Wednesday, Nov. 4th, 2009

Secret Service deems cheesehead an acceptable security risk

Liberian immigrant Mansfield Neblett had big plans to wear his beloved cheesehead to see President Obama speak at his daughter’s middle school in Madison yesterday. But Secret Service agents stopped him at the door. According to the good ol’ Associated Press, the cheddar-sporting Democrat informed Secret Service agents that if they wouldn’t let him wear his large, triangular, cheese-like hat to Obama’s speech, well, he was just staying home. Luckily, the Secret Service (after what I assume was an extremely thorough search involving several large X-ray machines) declared the cheesehead no-risk headwear and allowed Neblett to wear it.

The lesson in al this? It looks like our Department of Tourism’s attempts to shift the Wisconsin Identity away from beer and cheese has thus far failed. Hard core.

And hey. Has anyone else noticed that most cheesehead hats look like yellow Swiss cheese? Does that actually exists in nature?

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Shooting for the 2010 Wisconsin Film Festival

It’s time to stop talking about your ingenious movie idea and actually make it. The 2010 Wisconsin Film Festival is officially looking for submissions. The festival accepts narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated films of any length. The festival is looking for films completed after January 1, 2008. Large and small productions are welcome, as audiences will vote for their favorite narrative and documentary films. There is a fee to submit certain films and a few prizes will be given to films in the Wisconsin’s Own and Wisconsin’s Own Student Shorts categories. Films have to be completed by February 15, 2010. Check out the website for more information.

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Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, 2009

Friday: Back Stage Concert II

Just a friendly warning from us to you: local bands Meridene and The Jim Pullman Band are gearing up to rock your pretty face off at the second Back Stage Concert Series concert at 7pm on Friday of this week down at the State Theatre. According to a local arts and culture magazine called “Volume One” …

  • Co-developed by The State Theatre and Volume One, the Back Stage Concert Series brings you in through “the wings” and onto the venue’s stage for concerts bookmarked by a brick wall on one side and the velvet curtain on the other, creating an intimate, awesomely lit space of its own. While the event is open to all ages, a small bar will still serve beer, wine, and soda. Taking the stage about once a month will be exclusively local talent If your mental picture of this series is still a bit vague, check this out …

For more videos, check out the hyper-official website for the Back Stage Concert Series. You'll also find dates, performer info, and audio tracks.

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Monday, Nov. 2nd, 2009

Bear apocalypse coming soon?

While most of the Chippewa Valley is content to talk about our recent rash of bank robberies – here, here, and here –, aka The Chippewa Herald, has taken the bold move of focusing on a different rash of harrowing incidents: bear-related car crashes. Apparently, there’s been a whole bunch lately. They say…

  • [Mike Gappa, a university bear studies supervisor, retired from the Wis. Department of Natural Resources] was taken aback after hearing of five bear-vehicle accidents taking place in Chippewa County in less than a week.
  • “Five bears in a week? That’s a lot of bears,” said Gappa, who retired from the DNR in 2003. Read more.

Let’s repeat that quote from the bear expert: “That’s a lot of bears.” The article goes on to list five separate bear-vehicle collisions happening between October 23 and Oct. 27 – indeed, a lot of bears. Gappa goes on to explain that in this time of year, once bears have fattened up for hibernation, they take a “long walk” to find a more southern sleepy time spot. So basically, he says there’re a lot of big fat bears wandering around the state right now, probably getting pretty groggy. But there’s no mention of why there might have been such a concentration of accidents compared to other years. We can only assume the Bear Apocalypse is looming. And soon, they will attack in our sleep.

At any rate, if you’re driving, keep your eyes peeled for big tubby woozy bears. Hitting a 400 pound animal is probably not a pleasant experience.

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Friday, Oct. 30th, 2009
Thursday, Oct. 29th, 2009

A Little Trip to Witch-Mart

Yesterday, we had an intern spend an hour (lovingly) cutting out and (lovingly) assembling the fine Halloween papercraft you see above. “Witch-Mart” is a free download from Lucky Radish Studios – a graphic design/animation studio in Chippewa Falls. We ran a story on Lucky Radish and its owner Chuck Gamble back in September ’08. And here's what he did last year for Halloween. You can download Witch-Mart yourself at (click on STUFF and then MISCELLANY to find all of Chuck’s Halloween fun).

Chuck designs these things to have two layers, so you can peek into the windows and see what’s inside. The best part is the last step in the assembly instructions, which reads “Place unfortunate trick-or-treater in harms way.” Check out more from Chuck Gamble. He also designed the fun Slide-a-ma-jig iPhone app.

Click on some close ups!


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Wednesday, Oct. 28th, 2009

Leinenkugel to tap area barley farmers?

In this article over on, Jake Leinenkugel is quoted about the “soul of beer,” i.e. barley, which stands out to me because my own soul is basically a large tank filled with beer. (Translate that metaphor on your own, kids.) What’s interesting is that Big Jake is talking about moving that soul a little closer to home. We excerpt-ize:

  • Leinenkugel says he's currently in talks with local farmers about starting to grow barley in the area, something that could help the local economy. He says, “That would be the first step in local in a big way because barley is such a huge ingredient in beer, it's the soul of beer.”
  • And City Planner Jayson Smith says that's good news for the county, “One of the largest industries in Chippewa County is agriculture, that industry is very, very important to the economy of Chippewa County and very important to the city of Chippewa Falls.”

Well, that’s actually pretty cool news. (Not sure where their barely comes from now). I hope the idea goes somewhere. The entire article is mostly about the brewery’s new pasteurizing system (set to start working early next year), which will save the company – and the environment – 20 million gallons of water a year. And probably a bunch of money. The new pasteurizer is also said to increase Leinenkugel’s potential for beer output. And if they end up increasing the amount of beer they brew up, it’ll mean more jobs.

Above photo by eleatherberry.

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Tuesday, Oct. 27th, 2009

What not to wear in Wisconsin this Halloween

Hey, you don’t want to show up for that awesome Halloween party this weekend dressed like all your unoriginal friends and lame acquaintances. You want to stand out. So if you’re wondering want NOT to wear, we’ve got the inside scoop. Yep, according to us, which is to say, according to, which is to say, according to the Associated Press, which is to say, according to, the most popular Halloween costumes in Wisconsin are as follows:

  Hannah Montana
  Bumblebee Transformers
  Dora the Explorer

  Michael Jackson

  Sexy nurse
  Sexy barmaid

So, there you go. Don’t dress like anything listed above. And better yet, make your own costume. Here’re some ideas: Be a living Zoltar machine. Or maybe you and a friend can be Harold and the Purple Crayon. If you’re a kid, I don’t know, be a tiny Red Hat Society Lady. The (cool) adults will find it ironi-larious.

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Monday, Oct. 26th, 2009

Boyceville arts-n-crafts enthusiast goes to jail

There’s a crazy story from Sunday’s Leader-Telegram about a woman in Boyceville who didn’t return some library books (about homemade crafts) for two years, got a notice to appear in court, returned the books but didn’t show up for the court date, and then three months later, got arrested in front of her kids and taken to jail. Then she had to pay $150 in bail money to get out. From the article:

  • "I was just getting ready to give the kids (ages 1, 7, 11 and a nephew, 16) supper when I heard the dogs barking and saw two police cars and two officers," Edwards said, referring to Dunn County deputies.
  • "They said they had a warrant, and I asked them if they were serious and explained to them that it was about a library book," she said. "They had no sense of humor and didn't care. They handcuffed me with the kids looking out the window. What a memory for them."
  • Edwards went through the standard booking process before her husband bailed her out that night.

The return of the books and the $150 bail probably means that this short, ridiculous saga is over. But I wonder what’s going on over in Boyceville because, according to the article, this isn’t the first time such a thing has happened.

I’m kind of torn over who to make snide remarks about – the woman or the police/library. On one hand, the lady had more than enough time to return those books. Way more than enough time. And lots of pestering letters to boot. On the other hand, that’s a lot of resources to waste on something like this. And the fact that it's happened before makes me think there’s some persnickety small town librarian behind it all, though persnickety small town librarians probably only exist in my (television-fueled) imagination.

At any rate, if you live in Boyceville, get them books back on time. Or within a year, at least.

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