Volume One Contributors

writers, photographers, artists

Leah Dunbar


Content By This Contributor:

Maintaining Mabel

beloved Menomonie arts center starts season, raises funds for roof

Marie Anthony, photos by Leah Dunbar

It was the kind of week that left me feeling like I was 6 years old watching my lost snow cone melt into the crevices of a steamy sidewalk. I so longed for any glimmer of reprieve. It came to me at 4:54 on Thursday afternoon ...

Get On That: Menomonie's castle playground

Mike Paulus, photos by Leah Dunbar

The public playground located next to River Heights Elementary in Menomonie would be a fantastic place to romp even without its centerpiece – a super cool, multistory castle. It’s got great swings and bridges, a fun climbing wall, and more than enough classic jungle gym action to keep your kids moving. But the sprawling castle is definitely the belle of the playground ball.

5 Park-tacular Chippewa Valley Playgrounds

play-friendly starter spots in the area to get your kids moving

Hope Greene, photos by Hope Greene, Leah Dunbar, Andrea Paulseth

Just as monkeys need bananas and something to climb on, human children need, well, bananas and something to climb on. Here are just five of the many great playground spots in and around Eau Claire. Use this guide as a treasure map that you can foll


theater group brings the Bard outdoors

Emily Anderson, photos by Leah Dunbar

Shakespeare in the Park is a national trend that has made its way to the Chippewa Valley. The Menomonie Theatre Guild is in its fifth year of presenting the Bard’s works at Wilson Park, a tradition that started in 2008 with Romeo and Juliet ...

A Grand Day to Bike

4th annual Nature Valley Grand Prix zips into Menomonie

Eric Koeppel, photos by Leah Dunbar

The annual Nature Valley Grand Prix will take place in Menomonie for the fourth time on Saturday, June 15, between 9am and 5pm.

August 11: Sustainable Future Fest

all-new festival to feature workshops and more

Michelle Enger, photos by Leah Dunbar

The Green Movement will reach the Chippewa Valley in style next month with a new event. The first Sustainable Future Festival will take place August 11 and organizers are hoping it will become an annual event. The festival is being held ...

Explore Fashion Without Fabric

Taylor Kuether, photos by Leah Dunbar

Tasked with creating clothing without using fabric of any kind, UW-Stout design students have their work cut out for them. Every spring, the university’s Art and Design Department puts on its popular “Fashion Without Fabric” fashion show. “A lot ...

Pinocchio: Get Real!

photos by Leah Dunbar

Menomonie's Red Cedar Youth Stage presented Pinocchio: Get Real! at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts on April 13 and 14 (2012).

Mike's Art Supply

Menomonie art store goes independent

Heidi Kraemer, photos by Leah Dunbar

Are you an artist or aspiring to become one? Perhaps you just have some artistic hobbies or are just looking for some ideas for a one-time project. If so, check out Mike’s Art & Design Supply located in downtown Menomonie at ...

Vagabond's Got the Goods

new Menomonie bakery focuses on local ingredients

Tracy Chipman, photos by Leah Dunbar

Back then bakeries weren’t too small or too big; they were just right. They had fresh (not out of a tub or tube) baked cookies, cakes, bread, cupcakes … endless possibilities of yummy goodness, measured, stirred, mixed, kneaded, and baked right ...

The Hatch

eclectic bazaar-like shop opens in Menominie

Emily Gresbrink, photos by Leah Dunbar

Lucky for Chippewa Valley residents, The Hatch … well … hatched. And now there’s a reason to get global while still supporting local. The shop, operated by Adam Arel and his wife Alysia, opened in downtown Menomonie a few months ago. Arel said ...

Back to the Box

quirky resale shop re-opens in downtown Menomonie

Anna Semanko, photos by Leah Dunbar

Tucked away in the basement of a building in downtown Menomonie that is overflowing with vintage treasures, one will find a section dotted with bright orange and green bags, bow ties, British rockstar leather and wooden boots, lunchboxes, wigs, ...

The Fallen Blade

local sci-fi author Kelly McCullough's new series

Lindsey Matysik, photos by Leah Dunbar

Local author (and cat enthusiast) Kelly McCullough is distinguished. He’s had a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly for his science fiction novel Webmage, and he’s a “Writer of the Future” thanks to an award won in 2000. Since said review ...

The Shape of Things

photos by Leah Dunbar

The Menomonie Theater Guild staged their production of The Shape of Things on February 10-12ath the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.

Get Your Tickets for Get Your Gun

photos by Leah Dunbar

Few can argue the legendary Annie Oakley’s place in history. Similarly, Annie Get Your Gun holds its own amongst the most beloved and entertaining musicals. Loosely based on the life of the iconic markswoman, the Menomonie Theater Guild is ...

Two-Wheelin’ Winter: Frosty Bike Survival

Mike Paulus, photos by Leah Dunbar

With this winter’s warmer weather and largely ice-free roadways, I’m betting more of you are biking around town than usual. With that in mind, check out these winter biking tips we posted a few years back ...

Jawaahir Middle Eastern Dance

photos by Leah Dunbar

Jawaahir (juh-WAH-heer), meaning jewels in Arabic, is the only professional Middle Eastern dance company in the Midwest. Since its founding in 1989 by Artistic Director Cassandra Shore, Jawaahir has grown to 17 members and has performed throughout...

Pardon Fashion Show: Outré

the biggest runway show of original textile art in the Valley

Jenny Talen, photos by Leah Dunbar

“Outré is inspired by the mysterious, sensual, and bizarre [and] by surrealist artists, such as Claude Cahun and Maya Deren.” – Pardon Fashion Show co-director Mallory Cina

DrumFarm Studio

Gin Blossoms drummer opens recording studio near Menomonie

Aryn Widule, photos by Leah Dunbar

It’s becoming less and less surprising nowadays when you find out that someone famous, accomplished, or otherwise internationally noteworthy lives less than half an hour away from you.

A Streetcar Named Desire (MTG)

photos by Leah Dunbar

With its final show on Sunday, Oct. 16, The Menomonie Theater Guild's production of A Streetcar Named Desire ran for five performances of classic stage drama, Tennessee Williams style.

Michael Perry: Clodhopper Monologues CD Release Show

photos by Leah Dunbar

On Friday, September 23, Mike Perry performed material from the two CD Clodhopper Monologue release as well as new material from upcoming book projects at the Mabel Tainter in Menomonie.

New York Hearts Wisconsin?

Mike Paulus, photos by Leah Dunbar

"When my date at ordered a can of PBR, I didn’t tell him that my grandpa and his VFW friends considered it treason to drink anything that hadn’t been bottled in Milwaukee. When my neighbor wore a Green Bay Packer jersey over her skinny jeans ..."

James and the Giant Peach

photos by Leah Dunbar

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Roald Dahl classic and staged by the Menomonie Theater Guild ... twenty area youth brought this remarkable stage version to life.

Just Peachy

Red Cedar Youth Stage presents Roald Dahl classic

Tracy Chipman, photos by Leah Dunbar

Kicking off its 53rd season, the oldest theater guild in western Wisconsin is presenting the 50-year-old Roald Dahl classic James and the Giant Peach.

Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night's Dream

photos by Leah Dunbar

Puck, Oberon, and Titania pull the strings as a pair of mortal lovers play victim to their fairy magic. Directed by Ryan Peterson, the production's energetic cast transformed the park into a mystical woodland realm in this hilarious classic...

The Jungle Book Kids & Annie Jr.

photos by Leah Dunbar

As the culmination of a three-week theater day camp for 52 area kids, the Menomonie Theater Guild performed multiple double features of "The Jungle Book Kids" & "Annie Jr." at the Mable Tainter the weekend of July, 15.

West Wisconsin Sustainability Fair 2011

photos by Leah Dunbar

This past Saturday Sustainable Dunn hosted its third annual West Wisconsin Sustainability Fair at the Dunn County Fairgrounds in Menomonie. This year's theme was water, with tons of speakers, workshops, music, and contests to keep fair-goers busy ...

New Breed Of Health Care

local doctor’s flat-fee clinic hopes to inspire change

Eric Larson, photos by Leah Dunbar

The steep price increase in health insurance has affected hundreds of thousands nationwide, resulting in many simply not being able to afford it anymore.

Nature Valley Grand Prix

huge bike race rushes back to downtown Menomonie

Brett Bachman, photos by Leah Dunbar

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a five-day stage race that traditionally takes bicycle racers all over Minnesota, and features some of the top competitors from all over the world.

Working It

local stage adaptation of Studs Terkel book couldn’t come at a better time

Kristin Frosch, photos by Leah Dunbar

Perhaps one of the most timely theatrical pieces for today’s audiences, Working is set to make its local debut at the Mabel Tainter Theater this month.

Taking a Shot

Stout math professor writes a young adult sports novel

Trevor Kupfer, photos by Leah Dunbar

“Now that I see people reading it and loving it, I might like to write a few more. ... And it just so happens that I have a sabbatical coming up next year. So, perfect timing!” – Jeanne Foley on her fiction debut, Shooting Two

All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarden

photos by Leah Dunbar

A funny, insightful, heartwarming look at what is profound in everyday life. An evening of theatrical storytelling with monologues, dialogues, and seven original songs. The delightful stories feature colorful characters such as: a shy little boy ...

Fashion Without Fabric 2011

photos by Leah Dunbar

On Saturday, April 9, Stout's Art and Design students strutted down the runway in fashions created entirely without fabric. As long as it was neither woven nor knitted, any material worked.

Glittering Work from Menomonie artist Kari Tarr

photos by Leah Dunbar

Tarr says she draws inspiration for her work from 60s minimalist paintings, namely the work of Joseph Albers and Albert Kelly. Her first piece – a 25 square piece, each square a different color scheme – was based off of Joseph Albers Homage to the Square.

Sparkly Kari Tarr

Menomonie artist scores Martha Stewart show visit

Bailey Berg, photos by Leah Dunbar

“I’ve always loved glitter, and it was just so gorgeous and sparkly. I always knew I wanted to do something with the glitter, I just didn’t know what that was.” – Artist Kari Tarr

Meat Raffles

a first-person investigation of these mysterious cultural affairs

Sarah Dobs, photos by Leah Dunbar

Wow, I thought. So this is a Meat Raffle. I understand it, now. The appeal. The glory. The simplicity. ... I got my eye on that T-bone a-comin’ up.

The Sound of Music

photos by Leah Dunbar

Presented by the Menomonie Theatre Guild, in the world's most beloved musical, a postulant is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of

Lake Menomin Ice Fishing Contest

photos by Leah Dunbar

On Saturday, Feb. 19 participants enjoyed the annual ice fishing contest on Lake Menomin held by Dunn County Fish and Game. Check out the hats!

Saint Valentines Day Hustle After Party

photos by Leah Dunbar

After this year's Saint Valentines Day Hustle bike race out in Menomonie, racers gathered on the lake to ... unwind.

The Saint Valentines Day Hustle

photos by Leah Dunbar

On Sat, Feb. 19 a frosty bicycle race was held in the middle of the lake outside of the Waterfront Bar and Grill in Menomonie. Half of the proceeds went to the Dunn County Humane Society. There were prizes, bonfires and antics following the event.

Meat Raffle Sundays!

photos by Leah Dunbar

Every Sunday from 11am-1pm Jake's Supper Club in Menomonie offers a chance to win steaks, roasts, crab legs and more. Yep – it's the MEAT RAFFLE.

Teddy’s Tube Steaks

this isn’t your ordinary hot dog shop ...

Alissa Peterson, photos by Leah Dunbar

It’s the weekend. You’ve been at the bars, and you’re hungry. Where to go? If you’re gracing Broadway Street in Menomonie, the only logical answer would be Teddy’s Tube Steaks (617 S Broadway).

Mixed Use Menomonie

downtown revitalization ideas swell in Menomonie

Tracy Chipman, photos by Leah Dunbar

There is a trend, a movement across the land, to revitalize, reclaim, and reconnect to what was once the heart of every community – it’s downtown. Downtowns are rising up.

2nd Annual Pardon Fashion Show: “A Feral Affair”

photos by Leah Dunbar

On February 5, 2011, the fashionistas of the Chippewa Valley gathered for the 2nd Annual Pardon Fashion Show: “A Feral Affair.” Directors Lindsey Baker and Raine Nimmer created a community event encouraging local designers and artists to amaze ...

Simply Dunn - Dunn County Pottery

photos by Leah Dunbar

A former Downsville one-room schoolhouse that’s taken on various purposes since the 1950s has gotten its biggest facelift yet – and a new home. Its newest identity is a beautiful showroom for pottery and local craft works ...

The One Room Gallery

former Downsville schoolhouse transformed into gallery

Bailey Berg, photos by Leah Dunbar

A former Downsville one-room schoolhouse that’s taken on various purposes since the 1950s has gotten its biggest facelift yet – and a new home. Its newest identity is a beautiful showroom for pottery and local craft works. It will also serve ...

The Tempest

photos by Leah Dunbar

On Friday, Jan 28 MTG's Red Cedar Youth Stage presented "The Tempest," an adaptation of Shakespeare's classic, at the Mable Tainter Theater in Menomonie.