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Opening Letters

COLUMN: Making the Change I Want to See in Eau Claire

sometimes all it takes is one person to change the world

I am using my pain as propane to spark something in my life and make the changes I want to see in our community. Growing up in a single-parent household played a big role in molding the man I am today ...

My Son Believes He Will Be Killed By Police

in light of Black Lives Matter protests, one local dad urges you to consider biases you didn't know you had

My son believes he will be killed by the police. He is 11 years old, and he is Black – and living in a very white region, with a very white mom and dad. He’s brilliant, beautiful, and highly perceptive. His 11-year-old brain isn’t yet wired to process events ...

Winter Layers

peeling back the accumulation of winter reveals the earth – and ourselves

In 1996, I was 16 and living in Bethesda, Maryland (January mean temperature: 37 degrees). One ordinary brown January afternoon, my siblings and I went to see 12 Monkeys. While we sat in the dark theater ....

The Play’s the Thing

discovering a new world of fun with the family by stepping onto the stage

I admit, I was playing the long game. In the summer of 2015, I took my family to see the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was always a ...

We Are Grasshoppers

frittering away autumn days as the Wisconsin winter closes in

This morning, the kitchen thermostat reads 59 degrees. It’s still dark outside, so I can’t confirm the forecasted snow and wind. Either way ...

Finding the Unexpected When the Fireplace Fails

brick by brick, a homeowner learns rebuilding is more than a ton of work – eight tons in fact

I wasn’t there when the deluge of water began gushing through the haphazardly-patched hole in the roof, but the expletive in the text message I received from my wife during a thunderstorm suggested trouble at home ...

The Man in the Green Jumpsuit

sometimes Mr. Right is an old guy with a snowblower

The earth had once again shed its dandruff. All evening activities canceled, all highways shut down, and all streets littered with impatient people trying desperately to make it home just to be anywhere ...

Finding Your Tribe

opportunities abound in the close-knit local writing community

On a Saturday night in February, I slogged through slush to a celebratory reading, the capstone of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild’s Weekend Writers Retreat at the Oxbow Hotel. Despite the weather ...

Wheel of Misfortune

tripping her way into the puzzle of retirement

Thirteen below zero, with wind chills lower still, as I scrape scraps from the hearty casserole we’ve just eaten into the disposal. The recipe claims it’s just what we need to keep the cold outside ...

Three Bold Ideas for State Street

the city is talking about roundabouts, but we can try something even wilder

State Street will likely be closed for a time next summer and fall, and the time to start making your contingency plans is now. As a homeowner on the majestic artery itself, the thought of State Street torn up for months ...

Giving (And Receiving) the Gift of Music

an overflowing calendar and a profusion of tickets makes this fan thankful for the Valley’s scene

‘Tis the season to think of music! But I’m not talking about the fa-la-la-la-la stuff (although, I love that, too). I’m talking about the get-up-off-your-couch and go catch the live music scene. The other morning ...

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

in the Chippewa Valley, Halloween can sometimes look a lot like Christmas

Last Oct. 31 marked the day that I had spent more of my life in Wisconsin than in Indiana. The date seems appropriate since my interview in the summer was a total treat. I went from the soupy, boiling ...

Celebrating Heritage, Embracing Diversity

Eau Claire should be proud to recognize its first-ever Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 8

Monday, Oct. 8, will be the first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the city of Eau Claire. A year ago, the Eau Claire City Council passed a resolution declaring the second Monday in October – which is many places is recognized as Columbus Day – as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Fathers, Sons, and Storms

defying rain, lightning, and familial fear to get the perfect photograph

‘I think it would be a good idea if you got out of the water,” Dad implored as lightning brightened the dark sky above me. “Just a few more minutes,” I responded, as if this conversation had occurred 30 years earlier and

Hitting Preconceptions out of the Park

Beep Baseball World Series in Eau Claire highlighted athleticism of the visually impaired

Frank, my wife’s nephew, entered this world under emergency circumstances, and as a result, he is legally blind. Until I dated my wife, I had never known a visually-impaired person, so I treated Frank with kid gloves ...

Feeling Write at Home

the Chippewa Valley’s strong, supportive literary community draws one young writer back

On a Sunday afternoon in July 2017, I drove down a spindly driveway away from one of the most special weekends of my life and toward what I believed then to be a new phase of my young adulthood. I had spent the previous four days at Cirenaica, a writing residency in the woods of Fall Creek put on by the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild.

Melting Memories

a Wisconsin farm boy, a coveted ice cream cone, and the complexity of interpreting family history

There are few summer pleasures more pure, more wholesome, or more in keeping with Wisconsin tradition than enjoying an ice cream cone on a hot day. We are, after all, the Dairy State. One of ...

Heroics on (And Off) the Tundra

can legendary Lambeau Field compete with the “best night” of teens’ lives?

On a recent visit to Green Bay, we do what is required of us: pay our respects to the hallowed ground of Lambeau Field. I am accompanied by my 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter, neither of whom ...

Pop or Classical? Why Choose?

In a musically rich area like the Valley, we should take pride in enjoying different styles of music

There are times when nothing tastes better than a generous plate of spare ribs straight from the grill slathered in barbecue sauce, a cob of corn oozing with salted butter, and a heap of tangy coleslaw, accompanied by a pint of Lazy Monk’s Bohemian Lager ...