Questioning the Locals | Karl Markgraf
get to know your neighbors!
WHO: Karl Markgraf, 55
WHAT: Director of the Center for International Education at UW-Eau Claire
LIVES: Eau Claire’s Third Ward
IN THE CITY FOR: 14 years
Karl is married to Jill, a librarian at McIntyre Library, and they have two children, Karl and Alida. At the university, Karl’s office is responsible for helping approximately 500 students, 250 international students, and several dozen faculty and staff each year move back and forth from one country to another. I also work with the DNR’s citizen scientist program and spend most weekends in western Clark County tracking four wolf packs and gathering data about them.
What place in town considers you a “regular?”
Thompson’s True Value. I’m there two times a week minimum. As the owner of a 110-year-old house, I’m a very good handyman.
What frustrates you about the Chippewa Valley?
I probably shouldn’t go into politics, so let’s stick to the weather. Not enough snow! Also, too many stoplights. We could use a few more roundabouts.
What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve ever had in the Chippewa Valley?
We have a phenomenal music scene. Anything put on by the Chippewa Valley Blues Society. Blues is where it’s at.
What’s your favorite local festival?
The UWEC Fall Folk Fair (sponsored by our office).
What is your favorite piece of Eau Claire or local trivia?
The elephant buried in the Third Ward (although Rob Reid across the table from me is telling me the elephant is buried on the East Hill … but I think he’s wrong).
On your death bed, you get one local meal from a local restaurant. What would it be?
Carnitas tacos from Supermercado Sandoval!
Describe you last encounter with the police department.
Having a friendly conversation with one of my neighbors, who is a policeman.
Which do you prefer and why: Water Street or Downtown?
Water Street – love The Goat!
What book, TV show, or movie would you recommend to the members of our city council?
The book Nickel and Dimed. We need to be more mindful of the marginalized members of society.
If you could magically add one store, restaurant, or shop to the area, what would it be and why?
Mo’s from Newport, Oregon for their seafood, especially their clam chowder.
What does the wolf project entail?
I take weekly hikes. I spot tracks, put on my snowshoes, and note their direction of travel. I look for signs of an alpha pair by looking at their pee: spray vs. pool. Both male and female alpha wolves do raised leg urination (R.L.U.) and all other wolves, both males and females, do squat urination (S.U.). If there’s blood in the urine, that means pups in the summer and we’re having pups this summer.
You’ve traveled all over the world. Where did you last go?
Where are you going next?
Do you have any favorite spots?
Tough to call, but I’ll go with Sapa, Vietnam and Inner Mongolia.
You’re a big music fan. Any concerts on the horizon?
B.B. King in March. I’ve seen him countless times. Clapton is my hero – will watch his tour schedule. I also love Bad Brad and the Fatcats out of Greeley, Colorado.
Finally, if all eight of the Karl Markgrafs magically appeared for a Jenga throwdown match, who would win?
Number 8, natch (the guitarist for Bad Brad and the Fatcats).