Small town booms echo in the big city

A mysterious news story caught my eye yesterday morning. While I live and work in Chicago, I like to keep up to date with the good old hometown news in southern Wisconsin every so often.  It is after all, where I was born and raised.

The small town of Clintonville was literally shaken up by loud booming noises in the middle of the night that shook and vibrated windows. It had residents walking into the streets trying to figure out what the booms were.

You can read an updated story here:

After consulting with the military, checking methane levels in the landfill, checking on mining and construction projects in the area, the booms remained a mystery until today when it was determined that a small 1.5 magnitude earthquake struck the small town. Hopefully this news has alleviated some of the resident’s anxieties.

The story about a small town in Wisconsin made the Chicago Tribune too, to my surprise. As I read the story, captivated by the mystery, my curiosity took a different turn upon reading some of the comments on the story.

“It’s the sound of the rednecks cutting their cheese,” one reads.

Others seemed to find it ridiculous that such a thing even made headlines; meanwhile Blagojevich’s hair turning gray in prison remained a top story.

I didn’t know whether to laugh, or to be offended. Really, I just reminisced.

While the Bears and the Packers may never get along, I would like to think that small communities like the one I grew up in could be seen as friendly neighbors to Chicagoans. It really is possible to love both a small town and a big city at the same time.

There’s really no place like home. Southern Wisconsin will always be the place I consider my true home. Where you can walk outside in the summer and smell people grilling. Everyone knows the pizza place downtown, the local library, and the high school where students come and go as I did 5 years ago.

And the city is filled with endless places and exciting feats yet to be explored. A place where there is always something going on, where there is a Starbucks on every corner, and hopping on the el is [sometimes] a quick way to get to the next neighborhood.

It is bittersweet to leave either one of these places, and each one makes me appreciate the other.

I am glad Clintonville residents finally have somewhat of an answer to the mysterious booming. I hope everyone from small towns up north can feel the support of their neighbors in this magnificent city, and I hope Chicagoans have a chance to know the value of a small town.


  1. There’s a load of big city/little city bias in this area, and in many other states and regions. It even exists suburb to suburb, and I suspect within The Great State Of Wisconsin as well. And if you’re not familiar with North Side v. South Side, you will be pretty soon. It’s part of the last vestiges of ethnic and geographic provinciality, and I doubt it will disappear any time soon. But it’s gotten better: you shoulda been around here in the ’60s when I was a lad! (Nice piece, btw!)

  2. One of the reasons I really like my hometown is that it is relatively close to both Chicago and miles of woods. I can go to either with ease! But I know what you mean about big cities being hard on the small towns. I’m pretty sure some small-towners have similar negative perceptions of the cities. Each has definitely got its ups and downs! I wouldn’t what to be constrained to either forever.

  3. your such a good writer, you should be working for the chicago chamber of commerce or tourism bureau.

    Or ambassador to cheeseland

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