Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 2009

Justin Vernon/Memorial HS jazz concert CD released

Hey, remember last April when Justin Vernon joined Memorial High School’s Jazz Ensemble I for an eight-song set which included adaptations of two Bon Iver songs: “For Emma” and “Lump Sum”?

Of course, you do.

The concert was a fundraising event for Vernon’s alma mater, and now you can get that concert on CD. Yep, that’s right, Bon Iver and/or Eau Claire Memorial High School Jazz I fans, A Decade with Duke is now available. The CD includes two sets of music – Jazz I’s “Essentially Ellington” set and the tunes with Vernon.

The CD is available for purchase only in Eau Claire and only at Brickhouse Music, Morgan Music, and Volume One’s office starting today. But a digital version of the Vernon set is available right now from iTunes, Amazon.com, eMusic, and the like (or will be soon). Proceeds from CD and download sales will be donated to Memorial’s band programs.

Obviously, Vernon’s being a hell of guy with this. Tune your web browser in to our big ol’ web-a-thon event right here on the VolumeOne.org homepage this Friday, Dec. 11 from 1-4pm – where Vernon is one of several guests – and hear what the man has to say about the whole deal.

Here’s the CD’s track list and more about the concert ...

First Set
1. Wind Machine
2. Symphony in Riffs
3. Moon Over Cuba
4. Happy Go Lucky Local
5. Portrait Of Louie Armstrong (featuring Bruce Hering)
6. Bye Bye Blackbird 

Second Set
1. Lump Sum
2. Rocks In My Bed (featuring Addie Strei)
3. Bewitched
4. Miss Otis Regrets
5. For Emma
6. Lady Is A Tramp
7. Since I Fell For You (featuring Mike Noyce)
8. Satisfied Mind

On April 19th, 2009, Eau Claire Memorial Jazz Ensemble I, under the direction of Bruce Hering, invited former Eau Claire Memorial Jazz I alumnus Justin Vernon to perform with them at their annual fund raising concert. The concert was held to raise money for the band's sixth trip to The Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. At the concert, the band performed their Essentially Ellington set, then invited Vernon on stage to sing an eight-song set with them, which included several jazz and blues standards as well as two songs, "Lump Sum" and "For Emma", from Vernon's acclaimed Bon Iver release, For Emma, Forever Ago.

The concert is dubbed A Decade With Duke to commemorate Eau Claire Memorial Jazz I's ten years of involvement in The Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival. Vernon was the guitar player in the first Eau Claire Memorial Jazz Ensemble I to attend the competition back in 1999.

The 2009 Eau Claire Memorial Jazz Ensemble I went on to be named “One of America’s Best Jazz Bands” by ranking third at Essentially Ellington, which earned them the honor of performing onstage at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, the coveted Essentially Ellington trophy, and a check for $1,000.

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Monday, Dec. 7th, 2009

Who knew? Wisconsin is 5th largest Christmas tree grower

Hey! Apparently, Christmas trees are a Wisconsin cash crop – we’re the nation’s fifth largest grower. Whilst buying a tree, shame on me, I’ve never really thought about where it comes from – I’ve always just assumed it was grown somewhere relatively nearby. But this year, I’m going to ask how local it is. Obviously, if you go out to a tree farm to purchase your Symbol of Holiday Goodness, it’s a local commodity, but those tree lots? You better ask or you might get stuck with a tree from Pennsylvania or some crap like that. Read:

  • The state is the fifth-leading producer of Christmas trees in the United States. Only Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania produce more.
  • More than 1.8 million trees, grown on nearly 1,400 farms encompassing 36,000 acres are harvested in Wisconsin each year. Christmas trees are a major part of the state's agricultural commerce, pumping more than $50 million into the state economy each holiday season.
  • "Buying a real Wisconsin Christmas tree does a lot of good things," says Cheryl O'Brien, the 62nd Wisconsin Alice in Dairyland, who is also a spokesperson for the state's agricultural industry. "Buying a Wisconsin-grown Christmas tree helps support our local farmers, producers, communities, economies, and all Wisconsin agriculture." (via asseeninwi.com via onmilwaukee.com)

This much is true: if the 62nd Wisconsin Alice in Dairyland says something, I believe it.

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Sausage Was Doped
December 12th, 1905

Sausage Was Doped
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | December 12th, 1905

More Prosecutions in Eau Claire Under Pure-Food Law
Fines Paid by Several
In Two Cases, Defendants Plead Not Guilty and Will Stand Trial

Asst. Dairy and Food Commissioner Moore, as result of the state chemist’s analysis of the samples of bologna sausage which Mr. Moore secured in this city recently, had more meat market men arraigned before Judge Gilbertson this morning. The charge against each was that of unlawful offering and exposing for sale, taking orders for selling and being in possession of bologna sausage containing artificial coloring matter and boric acid.

The defendants were Gustav Walter, Herman Alf. L.E. Cranie, J. Blasius, John Welch and Chris Diefenbach, the sausage maker for the Drummond Packing Co. All pleaded guilty –except John Welch and Chris Diefenbach—and paid the fines and cost of $29.95 each under the protest.

Messrs. Walter and Alf did not think it was right to fine them, as hey did not know that there was any preservative in the sausage and had not made it themselves but bought it of the Drummond Sausage Company. John Welch pleaded not guilty and said that he would consult a lawyer. He too had purchased his sausage from the Drummond Packing Co., and he did not think it right that he should pay a fine for somebody else’s offense.

Attorney Frank R. Farr appeared in behalf of Chris Diefenbach, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his case was adjourned till later, the date, however, not being set. Its looks as though the Drummond Packing Company is going to contest the case. Mr. Moore left this morning for Madison. As a net result of his work, eleven of Eau Claire’s eighteen butchers were arrested and fined as a result of his investigations during the present week and two cases are pending against two.

Chad’s Take – A tough choice

On numerous occasions I have written about the fallacy that our great grandparents were more grounded, had more common sense, and were overall stronger than we are today. This article serves as one such example to bolster my argument. In today’s world we routinely eat chemically modified food, play with China’s lead infused toys, and build our homes right next to industrial waste producing plants, without so much as a second thought. Yet this 1905 article tells of several Chippewa Valley residents being arrested for selling the fine folks of the area some sausage with a little Boric acid in it. Sure there are those of you who will state that Boric acid is not meant for consumption, that it is primarily used for insecticides, flame retardants, antiseptics, and nuclear power plants. I’ll concede the fact that at first glance Boric acid does seem quite harmful, yet it is still generally considered a weak acid.

However, as a researcher of the strange and bizarre, I strive to give every side of an argument fair treatment. Perhaps, you critics are right in the belief that the Chippewa Valley residents should have been protected from Boric acid in their sausage. For this experiment I am going to compare your expertise of sausage, versus the expertise of the sausage makers, Drummond Packing Company.

Myself and the normal (or abnormal) readers of this column.

1. I am guessing that the majority of you are similar to me in the fact that most of my yearly sausage intake is in the form of a topping decorating a pizza.

2. A few of you may even enjoy the occasional tasty sausage stick throughout the course of the year.

3. And perhaps, by some far-fetched chance, one of you readers even makes his/her own homemade sausage.

I must admit that so far, we the people of the Chippewa Valley possess a fairly impressive sausage resume.

Now, let’s take a look of Drummond Packing Company.

1. David Drummond came to Eau Claire in 1870, and formed a small meat packing business that mostly provided lumbermen with the necessary food to get them through the day.

2. In 1881, David’s brothers joined in the business, and it became known as Drummond Brothers. In 1893, the business was incorporated, and the business name was changed to Drummond Brothers Packaging.

3. By the year 1927, the Drummond Packing Company was handling 2,000 hogs per week, they employed over 15 people, and sold over 10,000,000 pounds of product annually. All of this was from their plant on the north side of Galloway Street in Eau Claire.

4. David Drummond is a member of the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

5. For 120 years, some variation of the original Drummond Packaging Company existed in the Chippewa Valley, until Armour finally closed down the plant in 1990.

This was an excruciatingly tough call to make. I tediously studied the qualifications of both sides of the argument. And after much thought and debate, when it came to sausage safety, I was left with two options. I could throw my weight behind myself, and several other avid pizza fans (Chippewa Valley Residents) or behind the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame business (Drummond Packaging Company). In the end, I decided that maybe eating sausage and not consuming Boric acid could go hand in hand. After calling a few local butchers, and several proprietors of meat selling establishments, I quickly found out that today’s sausage contains no Boric acid at all, which made my locally made pizza taste even more delicious.

Keep an eye out,
Chad Lewis

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Sunday, Dec. 6th, 2009

Weekly Shakedown:
The Stuff You Maybe Missed

In case you were trapped under a giant rock all last week, here is a sampling of Volume One gems that you would not have seen ... unless you had wi-fi access a really flat computer under that rock, and in which case, how do I get one?  
    • A triumphant Back Stage Concert (photos)
    • The multimedia art show at the library (photos)
    • A prolific pianist in glamorous gowns (photos)
    • A tour of local Xmas decorations (video)
    • Brian Bethke @The Acoustic Café (show review)
    • Oh man, living in the "Student Ghetto" (discussion

Have a resting and peaceful Sunday, people, and may all your sports teams win.

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Friday, Dec. 4th, 2009

Saturday: Bridge to Wonderland Parade

Check out Main Street in downtown Chippewa Falls on Saturday at 6pm for an annual event sure to invoke fuzzy festive memories for years to come – the Bridge to Wonderland Parade. The cost is absolutely nothing to anyone wishing to take in the festive celebration. You can watch all kinds of illuminated floats and listen to local bands play holiday favorites. It's best to get there a little early, otherwise the only memories you'll have will involve the back of some old guy's head. Santa always rides on the final float, so make sure you've been nice. Details.

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Thursday, Dec. 3rd, 2009

The “Student Ghetto”

Here’s the opening snippet to an article/editorial our managing editor Trevor Kupfer is finishing up for next week’s issue. We thought you might like to chime in …

  • Volume One recently published a special section on Rental Living, which broke down many of the Chippewa Valley’s most popular rental neighborhoods, from what kinds of units commonly found there to the nearby amenities. With every area, we also included its nickname, or how it’s referred to in everyday conversation (e.g. Out by the Mall, Behind Shopko, The Planets, etc.). When we got to Randall Park, we put down “Student Ghetto,” fully expecting to hear from members of the neighborhood. And sure enough, we did.
  • The e-mails, physical letters, and phone calls that followed allowed us to reflect on how this nickname began, and became a part of the local lexicon – and of even more interest, what it means.
  • Is it an offensive label for the Historic Randall Park, one of Eau Claire’s most prized neighborhoods? Is it a term of endearment? Or is it a case of people calling it like they see it?

So what do you think? Is the term “student ghetto” offensive, endearing, or both?

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Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, 2009

Do we need an arts-based charter school?

After teaching in the Eau Claire Area School District for 25 years, Jo Burke is determined to start a local Charter school that serves grades six through 12 via the creative arts. “There has emerged a need to serve kids with different learning patterns,” she said, “and we see the creative arts as a way to do that.” The project is in the very preliminary stages. For the past several weeks Jo has been talking to teachers, parents, community members, and artists to get their thoughts on a possible school. Her group (or “movement,” as she calls it) called Engage, is essentially a dozen local educators and parents rallied around this idea and looking for more support in the community.

The group is currently going through the planning process for a grant through the Department of Public Instruction that is due in April and would make the first year of start-up for the project free. In order to do this, however, Jo will come before the school board on Dec. 7 to illustrate a need for such a school and show how it’s fiscally sustainable.

To help Joe’s efforts or show support for the project, either show up to the Dec. 7 meeting in the Board Room of the Administration Building (500 Main St.) or e-mail Jo: joellenburke@gmail.com.

You can also help by filling out a quick survey.

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Show Review: Brian Bethke @The Acoustic Café

Back from his US tour, Brian Bethke did a show of old favorites, and even older unreleased songs written over the past fifteen years, as well as a few new tracks. It was great hearing lots of music I have never heard him sing before. It was also great hear his new stuff. The Acoustic Cafe was filled when we walked in. We slid into the final empty booth.

Acoustic Cafe is a nice venue. The audience noise always seems fairly low. With Brian's setup it seemed like the sound was a little fuzzy and boomy on the louder moments. Not bad enough to complain about, but a little distracting. The audience was tuned in by the time Brian took the stage. The front tables were filled with tables of fans who knew the lyrics of the songs better than Brian did. It was all the makings of a good show and Brian didn't disappoint.

For me, Brian is particularly enjoyable to hear live. I like it so much better than his recorded work. I understand that as a musician, you get sick of your own stuff. I mean, how many times have one of the Van Zants played Sweet Home Alabama since 1973? Or, maybe he feels it is the perceived value of getting multiple musicians on one plastic disk. Brian likes to change up his recorded works by bringing in other artists, background vocalists and a lot of other things. But, I feel that gets in the way of what I really like, which is Brian's voice and his guitar…


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Tuesday, Dec. 1st, 2009

Local zine prods you to go a-caroling

Local zine Chippewa Valley’s Hidden Treasures has invited you all to go caroling, basically saying, “Show up here at this time and, you know, go caroling.” Officially, they say “The joy of community Christmas Caroling has somehow slipped into the shadows.” So, much like the plot to a young adult novel about wizards, you’ve been challenged to liberate an ancient Christmas tradition from the evil depths of a shadowy dungeon. They’ve got locations designated for both Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls:

Monday, Dec. 21 • 6-8pm • meet at Boyd Park in Eau Claire on the East Side Hill (1100 block of Main St.) OR Micon Cinemas in Chippewa Falls (Chippewa Mall Dr.).

They encourage you to bundle up in festive clothing and bring lanterns, candles, and flashlights. So if you’ve got a holiday song in your heart (and some new long johns you’re dying to break in), grab some friends and do some goldarn caroling.

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