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Volume 5, Issue 41, Feb 27, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Chippewa Valley Rally rescheduled - New Date March 29

The Rally brings business and community leaders from Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire Counties to spend the day in Madison to discuss key Chippewa Valley economic concerns with state policymakers. This year is extra-important with deliberations are underway for the state's 2023-25 biennial budget. Please register as soon as possible, but no later than Friday, March 10

Wednesday, Mar 29, Madison

   Click here for more details and to register


Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

With the legislative session in full swing and biennial state budget deliberations underway, we've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to give us an update and answer questions.

 • Friday, Mar 31, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for more details and to register


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

Wednesday, Apr 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., UWEC Davies Center

   Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Altoona" 

Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and City Administrator Mike Golat lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City during the past year, and its priorities for the rest of 2023.

 • Friday, Apr 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

    Click here for more details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Local commercial real estate vacancies are low, Commonweal reports

 • EC City Council: Transit Center housing, open liquor license decision

 • Protasiewicz, Kelly will face off for Wisconsin Supreme Court in April

 • Evers tours the state to sell budget proposals

 • National and economic stories

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Chippewa Valley Rally seeking participants 

Event rescheduled to March 29

   After last week's snowstorm forced postponement of the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally, organizers quickly set a new date of Wednesday, March 29. Since some previously-registered participants will be unable to attend the new date, additional registrants are being sought. 

   The Rally brings around 100 business and community leaders from Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire Counties to spend the day in Madison to bring key Chippewa Valley economic concerns to state policymakers. The new legislative session is now underway, with lawmakers preparing to craft the 2023-25 state budget. With key local projects on the line and critical workforce- and tax-related issues to be addressed, that means it's an especially important year to make a strong regional impact in Madison.

More information:

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, March 29, Madison (New Date!)

    Click here for details and to register

    Click here to read the full 2023 Issues Statements

Chippewa Valley Rally Will be a Capitol Time (Volume One)


Local commercial vacancies low, Commonweal reports;

Wisconsin homes sales decline, but prices still above last year

   Local commercial real estate vacancies fell in 2022, according to the recently-issued annual Eau Claire Area Commercial Real Estate Market Report by Commonweal Development. Meanwhile, local home sales in January echoed a statewide trend, with fewer transactions than the year before, but with prices continuing to be higher.

   “Commercial real estate fared well in 2022 despite continued construction cost inflation and rising interest rates,” said Commonweal President Stuart Schaefer in the Commercial Real Estate Market Report. “Given its regional strength and recent signs of growth, we believe the Eau Claire region will continue to prosper and the commercial real estate market will continue to perform well, primarily as a result of the regions’ growth.”

   "Wisconsin existing home sales fell 33.8% in January 2023 relative to January 2022, and the median price of homes that closed in January rose 8.5% over that same 12-month period to $250,000," said the Wisconsin Realtors Association in its January 2023 Home Sales Report. According to WRA data, total sales in Eau Claire County in January were down 42% from last year, while the median price of $265,000 was up 7.3% from 2022.

More information:

2022 Eau Claire Area Commercial Real Estate Market Report (Commonweal Development)

Business building vacancies dwindle in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

January 2023 Wisconsin Real Estate Report (Wisconsin Realtors Association)

Year starts slow for home sales (Leader-Telegram $)


EC City Council: Development agreement for transit center housing, 3 seek one open city liquor license 

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week, with several street projects on the Public Hearing agenda for Monday evening. This week's list includes projects on Fourth Street, McKinley and Roosevelt Avenues, Meadow Lane, and Rudolph Road. (See pages 5-21 in the Monday Agenda Packet linked below.)

   The road projects will be acted upon at Tuesday's Legislative Session. Its agenda also includes approval of a development and purchase agreement with Merge Urban Development to construct an apartment building with 80 predominately workforce multi-family with at least 40 units at rents affordable to renters with family incomes of 80% of the county median income. (See pages 119-138 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below.)

   On Tuesday, the Council will also decide whether to award the one open Combination Class B alcohol license that was given up recently by The Metro when it failed to open in time for a negotiated deadline. Three entities have applied for it, including Country Jam, which is developing a new venue on the northwest side along Highway T, Silly Serrano Mexican Restaurant, and The Good Wives restaurant. The City's License Review Committee met last week and had no objection to any of the applicants. (See pages 43-118 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet.)

   City staff is also seeking approval to apply for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law federal funding to replace the Dewey Street Bridge (pages 150-154).

Strategic Planning Session, Local Vehicle Registration Fee Study Session

   After Tuesday's formal meeting, the Council will conduct a 20-minute study session reviewing its strategic planning for 2023, and will have a work session to talk further about a potential Local Vehicle Registration Fee. At a public meeting about the potential Local Vehicle Registration Fee last Thursday, City officials said, if enacted, proceeds would go to reduce assessments and debt. There are about 50,000 vehicles within the City. If the annual fee was between $10 and $25 annually, it would raise between $500,000 and $1.265 million. The City Council could act as soon as its March 28 meeting, in which case the fee would be effective July 1.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Feb 27, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (21 pages)

 • Tuesday, Feb 28, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (195 pages)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)

Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

City of E.C. Considers City Wells for New Mountain Bike Trails (Volume One)

Eau Claire city leaders show interest in wheel tax (Leader-Telegram $)

3 Eau Claire businesses vying for single Class B liquor license (WQOW News 18)

Three vie for Eau Claire liquor license (Leader-Telegram $)

City to provide $5M incentive for apartments atop transfer center (Leader-Telegram $)

Price for fixing Eau Claire's PFAS problem growing (Leader-Telegram $)

Our View: Wheel tax needs scrutiny (Leader-Telegram Editorial $)


More local stories:


Altoona leaders to review 12 applicants for container park spaces (Leader-Telegram $)

Altoona hits $1 billion milestone in 2022 (Leader-Telegram $)


Chippewa Valley Technical College receives grant for rural healthcare training (WQOW News 18)


New L-T tabloid format debuts Monday (Leader-Telegram $)


Videos: Volume One announces 2023 Vanguard Award Winners - Dennis Beale, Dr Tom Sather, Ann Sessions (Volume One) 


Chamber ribbon cutting - After closing in 2021 and being sold in 2022, Pizza Del Re is back (WEAU 13 News)


Chippewa Falls planning public hearing on future of pool (Leader-Telegram $)


New clinic program helps those in drug recovery (Leader-Telegram $)


Menard Center for Constitutional Studies to host

two events relating to free speech

•  “‘Speech Is Powerful’: A Conversation with Megan Phelps-Roper” will begin at 5:30 p.m. March 8 in Room 1614 of Centennial Hall. A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper will talk about becoming deradicalized through conversations with her supposed “enemies” online.
• “The Future of Free Speech on Campus” will begin at 5:30 p.m. May 1 in Room 100 of Hibbard Hall. Some of the country’s leading experts on the state of free speech on college campuses will discuss what the future may hold for academia. Panelists include Donald Downs, Alexander Meiklejohn professor of political science emeritus at UW-Madison; Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE); and Amna Khalid, associate professor of history at Carleton College.

More information:

About the Menard Center or Constitutional Studies (UWEC)

Menard Center for Constitutional Studies to host two events relating to free speech (UWEC)




Business Matters Podcast: Eau Claire Event District (Country Jam)

In this episode, Chamber President & CEO Dave Minor talks with Country Jam's Kathy Wright about Jam’s new home called the Eau Claire Event District and why it is more than just Country Jam.

Podcast: Business Matters Episode 14 (39:07, YouTube, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


Kelly, Protasiewicz advance to April 4 Supreme Court ballot

    Former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz were the top two with the most votes in last Tuesday's Supreme Court Primary Election, advancing to face off on April 4 for a 10-year term on the court.

   Elsewhere, State Rep. Dan Knodl won a three-way Republican Primary for the Wisconsin State Senate Seat in District 8, the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. He will face Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin in the April 4 Special Election to fill the unexpired term of former State Senator Alberta Darling, who resigned in November. 

   The April non-partisan election will include local races for municipal councils and boards, and local school board seats.

More information:

Election 2023: Guide to the Local Spring Election (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)

Kelly to face Protasiewicz in state Supreme Court race (WisPolitics.com)

Conservatives call for unity after scrappy Wisconsin Supreme Court primary (Wisconsin State Journal)

Abortion, redistricting loom large over Wisconsin Supreme Court race (The Cap Times)

Wisconsin judge OKs ballot measures for April election (AP)

Wisconsin Supreme Court primary turnout tops 20% (AP)

Local voter turnout up significantly in state Supreme Court primary (Leader-Telegram $)

Trump-backed state lawmaker loses Wisconsin primary (AP)


Evers travels around the state to sell his proposed budget

   After delivering his Budget Message on Feb 15, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has toured the state, emphasizing specific budget proposals, such as dedicating 20 percent of the state sales tax to local government aid.

More information:

Budget message text (Office of the Governor)

Video: Budget Message (48:35, YouTube, Office of the Governor)

2021-23 Executive Budget as proposed by Gov Evers (Dept of Administration)

Gov. Evers Visits Racine, Eau Claire, and Wausau Touting Plan to Send 20 Percent of State’s Sales Tax Back to Local Communities (Office of the Governor)

Gov. Evers touts proposed aid to cities in Eau Claire visit (Leader-Telegram $)

Local government advocates confident a fix to 'broken' shared revenue program will happen this year (WPR)

Video: Shared Revenue & Funding for Local Governments (Wisconsin Eye)

Evers continues to pitch budget priorities as effort to address workforce shortage (WisPolitics.com)

Gov. Evers proposes $305M boost for UW System in state budget proposal (WPR)


More state and regional stories:


Republicans set their first 2024 presidential primary debate for Milwaukee (PBS Wisconsin)


Virginia creates universal license recognition for 85 occupations (Office of Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin)


Wisconsin Supreme Court knocks down 'dark stores' argument by siding against retailer that sought to shrink property tax bill (WPR)


All aboard: New service line between Milwaukee, St. Paul, Chicago could be available as soon as late 2023 (WPR)


Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce: Announces strategic workforce partnership with New Horizons of Wisconsin and Mission Wisconsin (WisBusiness.com)


Democrat Tony Earl, former Wisconsin governor, dies at 86 (AP)


6 key takeaways from County Executive David Crowley's State of the County address (Journal-Sentinel +)


National and economic stories:


Jobless Claims Edged Lower week of Feb 13 (Wall Street Journal $)


Key Fed inflation measure rose 0.6% in January, more than expected (CNBC)


Fed officials signal more rate hikes likely amid sticky inflation, minutes show (Fox Business)


Covid’s ‘legacy of weirdness’: Layoffs spread, but some employers can’t hire fast enough (CNBC)


Wis Rep Gallagher speaks on U.S. relations with China amid 'new Cold War' (Fox 11 News)


Congress is back. Rail safety is on the menu. (Politico Transportation)

The East Palestine Derailment Blame Game (The Dispatch)

Derailment Facts Emerge (Axios)

Committed to a Safe Chemical Supply Chain: Union Pacific Maintains Industry-Best Certification (Union Pacific Inside Track)


White House announces new sanctions against Russia on invasion anniversary (Politico)


China issues peace plan; Zelenskyy says he’ll await details (AP)


The return to the office could be the real reason for the slump in productivity. Here’s the data to prove it (Fortune)


Jimmy Carter’s ‘Malaise’ Speech Aged Well (Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal $)

Appreciating Jimmy Carter, outspoken but ‘never irrelevant’ (AP)


A dramatic shift from a generation ago: Americans are increasingly forgoing or delaying marriage (Axios)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 


Lab Leak Most Likely Origin of Covid-19 Pandemic, Energy Department Now Says (Wall Street Journal $)


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, March 29, Madison (NEW DATE)


Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Mar 31, CVTC Business Education Center


Spring Non-Partisan Election

Election 2023: Guide to the Spring Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

• Tuesday, April 4 


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

• Wednesday, Apr 19, UWEC Davies Center


Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona

 • Friday, April 21, River Prairie Center


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org