Monday, Apr. 20th, 2009

Wisconsin no longer film industry darling, but hey, we still make cheese

OK, more Film Wisconsin news. Proponents of the state’s incentives program for filmmakers are saying that while we’ve been bantering over what to do with the program, potentially lucrative films and television shows have been looking elsewhere, assuming the party’s over in Wisconsin. If Governor Doyle had his way, the incentives program would swapped for (limited) grants and changes would be made retroactive to Jan. 1. To recap what’s been going on, here’s JSOnline ...

  • Doyle argues the current program, which has no cap, is flawed because the $5 million NBC Universal spent here on the Johnny Depp movie "Public Enemies" was all but wiped out by the $4.6 million in tax credits the state provided the production. The film industry says the company spent nearly $7.5 million here on the film about 1930s gangster John Dillinger. ...
  • Film Wisconsin says the success of the incentive program goes beyond "Public Enemies." Eight films were shot in Wisconsin last year, as were 16 television programs, three national commercials and two video games.

The article points out that a film called Nephilim qualified for $794,000 in incentives but decided against Wisconsin after Doyle said he wanted to stop the program. The film’s Wikipedia page is a tad outdated, still referencing Wisconsin as the shooting locale.

And apparently, a CBS show called “The Good Wife” (staring Julianna Margulies) had strongly considered Wisconsin but a “request for notice that the incentives were still in effect” did not come soon enough, so they moved shooting the show’s pilot to Vancouver. (That’s in Canada!). If CBS would have picked up the show for a full season, they would have spent $30 million over 13 episodes.

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Sunday, Apr. 19th, 2009
Saturday, Apr. 18th, 2009

This Weekend: Urinetown!

Friday and Saturday, check out Urinetown: The Musical over at UW-Stout. One of the most uproariously funny musicals in recent years, Urinetown is a hilarious tale of greed, corruption, love, and revolution in a time when water is worth its weight in gold. In a Gotham-like city, a terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led to a government enforced ban on private toilets. The show is at 7:30pm, and costs $12. Details.

Also on Saturday: Puddle Jump Run, School Band Thrift Sale, Annual Gem and Mineral Show, CF Downtown Cleanup, Model Train Show, Ironwoman Tournament, The Assassination of President Lincoln and Its Aftermath, Eau Claire Male Chorus, Viennese Ball, Fashion without Fabric, and Battle of the Bands.

And on Sunday: Joseph Fire Crow Concert, Rifles in the Civil War, Alice In Wonderland, and oh golly, Justin Vernon + Memorial High School Jazz.

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Friday, Apr. 17th, 2009
Thursday, Apr. 16th, 2009

Don’t Panic:
The Mall is Not Closing

In a move that’s sure to shock and frighten the city’s Orange Julius lovers, General Growth Properties – the Chicago-based outfit that owns and runs our beloved Oakwood Mall – filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy today. It’s a complicated issue, but let’s try and soldier through the murky details:

They got lots of debt and they cannot pay it.

Whew. says, “The company says the decision came after extensive efforts to refinance or extend maturing debt outside of Chapter 11. Under the filing, GGP can reduce and restructure its debt. Business at Oakwood Mall is expected to continue as usual.”

So, all them savory soft pretzels and that gorgeous makeup counter at Younkers aren’t going anywhere. As for General Growth, they maintain the second largest shopping mall empire in the country, with 158 retail centers. Interestingly, banks across the country have foreclosed upon and seized a handful of those malls just this year – such as this one outside of New Orleans, cleverly named Oakwood Shopping Center.

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Bungalow Is Damaged
April 17th, 1910

Bungalow Is Damaged
Property destroyed in Putnam causes radical action by its owner.
Mr. Putnam notifies police that place is closed.
– Eau Claire leader | April, 17 1910

To public:
To the Leader:- I wish to give notice through your paper that all trespassing or fishing upon or in any part or portion of the so-called H.C. Putnam park in this city from this date is forbidden until permission is given by myself. I want everybody to keep off my premises. I shall permit no driving or walking through said park or of any kind of trespassing until I shall give notice in person. I shall permit no driving or walking through said grounds located on sections 21,27,28,29, town 27, range 9 in city of Eau Claire. Because the city has blocked up the road at State street tunnel and for several rods on both side of same. So it is dangerous both to teams, cars and individuals until the said city restores said drive to its first condition when I left it and permitted its use, over 25 years since. We were in hopes that after using said drive 27 years, all under our individual cares and expense, that city would help care for and protect it. Now we find the new bungalow on it expansion roof partly destroyed this past week, I put in a bored well and force pump last fall, in the solid rock at a cost of $85, and had abundance of pure water for public use, and the good pump is broken off and ruined. I put up and kept six months a United States flag on the bungalow which was torn down and trampled in the clay.

I therefore withdraw all permits for use, and all ideas of giving same city or until everything is restored and I furthermore ask for bids to cut into cordwood 1,000 cords to be piled upon the said land so same can be hauled away and sold next winter. For over a year past I as you all know have been too ill and feeble to care of the said H.C.P. Putnam park. This is the only way I can see out. If I were a young man I might fight my way. I am also strongly tempted to withdraw my offer on the drive and the Y.M.C.A building as I find the principal trespassers who have been engaged in this breaking off and stealing force pumps are the very boys whom with their families we were planning their benefit. I have notified the chief of police of this and called for help from city.
-H.C. Putnam 

Chad’s Take: A good Earth Day lesson
With Earth Day fast approaching next week I though it would be fitting to include an interesting article about the beginning----or almost end of Putnam Park. Putnam Park is a beautiful 280-acre tract of land running behind, and along, the back of UWEC, but as you just read, its beginnings were not so smooth.

Let me first say that Mr. Putnam seemed like a very interesting character, as evidenced by this article. First he stated that since the people of Eau Claire did not appreciate or maintain the park, he would simply stop letting them use it. Imagine the outcry if today the city of Eau Claire said that because there was too much trash in Carson Park, that they were simply closing it down and not allowing anyone to enter it. How quick do you think it would get cleaned up? His plan must have worked as eventually Mr. Putnam did grant access and ownership of the park to the city, and he did go through with his large donation for the Y.M.C.A. building. Although he was considered one of city’s finest citizens, I do appreciate him playing a little hardball with Eau Claire. I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Putnam would think of today’s college kids who use the seclusion of his park for their “extracurricular” activities. However, if anyone is searching for an Earth Day activity you could pay your respect to Mr. Putnam by simply doing your part to keep his park clean.

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Wednesday, Apr. 15th, 2009

Open City Council Seat to Be Influenced Jail Project?

Eau Claire’s newly elected city council will have their first meeting soon, but that big curvy table will have an empty seat – the at-large spot left vacant by Kerry Kincaid who is now the council’s president. The council will decide how the spot gets filled. And here’s where it gets interesting. Soon, the city council will be making decisions about the downtown jail plans, and obviously, that could potentially have a bearing on who gets the open seat. From

  • Here are the options laid out to [WQOW] by Kincaid: the council could decide to leave the spot open until the April election, hold a special election, or appoint someone to the council. 
  • Kincaid says it is likely the council will choose to appoint someone.  Kincaid's hope is that the new council member will not be voted-in based on their stance of the county jail plan, which the city council will have a say on in the coming months.
  • "It is a big vote that is coming up before council and all of us will be weighing the importance of the vote, but if I hear of such conversations, I would come down very hard on that and insist that we proceed above board and do the ethical thing," says Kincaid.

With so many people caring so passionately about that jail project, our city government could be getting relatively exciting pretty soon, here.

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Tuesday, Apr. 14th, 2009

Meridene Rocks
Live, Right Now! You Missed It

You could have checked out Eau Claire band Meridene on a LIVE stream of the Wisconsin Public Television show 30-minute Music Hour today at 3:15pm. The Meridene show should be archived and available to watch on the site tonight, and of course, eventually on TV.

From "The hardest rocking group on Eau Claire's wildly successful Amble Down label, Meridene crunches electric guitars and weaves lyrics that are high bred without being highbrow. Leader Trevor Ives writes songs filled with grit and whimsy, a paradox propelled by a smooth balance of keyboards, guitars and drums. The band will feature material from its new CD, You're Not Pretty, You're Worse."

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