Wednesday, Nov. 16th, 2016

Now Hiring: Bookkeeper/Office Manager

Volume One, the Chippewa Valley’s rapidly growing media, retail, and event company (and 2016 Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year award winner) is seeking an Office Manager / Bookkeeper for a new full-time position on our business team. This multi-faceted role is an exciting development for our 15-year-old company, as the person who fills it will become a key player in the community-oriented operations of our organization. Learn more!

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Flying Into the Future

The Flying Eagles Ski Club recently kicked off its first-ever capital campaign, dubbed “Flight into the Future.”
The Flying Eagles Ski Club recently kicked off its first-ever capital campaign, dubbed “Flight into the Future.”

While we’re still weeks away from regular snowfall, a flurry of fundraising activity is underway at a local ski club.

Eau Claire’s Flying Eagles Ski Club recently kicked off its first-ever capital campaign. Dubbed “Flight into the Future,” the fundraising effort is aimed at raising $2 million to invest in club infrastructure and an endowment.

“These funds will takes the Flying Eagles to the next level and pave a way for the next generation of young athletes to grow and compete right in our backyard.” – Dan Mattoon, capital campaign vice chairman

“Ski jumping is the longest running winter sport in Eau Claire,” says Dan Mattoon, former U.S. Ski Team member and capital campaign vice chairman. “These funds will takes the Flying Eagles to the next level and pave a way for the next generation of young athletes to grow and compete right in our backyard.”

The campaign aims to address three key strategic needs of the club: completing a hill upgrade at the Mount Washington Nordic Ski Center; facility and infrastructure upgrades at Silver Mine Hill; and creating an endowment to support ongoing club maintenance.

The fundraising effort is off to an early start, with more than 40 percent of its goal already raised.  With a $150,000 gift, Charter Bank was an early and key supporter of the effort, Mattoon says. Charter Bank President Paul Kohler also serves as campaign vice chairman.

Eau Claire is home to two distinct ski jumping facilities that give athletes places to train. Mount Washington, located just up the Menomonie Street hill in the Shawtown neighborhood, is home to the junior facility where young jumpers earn their “ski legs” and learn the fundamentals of the sport on smaller 7-, 15-, 30-, and 40-meter hills.

Ski jumping hills are classified into sizes based on a number of technical specifications, including the location of a so-called “K-point” far down the hill. (Fun fact: Eau Claire’s K Point Brewing is named after that mark on the ski jump!)

Half of the campaign funds will be directed toward improvements to the Mount Washington site. There, the club seeks to replace the existing 40-meter hill with a larger 55-meter jump. While the upgraded size may not seem like a large difference to the layperson, to jumpers it can make all the difference.

“Young skiers need consistent steps up with each new hill,” says Mattoon. “The existing gap between the 40-meter hill at Mt. Washington and other large hills in the area is prohibitive to their development. The 55-meter design modernizes the jump and solves that challenge.”

A few miles to the southwest is the mammoth Silver Mine Hill, some to the senior club. Unlike the junior hills, Silver Mine is an Olympic-sized 90-meter jump meant for experienced skiers ready for a real challenge. Much of the remaining funding will be dedicated to infrastructure and facility improvements here, including upgrades to existing lighting, spectator seating, a new pavilion, and the judges’ booth.

The club also recently completed a joint project with Chippewa Valley Technical College students. The effort brought significant upgrades to electrical lines at the jump.

This winter Silver Mine will welcome back a FIS Cup competition for the second year in a row. The tournaments here are some of the most competitive in the world, and Silver Mine is a prime proving ground for young Olympic hopefuls. Last year’s event saw national teams from around the world travel to Eau Claire to compete.

Founded in 1886, the Flying Eagles have a long tradition of fostering local ski jumping and Nordic skiing talent and of bringing world-class athletes to the area.

“Ski jumping is … such a vital part of our history,” Mattoon adds. “This campaign ensures it will be a part of our community for many more decades to come.”

The Flying Eagles are part of a vibrant ski jumping community in the Upper Midwest, with other clubs in Minneapolis, Duluth, Madison, Chicago, and other locations nearby.

To learn more about the Flight into the Future campaign or to donate, contact Dan Mattoon at dmattoon@prestigeautocorp.com.

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Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 2016

Bike Boxes Boffo for Boxing in Bikers

A bike box is a designated area at a signalized intersection for bicyclists to wait in front of motoring traffic to improve bicycle visibility and to help prevent bicycle/car collisions.

Bike boxes have finally arrived in the City of Eau Claire. And no, we don’t mean the boxes that bikes come inside: Bike boxes are the boxes painted on the street that are designed to keep bicyclists safe from collisions with motor vehicles. The first pair of bike boxes was “installed” Nov. 3 at the intersection of Keith Street and Brackett Avenue. The boxes – which you’ll now see in the northbound and southbound lanes of Keith Street on either side of the intersection – feature green-painted boxes marked with white bicycle symbols. So what exactly are these newfangled blacktop markings for? According to a city press release, “A bike box is a designated area at a signalized intersection for bicyclists to wait in front of motoring traffic to improve bicycle visibility and to help prevent bicycle/car collisions. It is a painted green space on the road between the crosswalk and the stop line. The bike box has white bicycle symbols inside which designates a space and guides bicyclists where to stop and wait when the signalized intersection is red.” City traffic engineer Leah Ness says the Keith-Brackett intersection was chosen both because it’s busy and because it lies between the bike trails that run alongside Clairemont Avenue and Hastings Way. Ness says the city will collect information on how the boxes are being used. Depending on what they determine, we may see more bike boxes popping up in the around the city. You can learn more about bike boxes here.

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Thursday, Nov. 10th, 2016

Skating Rink May Pop up in Downtown Eau Claire This Winter

Image: Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.
Proposed skating rink location on North Barstow Street. Image: Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.

An outdoor skating rink may become a reality this winter in the heart of downtown Eau Claire. The North Barstow Business Improvement District Board voted Thursday morning to move forward and pay $4,000 for a temporary rink, which would be installed on North Barstow Street, roughly on former site of the U.S. post office. The lot, which is slated for eventual private development, currently sits vacant next to the newly built downtown parking ramp.

The North Barstow Business Improvement District Board voted Thursday morning to move forward and pay $4,000 for a temporary rink.

The skating rink plan still requires approval from the city Redevelopment Authority, which owns the lot, as well as the Eau Claire Plan Commission, says City Engineer David Solberg. If these approvals are granted – and the weather cooperates – it could be time to strap on your skates sometime in December.

“I always get excited about recreation options that involve fitness, and ice skating is a great way to enjoy being outside in the frozen months,” said Julia Johnson, president of the North Barstow BID. “This is a unique opportunity to see how popular a downtown ice skating rink would be. We are hoping it will be a hit with downtown’s residents and give people another reason to come downtown.”

“The BID is willing to fund it, but it is thanks to city staff that the idea exists and they will be the ones make it happen," Johnson added.

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Thursday, Nov. 3rd, 2016

5 Key Numbers: The Eau Claire School District's Nov. 8 Referendum

Lakeshore Elementary
Lakeshore Elementary

1993

Twenty-three years ago, Bill Clinton had just been elected president, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” topped the charts, and the original Jurassic Park was in theaters. None of the students currently in Eau Claire school district classrooms were even born yet. This was also the year that the state Legislature caps the amount of revenue Wisconsin school districts can collect from property taxes.

$418

As a result of the aforementioned cap, because it was a relatively low-spending district in 1993, the Eau Claire school remains a relatively low-spending district. As of the 2015-16 school year, it spent $9,894 per student – or $418 per kid less than the state average.

$4.7 million

That difference – $418 – may not seem like much money until you consider that the school district has about 11,300 students. Multiply those two numbers together and you discover that the school district would have another $4.7 million to work with in its budget if it were merely an average-spending district. 

$5.86 million

Simply put, the Nov. 8 referendum will ask school district voters permission to collect an additional $5.86 million from taxpayers per year for 15 years. The funds will be used for debt payments as well as operating costs, which include building maintenance and teacher salaries. Without the referendum, the district faces a $2.3 million deficit in the current school year alone.

$7.92

If the referendum is approved, this would be the additional monthly property tax cost – just shy of eight bucks – for a house worth $100,000. If your house is worth $200,000, the figure would be $15.83. And, considering that the state is giving the school district a little extra aid next year, the tax increase actually will be less – closer to $3.10 per $100,000 over what you paid this year.

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5 Questions Before You Can Vote

1. Am I eligible?

In case you’ve been living in a Wi-Fi free cave for the past year and didn’t hear the news, Election Day – that’s Tuesday, Nov. 8 – is almost upon us. So are you eligible to vote? Here’s a civics class refresher: You have to be at least 18 years old by Election Day; you must be a U.S. citizen; you must not be serving a sentence for a felony; and you must have lived at your current address for at least 10 consecutive days before Election Day. If you said “yes” to all that, good news – you can vote!

2. Am I registered?

Maybe you’ve moved since the last election. Maybe you haven’t voted for a while but are motivated to do so this time around. Good for you! The easiest way to find out if you’re registered is by visiting myvote.wi.gov and clicking on “Register to Vote.” Plug in your name and date of birth, and you’ll quickly discover if you’re registered and – if so – at which address. If you find that you’re not registered – or you’re registered at the wrong address – just click on the appropriate button and the website will walk you through the registration process.

3. Where do I vote?

To locate your polling place, visit that same helpful website mentioned above – myvote.wi.gov – and click on “Find My Polling Place.” Type in your street address, city, and ZIP Code, then click on “Search,” and you’ll discover where the friendly poll workers are waiting with your ballot. On Election Day, the polls are open between 7am and 8pm. If you just can’t wait until then, city of Eau Claire residents can vote early via absentee ballots by stopping in the elections office on the ground floor of City Hall (203 S. Farwell St.) between 8am and 5pm on weekdays through Nov. 4.

4. What I.D. do I need?

Wisconsin’s on-again, off-again voter I.D. law, first passed in 2011, is once again in force (thanks to a federal appeals court that found it constitutional), which means that you’ll need photo identification at the polls. That can mean a Wisconsin driver’s license, a Wisconsin DOT-issued I.D. card, a military I.D. card, a U.S. passport, an I.D. card issued by a Native American tribe, a university or college I.D. (as long as you’ve got a separate document proves your enrollment), or one of several other documents. Go to bringitwisconsin.com for full details.

5. Who am I voting for?

Beyond Hillary Clifton and Ronald Trump (we’re pretty sure we go those two names right), you’ll see lots of other folks on the ballot, including contenders for U.S. Senate and House, state Senate and Assembly, and a number of county-level offices (plus, if you’re in the Eau Claire school district, a budget referendum). You can see a sample ballot by going to myvote.wi.gov and selecting “What’s On My Ballot.” Get informed, then get to the polls!

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Tuesday, Nov. 1st, 2016

Ink & Paper 2016: Area's Biggest Local Art Sale Returns Nov. 4

There are so many more artists in the Chippewa Valley than the ones whose work is displayed at our local galleries. Volume One’s Ink & Paper print sale is designed to showcase local art and allow artists to sell their work to tons of people at an affordable rate (usually $15-$60). For this year’s sale, with our co-sponsor Powertex, we’ve got an army of artists signed up to sell over 340 different pieces of 2D work. The Volume One Gallery will be chock full of prints of all sizes for you to sift through and grab for yourself or as a gift for one of your loved ones (here’s a gentle reminder that the holidays are coming up). The sale includes screen prints, woodcuts, mono-prints and other traditional print forms, as well as quality digital prints of illustrations, photos, and more.

The opening reception kicks off on Friday, November 4 – during downtown’s "First Fridays" event – from 7-9pm in the V1 Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire. Many of the artists will be attending. Come take a look and show your support!

For full details visit VolumeOne.org/printsale. Again, the sale opens with a reception on Friday, Nov. 4, and runs through Jan. 7, 2017.

And! Since it's First Fridays, you can get 20% OFF your entire Local Store purchase when you buy 2 or more prints on Nov. 4.

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Get a Glimpse of the Plans for the Confluence Arts Center's Public Plaza

Garrett Perry design for Haymarket Plaza
Garrett Perry design for Haymarket Plaza. See a biggie.

The space between the just-finished Haymarket Landing multiuse building and the soon-to-be-started Confluence Arts Center will eventually be occupied by a public plaza overlooking the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. Like Phoenix Park just to the north, the new plaza promises to be a scenic gathering point and a catalyst for new possibilities. So what will it include? Fountains? Fire pits? Artwork? Spaces for performances and markets? All of the above? Now, curious residents can feast their eyes on two sets of conceptual designs for the plaza. One set was created earlier this year by Malcolm Holzman, the architect for the Confluence Arts Center; another was recently produced by Garrett Perry, a landscape architect who helped design Phoenix Park and South Barstow Street. Feedback was gathered on the designs during an Oct. 27 open house at Haymarket Landing, but if you didn’t make it, the city is still interested in what you have to say. First, view the plans in PDF form online at tinyurl.com/HaymarketPlaza. Then, if you want to offer feedback, send a message to Haymarket_Plaza@eauclairewi.gov. The plaza won’t be built until 2018, so there’s still plenty of time to make your opinions heard.

Malcolm Holzman design for Haymarket Plaza
Malcolm Holzman design for Haymarket Plaza. See a biggie.

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Monday, Oct. 31st, 2016

How Much Money Makes a Wisconsinite Happy?

In a 2010 Princeton study, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton found that, on average, annual income beyond $75,000 doesn't have a major impact on a person's happiness. The Huffington Post put this map together, looking at the "plateau salary" by each state. The map measures the point at which additional annual income no longer has a major impact on happiness. Wisconsin sits at $74,100, just below the national average.

Image: The Huffington Post

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Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 2016

A Flag for the People

People’s Flag of Milwaukee, adopted earlier this year.
People’s Flag of Milwaukee, adopted earlier this year.

What does Eau Claire look like? That’s a question that C.J. Krueger has been asking himself lately, and it’s not a rhetorical one. It’s a question of symbolism and civic pride, the kind of question that could potentially be answered in the form of a city flag, something Eau Claire doesn’t have – yet. Krueger hopes to change that with a new initiative to select a People’s Flag of Eau Claire.

“It would be very nice to have a uniting symbol, especially in a divisive time.”– CJ Krueger, founder, People’s Flag of Eau Claire

“It would be very nice to have a uniting symbol, especially in a divisive time,” he explains. Krueger’s desire to see the creation of a city flag was inspired by two sources. The first is a 2015 TED Talk by Roman Mars, host of the popular design-focused podcast 99% Invisible. The title of the talk was “Why City Flags May Be the Worst Designed Thing You’ve Never Noticed.” Mars explained that many city flags are aesthetically displeasing jumbles of symbols, colors, and words, and he singles Milwaukee’s flag out for specific criticism, calling it a “hot mess.” This critique helped spur Krueger’s second inspiration, a successful effort to create a People’s Flag of Milwaukee. Judges in that city selected finalists from more than 1,000 entries, and online voters chose a winner earlier this year.

“Very selfishly, I thought, ‘Why doesn’t Eau Claire have something like this?’ ” Krueger says. With a newly launched website – eauclaireflag.org – Krueger is running a local version of the idea up the proverbial flagpole. Now through March 31, Eau Claire County residents are invited to submit their flag designs to the website. If your creative juices are flowing, check out the North American Vexillological Association’s “five guiding principles of flag design” on the website (keep it simple, use meaningful symbols, stick to two or three colors, avoid lettering or seals, and be distinctive or related to other flags), then fire up Adobe Illustrator.

Krueger created the website and is assembling a panel of judges – including graphic designers and “local luminaries” – who will help winnow the entries. Finalists will be announced on April 30, public voting will run through May 31, and a winner will be announced June 5. Krueger has already heard from a few people interested in designing flags, but he’s received no submissions to date.

At this point, Krueger isn’t concerned with getting the winning flag officially adopted by the City Council (although that’s always a possibility), nor is he trying to make money off the idea (the winning design will be available for anyone to use). He simply wants to create a fun process that encourages Eau Claire residents to think about their hometown’s aesthetic possibilities. Rivers? Eagles? Paul Bunyan? Look around you, then let your imagination go to work.

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