Wednesday, Nov. 26th, 2008

V1 Staffers Read Local 3rd Graders' Holiday Stories

Snuggle up to your computer for some heart-warming holiday awesomeness! We asked third graders from around the city of Eau Claire a whole bunch of holiday-themed questions, and now you can listen in as we read you our favorite responses – word for word. Listen:

The run time is 6:47. You can find many of these stories in our 2008 Holiday Handbook, or check out the ginormous online archives of all the kids’ responses: A Day in Santa’s Planner, Local Kids’ Cookie Recipes, 3rd Grade Holiday Dinner Plans. But listening is more fun – grab a mug of hot chocolate, find a fireplace, curl up, and enjoy

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Turkeys & Toucans

I was on the way to the mall, driving peacefully, when a huge, dark, gangly bird almost wandered in front of my car. I frantically glanced to my side and saw that there were actually dozens of such birds hanging out in the Oakwood Mall park. Two of them even tried making friends with the toucans.

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Tuesday, Nov. 25th, 2008

Wednesday: Asylum Street Spankers

The killer show this week is on Wednesday over at the Stones Throw. The night before Thanksgiving, you can kick off your turkey-based holiday with the sometimes perverse, always entertaining Asylum Street Spankers from Austin, Texas. Think irreverent song and dance about the magnetic ribbons on your SUV, beer, and the war on drugs. The New York Times says, "Dedicated to acoustic instrumentation, but mischievously unorthodox in every other way." The show’s at 7pm and costs eight bucks.

Check out the band here and listen to some tracks here.

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Eau Claire Decks Halls

By now, most of our local (main drag) light poles have been addorned with holiday frivolity from bright red banners to light-up snowflakes. Here we see downtown Eau Claire utilizing a Yultide Lift Truck to get some balls and ribbons and lights up on the Official Downtown Christmas Tree. Yep, the holidays are a-happenin'.

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Thanksgiving Hints
(Nov. 22, 1908)

Thanksgiving Hints
 – Eau Claire Leader | Nov. 22, 1908

Thanksgiving Evening is apt to be a dull time. The day has been spent almost like Sunday and when evening comes- which it does very early at this season of the year- we are apt to be a bit bored with ourselves and each other. The person who gives something to break the monotony is looked upon as a benefactor. Usually, too functions given on these holidays are great successes as every one is looking for entertainment and are ready to jolly up and enter into the spirit of any gaiety offered. Here is a menu for a supper suitable to almost any evening party:
Strained Chicken Gumbo in Cups
Lobster a la Newberg
Fried Sweetbreads
Artichoke and Grape Fruit Salad
Peach Surprises
Fancy Cakes, Bonbons, Champagne, Coffee

Strained Chicken Gumbo – Make a rich chicken gumbo from any good recipe strain through a fine cloth and serve very hot in cups.

Lobster and Sweetbreads – Serve both these dishes made after any reliable recipe in the same course, as some persons do not eat shell fish and therefore will not take lobster.

Artichoke and Grape Fruit Salad – This is made from grape fruit prepared in the usual way, and equal quantity of artichoke bottoms cut in half.  These are canned and are procurable at high-class grocers.  Lay the grape fruit and artichokes on lettuce leaves and pour over the whole a French dressing.

Peach Surprises – Line a grape fruit glass in vanilla ice cream, leaving space in the centre to receive a brandied peach cut in half.  Place in the ice-box until the shapes are solid then turn upside down on individual plates and serve with the brandied juice.

Chestnut- Custard Pie – To make thoroughly good puff paste wash one pound of butter in ice water.  Put one pound of pastry flour in a deep dish and make a hole in the centre.  Into this hole put a piece of butter the size of an egg, one-half teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of sugar and the white of one egg.  Measure one cup of iced water, add it gradually to the flour board, knead like bread until well blended. Then cut in half and roll out, taking care that the motion shall be from you.  Fold the sides and ends toward the centre, roll again, fold once more and stand on ice for fifteen minutes.  Roll twice more as directed, then fold in a cloth and stand on ice over night.  In the morning roll out very thin and like rather deep pie plates.  To make the filling for one pi, boil and wash a sufficient quantity of chestnuts to yield one-half pint of pulp.  Add one pint of milk, the yolks of two eggs, a scant half cup of sugar and one tablespoon of vanilla.  Turn into the paste-lined dish and bake in a moderately quick oven for twenty minutes.  For the meringue beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, add two tablespoons of powdered sugar, flavor slightly with vanilla and spread over the top of the pie.  Return to the oven and when a yellowish brown, stand aside to become cold.

Chad's Take:
A Simple Thanksgiving

You may have quickly noticed that this article is not as weird and bizarre as most of the previous articles I have talked about.  This is because I realize that for many of you the holidays are an extremely stressful time, and Thanksgiving Day plays a large role in causing that stress.  So, in order to help you out, I have dug up this simple old Eau Claire Thanksgiving Day recipe from a hundred years ago.  This recipe will transport you back to the easy days of the past where Chippewa Valley families moved at a much slower pace.  This article will help you lower your holiday stress and provide you with an opportunity to sit back and relax and truly enjoy your Thanksgiving.  

I know most of you spend over half of your Thanksgiving Day in a hot kitchen preparing turkey, stuffing, and maybe even a pumpkin pie for your family.  The good news is that this article will show you how to trade today’s crazy schedule of cooking for the easy life of Thanksgiving from one hundred years ago.  

I will help you get rid of all of that stress and work because now if you follow this article you can spend about a full-week baking and cooking your family a simple Thanksgiving meal of Lobster a la Newberg, Strained Chicken Gumbo, Peach Surprises, Fried Sweetbreads, Artichoke and Grape Fruit Salad, Fancy Cakes, Bonbons, and Coffee.  Oh how I love the simpler times that our ancestors lived in. 

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and don’t forget the Champagne!

Keep an eye out ...

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Monday, Nov. 24th, 2008

The Big Week, November 24

In this episode: deer hunting, the ECASD budget crisis, homemade gifts, and we give away a $50 gift certificate to T.G.I. FRiDAYS.

Note: Now on every episode of the Big Week, we'll be announcing a winner for one of our V1 Insider $50 Giveaways. So enter them and try to win. If you hear your name announced in the Big Week, you have 7 days to email and claim your prize.

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Sunday, Nov. 23rd, 2008

Meridene's Rocking Weekend

Here’s the deal straight out: Meridene might be one of the next great Eau Claire bands – that is if they can tighten just a few screws and get in front of the right audiences. I somehow ended up attending both of their CD release shows this past weekend, 21+ at the House of Rock on Friday and all ages at the Grand Little Theatre on Saturday (both with local favorites Laarks). Saturday featured a trombone section playing the parts that help make their new album “You’re Not Pretty, You’re Worse” such a solid effort. The songs are catchy, well-crafted, and well-executed, bringing to mind the likes of The Hold Steady, Rilo Kiley, or Wilco. The band has had a bit of a clumsy climb to get to this point, and the live show can still be a bit rough in spots, (especially on the low end) but make no mistake, Meridene is well on their way. In fact, the album charted at No. 11 on the CMJ Top-20 nationwide last week with 40 Top-5 adds around the country (that’s where indie stations pick new albums weekly to add to their playlists.) Check out this issue’s full article here. See photos from the show here. Test drive some tracks here. Buy the album, officially out Tuesday, from Amble Down here.

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Friday, Nov. 21st, 2008

This Weekend:
Meridene CD release gigs

Tonight, prepare yourself for the triple-punch combo attack of  Laarks plus Meridene plus Wishbook show at the House of Rock (details). Halloween Alaska, original scheduled to appear, have post-poned their appearance due to an ill lead singer. Filling in at an opening slot is now Wishbook from Minneapolis, formerly Cowboy Curtis. Popular local acts Laarks and Meridene round out the show, which starts at 10pm. This is the first of two CD release shows for Meridene this weekend, for their new effort: You're Not Pretty, You're Worse.

And if you’re looking for some tunes before that show, you can catch an all ages show featuring  Cataldo & The Daredevil Christopher Wright at the Grand Little Theatre at 7pm (details).

On Saturday: Holidaze Arts Festival, Chippewa Valley Symphony Christmas Stroll, Recycled Art for Kids!, Beauty and the Beast, Chocolate Making, The Little Mermaid, Meridene: CD Release Show, Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra, Fifth Element, WHYS Radio Benefit, Charlie Parr.

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Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2008

Northmorial Husky Eagles?

As you read this, the Eau Claire Area School District is grappling with its over-the-top budget woes, and must consider some drastic cuts. From the Leader-Telegram

  • Facing a projected $5.09 million budget deficit for 2009-10, the Eau Claire school board is looking at any and all proposals for cutting expenses and generating revenues.
  • To date, 43 options - ranging from consolidating schools to freezing salaries to increasing extracurricular activity participation fees - are on the list, which is expected to grow.

Did someone say “options?” Yep …

  • Combining high school extracurricular programs - including sports - into one team per activity for both schools is another option. The consideration of naming rights and advertising throughout the district, along with outsourcing garbage collection and selling the district-owned garbage truck, moving the Montessori charter school from the former Lincoln School and selling the Lincoln site, and eliminating participation in a state program aimed at reducing class sizes, also made the list.

For better of for worse, I think the whole “combing sports programs” concept will be the white-hot button issue that’ll get the citizenry all fired up and involved. The district is supposed to published the list of new budget options on their website, but I’ve yet to find it …

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Lady Is an Undertaker
(Nov. 17, 1905)

Lady Is an Undertaker
Second license of the kind given to woman in Wisconsin
– Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | November 17, 1905

Mrs. Alex Dean recently passed an examination before the state board of health, of which Dr. Harper of Madison is the secretary through which she secured a diploma and a license to practice the profession of undertaking. Mrs. Dean is associated in business with her husband, Alex Dean, the undertaker, at Fourth Ave and Water street this city. This is only the second license of the kind given to a woman in this state. In the state of Illinois, there have been over 200 undertakers’ licenses issued to women, where the custom for all establishments of the kind is to have a lady undertaker.

Chad's Take:
Congratulations to you Mrs. Dean....I mean Ellia.  

I love this article for several reasons. First it really shines light on the behavior of the early 1900s. Today women make up the majority of students studying to become a Mortician, yet back then, as you can see, a woman Mortician was big news in Eau Claire.  You may have also noticed that this great honor went to a woman named ............well just call her Mrs. Dean because it was common practice for newspapers of this time to not call women by their first names. I even have obituaries that did not list the first name of the woman. However I did some research and found at the Mrs. Dean’s first name was actually Ellia. Local historians believe that Ellia played a large role in the success of her husband’s business. 

I also like that this article shows how Water Street has changed over the years. Although there were several saloons operating on Water Street during the early 1900s, it was much more of a community business area then it is today. Most of us think of Water Street only as a watering hole for college students, but imagine how cool it would have been to see an undertaker operating on Water Street along with a Blacksmith, Butcher and numerous other forgotten trades. Well, at least we still have a barber on the street. 

Keep an eye out ...

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South Barstow Street Demolition: Before & After

Now that the buildings which occupied the block of South Barstow Street closest to the Eau Claire River have been completely demolished, we thought you might be interested in seeing the change it's made to the look of downtown Eau Claire.

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