Monday, Apr. 13th, 2015

4 Strange Wisconsin dairy laws (that may or may not be true)

Wisconsin is serious about its dairy. Serious enough to wage a war against margarine (aka "the demon spread") and have the most stringent product quality assurance program for cheese and butter outside of Europe. Wisconsin has had more than a few laws passed to ensure its place as America's Dairyland, so let's take a look at three real ones plus a popular one that's really a myth.

Yellow does not belong to pineapples, bananas, or lemons.
It's true – yellow does not belong to pineapples, bananas, or lemons.

1. Margarine was banned in Wisconsin until 1967. (True!) This was part of a whole kerfuffle known now as the Wisconsin Oleo Wars, which we’ve written about before here. Margarine is still banned in public institutions like schools, prisons, and hospitals (unless doctor ordered). And don’t you dare try to lie about your margarine and pass it off as the real, Wisconsin thing. That’s actually still a very finable (and imprisonable) offense.

2. Wisconsin cheese must be “highly pleasing”. (True-ish) At first I couldn’t believe this one. How on earth do you enforce this? Is there a number I can call if a block of Sconnie yellow I just ate was only somewhat pleasing? Turns out this isn’t so much a law as it is a part of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection agency’s rating standards for Premium AA cheese, which you can read more about here.

I knew I shouldn't have worn my ring.
"I knew I shouldn't have worn my ring."

3. It is Illegal to Make Limburger cheese without a Master's Lisensce. (True-ish) I keep seeing this one around the Internet, but it’s not even half true. It’s like a quarter true. You can make any kind of cheese you want in Wisconsin, but the prestigious “Master’s Mark” of quality is only given to those who have graduated from the hardcore and very selective Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker’s Program. Enrollees can choose up to 2 of 36 cheese varieties to specialize in, Limburger included.

Cheese on apple pie. Not legally enforceable.
Cheese on apple pie: Not legally enforceable.

4. Apple Pie Must be Served with Cheese. (False) I get asked a lot by non-Sconnies if I put cheese on apple pie. Of course I don’t. That’s what apple and cheese tarts are for. But some people seem to think there may be an actual law enforcing restaurants to provide cheese with the sale of an apple pie. Connie Von Der Heide of the Wisconsin State Law Library says that the 1935 Laws of Wis., ch. 106 came close – it required serving a small amount of cheese and butter with meals in restaurants (effective from June 1935 to March 1937). Also, the Wisconsin State Journal found that a Vermont law came close to doing this, but nothing like this has ever been enforced in Wisconsin.

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Sunday, Apr. 12th, 2015

Sunday Event Picks (April 12)

Today's your last chance for some sweet, sweet cuddle action out at the Govin's farm. Details below.
Today's your last chance for some sweet, sweet cuddle time out at the Govin's farm. 
Details below.

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Sunday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Sunday here.

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Saturday, Apr. 11th, 2015

Saturday Event Picks (April 11)

UW-Stout's annual and awesome Fashion Without Fabric show is today! Details below.
UW-Stout's annual and awesome Fashion Without Fabric show is today! Details below.

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Saturday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Saturday  here.

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Friday, Apr. 10th, 2015

UW Report finds Sconnie hunger for organic food outpaces supply

Veggies at the Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market.
Veggies at the Downtown Eau Claire Farmers Market.

The report features some interesting findings, such as the increasingly younger demographic of organic farmers in Wisconsin and the fact that the majority of these farmers are women.

A report issued by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that demand for organic foods in Wisconsin is outpacing supply. With the second highest amount of organic farms in the country and a growing, younger demographic of organic farmers, Wisconsin seems to be a strong player in the organic farming movement. However, while the state is meeting demand of organically produced meat, dairy and produce, it is failing to meet the demand for grains, soybeans, and processed vegetables. This is evidenced by the fact that Wisconsin still relies heavily on imports for organic grains.

Dr Erin Silva, assistant professor of plant pathology and co-author of the report, says that these failings in production are due to a few challenges for farmers: high rent for farmland and startup costs for organic farming methods, a lack of training on organic practices, and a lack of a solid network for small-scale growers. The report goes on to cite a lack of educational resources as the major roadblock to progress in this field.

The report features some interesting findings, such as the increasingly younger demographic of organic farmers in Wisconsin and the fact that the majority of these farmers are women. You can read/download of the report's findings here.

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Thursday, Apr. 9th, 2015

Right now is a BRUTAL time to be a Wisconsin sports fan

"Oh dear."
"Gasp."

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Wisconsin Badgers lost Monday night's NCAA Basketball Championship.

It still hurts. It still stings. The collective Badger Nation's soul has been crushed. Again.

After a heart breaking loss in last year's Final Four against Kentucky, Wisconsin's big man Frank Kaminsky announced that he would return for his senior season with the mission of coming back to win it all.

"Frank the Tank" led the Badgers to an incredible 36-4 record this season and the Badgers' first ever #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He also won Player of the Year and raised his NBA Draft stock. He should he a mid-first round pick, which will bank him anywhere from $1.2-$2 million bucks in his first year. Way to go Frank.

Long story short, the Badgers went on an incredible 2015 run, including knocking off the heavy tournament favorite, the undefeated 38-0 Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four. Frank, Dekker, Nigel and Koenig played out of their minds in the tourney.

It was all great, until the Championship game Monday night. Bucky came out flat and couldn't seem to get anything going, eventually losing to Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils.

Failure. Disappointment. Heartbreak.

Knowing that the ride was over and it didn't end like we'd all hope crushed us. We all wanted them to win SO BAD. We all EXPECTED to win. Our hopes and dreams were all shattered in one fell swoop.

A win would have meant mayhem. Pandemonium even. We were all ready to go crazy. After so many Badger tournament teams falling short over the years, this would be THE time. OUR time. If they'd won, we would've celebrated for years to come. Always clanking glasses when mentioning the 2015 Wisconsin Hoops team.

But, the Wisconsin sports gods ran out of gas. It was the wildest tournament run in the history of Wisconsin basketball and it all came to what seemed an abrupt end.

Now we sulk. We hang our heads for a minute. We text and post and call and write about how it COULD have played out, how it SHOULD have played out and what we would do differently.

The Badger loss stings even more since our hearts were broken when the Packers lost back on January 18th against the Seahawks in mind-blowing fashion.

The Pack had that game all but won, until somehow they lost, in what I still think is the most devastating loss in Green Bay Packer history, just due to the nature of events.

These two season ending losses in such high profile games make it a BRUTAL time to be a Wisconsin sports fan.

But it's over. Time to heal. Time to move forward. Time to take a step back and appreciate the journey, the ride, the memories we've all gained by watching the most amazing college basketball team Badger fans have seen since 1941 and Rodgers' incredible MVP season, leading an awesome Packer squad.

In fact, it's not REALLY a brutal time to be a Wisconsin sports fan. It's actually still an awesome time to be a Wisconsin sports fan, as always.

The Badger basketball team took us all on an incredible journey, the Packers gave us all something to cheer for, barring disaster the Bucks will make the Playoffs this season, despite their star rookie being injured early on and Brewers baseball is back!

Time to crack open an ice cold beverage this weekend and clank your glass to everything Wisconsin sports, especially the 2015 Badger Hoops team!

We love you Bucky! Thanks for the memories.

#onwisconsin

And don't forget ... football season is just four months away!

#gopackgo

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Just Look at Wisconsin's Oldest Building

The the Wakely Home of Nekoosa, Wisconsin: Still standing.
The Wakely Home of Nekoosa, Wisconsin: It's still standing.

The blog Supercompressor put together a fantastic list of the oldest standing building in every State o' the Union, with a brief look at the history of each.* Of course I went straight to Wisconsin’s entry and found the Wakely Home of Nekoosa, Wisconsin. Built in 1842 by Robert and Mary Wakely, the Wakely home is a symbol of American pioneerism and western expansion. In 1837 the Wakelys bought a raft full of lumber in New York City and began traveling westward by way of rivers. They sold the lumber in Cincinnati and poled up the rivers in a keelboat to what would be known as Point Basse, the place they would build their home.  

Not the most rivieting of travel adventures, but there you have it. We may not have an amazing fortress for our oldest building (as Florida does), or the Taos Pueblo, built sometime between 1000 and 1450 CE (like New Mexico),  but the Wakely Mome is a prime example of people striking out west to wild territories to make a new life.

*As  Supercompressor says, "...due to some record-keeping discrepancies
there's no doubt some of these might be a bit... disputable."

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Snuggle Time at The Local Store!

These adorable bear, fox, and piglet friends are  cuddly and  individually handmade with up-cycled materials right here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin by Kristi at  kiki b omi designs  – from her home to yours. Children, adults, and Wisconsinites of any size will appreciate the cuteness of these locally crafted, one-of-a-kind, snuggly buddies –  now available at The Local Store.  

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Wednesday, Apr. 8th, 2015

America Keeps On Truckin'

Boy do we love that Ford. Get a closer look.
Boy do we love that Ford. Get a closer look.

Have you ever wondered what kind of car America loves most? The answer won’t surprise you, but just how much we love it might. According to research done by everycarlisted.com, America loves one very specific automobile the most: the Ford F-150. It sounds cliched, but the image of America as a truck-loving country really isn’t that far off. Truck sales beat sedans by 53% to 47%, and those numbers are largely represented by “middle America,” in which Wisconsin squarely sits. Along with another 38 states, Wisconsin buys the F-150 more than any other automobile. Regardless of brand, I’m going to chalk up some of Wisconsin’s truck-love to our winters. 

Head on over to the original blog post for some really revealing statistics about how much America loves cars and how much each state is willing to pay for them.

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Tuesday, Apr. 7th, 2015

TODAY: VOTE

WHEN: Wisconsin’s spring general election will be Tuesday, April 7. Polls are open between 7am and 8pm.

WHERE: Your polling place will vary depending on where you live. To find your polling place, go to myvote.wi.gov, click on “Regular Voter” and then “Address Search.” (The website can also help you find out if you’re registered to vote at your current address and show you a sample ballot for your district.)

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Monday, Apr. 6th, 2015

Eau Claire's best Pac-Man levels

Upper campus at UWEC: Pac-Man Fever.
Upper campus at UWEC: Pac-Man Fever.

As you've no doubt seen, starting last week, (as an April Fool's day gag) Google started letting you play Pac-Man on the roads found on nearly any frame of Google Maps. Some areas don't work, as the game requires enough roads to function, but most areas will let you flee from ghosts as you gobble up white dots and fruit through city streets.

Finding which areas in Eau Claire make for rousing and challenging games of Pac-Man has certainly been a good use of my time – and has had no negative impact on my overall productivity. So behold – here are my best picks for great games of Pac-Man in EC. 

The north side of the Luther Middlefort Campus
Upper campus at UWEC 
Downtown Eau Claire

Leave a comment if you find any other great locations!

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