Thursday, Oct. 23rd, 2008

County Jail Strike Force ATTACK!

Just a quick note to let you know the County Jail Strike Force Special Committee to Resolve Jail Space and Site Needs (CJSFSCtRJSaSN) is meeting tonight. The meeting is open to the public, but I’m not sure if this is a public-input-style session or not. No matter what, we should totally tailgate beforehand. I’ll bring the tiny propane grill, you bring the brats and buns. Who’s got chips?

Public Forum: Special Committee (to Resolve Jail Space and Site Needs) Thursday, Oct. 23  • County Courthouse Building, Room 2550 • 6:30pm

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Wednesday, Oct. 22nd, 2008

What’s Your Favorite Freaky Movie?

We had a bit of a space crunch in our Hauntings special section a few issues back, and we had to cut a few of the spooky bits and pieces, such as Special Projects Editor Trevor Kupfer’s “Frightful Flick Fest,” where he outlines some surefire freaky films for your Halloweenish enjoyment – categorized by type, from “franchise” to “disturbing.” So in the spirit of the season, we published the whole thing online for you to peruse. Check it out.

Now, Mr. Kupfer fancies himself a bit a film snob buff, so all of us here are wondering how his picks stack up. He’s not saying these films are the best, he’s just saying they’ll satisfy your hunger for something ghoulish.

We’re encouraging you to read his lists and leave comments with your own suggestions. What’d he miss? What should he have ignored? Is he totally clueless or right on the terror target? Leave a comment and let him know!

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Bus Budget Outlook Races Downhill

You’ve probably heard that local bus ridership has been steadily increasing (and if you haven’t, it has) – but the city says the increased revenue from more and more riders is getting its ass kicked by increasing operating costs by $1.23 million. Those behemoth people movers don’t come cheap. From the L-T:

  • The Eau Claire Transit system's continuing ridership increases haven't been enough to offset growing expenses and decreasing state aid, resulting in a significant cost increase for next year amid concerns about the system's future viability.
  • City 2009 budget figures released Tuesday show a projected 10.53 percent increase in transit operating expenses for 2009, with expenses outpacing revenues by $1.23 million.
  • The proposed budget includes a $1.23 million transit tax subsidy, a 23 percent subsidy increase over this year.

But things could get even worse if state aid for city transit continues to decline, and we won’t know how that all shakes out ’til next spring. So as of January 1, bus rides will now be $1.50 a pop.

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Tuesday, Oct. 21st, 2008

Candidates Ask WEAU, WQOW to Yank Opposition’s TV Ads

Without the funding to run a counter-strike ad campaign, State Assembly hopefuls Jeff Smith (D) and Kristen Dexter (also D) are asking local TV stations to pull ads they say are blatantly false. From

  • In an ad running on TV stations the ad claims: "Now here's something you may be interested in. Kristen Dexter's Healthy Wisconsin Plan, which includes free healthcare for illegal aliens and people who don't even live or work in Wisconsin. Just look at how much of your taxes this plan will soak up, Wow!"
  • Local Democrats Jeff Smith and Kristen Dexter claim the ads are false. They're not alone, many candidates challenge claims made by their opponents often leaving it up to the voters to figure it out. In this case, Smith and Dexter are leaving it up to us, the local television stations, to figure it out. They want us to pull the ads. 

Of course, just putting those ads out there, true or false, does the damage they're designed to do (alliteration!) Once it’s in your head, it’s in your head. And when a candidate must deny accusations like this, it just prolongs your exposure to it. Or am I just paranoid of politicians brainwashing my tender mind?

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Monday, Oct. 20th, 2008

Hoodoo It!

Claims Hoodoo Clings To Family
– Eau Claire Leader | October 11, 1906

The children of Bert Tandler, who murdered his wife at Milton Junction and then committed suicide at Eau Claire, Sept 8, have been adopted by Mr. and Mrs.White, who reside in Drywood, Chippewa County. At the hearing it was learned that the Tandler family seems to have been born under an unlucky star. The elder Tandler came from Germany and settled at Drywood. Illness has visited various members of the family; then they have had misfortune almost every year. In July, the home of the family was burned down and much money and many valuable papers were lost. Members of the family were afraid to adopt the children.

Chad's Take: Hoodoo and curses sell papers

Wow ... mix in a tragic murder, suicide, and a couple of children that were so cursed that their own family would not take them in and you have the perfect newspaper article. When is the last time you read about an Eau Claire citizen committing suicide? Usually today’s newspapers simply write that the recently deceased person died unexpectedly. Toss in this bizarre cursed family and you certainly have my attention. I would love to pick up today’s newspaper off of my porch and read a story like this one. Local weird stories like this grab the community’s attention (and wallet) and I think that if newspapers covered these stories instead of celebrity gossip they might just be able to win back their readers.

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The Big Week, October 20

In this episode: Sacred Heart's fancy schmancy new operating room, McCain's campaign dollars in WI, more yard sign fun, and the Found Footage Festival. It's The Big Week. Once you go big ...

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Sunday, Oct. 19th, 2008

Weekly Shakedown

Hey! Here's some stuff you might have missed last week on ...

See you on Monday!

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Friday, Oct. 17th, 2008

Saturday: Get Yer Gourd

If you haven’t done so yet, this weekend is an excellent time to go buy a large orange gourd to place upon your doorstep/windowsill/roommate’s sleeping face and eventually carve into a jack-o-lantern. Now, lots of nutty pranksters like to smash pumpkins, especially down in collegeville, so you might want to also purchase a bike lock and drill holes in the pumpkin for attachment purposes.

But where to buy? If getting a pumpkin from your nearest Kwik Trip seems the opposite of festive, check out this big list of local patches (and scroll down to find Halloween costume shops). Also if you’re looking for some good ol’ fashioned Halloween fun where people in bad costumes pop out and scream out you, here’re some haunted houses.

Also on Saturday: Secret of the Cardboard Rocket at UWEC’s planetarium, acoustic tunes at Acoustic Café (Eau Claire), a Tribute to Frank Sinatra at the Mabel Tainter, and Little Willie at the Mousetrap. On Sunday: Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony: Season Opener at the State Theatre.

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Thursday, Oct. 16th, 2008

Downtown Eau Claire's West Bank: Any Bright Ideas?

So last fall, the city bought the Minnesota Wire and Cable building over on Oxford Avenue and started conjuring recipes for downtown's next piece of revitalization pie. And today, the L-T reports ...

  • Eau Claire city officials took the next step Wednesday toward reviving the Chippewa River's west bank when the city Redevelopment Authority approved initial relocation plans for the area.
  • The RDA approved the purchase of the Bartingale Mechanical building at 2021 Oxford Ave. and four houses at the southern end of the West Bank Redevelopment District that encompasses Oxford Avenue and First Street on the river's west side.

The city says they'd like to see a "mix of hotels, offices, residences and possibly a convention center." They've also promised "green space complete with a recreational trail" along the river. Does that sound good? What would you want to see over there?

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Boom Your Robot Buddy!

Boombot rocks. You set off old-timey bombs to blast your cute little (indestructable) robot pal into a vortex. There're lots of surfaces to work with like rubber bricks and TNT. Go play now!

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