Monday, Aug. 31st, 2009

Crooks Escape
Sept. 5, 1905

Crooks Escape
Two prisoners pry their way out of Chippewa Falls.
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | Sept. 5, 1905

Chippewa Falls- Felix Fourboul, charged with the murder of his father, and a man named Fuller, charged with larceny, broke out of the county jail last night and at 10:30 this morning were still at large. The two jail-birds made a hole in the wall big enough to get a man through it easily. The authorities are telephoning and telegraphing in all directions and hope to effect recapture.

Chad’s Take- New Jail Here we Come!

Although I have never had the privilege of spending time in a jail cell, I imagine that the experience is not too pleasant, which makes it completely understandable that the abovementioned prisoners sought to break out. The two men, Fourboul and Fuller, thought that it might be more beneficial to them to dig out of their jail cell rather than to sit around and face charges of murder and larceny.

All the trouble started on April 21, 1905, when Felix Fourboul Sr. went missing. He was last spotted going down Bridge Street. Police officers believed that his son, Felix Fourboul Jr. was somehow involved, and when Jr. was arrested he showed signs that he had been in a recent scuffle. Felix Jr. was held in jail, but eventually authorities had no choice but to release him. A change in the case erupted on August 3, when the body of Felix Fourboul Sr. was fished out of the Chippewa River. He was found nearly 200 feet above the Wisconsin Central Bridge. Four weights were found tied to the feet of his naked body. Investigators were immediately suspicious due to the fact the body showed a skull fracture and was missing several teeth. Speculation again turned to the guilt of Felix Jr. who was quickly arrested for the crime and locked up in the Chippewa jail. And, as you just read, Felix soon escaped from the jail and set off in hopes of obtaining his freedom. On September 12, authorities thought they had captured Felix in a stack of straw, but the man turned out to be a different petty criminal wanted in Chippewa Falls for stealing shoes.

Now fast forward in time to the year 1910. On July 18, Felix Jr. was captured in Sioux Rapids, Iowa and brought back to Chippewa Falls to stand trial for the death of his father Felix Fourboul Sr. In January of 1911, the trial of Felix Fourboul began and the newspapers reported that the courtroom was packed with spectators. On January 7, Felix Fourboul was found guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and Judge James Wickhman sentenced Felix to seven years in the state prison. The extremely drawn out search for Felix Jr. could have been prevented had Chippewa Falls only had a better equipped jail. One can only hope that future inmates in Eau Claire’s forthcoming new jail cannot simply dig their way out.

Keep an eye out…

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Sunday, Aug. 30th, 2009

The Chippewa Valley should have a car-free day

Just read this post about Madison’s “Ride the Drive” event all set for [last] Sunday. They closed down more than six miles of the city’s busiest streets – only self-propelled vehicles were allowed upon the pavement. From JSOnline:

  • In Madison, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz joined cycling advocates in organizing the Ride the Drive as part of the city's pursuit of a platinum ranking from the League of American Bicyclists. It now holds a gold rating from the national cycling group.
  • "We thought, 'Let's do something really big,' " said Steve Doniger, community services manager in the Madison Parks Department.
  • Through the early part of the year, city leaders planned the traffic engineering and police deployment necessary to close down the major streets and still provide routes for residents to drive to church, businesses and recreation. Trek Bicycles signed on as a major sponsor, helping cover the estimated $50,000 in city costs with private contributions.

I’m assuming a city like Eau Claire would not need quite as much planning or cash to make this kind of thing happen. I know it’d be a relatively big undertaking, but we probably wouldn’t need Trek Bicycles to make it happen. What we would need is a very organized group of people to work with the city – Ride the Drive has the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, Bike Walk Madison, and their local chapter of the Bikes Belong Coalition.

I think an event like this could be the catalyst for major growth in our local bike culture. If nothing else, it would provide some sweet PR for the Chippewa Valley and grab a few statewide headlines. It’d also be a nice addition to the “quality of place” column on the area’s résumé.

Comments 41

Weekly Shakedown: What You Might Have Missed

Here’s a pleasant assortment of Volume One website goods that you may have missed last week.

  • • Heads up, Amble Down! (Post: Amble Down to appear at Mad. fest)
    • Dusting off the punk plastic (Eau Claire Hardcore mp3s)
    • This was more fun than a stack of hay (WHYS Bluegrass Festival photos)
    • Female singer-songwriters at the AnnaLily Fair (photos)
    • Put on your skates for some nice, friendly fun (roller derby call-to-action)
    • Catcher-batters WEAU whoop the Cavaliers (photos)
    • Fly a helicopter without learning how. Blow it up without repercussions (arcade game)

P.S. That's Chris Herzog in that picture up there.

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Saturday, Aug. 29th, 2009

Saturday: Better be startin' something

What better way to utilize the excess resurgence of Michael Jackson mania than to raise money for a good cause... and through dancing, no less! It's a dance party this Saturday, August 29 @ the Phoenix Park Pavilion from 5-11pm. All profits will go to the Heal the World Foundation. So put on your best billie jeans, check a few looks at the man in the mirror, and prepare to be startin' somethin', because this party is gonna be off the wall. Sorry. Couldn't resist. Discover more at the MySpace page or at our calendar entry.

Also on Saturday: Festival in the Pines, Kids Day and Health Fair, Shakespeare in the Park presents "As You Like It," a show at Nate's Dungeon, Catya's Trio, UWEC Players present "Candid," Left Wing Bourbon, Jaggernauts CD Release Show w/Orestus + Desolatevoid + Sunspot, Cats Ass, and Shoeless Revolution

On Sunday: Festival in the Pines, Music for Peace Festival, Swim Dog Festival, Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band (tribute to Evans), UWEC Players present "Candid," and Ski Sprites' Water Show

Running Art Shows: Art & the Blues, Art Hanging: Roger Adams, August Artists: Suzanne Schroeder + Peg Breitzman, Folk Artist Roger Adams, George Werlein, Landscape Photography by Tim Burns and Scott Wuerch, Story Lines: Narrative and Sequential Images, Watercolors Plus by Tere Hering, and The Brotherhood of the Lens

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Friday, Aug. 28th, 2009
Wednesday, Aug. 26th, 2009

Can you hear that? Eau Claire hardcore podcast trilogy!

Believe it or not, we still post the occasional podcast on, and while the future of our podcasts are kind of up in the air, one thing is for certain – you’ll find lots of great stuff cued up in the archives. In particular, don’t forget about Local Independence, the podcast version of WUEC 89.7FM’s Sunday night show packed with 100% local goodness in all areas art. Case in point, Local Independence host David Smuhl’s recently completed trilogy of interviews centering on the Eau Claire hardcore music scene, posted below for your clicking convenience.

Eau Claire Hardcore Scene: Part 1
An interview with Mr. Nate Dungeon. Nate has been organizing and hosting shows at his house for almost a decade, and he sat down to relay some the history of the hardcore scene as well as some of the ethos that drives it.

Eau Claire Hardcore Scene: Part 2
An interview with Alex Bammel of Arms Aloft and Jack Gribble of Dios Mio. Both bands have become mainstays of the Eau Claire hardcore scene over the past few years. They discuss the state of the scene today – its strengths and weaknesses.

Eau Claire Hardcore Scene: Part 3
An interview with Nick Endle, the perpetrator behind the record label and record trading website Dead Format. Nick talks about how online communities can fill voids in real scenes, how record collecting specifically translates into that, and perhaps most importantly … why records?

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Online Helicopter Flying Video Game Activity

You probably used more brain power in reading that unneccessarily punctilious title than you will flying a little helicopter through a neon green cavern. Welcome to "Helicopter Game." You click the mouse button to go up, or you don't to let it fall. Don't hit the walls or ... Kerrpow! C'est simple.


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Tuesday, Aug. 25th, 2009

LaCrosse is calling you out, ladies of Eau Claire

Oh snap, Eau Claire – those busybodies over in beautiful LaCrosse have a roller derby team. First they have a gorgeously revitalized downtown, and now a roller derby (or “flat track”) team. Volume One’s love of roller derby is hard to quantify. If we had to pick a phrase to describe our astounding affection for the recently resurged sport, we’d have to pick … Michael Bay-esque. Good stuff.

There’s plenty of teams in the Twin Cities. and the Madison circuit is hot, but we didn’t realize a Wisconsin team existed this close to the Chippewa Valley. Yet the Mississippi Valley Mayhem have been rolling around, knocking heads together since 2008-ish. Their second season is just about to start. And we couldn’t be more jealous. With a team so close, it would seem like an Eau Claire team or a Valley-wide team isn’t too much of a stretch. How can this happen? Is anyone interested?

WEAU (which covers LaCrosse) ran a story on the Mayhem, quoting founder Amanda Boucher who says the goal is "To bring some new form of entertainment to the community that this community hadn't seen before we also like to promote women's health and things like that." We like things like that, Amanda, we like them a lot.

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Ambling Forward

Amble Down will be hosting a showcase at Madison's Forward Music Festival. One of the Chippewa Valley's independent labels, Amble Down will stage almost all of its entire active roster (Daredevil Christopher Wright, The Wars of 1812, Meridene, We are the Willows, The Cloud Hymn). Festival-goers will be able to purchase anything from the record catalogue or merch set, too. The showcase amounts to an opportunity for Chippewa Valley artists at direct injection into one of Wisconsin's larger and obviously key cities. It's more than just a fun weekend of outsourced music in Madison for us up here. The man-who-must-not-be-named has proven that international attention is certainly possible for what feels like a small nook in Central Wisconsin.

The festival will likely draw folks from nearby large cities Chicago and Milwaukee with such a hipster's coffee table book of a lineup. Low, BLK JKS, Wavves, Andrew Bird, Yâ–³CHT, Ra Ra Riot, Fruit Bats, Rock Plaza Central, and Iran (Kip Malone of TV on the Radio's side project) make up just a short list of the mentionables.

The Forward Music Festival occurs during what will likely be one of 2009's last truly warm weekends (September 17-19), so perhaps you might like to attend yourself. Don't forget to show your support for Amble Down!

Comments 3

Suicide by Drowning
August 25, 1898

Suicide by Drowning
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | August 25, 1898

Menomonie - August Elsner, a German at North Menomonie aged 57 years, committed suicide by drowning in the Red Cedar river here. He attached a stone to his body and jumped out of a boat.

Chad’s Take – A creatively awful way to go out

During my research of old articles I have come across thousands of suicides. Usually the suicide is pretty mild and consists of someone consuming a deadly concoction of pills or poison. It is also quite common to run across “traditional” suicides where the people simply shot themselves to death. However, there are some instances where the person used some creativity while doing themselves in. Perhaps the most interesting suicide I have ever stumbled on was a man who was so determined to kill himself that he took numerous steps to ensure that death would not escape him. First the man devoured a deadly dose of poison. While the poison was circulating though his body he set his entire barn on fire. The man then grabbed a rope and walked inside his blazing barn and hanged himself.

I have to say that the above article is one of the few intentional drownings that I have stumbled across in my research. Intentionally drowning yourself was not a popular way to meet your fate. You always hear people saying that drowning is one of the worst ways to die and perhaps the suicidal people of this time period heeded this advice and found a different means to their end. I can imagine poor Mr. Elsner drifting to the bottom of the river only to discover a new found respect for life. However, at this moment of clarity his struggle to reach the surface would be futile as the heavy stone attached to him would ensure that he met a watery grave. Yet maybe I am wrong, maybe Mr. Elsner simply floated down to the bottom and calmly waited for the flowing water of the Red Cedar River to end his pain. No matter how this suicide scenario played out one thing that is certain is that Mr. Elsner succeeded with his plan to die.

Keep an eye out...

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