow toots. And if the US Dairy and Dairy Management Inc. has their way, all 25% of those offending farts will be snatched from the air by 2020. From

  • It's a problem because the gas is largely methane, which can contribute to global warming.
  • With 9 million dairy cows across the nation, that's a lot of greenhouse-gas emissions. About 14 percent of those cows are in Wisconsin. …
  • One possible solution is changing cow feed. Early research suggests adding fish oil can cut methane production. Another solution could be to modify the microbes in the cows' gut.

This is all fine and good, but I dream of day when things like cow farts no longer exist. Let’s aim for a cow fart-free American by 2030!

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Monday, Apr. 13th, 2009

Nate's Dungeon: April 4th Show

So I’m a little behind on getting this written, but here you go. Last Saturday at Nate’s Dungeon, I had one of the best shows in quite awhile. A total of six bands played: Dios Mio, Bring That Shit, Lord Green, Rule 22, Orville Sash, and Dun Bin Had. Now there’s a list of links for ya. The show started out with me cooking up a ton of tacos and pizzas for everybody. Which I just wanted to mention since it was nowhere near as messy as I feared it would be – I was pleasantly surprised. But back to the music, Bring That Shit is a newer band from Saint Paul that features some veterans of the music scene up there. Most notably Ben Crew of InDefence (Whoa! Another link!) who I would like to point out played the week beforehand at Moltons Skate America, were Ben stage dived off the Statue of Liberty. Lord Green was defiantly a standout to me for the show. They have a real riffy doom metal kind of sound combined with the hardcore fell of born against/los crudos. I picked up their tape which had newer recordings on it but forgot to get their cd demo, otherwise I would also have a track form them on this post. I hope to have one up here sometime in the future. Orville Sash really got the crowd going with their song “I got a boner,” which they ended up playing twice. I could go on for awhile, but I'll cut myself off here with a last little plug for the Dungeon on April 24th with Droids Attack and The Horde.

Listen to “Motorhead Song” by Bring That Shit:

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Don’t Clean Your Apartment with Gasoline

So this guy in Wisconsin needed to clean his apartment, and, instead of grabbing the nearest bottle of 409 or Windex, he figured he should probably use gasoline. He was wrong. I'm not sure what kind of mess he had to clean up, but it apparently involved soaking a pile of cushions and clothes with gas and then topping it off with a lit cigarette. Now, if I weren’t such a trusting guy, I might assume this wasn't so much “cleaning” as it was “arson.” At any rate, the guy is now in jail and the apartment’s filthy. From

  • The complaint said that when the fire began Friday, he didn't pull the fire alarm but instead shouted "fire" a couple times and walked to the Menasha police department for an ambulance to take him to the hospital where he was treated for burns.

Yeah, um, that guy doesn’t sound like he’s on the up-n-up. His cleaning technique not only destroyed his apartment – it also turned the tenants of 11 other apartments into homeless people. 

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Wisconsin Professors
Getting Shafted?

According to, Wisconsin’s college professors are relatively low paid, and the state often serves as a launch pad to bigger, out-of-state positions. Read …  

  • Pay for full professors at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the lowest of the state's three doctoral universities, according to the 2008-'09 report on faculty salaries from the American Association of University Professors.
  • The findings came as no surprise to UW System officials. They have long bemoaned the pay of their professors, particularly at the public flagship university, where star faculty members have been recruited away by offers of much higher pay.
  • "This is where the young up-and-coming professors come to learn the business, to get all the mentoring and cultivation and nurturing that goes into making them an associate professor or a full professor, and then they get cherry-picked by others," said UW spokesman David Giroux.

Check out the rest of the article for statistics, economic/recession concerns, and other depressing items. One interesting bit of information is that Wisconsin’s university system has $10 million at its disposal to sweeten salary offers for valuable professors who are offered competing positions. Kind of a “counteroffer fund" for the super smarties.

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Saturday, Apr. 11th, 2009

Phoenix Park Neighborhood
to Hit Delays?

The Phoenix Park Neighborhood project is 1.9 buildings into its development and things are changing up a bit. The developers are seeking a one-year extension on the deadline for the project’s first phase, and Michael Lander of the Lander Group – somewhat of a Jesus figure our downtown development, check out the beard – wants to play a smaller role. From the L-T ...

  • Developers Geoff Moeding and Michael Lander want to delay the city-imposed deadlines for completing buildings in phase 1 of the project as part of a proposal under which Moeding and developers Wisconsin Street Associates would buy yet-to-be-developed building sites from Lander and presumably build the remainder of the project.
  • Lander would not be directly involved with future North Barstow development but would retain ownership with Moeding of the Midelfort Pharmacy and Home Medical building and the nearly completed apartment and retail building just east of Phoenix Park, Moeding said.
  • As part of the agreement, Lander also would retain architectural oversight of the entire project, scheduled to be built in two phases over a number of years. Lander also would oversee the development agreement, Moeding said.

According to the article, Moeding cites the bad economy for the construction delay. No surprise there. I can’t imagine this is the opportune time to be throwing up innovative new business and living space. (Please note, I am not an experienced urban developer.) That said, Moeding is still planning on constructing a third building this year. And Lander stepping back a little from the project probably has everything to do with ALL of his projects in the current economic climate, and not the vitality of the Phoenix Park project specifically. (Please note, I am not an experienced urban economist.)

The City Council will probably review the extension request in May.

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Spiritualists Hold Meeting
April 11, 1906

Spiritualists Hold Meeting
Will R. Erwood Discusses Subject Last Night
Eau Claire Leader | April 11, 1906

Last evening about fifty-persons gathered at Chappell Hall to listen to Will R. Erwood lecture upon Spiritualism. He chose as his subject, “Spiritualism, God and the Bible.” In opening the meeting Mr. Erwood stated that in place of the customary invocation he would read a poem by Ella Wheller Wilcox, “God and Me,” which he read in a masterful manner. He then started in upon his subject, which dealt altogether with life after death, and in which he told of numerous instances where the spirits of those departed had returned and made themselves manifest in different ways- by rappings, writing upon slates, etc., and stated it as his belief that the transition of the body known to most of us as death was merely a change from the material to the spiritual life. Mr. Erwood said that, while a great many persons were under the impression that only persons of inferior intellect or weak minds were believers in spiritualism- on the contrary, the sect numbered among its believers some of the greatest thinkers of the present day, and named many of them. Following his lecture, Mrs. Amanda Coffman, the noted test medium, gave an illustration of communication with the departed. It was certainly very interesting and while undoubtedly many differ as to beliefs, there should have been a larger attendance.

Chad’s Take: Where the hell is Chappell Hall?

I will start with the weird part of this article and then move on to the more tedious detective work. “Spiritualism, God and the Bible,” I really wish I could have attended this presentation, as a lecture that focused on ghosts, spirits, and the afterlife certainly would have been extremely cutting edge for the time, even though the Spiritualist Movement was still pretty popular during the early 1900s. Even the newspaper noted that more people should have shown up to listen to Mr. Erwood and to witness the work of medium Amanda Coffman. It is a shame that more of the presentation was not preserved in the newspaper. However, I do have to give Mr. Erwood credit for his bravery, as only a fool would try to hold a presentation on ghosts and spirits in Eau Claire today.

Ok, now on to the mystery part of the article. When I first read this article I had no idea where Chappell Hall is/was. Hopefully someone out there with more knowledge of the Chippewa Valley than me will enlighten me with its location. I did however find several references to the “Chappell Block” that listed in on Grand Ave. I also located an old Eau Claire Daily Leader article from 1910 which stated that a Grand Initial Ball was being held by the Walla Walla Club at Chappell Hall, but it did not list an address. Finally I came across Addison D. Chappell, who was a prominent farmer and real estate mogul of Eau Claire in the 1800s. Together he and Mr. Van Hovenberg constructed the Chappell Block, which served as one of the main business blocks in the city. But even after all my research I still don’t know exactly where Chappell Hall is, so if you see someone aimlessly wandering around downtown Eau Claire looking up at all the buildings, it is probably me, or perhaps some drunk college kid.

Keep an eye out!

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Friday, Apr. 10th, 2009

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