All my life, I wanted a taste of the city life. I was ambitious. I wanted to get out of this small town I knew as Little Chute, Wisconsin, and into the world of opportunities and a busy lifestyle. Or so I thought. Looking back, it wasn’t the busy life that I was after, because I get plenty of that as a college student. As for opportunities, it is a privilege attending higher education; to be able to learn and grow intellectually and socially.
Recently I was with my girlfriend while she was touring an apartment in a densely urban part of Los Angeles, California. At one point, the woman who owned the apartment looked out a window toward the east and said that one of her favorite features of the space was its great view of the sunset. Surprised, we turned to see what she was talking about. As we did, we saw the setting sun reflected in the west-facing windows of a nearby high-rise building. It was a sunset alright, though one that was visible only because of the neighboring structure’s hundreds of panes of mirrored glass jutting out of the concrete into the sky above Los Angeles. Continue reading
To debone a chicken, you must have a tender touch. We do not hack, rip or rush through the process. Carefully peel the skin from the meat and then the meat from the bones…treat this chicken with respect. It seems like a simple skill, but what is it worth, exactly? It’s worth everything. Particularly when my mentor, Kim Beckham, Director and Chef Instructor of CPS Café, can tell me where and how this particular chicken was raised based on subtle characteristics in the appearance of the meat. She explains how the dish Chicken Scampi is named after the shape of the cuts, and that thickness should be uniform for ideal baking. There is wisdom in peeling a potato properly or coaxing a batch of Hot Potato Salad with Tarragon to the perfect texture and consistency before putting the finishing touches on the flavor. Sometimes it seems as though the whole operation is a physical manifestation of Kim’s food mastery, but in reality it’s much larger than that. The CPS Café is a system within a system—as dependent upon the local farmers, stolid university structure, and conscientious consumers as they are on us. We do our best not to disappoint. Continue reading
Many local government leaders portray new development as the lifeblood necessary to maintain or improve the economic and fiscal health of a community. They argue that the proposed new subdivision, apartment complex, or shopping mall out on the edge of town is not only desirable, but is practically a requirement if the entire community is to stay alive. Chuck Marohn sees things differently. He argues that most new development is instead part of a Ponzi scheme, promoted by developers and landowners who “earn” their returns on each new land deal and absolve themselves of the inevitable service and maintenance costs that arise.
Driving around the neighborhoods adjacent to UWSP, it becomes apparent that our community is facing a growing problem. Many student houses near campus are suffering from owner neglect and unaccountability to an extent visible to almost everyone. Century-old historic houses and craftsman-style bungalows rich in cultural and aesthetic wonder, are degrading and becoming unsalvageable. Foundations are crumbling, paint is peeling, and front yards are becoming aluminum trash heaps. As a local resident described it to me, “our surrounding neighborhood is slowly becoming a crumbling shantytown devoid of self-pride and a collective community image for the future.” The degradation of our neighborhood houses should evoke alarm among local leaders since this decline is threatening the livability and connectedness of our entire community. As involved and aware citizens, we must look to address this growing property problem and look for solutions that aim to save the historic houses of Stevens Point while benefiting both permanent residents and students in a reciprocal manner.