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'Lambeau Field Live' coming to Northern Wisconsin State Fair, honoring team's 100th anniversary

In 2018, the Green Bay Packers will begin a 16-month celebration of the team’s 100th anniversary, capping off on Aug. 11, 2019 – and the green-and-gold party will make stops at the Northern Wisconsin State Fair in Chippewa Falls in 2018 and 2019.

The Packers’ ‘100 Seasons’ celebration will bring the party to all five days of the July fair, said fair executive director Rusty Volk.

“We’re thrilled to bring this to Chippewa Falls,” Volk said. “This really helps the Chippewa Falls community and the region, to be included in these elite events.”

Officially called “Lambeau Field Live,” the exhibit will have alumni meet-and-greets, a traveling Pro Shop and Hall of Fame where fans can purchase merchandise, a Lambeau Leap wall and a virtual reality display, a Packers press release said.

From July 11-15, Lambeau Field Live will be set up behind the grandstand, “in the heart of the fair,” Volk said.

The Northern Wisconsin State Fair, 225 Edward St., Chippewa Falls, is one of five stops the Packers’ “traveling interactive exhibit” will make throughout the state over those 16 months, a Packers press release said.

The exhibit will also make appearances at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Oshkosh’s EAA AirVenture, the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis and Taste of Madison.

Volk has been in communication with the exhibit for over a year, he said. “The improvements at the fairgrounds really made a difference,” he said, referring to a new grandstand and stage completed in the summer of 2017.

Packer fans and fair attendees of all ages will enjoy the exhibit, Volk said.

Other high-profile events at the 2018 fair – including an appearance from country singer-songwriter Martina McBride, who is headlining the grandstand stage on Friday, July 13 – were additional reasons the Chippewa Falls-based fair attracted interest from the Packers exhibit, Volk said.

Later in the month, from July 26-29, fans can attend a free festival at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where the “Packers Experience” will host live music, question-and-answer sessions with Packers alumni, photo stations and more, the press release said.

For more information on the team’s 100th anniversary celebrations throughout Wisconsin, visit www.packers.com/100.

In other state fair news, reserved seats for musical acts – including McBride, singers Frankie Ballard and Chris Lane and rock band Cheap Trick – are selling steadily, Volk said.

The Northern Wisconsin State Fair will be held July 11-15. General admission to the fair starts at $10 for an adult one-day pass.

Including the price of admission to get into the fair, tickets to attend McBride’s performance start at $10 for general grandstand admission. Premium seating in the front 10 rows is $40, reserve tickets are $30 and VIP tickets are $125. Grandstand and VIP pricing is the same for entrance to Ballard and Lane’s performances. Premium seating is $30, and reserve seating is $20 each for those two shows.

For a full lineup of fair activites and admission prices, visit www.nwsfa.com or www.nwsfa.com/p/northern-wisconsin-state-fair/tickets.


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Western connections: Local poet pulls from vulnerability for new book

There’s no denying Jackie McManus’ connection to the west.

When she was still a child, her mother and father packed up their seven kids from Stanley and set off to own a resort in in northern Wisconsin. But just like his daughter, McManus’ father yearned for Montana, so the family trekked westward.

Over the next two decades or so, McManus explored, lived and worked in Montana, Washington and Alaska, feeling pulled toward the mountains. She was an educator who taught in an Alaskan Eskimo village and has taught English, English as a second language and as an adjunct professor.

But when McManus moved back to the Stanley area a few years ago after a visit with her mother prompted her to stay, she found a refuge with a group of writers in Fall Creek.

“It was hard,” McManus said about adjusted back to the Midwest after a lifetime out west. “(I’d) just lived among the mountains most of my life.”

A lifelong poet and writer as well, McManus will be giving a talk about her book of poetry, “The Earthmover’s Daughter” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12 at the Chippewa Falls Public Library. Copies of McManus’ books will be available for sale.

The book features a collection of new and old poetry. The title comes from McManus’ father, who was a construction worker and always called himself an “earthmover,” McManus said.

A group of writers in Fall Creek who gather at writing “retreats” helped center McManus once she’d returned the Midwest. The retreat—at the Cirenaica lodge outside Fall Creek—features hikes, quiet mornings of writing and connections among other writers.

It was a group that fed a passion McManus said she knew had always been there.

“I really think that poetry chose me,” McManus said.

It began in fifth grade – the same age, McManus said, that the group of writers in Cirenaica also found their way to writing – when she wrote a poem called “The Spy.” Her teacher made copies of it and handed it out to the class.

It was her first piece of printed work.

Since then, McManus has been printed in “Your Teen,” “The George Literary Journal” and “Alternative Harmonies.” She was also awarded an editor’s choice award from The National Library of Poetry.

She now has plans for a sequel to “The Earthmover’s Daughter” and has begun a piece of fiction as well.

Grief and loss have been a substantial part of her life, McManus said, and her poetry is a way to be connected to that rawness of those emotions.

“I’m hoping that my poetry, it’s a sanctuary and safe place where I can meet that vulnerability,” McManus said.

McManus currently resides in the Stanley area with her teenage son. Her three other children and a grandchild still live out west. McManus is now a substitute teacher with the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District.

While the west may have a strong hold on her, it was still a writing group in Fall Creek that has left her inspired — and she’s hoping others will find what they need and want out of her published writing.

“Everyone has their own interpretation. People can see poetry itself as a sanctuary…” McManus said. “Whatever people get from it, they get from it.”


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'Survivor art' at center of UW-Stout 'Week of Action'

MENOMONIE — A pair of blue pajamas, a T-shirt and jeans, a blue jean shirt and running shorts — all articles of clothing worn by survivors of sexual assault when they were attacked.

The UW-Stout Students for Consent group will display the clothing in the Memorial Student Center as part of a survivor art installation entitled “What Were You Wearing?”

“The whole point of the installation is to challenge the rape myth of clothing causing it,” said UW-Stout student Jessi Weber, 26, a junior majoring in applied mathematics and computer science. Weber, of Middleton, is vice president of Students for Consent.

“It challenges the stigma that it was the victim’s fault. The art installation allows you to go there and relate and to let people see themselves reflected in the outfits,” Weber said.

Students for Consent President Ellie McKee, 22, of Onalaska, a senior vocational rehabilitation major concentrating in alcohol and other drug abuse and social work, said her roommates remarked that the clothing is typical of what they would wear daily. They were silent as they reflected on that realization, McKee said.

The survivor art installation originated at the University of Arkansas in 2013. The installation will be in the Overlook Lounge, above the west entrance, in the student center Monday, April 9, to Tuesday, April 10, and then move to the Skylight Lounge Wednesday, April 11, to Friday, April 13.

On Wednesday, Speak About It, a group based in Portland, Maine, that performs skits about consent, boundaries and healthy relationships and suggests ways to confront the issues, will perform in the Great Hall of the student center at 7 p.m. The goal of the skit is to spark conversations and educate and empower attendees to create and sustain changes in the communities. The event is free and open to all. For more information on Speak About It, go to www.speakaboutitonline.com.

A showing of the film “The Hunting Ground” is at 5 p.m. Friday, with a panel discussion at 7 p.m. in room 11o of Jarvis Hall Science Wing. The film has been described by the New York Times as “an unblinking look at sexual assaults on campus.”

“Resources will be provided for students if they need to talk or want to make a report,” McKee said, noting the film is very powerful.

After the panel discussion, there will be a closing ceremony with a candle lighting, Weber said.

Students for Consent has been a campus organization for about five years. The first three years it was called Students Against Sexual Assault. Its goal is education about consent, healthy relationships and sexual assault.

One in six American women has been a victim of an attempted or competed sexual assault in her lifetime. One out of every 10 sexual assault victims are male. A total of 21 percent of transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming college students have been sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

April is sexual assault awareness month.


Dairy farmers face another year of low milk prices

Dairy farmers will experience their fourth consecutive year of low milk prices in 2018, predicts Robert Cropp, professor emeritus with University of Wisconsin-Extension and UW-Madison.

With increases in U.S. and world milk production, some growth in domestic sales and limited growth in dairy exports, milk prices in 2018 will run below 2017 levels, Cropp said.

Another year of low prices doesn’t surprise John Diersen, who with his wife Karyl and sons Josh and Jason milks about 150 cows at the family’s Minnigan Hills Farm near Caledonia, Minn. It’s mainly a dairy farm, although the Diersens also raise and sell some corn and soybeans.

“As you’ve probably heard, it’s tough,” Diersen said in an interview at his farm, while asked for his outlook for dairy farmers in 2018. “You hear a lot of things out there about what’s going on.” Milk stocks are high “and they don’t know what to do with it,” he said.

“Dairy farmers faced relatively low milk prices in 2015 and 2016 with some improvement in 2017 but not enough to really strengthen their financial position from the low milk prices in 2015 and 2016,” Cropp said. “Milk prices in 2018 may fall back to about where they were in 2016,” he said.

“This will be the fourth straight year where, for most dairy farmers, milk prices will not enable them to fully cover their cost of production,” Cropp said.

The Wisconsin average all-milk price was $18.10 per hundredweight in 2017, compared with $16.45 in 2016, $17.80 in 2015 and the record high average of $24.56 in 2014. The most recent published all-milk price was $16.30 for January, which was down from $19.30 in January 2017, Cropp said. “Milk prices fell further in February so we could see the February all-milk price near $15.60 compared to $19.00 in 2017,” he said. “Prices should slowly improve some starting in March.”

As for what the Wisconsin all-milk price might average for the entire year 2018, Cropp said, “It is early in the year, so a lot can change as we move through the year. But if crop conditions are good and weather is favorable for milk production, the average all-milk price for 2018 may end up somewhere around $17.00.

“The U.S. is starting the year with relatively high stocks of dairy products that need to be worked off for higher milk prices” to occur, Cropp said.

Milk production in European Union nations is running well above year-ago levels “to the point that world milk production will increase,” Cropp said. “The U.S. will face strong competition from the EU for markets, which will impact the growth in U.S. exports in 2018.”

Butter and cheese sales grew last year but at a slower rate than in recent years, Cropp said. And beverage milk sales continue to decline, he added.

“For many dairy farmers, expected milk prices will not allow them to cover their cost or production, particularly for the first half of the year, with some improvement (in prices expected) for the second half,” Cropp said. As a result, dairy farmers may need to borrow more money or delay needed capital purchases and repairs, he said. “The problem is many dairy farmers have been doing this for the past three years and can’t keep on doing this and stay in business,” he said.

Wisconsin lost 430 dairy farms last year and in the past five years has lost 1,770 dairy farms, Cropp said. The state had 9,090 dairy farms in 2017, down from 13,750 in 2008.

“We’ve just got this glut of milk on the market,” Diersen said of his own outlook for 2018. “We’ve got to figure out a way to get rid of some milk.”

Diersen, who is president of the Houston County Holstein Association, said dairy farmers have had to be frugal to cope with low milk prices. “You just don’t make any big improvements,” he said. “If something needs to be fixed, you fix it. If you want to trade something off, you’ve got to put that on hold.”

Diersen is concerned about talk of a possible international trade war breaking out, and what that could mean for U.S. agricultural exports and commodity prices. “We’ll have to wait and see how this all turns out,” he said. “We’ve been treated unfairly in the world” with foreign trade, he said. “If they could get that straightened out without hurting agriculture, that’s fine. If (other countries) stop buying from us that wouldn’t be good.”