Questioning the Locals | Tina Parker
getting to know your neighbors
WHO: Tina Parker
WHAT: teacher at Eau Claire’s Sam Davey Elementary School
IN THE CITY FOR: 33 years
Tina entered college to do social work and psychology, but fell in love with teaching after coaching a high school swim team in her junior year. Luckily, she was good at it. Tina is a national finalist for the Presidential Award For Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching – one of only five teachers in the state. She says it took “a lot of sleepless nights” to apply for the award, which required letters of reference, a 15-page essay and a 45 minute video. Upon finding out she was a finalist, Tina couldn’t believe it. “I wanted to believe it was a joke, but I did not tell more than five people that I was going through the application so it had to be real.”
What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve had in the Chippewa Valley? Hmong New Year.
What place in town considers you a regular? Any bike path around my home. I love running, walking, and going for bike rides with my three children.
If you could magically add one type of store or restaurant to town, what would it be? A gluten-free restaurant. I am allergic to wheat four so a restaurant like this would give me more variety when eating out.
What is your favorite locally or Wisconsin produced food? LaGrander’s cheese curds are my favorite Wisconsin food!
On your death bed you get one local meal. What is it? This is a hard one, but I am going to go with Birch Point Resort in Bloomer. All you can eat Saturday night buffet is the best out there in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on the up-and-coming Confluence Project? When you hear 85 million dollar project it seems over the top, but the more I read about it I can definitely see opportunity with the community arts center. With a city like the size of Eau Claire we really do need something more in the community. The facility looks like it could bring in big names and seat those who can afford to go.
Name a local event or festival that could be improved upon and why. Altoona’s Cinder City Days- They could do so much more for that town during the festival. This is the biggest weekend in Altoona and basically all they have is the carnival (The carnival rides are so run down and I don’t even want to know how old they are.) and the softball tourney. They could have a craft fair, bigger parade, and need much more advertisement. They could take some notes from Pure Water Days in Chippewa Falls and the Eau Claire Festivals to get ideas.
Which roads or trails do you frequent for recreational driving/walking/biking? The bike trail around the North Crossing, the trail along Western Avenue.
Front yard or back yard? Definitely back yard. I am a pretty private person so I prefer hiding out in the back yard.
What’s your favorite season in the Chippewa Valley? I love Autumn – the colored leaves, the cooler temperatures, the start of the school year...
Describe your latest encounter with local wildlife (yep, squirrels count). A tree at my mom’s house has a robin’s nest in it with eggs that have hatched. We sat there and watched the mother robin feed her young.
Is there a local cause or organization you’ve volunteered for or support? I support Easter Seals. Their support of people with disabilities to gain independence is near and dear to my heart.
What’s your favorite building in Eau Claire, architecturally speaking? I like the State Theatre downtown. When you walk in the State Theatre you automatically know there is so much history there.
Name a building/street that could use a makeover. My home! I would love to have our upstairs bathroom completely remodeled!
Half Moon Lake or Chippewa River? I would have to say the Chippewa River. I swam in the EC triathlon in Half Moon so...
Media in print or online? Online – so much better for the environment and less clutter in my house!
What’s the most important news story that deserves more attention? Phil Isaksson battling cancer at such a young age.
State three adjectives to describe yourself. Aspiring, observant, receptive.
State three adjectives to describe Eau Claire. Long-term, spiritual, agreeable.
Does Eau Claire fit your personality? I believe EC fits my personality- EC is pretty easy going and friendly.