Category Archives: Not for Profits

Herman Miller At the Woodson

Exceptional exhibit at the Woodson Art Museum relating to the Herman Miller company.  Now, whenever I hear the name, “Herman Miller,” which I do all the time on NPR, I can’t help but think there is a guy by the name of “Herman Miller” who does nothing but design furniture all day, especially since this company is well known for their wonderful designs.

But turns out that Herman Miller (the man) never really designed anything, he was a fellow with deep pockets whose money kept a struggling furniture  company from going under in the Great Depression.  The company was renamed in his honor, and what an honor it has turned out to be.  You can read all about this on the Hazel Home blog.

In the mean time, save me a spot on the Marshmallow Sofa and I’ll see you at the Woodson!

Nice Events Coming Up

After all of the excitement this past week, you might think there is nothing left to do in Wausau, but that would not be true at all, of course. There is a Concert in the Garden at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum tonight at 6 pm. Johnny and the Mo-Tones play the square tomorrow night. And the Frisbee Dogs strut their stuff at the Riverfront Marketplace on the 400 Block on Thursday at 11 am and 1 pm. But wait! That’s not all!

It is not a big fun event like a concert, but the Good News Project is recycling computers once again this Friday. In case you don’t know, you don’t want to just pitch out your old electronic stuff for two good reasons. First, when that kind of stuff gets in the landfill, all kinds of metals and other toxins leech out and we don’t need that in our water and ground. Second we don’t want have to mine more of those metals — that is toxic to the environment too.

So you know it is a good thing to do for the good of good people, or something like that.  Here is some more detailed information, courtesy of Tom Fladland over at Good News.

Area residents and businesses can have their computers and other electronic gear recycled at the Good News Project warehouse at 1106 Fifth St., Wausau, for 25 cents a pound. Cost for a typical computer outfit of 40 to 60 pounds will be $10 to $15. Hours are Fridays, July 13, and August 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Community support for the computer recycling program has been so extensive that Good News is able to share some of the proceeds with other nonprofit groups in the community, according to Tom Fladland, the humanitarian organization’s operations director. Nearly two semi trailers were filled at the April recycling event. All of the proceeds from the Good News computer recycling events go to assist nonprofit organizations in the community.

All material goes to professional computer recycling specialists and is processed with the environment in mind. Information on Good News is at www.goodnewswi.com. Information on the recycling event is available at 843-5985.
Anyone bringing more than 20 pieces of equipment is asked to call in advance.

If you don’t have any computer equipment that you don’t need, perhaps you have some time and money on your hands.  If so, perhaps you would like to have some fun for charity.  That’s right, fun for charity.

The North Central Wisconsin Donate Life group is having a “scavenger hunt” on Saturday, July 14.  This group’s purpose is to increase awareness of organ donation, which sounds like a worthy cause to me.

Apparently this is scavenger hunt with a twist.  You don’t actually have to drag back the things that you find, but rather document your find with a digital camera.  So not only will the hunting teams be looking for objects, but perhaps also places and evidence of having completed some task.  Umm, “Truth or Dare” anyone?

Sounds like it could be a riotously good time to me.  You can check out their website for more information and to register for the event.

Have fun!

 

And that’s a Wrap

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

I had the pleasure of sitting down with James Rubino, the organizer of the Wausau Film Festival after it was over last night.  He was pleased with the turnout for the event and is planning further film events here in Wausau.  He is hoping to have have quarterly showings of local films at an intimate venue like Kelly’s with a larger annual festival.  Certainly ambitious plans, but if realized it will add very much to the already vibrant arts scene here in Wausau.

About 120 people attended the 4 showings of the festival, which James considered pretty good for the first time out.  It may be that the perfect spring weather held down attendance during the afternoon showings, the 7 pm showing was completely full, and the folks at Kelly’s were kind enough to allow an extra showing of some of the films after 9 pm, which also attracted a pretty good crowd considering it was not on the original program.

Audience members were enthusiastic about the films, as I chatted with James at the end of the last showing, he would ask people as they left what they thought of the event and which films they liked best.  Every one gave the event as a whole a thumbs up, and picked “Tractor for Sale”; “The Magnificent Donut” and the “big budget” “West Bank Story” as favorites.  James also mentioned that among the younger set, “Ghost Tag” got rave reviews as it is somewhat of a music video featuring the music of local bands.  If you missed the festival, you can check out the films by going to www.jcrubino.net, where James has links to all of the films that were shown.

But interestingly enough, James gives the internet mixed reviews when it comes to filmaking.

“It is great for communications among filmmakers,” he said, “and good for getting the word out about a film,” but he feels it “would be a shame” if that is how people experienced film.

“It should be a community experience,” he went on, citing similar thought expressed by Ken Burns in his recent appearance in Stevens Point.  “There should be a shared experience with film — maybe you will start laughing after you hear the person next to you laugh, too.”  Especially if that person is snorting through their nose at “Chad Vader,” I have to add.

Community was a big theme in why James put together the film festival and throughout our conversation.  James feels that there is the underpinnings of a very good film making community here is Wausau.  James feels that with some sponsorship and underwriting that a community film making effort could really take off here.  James feels the talent and creativity is here, and judging from the films that were shown, I have to agree.  James also feels that perhaps one avenue that really needs to be explored is the collaboration between local bands and local film makers.

It is true that Wausau has a tremendous arts community, including such wonderful institutions such as the Leigh Yawkey-Woodson Art Museum, The Center for the Visual Arts, the Wausau Conservatory of Music, Wausau Dance Theater and many others.  It would be nice if soon there was a similar place for film makers and their art, and I think that James and his crew that put together this first film festival are off to a good start to make that happen.

Local Indicators for Excellence

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

Apparently just a picture can set off quite a discussion, so perhaps I will try again, this time with words.

Last week I received a survey in the mail.  Mine was one of some 4,000 households in Marathon County to receive the Local Indicators for Excellence survey from the United Way. Surveys are interesting things because they ask specific questions, which means someone somewhere has to decide which things to ask about, and also by default, which things not to ask about.  Because of this, there is no such thing as an “unbiased” survey.  For example, in politics you might be asked which person you might prefer from some list of declared (or “serious”) candidates.  Just making that list narrows the field.

It is not my intention to put the entire survey online here or even to criticize it in anyway, but rather to give you a chance to voice your opinions.  For example, the first question asks about recreation.  Here is the list of recreational activities they list:

  • Access to reading materials
  • Dining; Entertainment, arts and museums
  • Outdoor recreational opportunities (Boating, hiking, fishing, etc.)
  • Public access to internet
  • Recreational facilities (Ice rinks, sports fields, swimming pools, etc.)
  • Shopping
  • Sporting Events

So, how do you feel about such things here in Marathon County?  Is there anything else you would add to that list?

The survey asks which three of those are most important you.  Again, maybe some other pastime is more important to you than what is on that list.  This is as good as place as any to have the discussion.

I’ll cover some more areas of the survey in later posts.

Scott Street to Be Saved!

Eds Note:  It is not often we get to scoop the mainstream media, but the story, in addition to being too good to be true, was too good to sit on.

Bill CoadyBy Bill Coady

In a surprise move the Great Northern Blues Society has outbid McDevCo for the Scott Street Pub and the surrounding properties.  At news conference at the Jefferson Street Inn, GNBS President Dennis Fick announced the pending acquisition.

“We should have the deal closed by Tuesday afternoon,” said Fick in making the announcement.  Development plans for the block now include allowing Dwellers to remain in it’s current location, a major expansion of the Scott Street Pub, and the conversion of the of Emporium building into a music and culture museum.  Fick stated that the planned museum would include exhibits about local bands in the Altenburgh Annex and national acts which have performed in Wausau, especially at the pub, and local festivals.

“We are just thrilled to be able to prevent the city from putting up another parking garage,” said Fick, “Have you noticed that the damn garages are the only lights on downtown at night?  It is about time we have some real night life in Wausau!” The announcement was met with riotous applause from member of the GNBS and the assembled media representatives.

Not only does the GNBS society plan to use their sudden bequest to expand and remodel the pub, but Fick also announced that live music will be featured seven days a week.  “We are setting aside two nights a week for teens, and the rest of the week will feature live bands in all genres, from blues and rock to jazz and even classical,” said Fick.  All of the music events will be free and open to the public.  “WE have plenty of money now to support and extensive lineup of local and national acts,” Fick stated.

With these extremely ambitious plans, Fick was naturally asked where the money was coming from.  Fick explained that several months back he had received an email from a Barrister William Smith seeking assistance repatriating a large sum of money.

“Apparently one of his clients, a gentleman in a war torn African country had died without a will,” Fick explained, “and he needed help to move the money to a western bank.”  Fick decided to take a chance and after several months of negotiation and intrigue, was able to move the $385 million dollars to a US investment account.  In a move of stunning generosity, Fick turned over the windfall to the GNBS, which now allows them to move ahead with these grandious plans.

“When I first got the email,” Fick said, “I thought it was too good to be true, but I guess I was wrong.”

Fick says that the redevelopment of the block into a cultural mecca will begin as soon as possible and hopefully will be completed by next April Fool’s day.  “We are booking bands now for the coming season,” Fick said, “We just have to hope now that this check that I got from Barrister Smith does not bounce.”

Stay tuned to the Wausaublog for further updates to this unbelievable story!

Central WI Children’s Museum Focus Group Wants You!

Eds Note:  Along with the occaisionally talked about zoo, many parents also would like to see a children’s museum here.  Here is a way to offer your opinion.

By Christine Martens

We received this announcment at the CVB today. Maybe we don’t need a seperate Children’s Museum in Wausau- maybe a joint venture is a better way?

Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 474
Stevens Point, WI 54481

March 15, 2007
Tiffany Wilhelm
Executive Director715-344-2003
715-252-6868 (cell)
cwcmexecdir@charter.net

Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum Seeks Input from Wausau Area Families

Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum (CWCM) will host a public focus group with Wausau area families and other interested citizens on Wednesday, April 4th at 6:30-7:30 pm at the Wausau Public Library. The Museum is growing fast and is working toward an expansion. Part of the planning involves seeking out ideas on how the Museum can better serve families throughout the entire Central Wisconsin region. The one-hour meeting will be held in the third floor conference room at the Wausau Public Library. Parking is available in the parking garage across the street. The purposes of the focus group are to assess knowledge and perceptions about the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum and to provide CWCM committees with information needed to make decisions regarding the future direction of the museum.

The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum is a non-profit family-based discovery place where children and adults play and explore together to strengthen confidence, capabilities, and creativity through hands-on investigation. The Museum opened in May of 1997 and has grown from 6,034 visitors in 2003 to 13,277 visitors in 2006. It is located in the CenterPoint MarketPlace in downtown Stevens Point; hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month. Daily admission is $3 per person and free for infants up to 12 months. Call the Museum at 344-2003 or visit www.cwchildrensmuseum.org for more information.

Making Public Recreation More Profitable

Eds Note: Craig’s previous post was on snow removal, now he takes on the public pools.  That’s Wausau weather for you, if you don’t like it, wait a minute.

Craig StahlBy Craig Stahl

The Wausau Daily Herald’s opinion page in yesterday’s paper states that Wausau’s three public pools are too small, outdated, and inefficient. It goes on to say that Weston’s aquatic center is more modern, but still only makes a modest profit each year. I am not in possession of the city’s balance sheets so I cannot comment on how profitable these public pools are, but I do have a general question regarding outdoor water facilities in Northern Wisconsin: Why do we build so many outdoor swimming facilities in such a mild climate?

Considering that temperatures during the summer usually seem to hover around the 80s during the summer in Northern Wisconsin (occasionally breaking into the 90s for a few weeks), a partly cloudy day with some breezy winds can be all it takes for somebody to decide it’s a bit too chilly to head down to the pool. I like to take my kids to the pool, but I can usually only take them on the weekends. There have been times where I have taken my kids to the splash pad at Marathon Park (which is a great public park for small children by the way), but they often complain that they are too cold (due to temperature, breeze, shade, etc.) and we end up leaving after only being there a few minutes. The kids really enjoy places like the Lodge at Cedar Creek, but sometimes there are so many people there that you cannot get in, not to mention that it is a lot more expensive to take your children there than a public pool or splash pad.

So, when it comes down to the economics of building public pools, how do we make them more profitable? How do we convince people to come and use our public pools when so many other things compete for their time during the 3 months of summer (like canoeing, hiking, biking, etc.)? What if the city enclosed a pool or two (possibly at the expense of shutting one down if necessary) to make the pools economically viable year-round? Obviously, an enclosed building adds considerably to the operations expense (not to mention the need for evening lifeguards during the school year, heat, etc.), but perhaps the increased availability could offset the operating expenses.

Chances are the city has already looked at this option in the past and decided against it, but maybe it could be something as simple as putting up a wind break around the pools. Is there a way we could use a removable roof of some sort to allow the pool to be open air during the hotter days of the summer – and then close the roof thereby allowing operation for a few more months out of the year?

Or should we do as the Herald suggests and shut down all the public pools and rely on the lake?