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Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Justin McCray (64) recovers a fumble by the Packers quarterback Brett Hundley during a game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 22 in Green Bay.

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Chippewa Falls researchers play part in new HPE supercomputer

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), an information technology company that owns Chippewa Falls-based graphics company SGI, is slated to debut a new computing platform Monday — one that has a strong connection to the Chippewa Valley.

“The HPE team in Chippewa Falls played an integral part in the design and development of Superdome Flex,” said Ethan Gannett, vice president of engineering for HPE, who leads the team in Chippewa Falls, in an email interview with the Herald.

Manufacturing of the Superdome Flex may also happen in Chippewa Falls, Gannett said.

The new supercomputer’s debut comes on the heels of HPE’s announcement that it will move some of its manufacturing operations to Chippewa Falls permanently, possibly growing jobs for the area, after recent damage to HPE’s Texas manufacturing sites after Hurricane Harvey.

The Superdome Flex will focus on complex data gathering and analysis, making it useful for both small and large businesses, a company press release said, calling it the “world’s most scalable and modular in-memory computing platform.”

Gannett said the platform will help businesses growing their digital presence. “Businesses are swamped with data ... it increases every day. They have all this data, and they want to extract value from it. That’s the driving force — to gain real-time insights by looking at the associations between all of your data, very quickly,” he said.

HPE’s Superdome Flex is expected to debut Monday. For more information, visit

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Stanley switches to new City Hall

STANLEY — Stanley residents don’t have to get out of their cars to pay their city water bills. All they have to do roll down a window, go through the new city hall’s drive-through lane and hand over the money.

The city’s new city hall is also the only one in Chippewa County to flash the time and temperature at passersby, and is highly visible on the main drag leading to downtown Stanley.

The city moved into its new quarters in the former Forward Financial Bank building at 353 S. Broadway St. on Oct. 2. (Forward Financial has since moved into a renovated building at 240 S. Broadway St.) Stanley is the second Chippewa County city to have a city hall in a former bank, following Bloomer.

The new city hall’s purchase price was $345,000 according to the Stanley Republican newspaper. That’s substantially less than the estimate of over $1 million if the city had built a City Hall.

Mayor Norman Christianson is excited about the move and the new location for city hall in Stanley. “It fit right into our needs,” he said of the one-story building that is accessible for people with disabilities.

The former city hall at 116 3rd Ave. had limited first floor space for the city clerk’s office and the police department. The building’s second floor, which for a time was used for city council meetings, is not accessible to people using wheelchairs.

“We can’t afford to put money into an old building,” Christianson said.

Council meetings shifted to the Stanley Fire Station when that building at 230 E. 1st Ave. opened several years ago, and the council continues to have meetings there.

That’s because the new city hall doesn’t have the space for council sessions. There are other problems, too.

The police department office does not have an on-site garage. Officers have been parking squads in front of the new City Hall, but that will not work well during upcoming winter weather. Police do not have a choice but to use the city garage at the former City Hall, even though Christianson said it is in dire need of repair.

“The old garage (at the former city hall) is needed right now for the winter months,” he said.

Christianson said the city will try to work the expense of adding a meeting space for the council and a garage for police vehicles into the city’s 2018 budget. “It shouldn’t be a huge cost for us,” he said.

The meeting space and garage would be in a separate structure than the new city hall. The mayor said a walkway would be between the buildings.

There’s something else for the city to consider. The former city hall with its distinctive clock tower served as the city’s logo, showing up on council agenda and letters from the city.

Christianson said the police department has shifted to using a bridge in Chapman Park as a logo, and the mayor likes that.

“It just fits in nice,” he said.