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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Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 2008

Weird Contested Ballots:
You Be The Judge

They still have one heck of a tight race for a US Senate seat over in Minnesota. It’s starting to look like the democratic challenger and former Saturday Night Live star Al Franken has fallen behind incumbent republican Norm Coleman in the recount for this hotly contested and expensive race. But what’s really interesting about this recount are the “challenged” ballots ­– the easily debatable ballots that people messed up in some way or another and are now confusing election officials. Extra dots, crossed out lines, drawn in arrows, a write in of “lizard people” – basically anything that someone could do to screw up a ballot … someone did.  I found this link to a Minnesota Public Radio blog very interesting, it gives you the opportunity to look at the actual contested ballots, see how people screwed up, and then judge for yourself. You vote then see how others voted. Democracy is tedious business.

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Yep, Sonic Is Open

For lunch today a bunch of us office folk decided to visit the new Sonic fast food restaurant (2831 Hendrickson Dr.), on top of what used to be Embers and used to be the Fireside before that. Like toppings piled high, we piled into the Volume One eight-seater van for a premium eating adventure. As we approached Sonic, which opened at 6am today, we found they were serving an order of cars tall enough to pack the drive-thru and the rows of parked service stalls. The line to get in began in the Ron's Castle Foods parking lot, marked by traffic cones and people directing traffic. We, of course, waited without complaints. We ordered from a stall and our SuperSONIC cheeseburgers, Chili Cheese Tots, and soft drinks came to us from cheery roller skating employees. Other attendees fetched sauces or gathered trash. We pondered how the roller skaters worked in the winter, the virtues of your lap as a tabletop, and what exactly is Ocean Water. Then after making merry and telling embellished stories of our youth, we wiped our ketchup-kissed lips and headed back to the Volume One command center. Thought you'd like to know.

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Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 2008

Is This Thing Working?

Hey! We’re wondering if our commenting system is living up to the impeccable standards you guys demand in the world of … um … commenting. For a while, we were having the requisite trouble with spam and then added the “prove are you human” code protection. Is this code thing working for you guys? Has it ever not worked? Is it hard to read? Please, let us know if you’ve had trouble …

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Monday, Nov. 17th, 2008

The Big Week, November 17

In this episode: killer cookies, crazy crime report, Governer Doyle gets an important call, a big Friday rock show, and we give away one month of free coffee from The Coffee Grounds.

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.

Add a Comment »

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