Articles in this Issue

Editor's Notes

Note from the Editor | Feb. 18, 2015

Like many people, I was saddened to hear of the final closing of Eau Claire’s long-running and only dinner theater, Fanny Hill. The place had its ups and downs in the headlines over the last couple of years, but it sounds like this time ...

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The Rear End


today I grant you permission to use a new word

So my son invented the word “sledderboard.” If you’re tempted to use this word in everyday conversation, be my guest. It’s not like my son – who is all of five years old – has bothered to copyright or trademark it. But if you decide to utter ...

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Cover Art

On the Cover | Feb. 18, 2015

learn more about this issue's cover art by Lori Chilefone

“This turn-of-the-century photo postcard is one of many treasures I have found at The Antique Emporium in downtown Eau Claire. My art can be seen online at, or you can contact me for a studio visit via”

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Opening Shots

Opening Shot | Feb. 18, 2015

“SEE HERE, WATSON, YOU OWE ME £35 FOR THESE CALLS TO MANCHESTER.” James Finn (left, as Sherlock Holmes) and Ned Gannon (as Dr. Watson) star in the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, which runs ...

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Athletic Aesthetic

Just Out of Reach ... Again

Packers’ collapse adds to list of painful losses for Wisco fans

There came a point when I knew it was over. The way the game had trended, the time remaining, and the likelihood of outcomes all told me one thing, a thing I had to audiate: The Packers are going to the Super Bowl. Even after leading ...

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It's Time to Get Decadent Again

Decadent Cabaret is back for three days of tributin’

All right. It’s happening again. One of Eau Claire’s biggest, baddest weekends of music is back, and this time it’s three days long. We’re talking about the 36th installment of Decadent Cabaret which begins Thursday, March 5, and goes strong ...

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A Whole New Skotty

hard-working rapper finds a unique, lucid voice on Clarity

Growing up as a biracial Wisconsinite, bearing down legal issues, even a simple stint of too much tequila at last night’s function: Situational adversity is a horse pill without a choking hazard advisory for rapper Skotty Benz ...

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Skatin' the Dream

the Eau Claire Skaters Association is throwing all kinds of shows to help fund a new park

By Spring 2017, Boyd Park could have year-round skating capabilities. Beyond the ice skating community that already inhabits the park, the Eau Claire Skaters Association is championing the construction of a 5,000-square-foot skate park ...

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Can't Stop the Opera

UWEC tests itself by staging Mozart’s Figaro

The end of February marks the end of months of preparation for UW-Eau Claire’s biannual opera. This year they’re performing Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, one of the most popular operas performed in the United States. “It’s a great story,” ...

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Fractured Fairy Tales

Menomonie troupe presents Into the Woods

Fairy tales almost always end the same way: Prince Charming saves the day, defeating whatever stereotypical villain came along to ruin everybody’s life, and they all live happily ever after. What they never do, however, is show what happens after ...

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Jotting Joe and Handy Andy

Joe Niese pens book on Cubs, Braves star Pafko

In a strange way, I’ve been interviewing local author Joe Niese about his new book, Handy Andy: The Andy Pafko Story, for almost three years now. And, I haven’t become tired of hearing Niese talk about his love of Pafko yet ...

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Visual Art

Artswest 36

library’s annual juried art show returns

O.K. all you artists, it’s time to wash the dried paint and clay from your hands and show us what you’ve got. The annual ArtsWest exhibit is back for its 36th installment. For those that don’t know, Wisconsin ArtsWest is a juried exhibit ...

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Local Look

Mabel's New Man

theater vet Renfree to lead Menomonie arts center

For Steve Renfree, taking on the role of executive director of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts is the culmination of a decades-long love of theater and education. Renfree, who began his new job at Menomonie’s landmark theater on Feb. 1 ...

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Welcoming Sight

new visitors center opens in downtown CF

The brand-new Visitors Center at 1 N. Bridge St. in Chippewa Falls has had its doors open for only a short while and the beautifully designed building still has that just-moved-in-smell – a smell of hope, happiness, and prosperity ...

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Kid Culture

Chromebooks, iPads and Smart Boards, Oh My!

Thanks to a $20,000 donation from Royal Credit Union and some community grants, the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley has two new classrooms along with new technology to help its members study and learn in its after-school ...

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US Winter Log Rolling Championship Returns

take the plunge and roll your opponents into obscurity

The trendy social media sensation of 2014 that was constantly filling up your newsfeeds was, of course, the Ice Bucket Challenge fundraiser for ALS research. Since the wave of popularity of ice-water-related challenges seems ...

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Special Sections

Partners in Prosperity

the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. exists to help turn your big idea into a big success

In the alphabet soup buffet of business assistance agencies, the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. has one of the most intimidatingly long names. But the Eau Claire-based agency isn’t intimidating at all. As its executive director ...

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UWEC Entrepreneurs: Tomas Benzo

a summer soccer program will launch him into the wide world of sports analytics

Tomas Benzo turned his passion for soccer into a successful business when he and a friend launched Next Level Soccer, a summer youth soccer program in Rochester, Minnesota. Soccer has continued to grow in popularity for kids in Rochester ...

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Get a Jump on the Competition

DECI’s Jump-Start contest boosts downtown biz ideas

“If you start me up,” Mick Jagger once sang, “I’ll never stop.” That’s the goal behind the Jump-Start Business Plan Competition: Giving start-up businesses the jolt of momentum they need to go from zero to 60 on the entrepreneurial race track ...

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UWEC Entrepreneurs: Kyle Stern

he has 20 rental properties and plans to retire at age 40

Kyle Stern was still in high school when he first had a taste of what it’s like to own his own business. When he was just 17 years old, his dad, a successful entrepreneur in Antigo, passed away leaving Kyle and his brother his Dish Network ...

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UWEC Entrepreneurs: Carl Gantzer

electronic music is his passion and now it's also his business

Carl Gantzer was a teenager struggling to deal with a challenging family situation when he picked up a set of drum sticks and discovered that making music gave him an outlet he desperately needed. “I was immediately hooked,” said Gantzer ...

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Other Stuff

Keith Olsen Pokemon Master

a chat with a local 10-year-old Pokemon card player who’s ranked fifth in the country and 25th in the entire world

The Olsens were shocked when their 10-year-old son, Keith turned a simple “it’s-all-part-of-growing-up” Pokémon card hobby into something much, much more. Ranked fifth in the US and 25th best on Earth at playing Pokémon, Keith is not exactly your ...

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Backgammon On a Roll

UWEC hosts inaugural tourney for ancient game

Despite the ease with which you can play games like Solitaire, Mah Jong, and even Candy Crush on computers and mobile devices, there continues to be an interest in competing against live opponents on physical board games around a table ...

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