2011 Audio Archives
Thursday, December 22, 2011: A group of local western Wisconsin reporters looked back on the top stories of 2011 during The West Side News Year in Review. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Tom Giffey, Editorial Page Editor for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram; Jerry Gallagher, assistant news director for WQOW News 18 and Michael Foley, Editor of the Hudson Patch. Topics included changes to collective bargaining and the successive protests, the local recall election of state senator Sheila Harsdorf, and the expansion of frac sand mining in the region.
Thursday, December 15, 2011: The possibility of U.S. Postal Service closing five processing centers in Wisconsin, including one in Eau Claire along with rural post offices was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Kent Stelter, co-chair of the Chippewa Valley Postal Customer Council and Dan Ropa, writer and producer of The Bottom Line newsletter. Commentary was also provided by Pete Nowacki, spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service.
Thursday, December 8, 2011: Services and challenges facing new,returning veterans were discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Clifton Sorenson, Veteran Services Officer for Eau Claire County and Dan Walsh, psychologist and counselor to families of soldiers.
Thursday, December 1, 2011: The health of the Chippewa Valley housing market was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by David Fitzgerals, President of the Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin;Sherry Stabenow, Foreclosure Prevention Coordinator for Western Dairyland; and Ross Clay, Loss Mitigation Specialist for Royal Credit Union.
Thursday, November 17, 2011: To preview the upcoming gun deer hunt Host Rich Kremer was joined by "Outdoor Guys" Joe Knight and Dave Carlson as well as DNR Warden Scott Thiede for the "Oh Deer Edition" of the West Side Outside. Guests discussed their deer hunting tales and traditions along with some new regulations for hunters.
Thursday, November 10, 2011: The West Side looked into the growing problem of poverty and hunger in Eau Claire and what local non-profits are doing to fight back. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Rachel Keniston, Executive Director of the Eau Claire Community Table and Executive Director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, Sue Bornick. Talk centered on local data showing an increase in the number of people facing food insecurity and poverty along with how local philanthropic efforts are helping those in need.
Thursday, November 3, 2011: The West Side looked into a study aimed at finding how high capacity wells at frac sand processing plants will impact groundwater levels in Chippewa County. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Chippewa County Conservationist Dan Masterpole, Hydrogeologist Madeline Gotkowitz and Paul Mclean, Director of Corporate Development for Preferred Sands.
Thursday, October 27, 2011: The West Side discussed the role of technical colleges in Wisconsin's economic recovery. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Bruce Barker, President of the Chippewa Valley Technical College and Wisconsin Technical College President Morna Foy. Guests talked about waitlists for high demand programs like nursing and welding as well as stagnant funding for student financial aid and the recent 30% cut in state aid to the tech college system.
Thursday, October 20, 2011: The West Central Drug Task Force's response to an increase in drug-related crimes in the Chippewa Valley was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by task force members Eric Larsen, Eau Claire Deputy Chief of Police and Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith. Discussion touched on some recent, high profile methamphetamine and heroin busts, how the task force is reacting and how effective the drug task force will be with cuts in state and federal funding.
Thursday, October 13, 2011: Western Wisconsin's fall harvest was discussed on this edition of The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Tom Ferguson, owner of Ferguson's Morningside Orchards and president of the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association, Jerry Clark, UW-Extension Agronomy Educator for Chippewa and Eau Claire Counties and Gary Olson, a dairy farmer south from Strum. The discussion touched on local crop yeilds, the expansion of soybean and corn farming in the area, the recovery of milk prices and the fine art of apple growing.
Thursday, October 6, 2011: The West Side The delivery of human and social services in tough economic times was discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Judy Demers, Director of Barron County Health and Human Services and Colleen Bates, Chair of the Eau Claire County Human Services Board. Guests discussed changes in Medicaid programs, BadgerCare and the recent establishment of consortiums between counties to pool resources and better serve the public.
Thursday, September 29, 2011: The West Side delved into Governor Walker's "Back to Work Wisconsin" special legislative session and the bills contained theirin with two local state lawmakers. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Democratic State Representative Mark Radcliffe of Black River Falls and Republican State Senator Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls. Discussion touched on the recent call for bipartisanship in state politics, the tax incentive approach to job creation and proposals regarding legislation certianty.
Thursday, September 22, 2011: The West Side Fall Outdoor Preview tips from the outdoor guys on how to let go of summer and embrace autumn by way of hunting, fishing, hiking and taking in the colors. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Joe Knight, Outdoor Writer for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and Dave Carlson, Host of the syndicated TV program Northland Adventures. Discussion spanned from the DNR's new online turkey registration to trout fishing with hoppers.
Thursday, September 15, 2011: The West Side asked where does your food come from?, as we talked about the Eat Local Challenge organized by A Second Opinion Magazine . Host Rich Kremer was joined by Arwen Rasmussen, Editor for A Second Opinion Magazine, Bob Andruszkeiwicz, one of 11 Co-Owners of Just Local Food in Eau Claire and Julie Maro, a local farmer at Coon Creek Family Farm in Mondovi.
Thursday, September 8, 2011: The West Side finished up a three-part series looking at the 2011-2013 state biennial budget through a local lens. This weeks program focused on state aid cuts to higher education to the tune of $250 million for UW-System Colleges and Universities and around $72 million for the Wisconsin Technical College System. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College President Bob Meyer and UW-Stout Provost Julie Furst-Bowe to discuss how those cuts may impact the missions at UW-Stout and WITC's four campuses in northwestern Wisconsin.
Thursday, September 1, 2011:
Impacts of the 2011-2013 state biannual budget on local government were discussed on the second installment of a three-part series of The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Eau Claire City Manager Mike Huggins, Peirce County Board Chair Paul Barkla and Rice Lake City Manager Curt Snyder. Guests discussed the $29 million in budget cuts to cities and the $48 million in cuts to counties and how local city and county government plan on dealing with the shortfalls.
Thursday, August 25th, 2011:
Effects of the 2011-2013 biannual state budget were discussed in the first of a three-part series of The West Side. The first week focused public K-12 education. Host Rich Kremer was joined by Cornell School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Schley and Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Superintendent Tom Hughes to talk about the budget's effects on public K-12 education.
Thursday, August 18, 2011:The restorative justice programs of Eau Claire and Barron counties were discussed on The West Side. Host Rich Kremer was joined by guests Ted Lewis, director of the Barron County Restorative Justice Program and Tim Wavrunek, director of the Eau Claire County Restorative Justice Program.
Thursday, August 11, 2011: Host Rich Kremer was joined by Nick Meyer, Publishing Editor of Volume One Magazine; and Mike Schatz, Economic Advisor for the City of Eau Claire to discuss downtown redevelopment plans.
Thursday, August 4, 2011: Host Rich Kremer was joined by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and her challenger Shelly Moore (D-River Falls) in a special candidate forum edition of "The West Side". Rich and the candidates discussed the issues at stake in the 10th Senate District recall.
Thursday, July 28, 2011: Host Rich Kremer was joined by Joe Knight, outdoor writer for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram, Dave Carlson, host of the syndicated television show Northland Adventures, and Adrian Wydeven, DNR wolf and cougar expert. Topics of discussion included the threat of Asian carp coming to the Chippewa River, as well as a cougar from western Wisconsin making its way to Conneticut.
Thursday, July 21, 2011: Agriculture, including economic and environmental challenges relating to western Wisconsin farmers, was the focus of The West Side Thursday, July 21.
Host Rich Kremer was joined by Darin Von Ruden of Westby, president of the Chippewa Falls-based Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Joe Bragger of Independence, board member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
Thursday, July 14, 2011: Host Rich Kremer was joined by Rob Peterson, coordinator of the West Wisconsin Initiative for Sustainable Communities, Margy Hagaman, vice president of Sustainable Dunn and coordinator of the West Wisconsin Sustainability Fair, and Jeremy Gragert, coordinator of Community Outreach, Civic Engagement and Service-Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Peterson, Hagaman and Gragert are members of the fair's organizing committee. They will discuss sustainability efforts throughout the Chippewa Valley as well as the fair's events.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011: Primary Election Special Ellsworth school teacher Shelly Moore of River Falls, WI beat out protest candidate Isaac Weix of Menomonie during the Democratic primary for Wisconsin's 10th Senate District recall election. The WPR Eau Claire Studios team provided special coverage of the election results and reached Shelly Moore at her campaign office. West Side host Rich Kremer and West Side on air producer Mort Sipress spent six minutes with Moore just after the race was called in her favor.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011: Primary Election Special Just after Moore's interview State Senator Sheila Harsdorf's Campaign Spokesman Nathan Duerkop released this statement:
"Congratulations to the big spending special interests in getting their "chosen" candidate through a primary. These recall campaigns are about one thing - the entrenched national special interests doing anything they can to protect the status quo. Taxpayers can't afford it and our kids shouldn't be saddled with the debt they would leave behind. Sheila looks forward to continuing to stand up to them no matter what they, and their handpicked candidate Shelly Moore do over the closing weeks of this recall election."
Moore now moves on to face State Senator Sheila Harsdorf in the 10th Senate District Recall General Election August, 9.
Thursday, June 30, 2011: The Democratic primary in the recall election of 10th District State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) was the focus of a candidate forum on The West Side .
Host Rich Kremer was joined by Democratic candidates Shelly Moore of Ellsworth and Isaac Weix of Menomonie to present their platforms and discuss issues important to the 10th Senate District of western Wisconsin. The winner of the July 12 primary will run against Harsdorf, the Republican incumbent, in the recall election date set for August 9.
Thursday, June 23, 2011:
State-of-the-art science and technology is being used to slow algae and invasive plant growth in Eau Claire's Half Moon Lake that could have statewide implications if successful. The West Side discussed the recent conclusion of the three year treatment plan to curb curly-leaf pondweed and unsightly algae growth. Host Rich Kremer was joined by guests Phil Fieber, the Department Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Eau Claire, Buzz Sorge of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Bill James of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Thursday, June 16, 2011: The West Side dove into the issues of water recreation and water safety in light of two recent drownings on the Chippewa River in two days. Eau Claire Fire Department Deputy of Prevention Scott Burkart talked about the increased popularity of tubing through the city of Eau Claire and the dangers that are posed along with common sense strategies to keep yourself safe. Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Director Phil Fieber talked about some much needed repairs at the Fairfax Park Pool. And Bill Klike A.K.A. Loopy of Loopy's Bar in Chippewa Falls talked about the Frenchtown Annual Tube and Floating Regatta (FATFAR) which draws thousands of revelers to float down the Chippewa River in some very creative crafts.
Thursday, June 9, 2011: The growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the region was discussed on The West Side . A 2009 report from the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance stated that drug abuse is a growing problem in Wisconsin as a whole and that in western Wisconsin, "the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs has surfaced as a significant threat... with methadone and oxycodone being the primary drugs encountered."
Host Rich Kremer was joined by Dorothy Chaney, the AODA Manager of the Northwoods Coalition from Marshfield Clinic and Twilia Johnson, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services for Security Health. Topics included what kinds of prescription drugs are being abused most frequently and how the state is planning to combat the problem.
Thursday, May 26, 2011: The West Side took a look outside with our local outdoor guys Joe Knight and Dave Carlson. Also on hand was DNR Wolf Program Manager Adrian Wydeven. The guests talked about the Fed's proposal to delist the gray wolf from the endangered species list. Conversation also touched on a bear study taking place in western Wisconsin and the ongoing deer mortality study by the DNR. The guys also plugged some favorite fishing holes leading up to the Memorial Day Weekend.
Thursday, May 19, 2011: The West Side looked into the benefits and challenges of the prodigious population growth in St. Croix County. The U.S. Census data show that in the last ten years St. Croix County's population has grown by more than 33% or about 21,000 people. But many of those new residents are commuters who work in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, which creates an interesting dynamic for Wisconsin's fastest growing county. Our guests included Dave Fedroczi, St. Croix County's Director of Planning and Zoning, Tracy Habisch-Ahlin, Communications Specialist for the Hudson School District and Charlotte Croes who owns JC Croes Farm in Deer Park. Guests discussed how the population jump is affecting the county tax base, infrastructure needs, schools and farming.
Thursday, May 12, 2011: The West Side took a look at Eau Claire County culture and an effort to create a plan to create a cultural direction for the future. The effort is called the Good Life and is comprised of individuals from various fields including alternative media, arts, theater, heritage and history. The Good Life put out a survey to more than 800 people throughout Eau Claire County and got some interesting results like 68% of respondents want the city of Eau Claire or Eau Claire County to create a fund to support arts, culture and heritage. Our guests for the program included Nick Meyer, Founder and Publisher of Volume One Magazine, Susan McLeod, Director of the Chippewa Valley Museum and Ben Richgruber, Executive Director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center.
Thursday, May 5, 2011: The West Side dove into the world of Wisconsin politics with our "Legislative Roundup". Our guests included State Representative Roger Rivard, a Republican from Rice Lake and State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, a Democrat from Alma. The discussion touched on pieces of Governor Scott Walker's biennial budget proposal including cuts to education, increased funding for transportation and the possible changes to the states SeniorCare Program. We also talked a bit about the Voter ID bill making its way through the Capitol.
Thursday, April 28, 2011: Three more frac sand mining operations are planned in Chippewa County and there are reports that there are numerous requests in Barron County for land and well records from out of state sand mining companies. There's sand in them thar hills and it's worth a lot of money to the fracture drilling oil and gas industries. But there are some in the Chippewa Valley that are concerned about detrimental impacts on land, water and air quality surrounding the sand mine sites in western Wisconsin. There are concerns about health and safety for workers at the mines and those who live nearby as well. We took a look into what looks to be a sand mining boom in the area and discussed what pros and cons may follow. We heard from Chippewa County Land and Conservation Director Dan Masterpole, local DNR Air Management officer Jeff Johnson, Concerned Chippewa Citizens member Patricia Popple, who is opposed to the expansion of sand mining in Western Wisconsin and John Ahl, a christmas tree farmer in Jackson County, who supports the jobs and economic benefits that the sand mining industry has brought to his county.
Thursday, April 21, 2011: In a pre- Earth Day edition of The West Side we focused on reducing and reusing possessions through consignment and a movement in the Eau Claire area to expand community gardens. During the first half hour of the program we were joined by Andrew Werthman, an Eau Claire City Councilor, organizer of the city's community garden and advocate for the Food Not Lawns Organization, which aims to encourage more folks to lose the lawn and grow some veggies. We were also joined during the first half of the show by Erin LaFaive, UW-Extension Horticulture Educator who shared the many reasons to garden organically. Then during the second half of the show we were joined by two expert consigners, Mary Jo Hanson and Donna Kmetz who run one of the largest consignment sales in the region. It's called "Here We Grow Again" and earlier this month they were able to collect, inspect and sell nearly 30,000 kids toys, clothes and even playground equipment.
Thursday, April 14, 2011 As he attempts to overcome a $3.5 billion budget deficit Governor Scott Walker is suggesting major cuts in state aids to local municipalities but also included in that budget are changes and cuts to programs run by counties. Programs such as Family Care, Food Share, recycling and land conservation are all being reformed and defunded at the county level. The West Side invited local county leaders to discuss what these changes and cuts might look like in western Wisconsin. We were joined by Eau Claire County Human Services Director Roy Sergeant, Chippewa County Land and Conservation Director Dan Masterpole and Eau Claire County Planning and Development Director Mel Erickson.
Thursday, April 7, 2011 Prom season and high school graduations are fast upon us in western Wisconsin and instances of underage drinking often follow suit. In the last five years a movement has been growing in Wisconsin and the rest of the nation to educate parents about the dangers and legal consequences of providing alcohol or safe haven for teens who choose to drink during these events. It's called "Parents Who Host Lose the Most" and we sat down with local members of the campaign during The West Side. Our guests included Dana Brown, Patrol Officer with the Altoona Police Department and Kristin Hildebrand, Coordinator of the Reality Check 21 program in Eau Claire County. We also heard from a parent, Jim Schmidt about how parents can effectively talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 It?s been 40 years since Wisconsin?s two competing higher education systems, the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin State Universities, were merged into what we now call the UW-System but now there are calls to split off the crown jewel campus from the rest. In Governor Scott Walker?s biennial budget he proposes splitting UW-Madison from the System in order to provide more flexibility in budget related matters. This plan is also championed by Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin. But the UW-Board of Regents along with 13 chancellors from the rest of the UW-System object to Walker?s plan saying flexibility for one should mean flexibility for all. This week on theThe West Side we discussed the proposed split as well as a hefty budget cut for the UW-System. Our guests included UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, Chancellor of UW-Colleges and UW-Extension Raymond Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin. The program airs Thursday March 31, from 5-6 p.m.
Thursday, March 24, 2011 Spring is officially here (at least according to the calendar) and to celebrate we held the spring edition of The West Side "Outside?. We were joined in studio by Dave Carlson, host of the syndicated TV program Northland Adventures and Joe Knight, outdoor writer for the Eau Claire Leader Telegram. Also, we heard from Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Member John ?Duke? Welter. We discussed the impacts of Governor Scott Walker?s proposed 2011-2013 budget, which includes a hefty cut to the Department of Natural Resources and a recommendation to scale back phosphorus restrictions in lakes and rivers.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 The West Side explored local efforts by governments and residents to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Guests included UW-Eau Claire Chemistry Professor Jim Phillips, Residential Solar Contractor Zeus Stark of Next Step Energy, pellet stove and biofuel press dealer Scott Robinson of Chippewa Valley Alternative Energy and Barron County Waste-to-Energy Plant Manager Al Zeltner. The program touched on the political climate in our state and how that climate may affect green energy efforts. Other topics included the viability of large, centralized wind or solar farms vs. individual, residential installations.
Thursday, March 10, 2011 The West Side looked into what local governments and school districts may be facing in the way of budget cuts from Governor Scott Walker?s biennial budget proposal. Our guests included Eau Claire City Manager Mike Huggins who commented on the cuts and the Eau Claire City Council?s decision to pass collective bargaining extensions for its city workers just hours before the State Assembly voted to cut most collective bargaining rights for public workers. Also on the program was Cornell School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Schley who supports Walker?s push to end collective bargaining. Schley said that his district has been preparing for the cuts and welcomes the flexibility and tools provided by the budget repair bill. And speaking to the county perspective was Rusk County Board Chair Randy Tatur who said his board will have to deal with around a $600,000 cut in state aid.
Thursday, March 3, 2011 The West Side looked into problem drinking in western Wisconsin. In the last three years eight UW-Stout students have died in what are being termed alcohol related incidents and the Menomonie City Council recently held a seminar to look at possible policy changes to curb alcohol related issues. We were joined by Menomonie City Councilwoman Sandy White who has called for ordinance changes to restrict bartenders and servers from drinking on the job and tougher liquor licensing requirements. Offering the counter point was Daemon Anderson, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon in Menomonie and a Dunn County Tavern League member who says the city council is blaming the bars for alcohol related incidents. We were also joined by Jennifer Lee, Director of UW-Eau Claire's Center for Alcohol Studies and Education which just released a revised prevention plan that targets kids transitioning from high school to college and offer them positive alternatives to problem drinking.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 The West Side tackled Governor Scott Walker?s budget repair bill with two state senators on the front lines. We were joined by State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), by phone from across the Illinois border. We were also joined by Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend. Topics from the bill included collective bargaining, changes in Medicare and even the hygiene and behavior of protestors at the camped out at the State Capitol Building.
Thursday, February 17, 2011 The Wisconsin Department of Commerce is about to release results from a recent count of homeless people in Wisconsin but The West Side obtained an exclusive sneak peak at our regions tally. This week?s program delved into the issues of homelessness in western Wisconsin with two guests who work to fight it on the front lines. Mary ClaySantineau of Starting Points in Chippewa County joined us and talked about the delicate process of physically going out into the community and finding homeless, surveying them and offering help. Greg Quinn of the West Central Wisconsin Community Action Agency joined the conversation by phone and talked about funding cuts at the federal, state and local level.
Thursday, February 10, 2011 The West Side explored the feasibility of county ownership of nursing homes in our region and throughout the state. We focused on recent debate surrounding the St. Croix Health Center, which uses taxpayer subsidies to remain solvent. Our guests included St. Croix County Board members Sharon Norton-Bauman who favors selling the nursing home in order to relieve the burden on taxpayers and self described nursing home advocate Kim Dupre, who says those taxpayer subsidies have been decreasing in recent years and selling the county nursing home would displace seniors far from their families. We were also be joined by John Sauer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, who provided some background information on the special challenges faced by counties choosing to stay in the nursing business.
Thursday, January 27, 2011: Wisconsin Legislators have been busy crafting legislation aimed at creating jobs and improving the state?s business climate during the special session called by Governor Scott Walker. This week on the West Side we spoke with two of those legislators, Democratic State Representative Chris Danou and Republican State Senator Pam Galloway. We touched on the elimination of income taxes on health savings accounts, tort reform, and the various tax credits being introduced to entice businesses to the Badger State and grow jobs. We were also joined by UW-Stout Social Scientist Alec Kirby who spoke a bit about the role of civility in state government.
Thursday, January 13, 2011: Higher education in Wisconsin is a big business and we sat down with two members of the UW System Board of Regents along with former State Representative Rob Kriebich, who chaired the states Colleges and Universities Committee. The West Side explored the health and status of the UW System and looked into the challenges of increasing graduates with declining state aid. The conversation also touched on how to deal with the disparities between graduation rates of white students and students of color.
Thursday, January 6, 2011: As jobs and the economy dominate the news as Wisconsin's new government begins its work, The West Side updated the multi-year project to make not only the economy, but all aspects of life better for residents of the Chippewa Valley. Host Dean Kallenbach welcomed Juliet Fox, executive director of Visioning Dunn County; Vicki Hoehn, chair of the implementation committee of Clear Vision Eau Claire; and Mike Huggins, Eau Claire's City Manager. They talked about what's ahead for the groups charged with building a vision for the Chippewa Valley in the areas like economic development, education, health care, transportation, civic engagement and quality of life.
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