Articles in this Issue


The Year of the Entrepreneur

an increasing focus on startup businesses in the Chippewa Valley is paying dividends, observers say, with more people taking the risky but thrilling leap into entrepreneurship

Pivotal years and critical events are often only recognizable in retrospect. Trends are usually hard to spot when we are in the midst of them. And yet, even keeping such cautious Midwestern wisdom in mind, it’s clear that something has shifted in the Chippewa Valley. From new corner stores to globally recognized innovators ...

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Editor's Notes
Opening Letters
The Rear End

The Sappiest Time of the Year

keeping it real on the Christmas tree scene

OK people, before we get off on the wrong foot here, let’s make one thing clear: I love real Christmas trees. I truly enjoy having a real pine tree in the house as winter begins and snowflakes gently float past the windows like gossamer angel feathers, nestling upon the sleeping earth and gathering into soft little pillows ...

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Cover Art

On the Cover | December 9, 2015

learn more about the issue's cover art by Lara Cornell

“Bold and bright colors are my preference, along with botanical elements from nature. Having been raised in a quiet wooded area of southern ..."

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Opening Shots

Opening Shot | December 9, 2015

BIG & BRIGHT. On Friday night, Dec. 4, Downtown Eau Claire Inc. hosted its “Let it Glow!” celebration, unveiling the city’s holiday light display in Phoenix Park, which added to last year’s twinkle-tastic illumination levels. The night included fun family activities and more ...

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Blue Ox 2016 Lineup: See the Best in Bluegrass

After a heck of an inaugural weekend in June, the Blue Ox Music Festival, quickly becoming one of the best bluegrass festivals in the country, will return in 2016 on June 9-11 right here in the Chippewa Valley. Blue Ox, produced by the founders and organizers of Country Jam, is once again co-curated by killer ...

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Sol-Fa So Good

Minn. a cappella group always makes sure to hit Eau Claire for the holidays

There’s a holiday show at the State Theatre you’re not going to want to miss this Dec. 17. Tonic Sol-fa is an Emmy Award-winning, Minnesota-based a capella group that has been coming to Eau Claire to perform for almost a decade. Don’t let the term “a capella” scare you away. Just because there are no ...

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Hometown Harmonics

Biesterveld mixes styles on new album Somewhere In Durand

When Jim Ulwelling started his solo project, Biesterveld, and recorded his first album, he thought one would be enough. Now Ulwelling is releasing a second album, Somewhere in Durand, and the reason is simple: The first time around was so much fun that he couldn’t resist the idea. His new album is a mix of songs ...

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Keeping Up With Kim

valley native has penned an original operetta, and plans to do lots more

Eau Claire native Kim Osberg is making national waves as an emerging composer with her own brand of classical contemporary music. The North High School graduate recently composed an entire 35-minute operetta, Thump, based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” ...

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Community Chorus

collECtive Choir combines local voices for gospel sound

A joyous song erupts over the still evening asphalt. Each and every harmonious note that floats up into the blackened sky seems to rise from somewhere deep within the gutters of the city, causing curious passersby to halt suddenly in their paths. A closer listen reveals the sound of many distinct voices ...

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Winston-taneous Piano Magic

acclaimed pianist George Winston returns to the State

Come out and witness a master on the keys. Renowned pianist George Winston is returning to town, and he’s bringing his impeccable ivory-tickling skills with him. On Dec. 19, community members are encouraged to come down to Eau Claire’s State Theatre for an evening of talented musical fun ...

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Blugold Boy

2000 UWEC grad Anderson makes mark on Broadway as part of Jersey Boys cast

Few have what it takes to make the dream of Broadway a reality, and alumnus Barry Anderson is one of those few. The 2000 music education graduate is a professional actor and songwriter based in New York City. With a career that has included music instruction, small-scale theater productions ...

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Turning Sap to Syrup

Katsura expertly whittles experiences down to words

One question. That’s all I’ve got. After reading Jason Splichal’s latest book of poetry, Katsura, there’s just one thing I have to know. Splichal, a legendary Eau Claire South Middle School English teacher and author of five previous books of poetry, agrees to meet in Boyd Park, which will be the unusual location ...

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Difficult Postures

EC native’s novel traces struggles of literary life

Grant Maierhofer, the Eau Claire native currently attending graduate school in Idaho, kicked off his writing career with his novel The Persistence of Crows, published in 2012. His latest novel, Postures, was a result of getting his first book published. “I wrote it while waiting and feeling hopeless that it might go anywhere,” ...

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Above "Average"

Mondovi writer launches four books in new series for young readers

Julie Bowe of Mondovi, author of the tremendously successful Friends for Keeps series, has a new series out called Victoria Torres, Unfortunately Average. The first four books in the series, published by Minnesota-based Capstone, made their debut in August. Bowe anticipates four additional books will be published in the series by 2017 ...

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Visual Art

Painting the Vikings' All-Stars

UW-Stout grad’s works will grace the Vikes’ new stadium

Leslie Barlow is a graduate of UW-Stout who currently resides in Minnesota. Leslie is one of 34 artists chosen to create six paintings of former Minnesota Vikings stars to be hung on display in the new Minnesota Vikings US Bank stadium, which is expected to open for the 2016 football season and to host ...

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Stained Glass, Tiffany-Style

gallery showcases exquisite stained glass works

If you drive down Farwell Street at night, you’re likely to see some Tiffany lamps brightening up the evening through the windows of Galaudet Gallery at 618 S. Farwell St. Gallery owners Vicki and Mike will be opening their Tiffany Lamp Exhibit: Beauty in Glass on Saturday, Dec. 12 with “Light Up Your Life,” ...

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Local Lit

Skating Backwards

Last year the city announced it was mothballing most of the neighborhood ice skating rinks. A city crew would no longer flood the rinks on successive freezing nights or pay listless teenagers to sit in over-heated warming huts. Budget cuts was the reason given though there were also a string of freakishly warm winters ...

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The Year of the Entrepreneur

an increasing focus on startup businesses in the Chippewa Valley is paying dividends, observers say, with more people taking the risky but thrilling leap into entrepreneurship

Pivotal years and critical events are often only recognizable in retrospect. Trends are usually hard to spot when we are in the midst of them. And yet, even keeping such cautious Midwestern wisdom in mind, it’s clear that something has shifted in the Chippewa Valley. From new corner stores to globally recognized innovators ...

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Local Look

Homes for the Holidays

Habitat for Humanity looks to expand its work in the Chippewa Valley

With the current holiday season in mind, it’s tempting to say that Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity is preparing an amazing Christmas gift for a local family in need: Volunteers for the charitable group are busy building a new house in Menomonie, a house that will be occupied as early as May ...

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Strong as an Ape

dumpster bag innovators win Idea Challenge

For Steve Faacks and Chris Hansen, winning the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp.’s 2015 Idea Challenge was in the bag – literally. The Chippewa Valley entrepreneurs took home top honors in the annual business contest with their creation, the Gorilla Dumpster Bag. The custom-made, bright-orange polypropylene ...

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Meet the New (Old) Guy

longtime city official Peters will be next city manager

Dale Peters, who currently serves as Eau Claire’s assistant city manager, will almost certainly become the next city manager on Jan. 1. The City Council recently voted unanimously to offer the position to Peters, and while contract negotiations are ongoing at press time, an official announcement is expected by Dec. 14 ...

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Carson Park Causeway to Get Upgrade in 2017

“Causeway” is a pretty fancy word for the humble bridge that carries visitors in and out of Carson Park, but that’s the term city planners use for the structure, which was built in 1933. Currently, the narrow passageway that connects Lake Street to Carson Park over a skinny stretch of Half Moon Lake is shared ...

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Get Your Holiday Parade On

The Valley’s got some stellar wintery parades for you

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade kicks off the holiday parade season on a national scale in New York City. And we had five Memorial High School Old Abes perform in the Macy’s Great American Marching Band this year. While many people might have at least one holiday parade in their community ...

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Food / Drink

Eau Claire Lumber Landmark May Become Pub

The owner of one of the last remaining buildings from Eau Claire’s lumbering era wants to turn it into a restaurant and pub. Jim Rolbiecki, who owns the former Kaiser Lumber Co. office at 1004 Menomonie St., asked the Eau Claire Landmarks Commission to approve a rezoning request needed to transform ...

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Eau Claire's Downtown Sushi Fix

Ninja Restaurant gets a Barstow St. resurrection

It’s been about two years since Ninja Japanese House, a popular local sushi and Japanese restaurant, disappeared from its Eastridge Center location. Many thought it would be gone forever. But there’s good news! Binh Lin, who was part owner of Ninja Japanese House, has again partnered with her husband, Feng ...

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Fighting Winter Hunger

around the holidays, Valley food pantries strive to put a stop to local food insecurity

There’s just something about the holiday season that makes us all feel a little more giving. It could be the fumes of fresh cut pines, the winter wonderland outside our windows, or the fear we might not make the nice list. But something this time of year pushes us to spread love and cheer. The season of giving has officially begun ...

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Under the Dome: Wagner’s new Complexx offers year-round volleyball

If you’ve been to Wagner’s Lanes recently or have just driven down Brackett Avenue, then you probably noticed the giant white dome – 35 feet tall at its highest – sitting next to the bowling alley in the parking lot that used to be the unofficial shortcut between Brackett and Fairfax Street. This is The Complexx, Wagner’s ...

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