Monday, Sep. 19th, 2016

Track Autumn Online With the Fall Color Report

Interactive technology too often keeps kids (and – let’s be honest – grownups as well) sedentary and glued to our screens. But it can also be helpful in getting us into the great outdoors. If you need motivation to get you driving, hiking, or paddling out in Wisconsin’s annual autumnal explosion of color, check out Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report (www.travelwisconsin.com/fall-color-report). With the help of 100 color spotters across all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, the Department of Tourism creates an ever-changing, clickable map to help users discover when and where leaves are reaching their colorful crescendos (mid to late September in the north, early to late October in the south). In addition to pointing out peak color, the website also allows users to find nearby events, activities, restaurants, and lodging. You can also sign up for email alerts, so if you’re hitting the road, don’t “leaf” home without your smartphone. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Add a Comment »

The Night Market – An indoor-outdoor maker market and sale series

Friday nights Sept. 23 – Oct. 21 • 6pm-9pm • @The Local Store and Volume One Gallery ... and Courtyard! • 15% OFF STOREWIDE • Every Week: local makers • local food trucks • fire pit • live music • hot cider & snack samples • pre-holiday savings

Volume One and The Local Store are excited to bring back the Night Market – an indoor/outdoor “maker market” and sale series on Friday nights, Sept. 23 – Oct. 21, from 6-9pm. Each night, we'll feature 4–6 different local makers – themselves and their products – in the Volume One Gallery. During the event, we'll also setup a fire pit in our courtyard area, invite local food trucks, host live acoustic music, and serve hot cider and snack samples. Simultaneously, all regular Local Store merchandise is 15% OFF during the Night Market!


2016 Featured Makers: Woodworth's Fine Toffee, Nick's Wood Shop, Gitchi Adventure Goods, KAISERson, Lincs & Fins, Chippewa River Reclaim, Low Roads Leather Goods, Urbal Tea, Wool & Feather Farm, Eau Claire Woodworks, Kiki b. omi designs, Chippewaddlers, Laurie Lyne Candles, and MORE!

2016 Musicians: Caitlin McGarvey, LASKA, Brian Bethke Music, Eduardo Rafael, Savannah Smith

Add a Comment »

GOODBYE, GAP: Federal funds will complete missing Old Abe Trail miles

PEDAL PUSHER. Users of the Chippewa River Trail, shown above, will be able to bike all the way to Chippewa Falls – and beyond – when the final gap in the adjacent Old Abe State Trail is completed as early as 2018.
PEDAL PUSHER. Users of the Chippewa River Trail, shown above, will be able to bike all the way to Chippewa Falls – and beyond – when the final gap in the adjacent Old Abe State Trail is completed as early as 2018.

Even though the Chippewa Valley has become increasingly friendly for bicyclists in recent years, there’s still something missing – literally: There’s a 2.4-mile gap in what otherwise would be a continuous trail system connecting Menomonie, Durand, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Cornell, and points between. The gap in the Old Abe State Trail between Lake Hallie and Chippewa Falls has forced bikers to find alternate methods of traveling between where the trail ends abruptly at 40th Avenue near the “tank farm” in Lake Hallie and begins again at the Highway 124 bridge across the river from downtown Chippewa Falls.

Soon, thanks to a federal grant, the two ends of the trail will be connected. The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission announced Sept. 2 that $508,000 from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) would go toward a joint effort by the Village of Lake Hallie and the City of Chippewa Falls to build the missing segment. The grant will cover 80 percent of the cost of the project, the remaining 20 percent of which (about $127,000) will be shared by the two municipalities. The funding is expected to come in 2018, so you still have time to train for 80 miles of continuous pedaling.

Jeremy Gragert, northwest ambassador for the Wisconsin Bike Federation, is among those praising the news. He points out that this will be the first time since the original bike boom of the 1890s that Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire will be linked by such a trail. “Communities connected by this corridor see it as a great benefit for tourism, transportation access, the environment, quality of life, and economic development, and I agree,” he said. “We are in the midst of a new bike boom, but we need to work even harder as advocates to assure it is here to stay, and we all need to get our butts on bikes even more to continue the momentum.”

According to Jason Duba, assistant transportation planner with the regional planning commission, the funds will cover design, state review, and construction of the trail. The City of Chippewa Falls already owns the right-of-way for the segment I the city limits, while the portion in Lake Hallie is owned by Xcel Energy, which will allow of its right-of-way at no expense.

Back in 2010, the City of Chippewa Falls had received a $688,000 TAP grant to finish the trail connection. However, the state Department of Transportation rescinded the grant four years later because the money hadn’t yet been spent. (A potential frac-sand facility had caused a planning delay.) After that, the regional planning commission helped the two municipalities successfully seek the new grant.

“This completes a long process to connect the Chippewa River State Trail with the Old Abe State Trail and Red Cedar State Trail and is the last segment that will now provide a safe riding space between Durand, Menomonie, Downsville, Altoona, Eau Claire, Lake Hallie, Chippewa Falls, Jim Falls, and Cornell,” Rick Rubenzer, Chippewa Falls director of public works, said in a press release. “The City of Chippewa Falls is honored and excited to cosponsor construction of this final leg of the journey and welcomes bicyclist to this city and region.”

In addition to the money for the trail, the regional planning commission will receive $140,000 in federal funds to develop a regional bike and pedestrian plan for Dunn, Chippewa, and Eau Claire counties.

Gragert, of the Bike Fed, said such steps are necessary to help offer safe transit options for those who don’t drive. “There is a long way to go to build connectivity to and from the trail to places where people live, work, shop, and go to school,” he said. “We still need to create public transit (bus) connections between Eau Claire, Lake Hallie, and Eau Claire – and I think projects like this will showcase the benefits of making transportation that is accessible to people of any age, income, or ability.”

Comments 2

Thursday, Sep. 15th, 2016

Watch Bon Iver Perform New Music on The Tonight Show

 

Bon Iver appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night (Sept. 14) and played 8 (circle) from their new album 22, A million – set to release on Sept. 30. This was the second time the track was heard live by audiences – the first was during Bon Iver's set at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival last August, when they debuted the album.

After the song, Fallon gushes, "I got a thousand questions—I don’t know how you do it."

This was the fourth time Justin Vernon has joined Jimmy Fallon on live TV. In previous years, the band has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (December 2008), Late Night with Conan O’Brien (September 2008), twice on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (May 2011 w/ Phil Cook, June 2011 w/full band), The Colbert Report (June 2011), and Saturday Night Live (February 2012). And just for good measure, Justin Vernon appeared with Volcano Choir onLate Night with Jimmy Fallon in September 2013.

 

Add a Comment »

Tuesday, Sep. 13th, 2016

Bon Iver to Appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Bon Iver will return to late night television this week, appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) at 10:30pm (CST) on whatever audio/visual device you prefer to view NBC these days. Presumably the band is there in anticipation of their latest album – 22, A million – set to release on Sept. 30. This will be the fourth time Justin Vernon has joined Jimmy Fallon on live TV.

In previous years, the band has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (December 2008), Late Night with Conan O’Brien (September 2008), twice on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (May 2011 w/ Phil Cook, June 2011 w/full band), The Colbert Report (June 2011), and Saturday Night Live (February 2012). And just for good measure, Justin Vernon appeared with Volcano Choir on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in September 2013.

On Wednesday, Fallon will also welcome  Kevin James and actor Michael B. Jordan.

Check Out Some of Bon Iver's Past Appearances

Add a Comment »

Monday, Sep. 12th, 2016

Confluence Project Scores Another Half Million Dollar Donation

In February, planners of the Confluence Project unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!
In February, planners of the Confluence Project unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!

Mayo Clinic Health System has made the fundraising total for the Confluence Project in Eau Claire a whole lot healthier. The Chippewa Valley branch of the health system announced this morning that it will donate $250,000 toward the Confluence Performing Arts Center – a total that, thanks to an anonymous challenge grant, will be doubled to $500,000.

“The Confluence Arts Center highlights the value placed on the arts in the Chippewa Valley,” said Dr. Randall Linton, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System of northwest Wisconsin. “Mayo Clinic Health System is proud to play a role in making this performing arts center a reality. It will be a destination landmark for years to come and will also help attract and retain highly skilled healthcare workers in the Eau Claire area. We look at this as an investment in both our community and our employees.”

With its donation – which will be spread over five years – Mayo joins a long list of Chippewa Valley businesses that have made pledges to the project, including Royal Credit Union, Xcel Energy, JAMF Software, Market and Johnson, Commonweal Development, Northwestern Bank, and many others.

Ground will be broken in October for the $45 million performing arts center, which will be shared by UW-Eau Claire and the community. The project is funded by the state of Wisconsin, the City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, as well as by donations from private individuals and institutions. According to Sue Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, private philanthropy already has exceeded $14 million, and that’s without the challenge grant. More than three-quarters of the funds needed to match the full $1.5 million have been raised, and donations and pledges received before Sept. 30 will also go toward the matching grant.

To learn more or to make a donation, visit communityfortheconfluence.org or call the Eau Claire Community Foundation at (715) 552-3801.

Comments 5

Eau Claire's Legendary "Cave Lady"

The Eau Claire River
Are there caves along the Eau Claire River? You can bank on it.

Let's enjoy a blast from the past (July 7, 2011 to be exact) as former V1 columnist and local history ninja Frank Smoot details the very true tale of a very real cave along the Eau Claire River – and the very real lady who once lived in it.

I walked along the south bank of the Eau Claire River between the Dewey Street bridge and the S-bridge by Banbury. I had heard there was a cave on the north bank, but I couldn’t see it. Do you know where it is? – V1 Reader

Thanks for asking! I do. Your informant was off by one riverbank. It’s actually on the south bank and you were almost to it. It’s about a quarter-mile upstream from Dewey. You’ll find a nice path on the south side of the Dewey Street bridge. The trail goes native just beyond a state office building lawn, but keep going up the river anyway. You’ll see a world of concrete relics in the woods: shipping docks without their buildings, old foundations, piers. The path roughens, and suddenly you’ll see it, carved into the bluff below East Grand. It’s a big vault: 12 feet at its tallest, 20 feet at its widest, some 50 feet deep.

It’s not a natural cave. As far as I know, a renegade brewer named Robert Hantzsch blasted it out (or maybe, more mildly, excavated it) about 1860. One story says he brewed in a house at 830 East Grand, and sent his brew down a shaft into vats in the cave. Or he brewed on River Street (now Graham Avenue). Or at the corner of Eau Claire and Farwell streets. Anyway, he stored beer there, it’s said, to escape a tax on distilled goods. In 1870, one of Eau Claire’s many fires destroyed the distillery. He skedaddled to Minneapolis and died there in 1882 at 46 years old. The only other commercial tenant: a local construction company (Schlosser & Hubener), which used it briefly as a powder magazine.

But the most locally famous story wasn’t Hantsch’s. Maude Phillips was a poet (under the pen-name Violet Leigh), a free-thinker, and an advocate of free love. She married Wilbur Phillips, a music teacher, and they had five children. This didn’t stop her from having affairs (by her own admission) with several men, including a Madison physician and an Eau Claire minister.

The affair with the minister went badly. The courts got involved. Legal fees accumulated. Her husband – apparently Wisconsin’s most patient man – finally couldn’t keep the family afloat. In August of 1917, they all moved into the cave, along with Maude’s 76-year-old mother Katheline. They made a home as best they could, hauling in carpet and furniture, even flying a flag out front.

Local authorities tried to cajole, berate, and intimidate the family into vacating. No luck. It was apparently Maude’s personality holding the standoff together, because the eviction effort keyed on Maude. Someone, I’m guessing the sheriff, finally got a hearing scheduled in front of Eau Claire County Court judge George Blum in February 1918 – a sanity hearing, with the goal of committing Maude to the Wisconsin State Hospital for the Insane at Mendota. Blum issued the commitment order, and Sheriff George Garman escorted her to Madtown the next day. Wilbur followed her. The last trace before I lose the trail: Maude published a poem from Madison in 1928.

That cave needs some love. I don’t mind the graffiti, or the campfire soot. They add to the ambiance somehow. But it’s piled in garbage: old food wrappers, plastic bottles. If you go down there, take a lawn-n-leaf bag and fill it on your way out. I know, the next time we hike down there, we plan to do just that.

Comments 2

5 Out-Of-This-World Facts About Wisconsin Astronaut Jeff Williams

Wisconsin native and spaceman Jeff Williams
Wisconsin native and spaceman Jeff Williams.

1. Marathon Man

With very little fanfare, Wisconsin native Jeff Williams made history Aug. 24 when he broke the U.S. record for most time spent in space. By the time he returned to earth on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Williams had spent a cumulative – and amazing – 534 days in orbit across four space missions, surpassing fellow astronaut Mark Kelly’s record.

Williams took this picture, showing the Duluth/Superior area FROM SPACE.
Williams took this picture, showing the Duluth/Superior area FROM SPACE.

2. Badger Born

Williams, 58, was born in Superior and raised in the tiny village of Winter, about 90 miles north of Eau Claire, where he graduated from high school in 1976. He still keeps in touch with his hometown – even from space: In May, he chatted about his space experiments with Winter students via a videolink from the space station.

Williams, shown here beside and unimaginable, vast emptiness.
Williams, shown here beside and unimaginable, vast emptiness.

3. Impressive Resume

Before becoming an astronaut, Williams was a U.S. Army test pilot, logging 3,000 hours in more than 50 aircraft and retiring from active duty as a colonel in 2007. He joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1996 and first went to space on the shuttle Atlantis in 2000. He began his third stint on the ISS in March, and he’s spent more than 25 hours spacewalking during his missions.

4. Eye in the Sky

During his spaceflights, Williams has been an active shutterbug: In fact, during his 2006 mission to the ISS he took more photos of the Earth than any astronaut in history. Many of these pictures became part of his book.

5. #Spaceman

Williams has been an active user of social media during his time in space, sharing his stunningly detailed photos of the planet with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter (@Astro_Jeff), Instagram (@astro_jeffw), and Facebook (NASAAstronautJeffWilliams). Seriously, if you haven’t seen his pictures, you’ve just found a new source of amazement.

Add a Comment »

Thursday, Sep. 8th, 2016

That Was Fast: Eaux Claires 2017 Has a Date Already

Eaux Claires 2016, which feels like it was just last month.
Eaux Claires 2016, which feels like it was just last month.

The dates have been announced for the 2017 Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival right here in Eau Claire. On June 16 and 17, music fans from all over the region, country, and world will converge in our fair city for the third installment of the beloved experimental art festival. Plus, tomorrow (Sept. 9) at 10am, a limited amount of presale tickets will already go on sale at www.eauxclaires.com, for all you go-getters and early-bird types.

The inaugural fest happened in July of 2015, and this year's was in August; now the festival's looking at a June date for 2017. So if you do the math, Eaux Claires III is only nine (-ish) months away! Isn't that somethin'? 

And FYI, the three-day Blue Ox Music Festival will run the weekend before Eaux Claires on June 8-10 in the adjacent Whispering Pines Campground. Country Fest will kick off in Cadott the weekend after from June 22-25 with headliners Blake Shelton and Thomas Rhett. Rock Fest is July 13-15 in Cadott, and Country Jam is July 20-22 in Eau Claire.

Look Back: Eaux Claires 2016

Add a Comment »

Tuesday, Aug. 30th, 2016

Eau Claire Wants YOUR Opinion

The City of Eau Claire is asking us to participate in The National Citizen Survey, designed to provide a baseline of how our local government is serving residents, to gauge perceptions of the Eau Claire, and to make comparisons with other cities.

The survey includes questions about quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, ratings of local government services, and residents’ use of services.

All residents of Eau Claire are eligible. The survey is available here http://www.EauClaireWI.gov/Survey

City Manager Dale Peters expressed his hope that all residents will take the survey, saying, “Eau Claire is a great community and the results will help to create an even better City. I encourage everyone living in Eau Claire to take the survey and help us to further chart our community’s future.”

Residents with questions about the survey may contact the City by phone at 715.839.4902, by email at Dale.Peters@EauClaireWI.gov, or by visiting City Hall at 203 South Farwell Street, Eau Claire.

Comments 3