Shortcuts | Feb. 3 2011
condensed local news about civic and cultural goings-on
SCHOOL BOARD VOTES DOWN ENGAGE CHARTER SCHOOL
Bad timing and lack of funding are to blame for the Eau Claire Area School District board’s rejection of a proposal to develop ENGAGE Public Creative Arts & Culture Charter School. The board unanimously voted down the contract on Jan. 24, but encouraged ENGAGE organizers to continue their quest with a new proposal next year. The governance board of ENGAGE recently released a statement to supporters via their website, acknowledging plans to explore different options for the school, but factors such as state mandates and grants could make it a difficult process. However, the board did voice a need to enhance elementary art classes by reinstating their length to 60 minutes per week, as opposed to the current 45.
ROLLING STONE HEARTS JUSTIN VERNON’S TWEETS
Local-boy-made-good Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) has accomplished yet another feat. He scored the number 20 spot on Rolling Stone’s list of 50 Top Tweeters in Music. Accompanied on the list by the likes of Taylor Swift and Lil’ Wayne (plus his good buddy Kanye, who topped the list), the Memorial High grad uses Twitter to update fans on his music and life. He’s even shared pictures from his days at Camp Manitou in New Auburn. Upon hearing of his new status, Vernon Tweeted, “Bon got a twitta, yo!!!!!! SUCH a big deal. THANKS RS.” Sticking to his roots, Vernon remains loyal to Wisconsin’s green and gold, Tweeting, “Packers! NFC Championship! Mike Mcarthy, Don Driver for Prez! In Rodgers We Trust!” Follow him on Twitter, @blobtower.
CITY COUNCIL OKs PLANS FOR HASTINGS WAY RESDESIGN
After months of planning and meetings, the Eau Claire City Council just took the final decisive step toward the reconstruction of Hastings Way by unanimously approving the plan. While the council did debate on the issue of lighting the Business 53 roadway, ultimately it agreed on the recommended concept, which calls for 64 streetlights, each 30 feet tall(versus more pedestrian-scale structures). Construction is expected to start this spring with a total project cost of $10.47 million, $6.2 million of which will come from the state.
SOLAR PANEL COMPANY MAY RELOCATE TO EAU CLAIRE
Eau Claire stands to not only gain several hundred jobs, but also a progressive company that manufactures solar panels. The California-based W Solar Group recently announced that it’s hoping to move its headquarters near Madison, and Eau Claire is being considered (among others) as a spot for the manufacturing plant. All told, it would add more than 600 jobs to the state, the majority of which at said plant. A representative from the company told the Leader-Telegram that what attracts them to Eau Claire is the labor force, schools, and good quality of life. The move would cost about $300 million in capital investment, and could begin business as early as late 2011.
FEINGOLD GETS A BOOK DEAL
Now that Russ Feingold is out of the senatorial office, he’s filling his time by writing a book. Having served three terms in the U.S. Senate and been defeated during a run for his fourth, the Democrat will write a book called While America Sleeps, about the United States’ role in international affairs. Feingold will write specifically on how America has fumbled both overseas and domestically since September 11th. Then he’ll outline his strategy on how to correct past mistakes while remaining focused on top international threats. Preferring to keep busy, Feingold will also be teaching an advanced law course at Marquette this spring semester. The book is scheduled for release in early 2012.