Posts tagged with "Independence Day"

Defacing monument illustration

Controversy Over Monument Defacings

By Eamonn Burke

As the reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice in the United States continues, so does the demand for a change in how we view and represent our racist history. One target of such criticism has been statues of American “heroes” who were known to have owned slaves or were part of the Confederacy despite their prominent standing in our nation’s history.

Statues of Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant and many more are being torn down and defaced across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which represented a larger problem of systemic racism in the US. This comes with other reforms that have been under way, such as banning the Confederate flag from NASCAR races and renaming controversial brands like Aunt Jemima, as well as Military Bases.

“When I look at these statues of white supremacists, it is just a constant reminder of the struggle that my ancestors had to face,” said Kerrigan Williams, leader of the activist group Freedom Fighters.

The spray painting and toppling of monuments and statues has also been met with a fair amount of criticism, especially from our President Donald Trump. In an Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore (as well as on Twitter) Trump denounced the actions, and announced plans for a “National Garden of American Heroes” featuring statues of the founding fathers and other prominent Americans. Although there are much bigger problems at hand, Trump seems to be focusing his campaign on these “radical” protestors who are trying to “destroy America”. Republican senator Mitch McConnell played the good cop and expressed distaste with the protests in a more civil way: “The vast majority of Americans know full well that imperfect heroes are still heroes,” he said.

While some far-right Trump loyalists may rally under this, there is evidence that this is turning away more people than it is uniting for him.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Fireworks

4th of July Violence Across America

By Eamonn Burke

This year’s Fourth of July, while stifled by the coronavirus concerns and pleas from officials to stay in, was still a violent one.

39 people were shot in New York City on the night of July Fourth, including three confirmed deaths. All three victims were in their 20s, and two were in Harlem; the other in Brooklyn. One of the deaths, a 23 year old man, was the result of a party and the product of much confusion amidst fireworks. “You didn’t know where it was coming from because they were running this way and that way,” said a witness.

Among the other non-fatal violence was a 34 year old woman struck by a haywire bullet while walking her dog in the Bronx, a group of four men and one woman shot in Manhattan, and a man walking in Brooklyn with a friend who was shot and killed. Additionally, there were 13 reported stabbings in the city that night. The violent night comes after an overall above average level of violence in the city throughout the month of June.

Chicago saw an even bloodier night, as 67 people were shot over the weekend, killing 13. Two of the dead were children, 7 and 14, prompting a statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

“As a city, we must wrap our arms around our youth so they understand there’s a future for them that isn’t wrapped up in gun violence.”

The death of the teen late Saturday resulted from the open fire that a group of four men unleashed on a large crowd, killing four people total. The 7 year old girl was shot in the head on the sidewalk outside a party at her grandmother’s house.

While LA seems relatively unscathed by gun violence over the holiday, the emergency services nevertheless had their hands full dealing with over 3,000 calls to the fire department, despite banning fireworks due to the coronavirus. The most severe of the cases was a fire that had engulfed an apartment complex in Northridge. The extensive use of fireworks in the city also lead to decreased air quality. It was one of worst firework cases the city had seen in years, according to air quality management executive Philip Fine.

Baltimore shootings over the weekend claimed the life of one in a double shooting, shortly after a quadruple shooting injured four more, and two other unrelated shootings, bringing the total injured to eight.

A family of five was shot in Detroit, killing the 39 year old mother and injuring four others. Two shootings injured four people in Philadelphia on Saturday night, and more violence followed on Sunday, including a six year old boy who died. A child is in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Louis, and an eight year old girl was shot and injured in Cleveland. A nightclub shooting in Greenville left two people dead and injured eight others.

So far, no arrests have been made in the wake of any of these shootings.

Guillen illustration

The Murder of Fort Hood Soldier, Vanessa Guillen

By Emmet McGeown


“How can this happen on a military base? How can this happen while she was on duty? How can this just happen and then let it go under the rug like it was nothing?” These were the words of Mayra Guillen, sister of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who has been missing for months and is now confirmed dead.  

On April 22nd, Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Hispanic Small Arms and Artillery Repairer, went missing. She was last seen alive at a parking lot at squadron headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. For months, Pfc. Guillen’s family held out hope that their beloved was still alive, yet the discovery of remains near the Leon River, north of Austin, has vanquished that hope. While the FBI is still awaiting a positive DNA analysis, the family believes that the remains belong to Vanessa.  

Yet, this story does not begin with her disappearance nor does it end with her death. Prior to her vanishing, Pfc. Guillen, according to her sisters, was having difficulties with sexual harassment while stationed at Fort Hood, outside Killeen, Texas. The attorney representing the family in the case revealed that Guillen had confided to her sisters and several other soldiers that a superior had walked in on her while taking a shower and that he proceeded to sit down and watch her. Other relatives and Pfc. Guillen’s boyfriend have noted on social media that something is “not right” and that Vanessa felt unsafe at the military base.  

However, during a press conference on Thursday, July 2nd, senior special agent for the Fort Hood Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Damon Phelps, reported that there was no evidence backing the claim that she had been sexually harassed. He affirmed that “there has been no information — and we have interviewed hundreds of people… There is no credible information about that.” Despite this rebut by CID, family attorney, Natalie Khawam said, in an interview with PEOPLE, that she believes Pfc. Guillens was sexually harassed by Spc. Aaron David Robinson.

Spc. Robinson was the leading suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance, and as authorities caught up with him on Tuesday evening, he shot himself. It has since been revealed that Robinson was, in fact, responsible for the murder of Pfc. Guillen’s. Guillen’s was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the armory where she worked, according to the family’s attorney. They made this discovery through an extensive investigation, in which witnesses divulged that they saw Robinson transporting a large box labelled “very heavy in weight.”

Then, after consenting to an examination of his cellphone records, court documents reveal, it was discovered that Robinson made several phone-calls to his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar on the night of Apri 22nd and into the early hours of the April 23rd. After being interviewed multiple times, Aguilar finally told investigators that her boyfriend had murdered Guillen. She also revealed how she and her boyfriend had met up and dismembered Guillen’s body together with a “hatchet or machete type knife” and, after attempting to set her corpse on fire, buried Guillen’s body parts in three different holes. Texas Rangers have since arrested Aguilar and she now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  

The issue of sexual harassment within the Army remains a problem in this case, given that Guillen’s family, according to their attorney, claimed that Vanessa was planning on reporting Robinson the day after she was murdered, and had delayed over fear of reprisal and inaction. Yet the Army says there exists no credible evidence that she was sexually harassed before her disappearance, and in a statement from the Fort Hood Press Center, officials said that the criminal investigation “has not found any connection between sexual harassment and Vanessa’s disappearance.” They plan to continue their investigation in light of new revelations. 

Lupe Guillen, another sister of Vanessa’s, told NPR that her sister wanted to be in the military since she was a little girl, “she wanted to be a fighter. She wanted to be a hero. She wanted to be someone in life. … The military failed her.

The family is now pushing for legislation to create an independent agency for soldiers who are victims of sexual harassment and assault. 

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Independence Day Drink

Independence Day D’USSE Cocktails

D’USSE Cognac should be top-of-mind for the Fourth of July holiday. Below is the cocktail recipe for a refreshing summer sipper that’s perfect to make this Independence Day weekend, called the D’USSE Watermelon Spritz.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 parts D’USSE VSOP
  • 0.5 part Aperol
  • 2 parts fresh watermelon juice
  • 0.5 part simple syrup
  • 0.5 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part Sparkling Wine

Garnish

  • ​Watermelon ball skewer & orange peel

Method

Add D’USSE, Aperol, watermelon juice, simple syrup and lemon juice into a shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into an ice filled wine glass.  Top with Sparkling Wine.  Garnish with a watermelon ball skewer and orange peel.

Follow D’USSE: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

wine, 360 MAGAZINE

July 4th Food × Wine Pairings

Independence Day is right around the corner, and while it may look a bit different this year with socially distanced grill outs and get togethers, Cameron Hughes Wine has got you covered with a food and wine pairing menu that features some of their most popular wines:

Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($18)

If you plan on grilling chicken with herbs or have any potato-based sides, this is going to be your go-to pairing. A welcome accompaniment to pasta salads as well, but don’t forget our friends in the sea. This will be perfect for those grilling shrimp, scallops, halibut steaks or swordfish.

Santa Barbara County White Blend ($14)

Not everyone wants a red wine with grilled meats and veggies. This is the perfectly robust and rich white to save the day. Just as at home with Chicken as it is Steak, the fuller body on this white blend will mingle perfectly on the palate with that classic “grilled” flavor on anything.

Lake County Muscat Canelli ($12)

Let’s face it, some folks just like a sweet wine. That’s totally fine, so go ahead and serve them pulled pork with the classic vinegar and spicy Carolina BBQ sauce, paired alongside this gem, perfect for cutting the fat, sweetening the vinegar, and taking a bit of the edge off of the spice.

Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon ($24)

At CHW, this wine affectionately falls into a lesser-known category of Napa reds – “Pork Reds” to be precise – a category reserved for non-Pinot Noir reds that are excellent accompaniments to grilled bone-in pork chops. A nice rub of Montreal chop seasoning, grilled medium rare, makes for perfect company with this elegantly structured Yountville Napa Cab.

Mendocino Field Blend ($13)

You’ll be hard pressed to find a better partner to a burger just off the grill. Irrelevant of fixins on your burger, this is the perfect wine to enjoy alongside any twist on the July 4th classic.

Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($17)

This is a grilled steak Zinfandel. No matter if it’s NY, Ribeye, Filet, or Tri-tip, this will be your best friend, and you won’t need to break the bank opening some Napa Valley big boy wine. This’ll do just right by your grilled tomahawk and your wallet.

About Cameron Hughes:

Cameron Hughes is a California vintner who has hacked the code on sourcing expensive wines on the cheap. As a wine trader, Cameron Hughes doesn’t own vineyards or a winery — his focus is on purely sourcing the best wines and negotiating the best price. Once acquired, the wines are bottled under the Cameron Hughes label and then offered at a fraction of the original price.

Eau Claire 2018 Events 

2018 Events that Shout Midwest Indie: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

 

Silver Mine Ski Invitational,http://flyingeaglesskiclub.org/events

SILVER MINE HILL | JANUARY 19-21

Thrill to the sight of ski jumpers from all over the world lifting off at the Silver Mine Hill during this invitational. It’s not unusual for them to soar the length of a football field. Now in its 132nd year.

 

Powder Keg Snowshoe and Fat-Bike Races,http://chippewaoffroad.org/powderkeg/

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY EXPO CENTER | JANUARY 27

It wouldn’t be a Wisconsin winter without a snowshoe race. Each year, the Chippewa Off-Road Bike Association hosts snowshoe and fat tire bike races on the Lowes Creek County Trails.

 

52nd Street at Eau Claire Jazz Festival,http://www.eauclairejazz.com/events/52nd-street/

DOWNTOWN EAU CLAIRE | APRIL 20

Downtown Eau Claire is transformed into a recreation of New York City’s historic 52nd Street, with the city’s bars and restaurants morphing into jazz nightclubs for this annual jazz festival.

 

10th Annual Eau Claire Marathon,http://www.eauclairemarathon.com/

EAU CLAIRE | MAY 6

Explore the trails, bridges and riverside views in an entirely new way. If you’re not running, cheer marathoners along as they log miles on the Chippewa and Eau Claire River route, or be the first to buy the “congratulatory” pitcher.

 

Blue Ox Music Festival, http://www.blueoxmusicfestival.com/

WHISPERING PINES CAMPGROUND | JUNE 14-16

The rich sounds of bluegrass plus music of modern string bands fill the outdoors in this family-friendly weekend festival, one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest.

 

Country Fest, http://www.countryfest.com/

CADOTT, WI | JUNE 21-23

This fest is three full days of darn good country music, camping, Fest Olympics, giant games, food, drink, and photo-ops. Don’t overlook the side stages either, giving fest-goers more reasons to kick up their heels.

Fourth of July at Carson Park

CARSON PARK | JULY 4

Historic field, baseball, stadium food, games and fireworks. There’s not much more families looking to ring in Independence Day in classic style could ask for than this little slice of Americana.

 

Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival,http://eauxclaires.com/

FOSTER FARMS | JULY 6-7

It’s as magical as you’ve heard. Taking place right along the Chippewa River, the diverse music, art installations, dance moves, and glowing smiles let first-time visitors know they’ve made the right decision. Now in its fourth year, this is the creative brainchild of Eau Claire native and Bon Iver frontman, Justin Vernon.

 

25th Annual Rock Fest, http://www.rock-fest.com/

CADOTT, WI | JULY 12-14

This festival has been rockin’ for decades. Featuring the best of active, classic and legendary rock musicians. Set on 320 acres of picturesque land with thousands of campsites. Considered the largest “rock and camping fest” in the U.S.

 

U.S. National Kubb Championship,http://www.usakubb.org/championship-info.php

EAU CLAIRE SOCCER PARK | JULY 13-15

Known as the Kubb Capitol of the U.S., Eau Claire is the home of the U.S. National Kubb Championships. For the unfamiliar, Kubb is a cross between bowling and horseshoes and is the game Vikings played. Join the “blockheads” as they compete for the Kubb King title.

 

Country Jam, http://www.countryjamwi.com/

FOSTER FARMS | JULY 19-21

The hottest country music stars converge in Eau Claire each year for this outdoor music festival. Rabid fans shell out for the VIP Experience to get the best seats in the house, then camp under the stars.

 

Chippewa Valley Restaurant Week

CHIPPEWA VALLEY | SEPTEMBER

Eau Claire is known for its Instagram-worthy dishes, so it makes perfect culinary sense that there be a celebration in honor of farm-to-table edibles and garden-to-glass libations. Special menus plus food-themed events that raise money for community causes are all part of this 10-day foodie favorite.

 

Light Up Eau Claire New Year’s Eve,http://www.visiteauclaire.com/lightupeauclaire/

DOWNTOWN EAU CLAIRE | DECEMBER 31

Replicated in honor of Australia’s “Lismore Lantern Parade” celebrating the winter solstice, Eau Claire brings a little bit of the outback to the Midwest with its own lantern parade to ring in the new year. Live music at a variety of stages. A flourish of fireworks caps off the night.