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Shortcuts | March 25, 2010

V1 Staff |

It all started on Dec. 7, as Jo Burke stood in front of the Eau Claire School Board to express her concern that education through art was being lost. Burke’s idea was to start a local Charter school, ENGAGE, that would aid grades six through 12. At the time, though, the project was still in its infancy. On March 1, Burke presented her case to the school board and won. It was on that night that the board voted unanimously to become the authorizing agent for ENGAGE. Now, the ENGAGE Creative Arts and Culture Charter School is on its way to open in September 2011, but must first apply for a yearly support grant of $175,000 for up to three years, which is due on April 15.

To concisely cover the issues and how they relate to you from a conservative Christian perspective: this is the mission of the recently launched Eau Claire Journal. The journal, which just printed its third biweekly issue, focuses on issues on western Wisconsin and state levels, but also covers news on the national and global level. It is especially interested in the examination of government excesses, pending legislation, and the statements and actions of public officials. The journal is locally run, and available in both print and online format at

An early snowmelt revealed a barren landscape in Owen Park. Eau Claire’s Department of Parks and Recreation removed brush in January as a preventative measure against Dutch elm disease. The fungal disease, which infects the water conducting system of elms, killed tens of thousands of Wisconsin trees in the 70s. A small pocket of trees in Owen Park survived the outbreak, but remains threatened. Director Phil Fieber explained, “The city spends about $15,000 every couple of years to treat those.” In addition to treating existing elms, every eight years the city removes new elm growth. Fieber said this practice keeps Dutch elm at bay by depriving the disease of an environment in which to spread and by encouraging growth of different native species, like pines and maples.

Attention beer appreciators and loyal Leinie’s fans. The brewery’s massive pasteurizer project, designed to help bring the 143 year-old brewery into the 21st century, is finally complete and operational. By saving an estimated 25-30 million gallons of water per year and reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the products to their targeted temperature, they will not only be going “greener,” but they will be able to pack more beer into the new machine at one time.  More = better, enough said.