Chippewa Valley Vanguard Awards - 2019 Honorees

Tue. Feb. 19th, 2019

Recognizing high-level community achievers who are making 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.

Pa Thao - 2019 Vanguard Award Honoree

Executive Director of the Black & Brown Womyn Power Coalition

Tue. Feb. 19th, 2019  |  Lauren Fisher, video by Joel Pearish

Pa Thao is dedicated to uplifting underserved and underrepresented groups within her community. She was the executive director of the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association for seven years, before becoming the executive director of the Black and Brown Womyns Coalition. Thao’s efforts in the Chippewa Valley have a national, and even international, impact.

Mike Golat - 2019 Vanguard Award Honoree

City Administrator of Altoona

Tue. Feb. 19th, 2019  |  Lauren Fisher, video by Joel Pearish

Mike Golat has been on the front lines of the River Prairie Development, an investment that will benefit the Chippewa Valley for generations, for the past 13 years. Through service with the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation, Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire county, and various other community organizations, he has helped build the foundation for regional prosperity through city planning.

Julia Johnson - 2019 Vanguard Award Honoree

Partner at Pablo Properties

Tue. Feb. 19th, 2019  |  Lauren Fisher, video by Joel Pearish

Julia Johnson has been involved with the development of Downtown Eau Claire since the early days of Jamf software company. She was involved with the planning and construction of the Jamf Building, the Lismore, the Informalist, ECDC, and the Pablo Center; she continues to serve on local boards and work toward a more accessible, cooperative city.

The Best Night 2019: Confetti Cannon Showdown

Tue. Feb. 12th, 2019  |  video by Joel Pearish

This year, The Best Night featured the Confetti Cannon Slo-Mo Video Booth of Fantastic Good Times (working title). We invited guests into the booth, and their shenanigans we displayed outside – in high definition – for all to enjoy. Here's a montage of the fun.

My Best of the Worst

Do you think your struggles are the worst?

Tue. Feb. 5th, 2019  |  Mike Paulus, illustrated by Michelle Roberts

In the grand scheme of one’s life, is this a noteworthy accomplishment? Is this one of the few remarkable tidbits I’d like people to remember about me? Is this a deed I hold dear to my heart? Am I proud of this?

Got the Skills? Then Take a Shot

shop inside Artisan Forge will feature pinball, coffee

Tue. Feb. 5th, 2019  |  Lauren Fisher

We’ve got some news for coffee lovers, pinball pros, and art explorers alike: Pablo properties will open a new coffee and pinball lounge in Artisan Forge Studios (1106 Mondovi Road, Eau Claire) in mid-February...

Walking Through Graveyards

Mon. Feb. 4th, 2019  |  Dan Lyksett

The other night I dreamt about my best friend. I don’t remember exactly what we were doing, but I remember we were having fun. And I remember wondering during the dream if he knew he was dead ...

Teaching Kindness

At the Northwest Reading Clinic, Ruth Harris has brought 50 years of life-changing gifts to the Chippewa Valley.

Tue. Jan. 29th, 2019  |  Lauren Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Kindness is essential. But what is it that marks the difference between a good teacher and one who serves for 50 years, helping more than 5,000 students overcome personal, emotional, and physical difficulties to improve their literacy and lives?