Eau Claire Express interns gain ‘second to none’ experience
From handling sponsorships, social media accounts and hiring staff – the interns can do it all
By: Grace Olson
This year marks the 16th season of the Eau Claire Express summer collegiate baseball team. The teams first season was in 2005, but they didn't get to play in 2020. So, they are continuing their “sweet 16” anniversary this year, Jacob Servais, the general manager, said.
Servais said a lot of the behind the scenes work done for the team is completed by the nine interns they have every summer.
“They are handling sponsorship accounts, social media, scheduling and hiring staff, ordering food, creating content, running our webcast and working with local media to grant access to coaches and players,” Servais said.
Eau Claire Express offer interns hands-on experience where they will learn about daily operations such as customer relations, communications and ticket and apparel sales.
There are six full time internships which include, video production, photography, ticket sales, stadium operations management, media relations and marketing/public relations.
Servais said the titles he gives the interns are pretty broad and they really do a bit of everything in their department.
Ryan Poulsen, a ticket sales intern, said he talks to different groups and fans about coming to see the games.
Rachael Leystra, a marketing intern, said she works with many of the team's sponsors for their different sponsorship nights.
“I make sure those nights run smoothly, get the correct equipment set up that they need,” Leystra said. “We do a lot of on the field promotions, both coming up with them and running them.”
Servais said the interns are both local and from around the country. He said this year, they have interns from Michigan, Oshkosh, Chicago along with some students from Stout, Eau Claire and River Falls.
Leystra said she grew up watching the Madison Mallards, another team in the Northwoods League. She said she knew she wanted to do an internship with a team similar to them, and started to look for internships when she saw Eau Claire Express was available.
Both Leystra and Poulsen agreed that the internship program is rewarding in multiple ways.
“They not only pay us enough, especially compared to other sports jobs that don’t pay at all, but they help out with our housing too which is a big expense,” Poulsen said.
Leystra also said the experience they gain makes the entire summer worth it.
“It seems like a lot of work, and we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off,” Lesytra said. “But the experience we’re getting is second to none.”
Olson can be reached at
New Study Shows How COVID-19 Impacted Therapists work
‘We didn’t get to slow down during the pandemic’
By: Grace Olson
A study done by OnlineTherapy.com has found half of the therapists who participated in the study, have experienced symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders during the past year.
The study also said overall, 90% of therapists said they have experienced some type of mental health issues.
Caitlin Kingston, a licensed clinical social worker, said it’s often for those in the mental health field to have mental health issues personally.
“In my experience, people who go into the mental health field are much more likely to have experienced mental health issues themselves,” Kingston said. “This is a very difficult job and having a therapist is a recommendation that starts in graduate school.”
However, a local LCSW, Cynthia Hunt of Collaborative Counseling, said she hasn’t had mental health issues prior to COVID-19.
“I think just like everybody else, you struggle with having the time, taking care of yourself so you have to be aware of when you do need time for yourself,” Hunt said. “Whether it’s maybe taking time off, or getting a good rest or talking to friends or colleagues as well as family.”
Hunt also said she believes the study was a bit misguided in some areas.
The study claimed “47% of therapists prefer virtual sessions to seeing clients in person.”
Hunt said while this may be true, most of the therapists who participated in this study were already conducting online therapy so that percentage may be higher than local therapists where telehealth is not as common.
The OnlineTherapy.com study was done in Seattle Washington, and according to its website, it is a completely online resource for both therapists and patients.
OnlineTherapy.com is a resource for those looking for a therapist as well as for therapists looking to expand their work through the internet.
Although Hunt did say she believes some of the study is a bit misleading, when looking at the distraction rates she said there were valid points.
“I know colleagues who have little kids at home and didn’t have daycare all of a sudden,” Hunt said. “They had to figure out how to still take care of their income but I’m also having to do multiple things, it was really a struggle for a lot of people.”
The study found 39% of the therapists who participated in the study admitted to being distracted during virtual therapy sessions.
According to the study, there are multiple reasons for being distracted during virtual sessions. Some of these reasons included technology issues, social media, distractions at home, internet browsing and distractions on clients end.
Hunt said while she didn’t experience mental health issues of her own, therapists in general had a difficult job balancing work stress and their personal life.
“We didn’t get to slow down during the pandemic,” Hunt said. “A lot of people saw an increase in wanting to go to therapy, and the level of burnout for us (therapists) was very real.”
Olson can be reached at .
The eleventh season of the Sculpture Tour has arrived
Subhead: 2021 Sculpture Tour is the largest tour yet with 56 sculptures
For the eleventh year in a row, the Sculpture Tour is back in downtown Eau Claire. Eau Claire residents can take a walk through the city to see 56 sculptures.
These sculptures come from local artists who can send in submissions of either a finished piece or a piece they are currently working on.
The sculptures were installed on May 19 and will be there until April 16, 2022.
Julie Pangallo, executive director of the Sculpture Tour, said this year the Eau Claire tour is tied with Sioux Falls for the largest sculpture tour in the country.
Pangallo said last year was a real challenge and they weren’t able to switch out all of the sculptures.
Pangallo said the sculpture tour is completely nonprofit and is strictly supported by sponsorship and donations. When COVID-19 first hit, all of that stopped, she said.
“A lot of our sponsors still have people laid off so they can’t justify sponsoring something,” Pangallo said. “So it is pretty remarkable that we made it through the pandemic.”
Pangallo said through fundraisers and grants the sculpture tour was able to survive.
Louise Peterson, a sculptor whose work was featured in a past sculpture tour, said she found the tour through the call to artists sent out.
Peterson said she sent in a submission that got picked to be in the tour, and was even sold at the end of the tour – which was the best part for her, she said.
All artists are paid for the use of their work and all sculptures are offered for sale, according to the tour’s website.
Not only can artists' work be bought, but their sculpture could be voted to become a permanent part of the tour.
Pangallo said community members can vote for a sculpture to win “People’s Choice” and this piece will become permanent.
This year, 18 of the 56 sculptures are now permanent, and the rest will be switched in the next tour, Pangallo said.
Voting hasn’t begun this year yet, but Pangallo said to keep an eye out, as it will start soon this summer and will continue through the end of the year.
Pangallo said she is grateful for all of the donors and volunteers who made the tour possible this year.
She said she is more nervous for next year as there won’t be sponsor dollars or COVID-19 support dollars.
“Next year will be the real test,” Pangallo said.
For more information on the artists, the “People’s Choice” award, a map of the tour and more visit the Sculpture Tour’s website.
Olson can be reached at Olsongm1225@uwec.edu.
Local Businesses Turn to Podcasts for Promotion
Area podcast hosts share their own love for the audio only format
By: Grace Olson
Heather Mishefske, a dog trainer at emBARK, started her podcast, “Dose of Dog,” after Scott Montesano, owner of Eau Claire Hometown Media, reached out to her to start a podcast about dog training.
Mishefske said it was nice to have some guidance to get her podcast started. Mishefske said she wanted to start a podcast to get legitimate science based dog training into the world.
“There’s a lot of information out there on dog training and having someone from the community give valid information, I thought would be a good idea,” Mishefske said.
Not only does Mishefske have her own podcast, but she said she is an avid podcast listener as well.
She said she enjoys listening to podcasts because they hold her attention and she can listen to them whenever she wants.
According to PodcastInsights, in 2020 68 million Americans listen to podcasts weekly and 16 million people are keen podcast fans.
She said she thinks podcasts have gained popularity recently because they’re a way to listen and gain information while doing other tasks.
She also said podcasts are versatile and can be played whenever is convenient for the listener.
“It’s an easy way to learn, everyone’s got their phone on them all the time so it’s something if you only have five minutes, you can listen for five minutes and pick it up later,” Mishefske said.
Jerry Kuehl, co-host of the podcast “Banker with a Beer” said he enjoys making his podcast because it’s an ebay format to work with. Since his podcast is recorded he can edit it later if needed.
“I think it gives a lot more freedom,” Kuehl said. “I also like the longer format so you can get through a whole idea without feeling like you’re rushing.”
Kuehl’s podcast brings on local guests to talk about local events while trying new beers.
Kuehl said he’s had his podcast for about a year and half and he wanted to be able to share the interesting conversations he has with the community.
Another local podcast host, Kayla Midthun, said she enjoys podcasts because she can pick and choose what she wants to listen to.
“Sometimes I steer clear of mainstream news for my own mental health, but if I can find a podcast I know I will be interested in or something I’m excited about, I can pick and choose that,” Midthun said.
Midthun works with her husband as managing partners of Ramones ice cream parlor. They created their podcast “Have a Scoop” to spread awareness about nonprofits in the community.
Midthun said she thinks podcasts have gained popularity because they’re such an easy way to learn new information.
“I listen to them when I’m cleaning the house or driving, it’s an easy way to connect,” Midthun said.
Kuehl said he thinks podcasts have gained so much popularity because they can be tailored to specific topics.
“You can take a podcast and focus on a specific perspective and specific voice that you like and will captivate you for its entirety,” Kuehl said.
Olson can be reached at .