Shortcuts | Oct. 9, 2008

V1 Staff

    The price of gas has been a “bear” for consumers in the Chippewa Valley this summer, perhaps prompting many to eat in more often. As a result, local restaurant patronage is in a slump, affecting Grizzly’s and the Bear Creek Grille. Management expects business to remain in “hibernation” for a while, so the two establishments will combine as Grizzly’s Wood Fired Grill and Steaks. The steakhouse will operate at the Bear Creek Grille’s current location, offering a combination of the original menus. Grizzly’s former space will be newly occupied by sports-bar-esque Milwaukee Burger Co. A few others have also felt a slump: Jake’s Supper Club in Menomonie and Ron’s Family Restaurant in Eau Claire have also recently closed.

    The Stones Throw’s popular Wednesday night hookah lounge was set to recommence Oct. 8.  How can this be, you ask? The hookah lounge was forced to end when Eau Claire’s smoking ban went into effect, one of few business ventures to be totally immobilized by the ban. However, the ban only forbids smoking of tobacco products inside of bars. The hookah lounge will now feature a tobacco-free herbal shisha. The Stones Throw will assemble the lounge as before, in the basement, with three hookahs, tapestries, and Mediterranean music to create ambiance. The Stones Throw has consulted with the city attorney’s office and had the ban exception approved.

    Wisconsin Public Radio’s Chippewa Valley region is now home to the first high definition digital radio station in the area. The Ideas Network, which runs on 88.3 WHWC Eau Claire/Menomonie, will also be available in HD on 88.3-1. Because HD technology doesn’t run on radio frequency, stations are able to split. The new HD2 24- hour Classical service runs on 88.3-2.  The current analog NPR News & Classical Music Network, broadcasting from 89.7 WUEC Eau Claire and 90.7 WVSS Menomenie, remains the same. These two new HD stations not only presents powerfully improved audio quality, but also reach communities that previously could not pick up the station. The HD signal hits within a 40-mile radius of the transmitter site in Colfax. Expect snazzy features such as traffic and weather reports and displayed song information in the future. This enhanced listening experience is available to those equipped with HD radio receivers.