Hey! Remember all that land along Eau Claire’s First Avenue – right along the river – that the county bought up to eventually tear down and make room for the new jail/justice center that’s been stalled while the county tries to find another round of alternate site locations? Well, it’s just been sitting there, empty for over a year. And now it’s not sitting there at all. We missed the actually ripping down of the buildings, but seemingly out of nowhere, it’s gone. I know it was going to happen eventually (it’s not like the county was going to sell it back to the public), but wow it happened fast.
A feud betwixt a famous Wisconsin father and his son played out in the District 3 Court of Appeals this week – set against the dynamic backdrop of the high steaks world of global beef jerky sales. According to that lovely Associated Press, Jack Link (yes, that Jack Link) was sued by his son Jay for being unfairly ousted from the family business in 2005. Jay won punitive damages to the tune of $5 million. We’re assuming Jay will also get all the Teriyaki Beef Steak Nuggets he can eat for the rest of his life. Man, it’s like John Grisham wrote this.
By the way, the tagline for the Jack Link's company is “Beef Jerky & Protein Snacks.” Something about that ain’t right.
Last Saturday saw a concert of truly mythic proportions go down at the Mousetrap. No, this isn’t hyperbole. The efforts of Skin Prints and (what I hope will be) their inaugural Metal Night at the Mousetrap were downright Herculean. For Hercules’ fifth labor, he diverted two rivers through King Augeas’ stables. These stables hadn’t been cleaned in decades and he did it in a single day. I can’t think of a more fitting metaphor for the countless hippies driven in screaming droves from the Mousetrap bar stools to their bike lanes and leaf composts as the first blackened sound waves roiled forth. Flags Will Cover The Coffins opened the evening for Desolatevoid. Both bands ripped. There wasn’t a single “jam” as most songs were over in a matter of minutes. Our hearts warmed by whiskey, we raised the horns on brave new soil. Hails to the Mousetrap for taking such a “risk.” Hails to Jenn for her pioneering spirit (keep the shows comin’). Hails to the bands and the fans who made the night historic and memorable.
In case you didn’t notice all the ads on our website, we’re once again offering our V1 deal card. Yep – your dreams have come true. We weren’t able to offer the deal card last year, plunging the Chippewa Valley into uncertain darkness. But now, the card returns, like a beaming beacon of blazing hope (and smiles and rainbows and fun). We weren’t content to simply call it the “V1 Card,” so this year, it’s known as “Volume One’s Colossal Cost-Cutting Coupon Card of Nonstop Deal Power.”
It’s packed with 76 year-long deals from local businesses saving you hundreds of dollars on food, drinks, furniture, clothing, movies, flowers, adorable pet-related items, and more.
The deal card is the heart of this year’s membership drive. Just like year’s past, there are five different packages you can buy to support local culture and Volume One Magazine. Each package includes the card. BUT! This year, we’ve upped the ante …
Buying any of the upper four membership packages means you’re also supporting local artists. You’ll be able to select from a number of books and CDs produced by local musicians, writers, and organizations. So buying one of these packages means you’re showing truckloads of love for a whole bunch of local people, businesses, and art. And you should feel good about that.
"Feathe was beyond cooperative. They were ambitious. When I first asked them to film a segment for The Valley, I expected a somewhat positive response, but never the abundance of creative help we had on Saturday morning. For a day, our team grew to twice its members.
With this new installment, we’d like to help in welcoming the newest member of Feathe, Adelyn Strei. Adelyn brings rhythm to the acoustic group, adding to the depth of melodies intertwined in their songs. Just as importantly, she adds to the already fantastic personality these three women have …"
The Valley is a collection of musical performances with the Chippewa Valley as a backdrop. The project is headed by three students at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire who may have only minimal experience, but a passion for their community and the art that surrounds it. (The Valley is inspired by Vincent Moon's Takeaway shows, available at La Blogotheque.)
It sounds like a prank you’d see in a feel-good teen movie where a high school teacher really tries to reach out to the kids in ways traditional academia would never allow. But as far as we know, Myron E. Buchholz – a Memorial High School history teacher and Railroad Club advisor – has never had students stand atop their desks to recite O Captain! My Captain! or whatever the history class equivalent would be (hanging from the ceiling whilst shouting the Magna Carta?). But that didn’t stop some ambitious students from constructing a mini Trojan Horse and leaving it in his driveway late Friday night. Buchholz saw a car leaving his house and called the cops, which is totally NOT would Robin Williams would have done in Dead Poets Society, but hey, what’s a guy supposed to do with a huge homemade horse in his driveway? Dude’s gotta park there, you know? The cops tracked down a 16-year-old student of Buchholz’s who admitted it was just a joke and said he’d take the horse away.
We have no idea if Buchholz was amused or not. We’ll just assume that once the little Trojan horse was taken back to the student’s house that dozens of cramped classmates popped out yelling YOU’RE THE BEST TEACHER EVER, MR. BUCHHOLZ! only to be bitterly disappointed.
Don Baker, 5-year resident of Chippewa Falls, building/restaurant owner, and city council member … is done. Baker has resigned from city council and has moved to California where he has family. And according to the Leader-Telegram, his two downtown Chippewa Falls businesses – including train-themed burger joint Bridge Street Station – are in foreclosure. He told the L-T that he hopes Bridge Street Station will stay open through the winter. He also said this:
"People don't come downtown," he said. "That part has been very frustrating, because I don't see Chippewa supporting itself. It's just not growing."
… and also …
"Downtown needs to change - it needs to be vibrant, it needs to be special," Baker said. "It needs an identity, and it doesn't have one today. If we don't change, we will languish."
This is sad news. We don’t take these statements lightly, coming from Baker – he gave downtown Chippewa Falls a pretty damn solid go over the past few years. He does cite the economy as the major factor for his exodus. (Opening a restaurant in any location at any time is a risky venture, and Baker got truly unlucky with the current economy.) But when he talks about Chippewa not supporting itself, you’re getting into some trickier territory.
On one hand, it’s well documented that getting people to support their downtown is like pulling teeth out of a rabid hyena. On cocaine. However, there’s part of me that wonders if Chippewa Falls was the right place for a high(ish) concept restaurant like Bridge Street. I feel like lots of people might have been put off or intimidated by the whole thing. Perhaps a more low key place would have faired better.
At any rate, Baker isn’t the first unique business owner to experience trouble in Chippewa Falls. Lillybelle Bakery, anyone? Native Bay? A pessimist might say that Chippewa is sending a message.
UPDATE: An email from Bridge Street Station general manager Judy VanGuilder:
I picked up the latest issue of VolumeOne and opened it to an article about Don Baker and Bridge St. Station. After I read it, I was given the impression that Bridge St. Station was closing its doors. It is just the opposite! I am the general manager at Bridge Street and I am working hard to keep the doors open. I have in fact, expanded the business hours to now include Friday and Saturday nights, midnight-3 am to cater to the late night crowd as well.
The fact that Don left has moved back to California, and that some of his buildings are in foreclosure, at this point, has nothing to do with the operation of the restaurant, as they are completely separate entities. Yes it is true that our location has made it difficult for us, but we are still here, still selling awesome burgers and that is the way I intend to keep it! As far as I am concerned, we are only growing and getting stronger!
The Eau Claire Curling Club is so excited about the 2010 Winter Olympics that they’ve challenged Team USA to curling duel today on their home turf: the ice of the Eau Claire County Expo Center. And you get to watch. This is a fundraising event for the club, and as such: $40: One end against men's team and one end against Debbie McCormick's team. This option includes a meal, t-shirt, and presentation by the Olympic teams. $30: One game and meal/t-shirt/presentation. $20: One end against each team without meal. $20: No curling, just meal/t-shirt/presentation. $10: One of curling against team of your choice. Details.
Last night, the House of Rock hosted the kick-off tour date and CD release for Eau Claire’s own More Amore. The alt/pop rock music on the band’s From the Breast of the Public will be discounted $3 for the duration of the regional tour, as well as sweet band t-shirts. Front man Adam Thoms wrote all the songs himself, with a little help from some friends, but he said it’s actually “a dynamic collaboration of musicians.” Appearances on some of the tracks include Jon Seeley, Hannah Connolly from Motion Where You Go, Alyssa Rieper, Zach Hoff, and others. This will be Thoms’s first official tour and the added tour experience of Jon Seeley will be a nice help along the way. Their next appearance will be an all-ages show at Café 420 tonight (11-13), allowing some younger fans to appreciate the music as well. Bouncing between Wisconsin and Minnesota, the 13-appearance tour will end on Nov. 22 at The Mousetrap.