Wednesday, Feb. 26th, 2020

2020 Vanguard Awards: Meet the Honorees!

Presented by Volume One and Charter Bank, the Chippewa Valley Vanguard Awards recognize high-level community achievers who’ve made a significant local impact in one of a broad spectrum of areas including the arts, entrepreneurship, social action, government, education, philanthropy, health, business, and more.

Meet this year's nominees at

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Wednesday, Feb. 12th, 2020

The Metro Moves Events in Wake of Fire (Here’s What We Know)

Decadent Cabaret 2018 at The Metro
Decadent Cabaret 2018 at The Metro

In the wake of Monday’s night’s fire at The Metro in downtown Eau Claire (201 E Lake Street), the venue is shifting several events to new locations. Scroll down to see a list of these events and their new venues (plus any other changes).

As more events are moved, we’ll add them to the list.

statement from The Metro reads, "First of all, and most importantly- no one was hurt. Over the next few days, we will be assessing the situation. We will do everything we can to make sure all events scheduled at The Metro move forward."

Since The Metro opened in late 2017, it's become an active venue for live music, private events, and other entertainment, hosting annual shows such as Stage Fright and Decadent Cabaret (scheduled for March 5-7, 2020).  


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Tuesday, Feb. 11th, 2020

Late Night Fire at The Metro

Dessa at The Metro, Sept. 2019
Dessa at The Metro, Sept. 2019

The Metro in downtown Eau Claire (201 E Lake Street) sustained some fire damage Monday night around 10pm.

A statement from The Metro reads, "First of all, and most importantly- no one was hurt. Over the next few days, we will be assessing the situation. We will do everything we can to make sure all events scheduled at The Metro move forward. Please check back for updates later this week, and thank you so much for your support."

Since The Metro opened in late 2017, it's become an active venue for live music, private events, and other entertainment, hosting annual shows such as Stage Fright and Decadent Cabaret (scheduled for March 5-7, 2020).  

Reports from WQOW News 18 provide a few more details: 

• fire contained to a kitchen area
• other parts of building sustained smoke and water damage 
• investigation ongoing, damages currently estimated at $150,000


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Thursday, Feb. 6th, 2020

You Could Be Splashing in Wilson Park’s New Water Feature as Soon as This Summer

Click for a closer look.
Click for a closer look.

A new plan for downtown Eau Claire’s Wilson Park features a splash pad-style cluster of in-ground bubblers surrounded by boulders, benches, and berms to provide shady seating for park visitors. The features would replace the park’s central fountain, which has been out of commission since 2018 because of a failed pipe and which the city determined would be too costly – and possibly impossible – to repair.

The designs were created by Design Studio Etc. of Madison based on more than 160 pieces of public input gathered through three design workshops last fall as well as two online surveys. Concepts from three design alternatives were merged into the final sketches, which will serve as a high-level design that will be further refined as the process continues, said Josh Solinger, a budget analyst with the city, who is overseeing the project.

Solinger said much of the public input centered around themes of keeping the park’s design simple, incorporating the idea of rivers in the blueprints, providing ample seating, creating something that requires minimal maintenance, and making use of the existing statue of Old Abe, the famed bald eagle who accompanied Chippewa Valley soldiers to the Civil War.

Click for a closer look.
Click for a closer look.

From the beginning, a new water feature was part of the discussion: Wilson Park has had a fountain since at least the 1890s, with the current one dating to 1969. And while the water feature is designed to be interactive – in other words, expect kids and adults to get wet there – it isn’t meant to be a full-scale waterpark-like splash pad. Like the in-ground fountains at downtown’s Haymarket Plaza, which erupted to life last summer, the water feature at Wilson Park will have both playful and aesthetic uses. In addition to people splashing in the water, the park will be designed to be inviting for people who simply want to sit there and enjoy a quiet urban space, Solinger said. The water may be operated on a timer, or it may be passive, coming to life only when a visitor presses a button.

The preliminary plans were shown to the city’s Waterways and Parks Commission in late January. In the coming months, construction documents and cost estimates will be prepared, and the project will be put out to bid. The City Council approved $147,000 for the project in its most recent Capital Improvement Plan. Solinger said the city hopes construction occurs over the summer, which means you could be enjoying the water feature’s refreshing spray will the weather is still warm.

Learn more about the project online at

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Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 2020
Tuesday, Feb. 4th, 2020

Eau Claire’s Top Employee, City Manager Dale Peters, Will Retire this Spring

Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.
Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.

After 30 years with the City of Eau Claire – the last four of them as city manager – Dale Peters announced Monday he will retire in May.

“Eau Claire has a thriving and bright future, and I look forward to working with you for a smooth transition,” Peters wrote in an open letter to members of the Eau Claire City Council, who will soon face the task of hiring his replacement.

“Eau Claire has a thriving and bright future, and I look forward to working with you for a smooth transition.”

During his time as city manager, Peters has overseen the renovation of the historic City Hall, dramatic changes in the makeup of the City Council, the opening of the Pablo Center at the Confluence, and – most recently – a decision by the city to partner with UW-Eau Claire on the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex.

“In my current role as City Manager, I saw my job as implementing the policies of the City Council in a fiscally responsible manner and maintaining high-quality basic services,” Peters wrote. “To create an organization of employees passionate to serve others. To meld a vision for Eau Claire with practical implementation, always respectful that our funding was from precious and limited taxpayer dollars. To help create a city that is not only functional and safe, but meaningful and fun. A place where the old and young can thrive and our students and children will want to stay and call home.”

City Council President Terry Weld told the Leader-Telegram that the process of hiring a replacement will begin as early as next week with a City Council work session. The City Council will have to determine whether to hire a consultant to help with the process, and whether the search will be conducted nationally or regionally.

Peters graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 1983. After receiving an MBA from UW-Madison in 1986 and working briefly in the private sector, Peters returned to Eau Claire to become the city’s risk manager in 1989. He subsequently worked as the city’s director of human resources and assistant city manager before being appointed city manager in January 2016. He replaced Russ Van Gompel, who was city manager from 2012 until late 2015.

In the statement announcing his retirement, Peters expressed his “deepest appreciation and thanks for the dedicated, hardworking employees of the City of Eau Claire. This wonderful group of individuals, every day, and with little thanks, go about the tireless work of making sure our drinking water is clean, sewage is properly treated, buses are driven safely, and our streets are well maintained.”

In retirement, Peters said he looks forward to traveling with his wife, Tally; visiting their adult children; and “continuing to serve our community in the years to come.”

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Friday, Jan. 31st, 2020

Iconic Eau Claire Motel for Sale (Free HBO)

If you’ve been thinking about busting into the motel biz, now’s your chance – an iconic Eau Claire motor lodge is up for grabs. Listed earlier this month, the Antlers Motel is currently available for $725,000.

Standing at the busy crossroads of Clairemont Avenue and Hastings Way since 1968, the Antlers Motel is known for being “that motel at the crossroads of Clairemont Avenue and Hastings Way.” Locals may also know it as “the deer antler one, over by Draganetti’s.”

It seems as though the Antlers Motel has achieved its kinda-sorta iconic status by simply being there for so long. The large deer logo on the sign out front has captured our imaginations for decades. It’s almost as memorable as the now-gone pagoda of Woo’s Pagoda, the longtime local eatery which once stood a short distance up Hastings Way. 

Billed as an excellent business opportunity (no doubt due in part to its prime roadside location*) the 17,170-square-foot motel boasts 33 guest rooms – 11 rooms with single beds and 22 with double beds. And get this. It’s got “onsite owner’s living quarters.” Just think, aspiring motel-preneurs, you’d be buying a motel and a new home all in one.

Based on 28 reviews, Tripadviser has the place ranked at 18 of 26 hotels in Eau Claire. One happy traveler calls the Antler Motel a “cheap gem,” saying, “For a cheap stay this place was great. I didn't have high expectations from the price but this place was super cozy and the an suprisingly large room [sic]. For 60 bucks a night, it was just fine.”

Another recent reviewer says, “Sure, it could use some updating, but so could my house, and for the personalized experience and price, it’s easy to overlook any perceived shortcomings. This is my go-to place to stay in Eau Claire.”

Other guests exclaim, “old time ambiance,” “comfy cozy,” and “parking lot for a boat.”

You can find more photos and listing info here and here. The property also sports a partial basement.

*"Located conveniently off Business 53 within 1-3 miles of UW-Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Pablo Center of Performing Arts [sic] and River Prairie Center."

If you don't have $725,000, you could just grab this vintage postcard for  $18.99 (plus $3.50 shipping).
If you don't have $725,000, you could just grab this vintage postcard for $18.99 (plus $3.50 shipping).

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Wintermission 'Gearshare' Program Coming to Eau Claire, Altoona Libraries

Following feedback from residents regarding winter activity in the Eau Claire area, Wintermission Eau Claire - the organization behind the Winter Recreation Loop in Eau Claire - has partnered once again with the City of Eau Claire and several other organizations in the area to establish their "Gearshare" program. The program came about due to residents' comments on the lack of access to good winter recreation equipment. Involved in Wintermission Eau Claire since the very beginning, Eau Claire City Council member Emily Berge explained this difficulty as, "... a barrier to enjoying winter is the lack of winter gear, whether due to the cost of gear or not knowing what gear to buy.”

The goal of Gearshare is to supply winter gear that everyone might not have in their garage, such as adult and child-sized snowshoe sets (poles included), ice fishing kits, and even Kubb sets – and all you'll need is a library card. That's right, both the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library (400 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire) and the Altoona Public Library (1303 Lynn Avenue) will add specialty winter items to their rotation of rentable items. 


And it doesn't stop there; Pinehurst Park (3523 Delbert Road, Eau Claire) will offer even more winter recreation options. Eau Claire Parks and Rec will provide sleds, hockey gear, broomball sets, snowshoes, and kubb sets. Eau Claire Parks and Rec employees on site will provide rental abilities, and equipment storage will be provided by Pinehurst Park - OutdoorsMore, Inc.

Wintermission Eau Claire is a program to reduce social isolation and support outdoor physical activity in winter.  The Eau Claire Wintermission core team involves participation from the Cities of Eau Claire and Altoona, the Eau Claire City County Health Department, UW-Eau Claire, Visit Eau Claire, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Read more about Wintermission at

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Thursday, Jan. 30th, 2020

Pablo Center Names New Director of Artistic Programming

Evan Middlesworth
Evan Middlesworth

In a press release today (1-30-20), the Pablo Center at the Confluence named its new Director of Artistic Programming – Evan Middlesworth of Pine Hollow Audio near Eau Claire. Read more ...


New director to focus on bringing top national and local talent for Season Three

EAU CLAIRE, WIS. (January 30, 2020) – After a national search with over 45 applicants, Pablo Center at the Confluence is pleased to announce the appointment of Evan Middlesworth to the position of Director of Artistic Programming, effective immediately.  During his interim term as the Artistic Programming Manager, Middlesworth brought an exciting new direction to Pablo Center’s lineup by booking artists such as Charlie Berens, The Secret Sisters, Arch Allies, and local musicians S. Carey, Shane Leonard, James Ignacio, and Humbird for the second half of Season Two. Middlesworth’s focus for Season Three is to establish new creative relationships with national and international agencies, promoters, and artists while continuing to champion the Chippewa Valley arts communities.  

Executive Director Jason Jon Anderson looks forward to bringing Middlesworth’s talents and connections to Pablo Center at the Confluence. 

“It is reflective of the Pablo Center’s values and story to find a candidate with passion, talent, and a diverse collection of skills right here in Eau Claire,” says Anderson.  “I firmly believe that Evan's international live music connections, passion for education, local affiliations, recording studio ownership, his passion for Eau Claire, and his ever-present calm make him a perfect choice for this important role.  I am excited for our audience to experience Pablo Center’s offerings: programming that highlights the best local artists, along with the incredible national additions.  The artistic team has curated an incredible spring lineup as well as made great progress on Season Three.”

While studying for his bachelor of arts in sound design at Purdue University, Middlesworth started building a diversified career around various avenues of the entertainment industry, both on stage and behind the scenes by being open to and accepting any opportunity based around music, audio, or theatre.  His positive approach and drive led to him working for LOUD Technologies; founding Driftless Artist Management and Pine Hollow Audio; touring with The National, EL VY, and Big Thief as an audio engineer; stage managing the Eaux Claires and Boston Calling music festivals; performing with countless bands across many genres; and composing music for theatres nationally.  He also funnels his desire to help others by volunteering to speak with students about life in the entertainment and music industries.  Outside of entertainment, Middlesworth is passionate about aviation and received his pilots license in August 2018.  Exploring from the air and taking his wife Laura on fly-dates acts as a form of relaxation and continued learning. 

“We have the team, the knowledge, and the tools to dream up and bring to life any idea across all artistic platforms right here, and that’s a very exciting realization to have!  We’ll face challenges along the way, however, our team and our community will adapt, learn, and grow together as we move along - if we keep our minds and our hearts in the right place, a positive outcome will be easier than we thought.  All things are simple, once you know how,” says Middlesworth.

For more information, please contact Stephanie LaBair, Marketing and Communications Manager at Pablo Center at the Confluence, at 715-471-6138 or by emailing

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Monday, Jan. 27th, 2020

Snoop Dogg, Slipknot, Disturbed Anchor Rock Fest 2020 Lineup

You read that right. Snoop Dogg is on the Rock Fest lineup this year, alongside heavy-hitters like Disturbed, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Staind, and Papa Roach. Certainly, booking Snoop is a left-field but altogether intriguing move from the festival, which is happening July 16-18 (with a pre-party on July 15). 

Of course, they’re still turning up the heat with the rest of the rock-heavy lineup – with the likes of Theory of a Deadman, Anthrax, Chevelle, Hollywood Undead – but it goes to show that after 30+ years of this, Rock Fest is still pushing boundaries, being creative, and keeping it exciting year after year. Big Snoop Dogg just feels like the icing on the cake for Rock Fest 2020, so get tickets now at

Here’s the 2020 lineup in full...


Theory of a Deadman
Saint Asonia 
Memphis May
Blacktop Mojo
Kobra and the Lotus
Falling Through April
Scattered Hamlet
Anything But Human
Digital Homicide
Any Given Sin
Jett Threatt
Drama Queen


Papa Roach
Steel Panther
Of Mice & Men
Bad Wolves
All That Remains
Like A Storm
Bones UK
Distal Descent
City of the Weak
Throw The Fight
Hammer Down Hard
Fresh Fighters
Dressed To Kill*
Strange Daze
Caster Volor


Limp Bizkit
Snoop Dogg
Hollywood Undead
We Came As Roman
Gemini Syndrome
Through Fire
Hyro the Hero
Rachel Lorin
Stellar Circuits
Your Screaming Silence
Strate Jak It
Mad Alice
Cowboys From Hell
Probable Cause*

(for 3-day ticket holders only)

Royal Bliss
Joyous Wolf
Stitched Up Heart
The Black Moods
Modern Mimes
Unkle Daddy
Tommy Dreamer
The Headbangers
Sinn Bodhi

*Hey, they’re local!


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