Shortcuts | Aug. 4, 2011

condensed local news about civic and cultural goings-on

V1 Staff

Our Reord-Breaking Cougar

Remember that cougar that came through the Chippewa Valley two winters ago? Well, it was found all the way in Connecticut. What’s even more, it travelled about 1,600 miles, from the South Dakota Black Hills, through the Twin Cities area, into the Chippewa Valley, up into Canada, and then finally to Milford, Conn. where he was hit by a vehicle on June 11. The DNR collected samples while the cougar was in the area and were able to confirm that it was the same one. DNR biologists said that this cougar has covered more ground than any other of its species that they have tracked.

City Council Harbors No Love For Urban Chickens

The ongoing (as in it’s still not resolved) debate about hen raising in Eau Claire plateaued again after a public hearing failed to approve the chicken husbandry pilot program. The program, sponsored by councilman Andrew Werthmann, proposes that the city allow 20 permits for people to raise hens. The permit would be good for six hens each (neighbor consent not required), and require any eggs produced to be used for domestic consumption or donation. The trial period would have only lasted until 2013 and would have allowed city officials to determine if it would be worth continuing. But alas, it was not approved. (Apparently a few people missed the “don’t knock it ‘til you try it” lesson in grade school). This is all putting a fowl taste in my mouth. 

UWEC’s Science Department Receives 168-Acre Gift

Local couple Jim and Joan Leary recently gave whole new meaning to the word generous. A gift of 168 acres to UW-Eau Claire, which will be used for the school’s environmental studies program, was given by the couple to benefit those interested in global sustainability issues. Issues, it appears, the couple is very passionate about and have been involved in for 30 years. With an entire family of UW-Eau Claire alumni, as well two granddaughters currently attending, the couple found it easy to arrive at the decision. Staff and administrators at the school are thrilled and extremely grateful for the gift, excited over the prospect of enhancing the experiences of their Blugold students, faculty, and staff. The Learys are excited, too, saying they hold “complete trust” in UW-Eau Claire’s vision and goals. 

LGBT Center Seeks Input

With the recent closure of the Valley’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in June, there is some concern for the future of our LGBT friends and their access to resources, activities, and support. The building was a safe place where both adults and youth could turn for support. The center ultimately closed due to financial strains, but people are still working toward a common goal. Although no longer a physical building, the LGBT Community Center is researching the needs of the community. They’ve created a questionnaire to evaluate the satisfaction levels with current programs, activities, and services available. If you’d like to help out, visit to take 15 minutes to complete the confidential questionnaire. The Center appreciates your participation. 

Arts Audiences Continue To Help Economic Growth

The Heyde Center just released its annual report, and it seems the arts are continuing to help the local community and economy in this less-than-desirable situation. The CVCA and center contributed a little over $30,000 to the local and state economy over the last year, while the economic impact of their audiences’ spending outside of tickets was a little over $225,000. Not to mention that more than 631 performers took stage and performed for about 9,200 audience members. Not too shabby. However, there are some stats that show that the Heyde Center is not immune to the rough times. Attendance was down (5.5%), as was income (approximately $3,000), and expenditures rose (9%). 

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