{{CFirstName}}, you are receiving this e-newsletter because you are on our list of Chamber investors that have shown interest in public policy issues.  If you don't want to receive these emails, click the following link:


Volume 4 , Issue 51, May 9, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce


Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

Advocacy Blog


May 20 Eggs & Issues: Tackling our Child Care Challenges

Child care has been increasingly cited as one of the most difficult workforce challenges for parents and employers in today's economy. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll learn more about the local Chippewa Valley Child Care Task Force as it works to understand the scope of the problem, define the core issues, and identify potential innovations and policy changes needed to move towards solutions.

 • Friday May 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
    Click here for details and to register


Sunset Welcome Reception

Honoring newly-elected city council and school board members

A special welcome reception to honor newly-elected local officials. We're inviting those elected for the first time on April 5 to the Altoona and Eau Claire City Councils, and Altoona and Eau Claire School Boards to join us for this informal opportunity to meet and interact with Chamber investors. (This event immediately follows the Chamber's Business at the Gardens that evening.)

 • Tuesday, May 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m., The Florian Gardens

    Click here for details and to register

    Business at the Gardens (preceding event: click here for details)


In this issue:

 • Country Jam annexation going to City Council

 • City Atty wants to end liquor licenses for The Plus, Metro, The Rev

 • "Empower Eau Claire" participatory budgeting voting ends Friday

 • Altoona Comprehensive Plan open house on May 18

 • Eau Claire School Board elects officers

 • Eau Claire's Dave Minor is Mid-America Chamber Exec of the Year

 • Pablo Director Anderson named Champion of Arts

 • Dana Wachs appointed to Board of Regents

 • Evers brings cabinet to Eau Claire

 • COVID-19 updates 

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


Country Jam annexation moves to City Council

Also on this week's agenda: Liquor license renewals for The Plus, The Rev, and The Metro

   After a positive recommendation from the Plan Commission last week, Country Jam USA's annexation request goes to the Eau Claire City Council for action at its Tuesday Legislative Session this week. County Jam seeks to annex 160 acres along Highway T, south of 20th Avenue, slated to be the future site of its annual festival beginning in 2023. The property is currently in the Chippewa County Town of Wheaton. Annexation will allow city utilities to be extended to the site (see pages 175-178 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). An annexation request requires a 2/3 vote of the Council.

City Attorney recommends against renewing liquor licenses

   Also on Tuesday's agenda are the renewal of the two liquor licenses for downtown Eau Claire establishments The Plus and The Rev (one license), and the Metro (the other license), currently held by Benny Haas. The City Attorney's office has recommended against renewal, arguing that they have been abandoned and that “the businesses have been closed for extended periods of time beyond the 90 days permitted by city ordinance and failed to provide accurate plans for reopening.” Haas told the Leader-Telegram and Volume One that he has faced setbacks accomplishing renovations and that he plans to reopen the venues as soon as possible. The Rev has posted once weekly open hours and has hosted special events. (See pages 64-143).

   Other Tuesday agenda items include an amendment to the City's Room Tax ordinance to align with recently-passed state statutes related to short term rentals like Airbnb (pages 179-182), acceptance of a bid for the City to purchase a License Plate Recognition system for parking enforcement (pages 49-50), a poultry license for 4326 Clover Drive (pages 54-63), and special events including Tangled Up in Hue's Artist Market on Saturdays in Phoenix Park (pages 16-18), Eau Claire Municipal Band concerts on Wednesday nights in Owen Park (pages 19-20), and Volume One's Sounds Like Summer series on Thursdays in Phoenix Park (pages 21-22). The agenda includes first reading of an annexation request related to the proposed Orchard Hills southwest of the City on land currently in the Town of Washington (pages 184-189). That request will go next to the Plan Commission on May 16. 

   The only item on Monday's Public Hearing agenda is a proposed street right-of-way vacation south of Mitchell Avenue related to development of the property (see Monday Agenda Packet linked below). 

   After Tuesday's Legislative Session, the Council will hold a Work Session to discuss remote participation in meetings, and the potential allocation process for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. 

More information:   

Eau Claire City Council

• Monday, May 9, 7 p.m., Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (7 pages)

• Tuesday, May 10, 4 p.m. Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (192 pages)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Future Country JAM site annexing to Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

City Moves to Pull Liquor Licenses from The Plus, The Metro (Volume One)

Trio of downtown Eau Claire businesses in jeopardy of losing liquor licenses (Leader-Telegram $)


"Empower Eau Claire" voting ends Friday

   City of Eau Claire residents have until this Friday, May 13, to vote on which of 14 nominated projects will share in $300,000 the City Council allocated in its capital budget for its participatory budgeting project known as "Empower Eau Claire."

   The 14 finalist projects were selected from those proposed through meetings with city residents late last year, then underwent a process to evaluate them for practicality and impact. Voting is open to all City residents 6th grade on up.

More information:

Empower Eau Claire ballot access and projects preview (City of Eau Claire)

THE VOTE IS ON: E.C. Residents Can Pick Public Projects in Unique Vote (Volume One)


Altoona Comprehensive Plan Open House on May 18

   The City of Altoona is inviting residents to an Open House take part in reviewing and providing feedback on its 2022 Draft Comprehensive Plan. This drop-in-style event will be hosted by the City of Altoona and their planning consultant, Vandewalle & Associates.

More information:

City of Altoona Comprehensive Plan Public Open House
• Wednesday, May 18, 6-8 p.m.

   Fish House Recreation Center, 418 9th Street West, Altoona

   Visit AltoonaCompPlan.com for the latest information


EC School Board reelects Nordin as President

   At its organizational meeting last Monday, the Eau Claire Board of Education reelected Tim Nordin as President, Lori Bica as Vice President, and Marquell Johnson as Clerk. Board Member Phil Lyons was elected Treasurer, replacing Aaron Harder, who resigned from the Board earlier this year and did not seek reelection this spring. This was the first meeting for newly-elected member Stephanie Farrar. Nordin and Johnson were reelected on April 5.

   Before the meeting began, three individuals confronted the Board and notified it that they were filing a complaint against its bond insurance for alleged violations of state, federal, and international law. With them exhibiting disruptive behavior, Board President Nordin asked them to leave. He contacted law enforcement when they initially refused, but they departed before officers arrived. The group's  arguments reflect unconventional legal strategies promoted by a group called "Bonds for the Win" that seek to challenge surety bonds posted by boards and agencies, but which are not legitimate, according to education officials, insurance companies and the FBI. 

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, May 2, Agenda packet

Eau Claire Board of Education

EC school board accused of violating several state, federal and international laws (Leader-Telegram $)

There’s A New Technique For Intimidating School Boards. It Involves Bonds And Golf. (Forbes)

'Paper terrorism': Parents against mask mandates bombard school districts with sham legal claims (NBC News)


Dave Minor named Mid-America Chamber Exec of the Year

   David Minor, President and CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, was recognized as "Chamber Exec of the Year" by the Mid-America Chamber Executives at its annual conference in Sioux Falls, SD, on May 6.

  The executive of the year award is presented to a chamber executive "who has demonstrated a vision, commitment and passion for the advancement of their chamber and community as a whole. The nominees in this category have proven to others that they are the 'gold standard' in chamber leadership and are proven to have the vision for future chamber members to follow."

   Minor has led the staff at the Eau Claire Chamber since 2017. Before that, he served 23 years at the Superior Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce. 

   The Mid-America Chamber Executives is the professional association for Chamber staff members and leaders in the North Central states of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

More information:

Congratulations to Dave Minor (Facebook)


Pablo Center's Anderson receives "Champion of Arts" Award

   Announced in conjunction with the Annual River Prairie Festival this past Saturday, Pablo Center Executive Director Jason Jon Anderson was named 2022 "Champion of Arts" by the City of Altoona and the Eau Claire Area Development Corporation (EDC). Presented annually, the award recognizes a community leader for exceptional advocacy, innovation, and sustained collaborations within the arts community of the Chippewa Valley.

   Anderson was recognized for his leadership role for the arts community in response the the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the arts economy. He was part of a coalition that created the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which advocated locally and nationally for federal relief on behalf of shuttered live music venues, artists, and promoters. His role was not only to advocate with legislators and administrations for the funds but to ensure communication with organizations throughout the pandemic regarding these resources.  Jason’s efforts resulted in Wisconsin receiving over $231 million in federal funds for those entities, with nearly $15.5 million going to 19 organizations in the greater Chippewa Valley. 

More information:

Executive Director of Pablo Center named 2022 Champion of Arts recipient (WEAU 13 News)

City of Altoona and Eau Claire Area EDC announce 2022 Champion of Arts recipient (715Newsroom)

River Prairie Festival celebrates Chippewa Valley art (WEAU 13 News)


More local news:


Blugold biology alumna interviewed for ‘60 Minutes’ on child mental health (UWEC)


Renaissance Festival Born Anew in Chippewa Falls (Volume One)


Dana Wachs among three named to UW Board of Regents

   Eau Claire attorney Dana Wachs is among three individuals named by Governor Tony Evers last week to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Wachs is a partner at Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs. He formerly served on the Eau Claire City Council and was elected to three terms as a Democrat in the State Assembly representing District 91.

   “After many years advocating for the UW System in the Legislature, it is truly an honor to be appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Evers,” Wachs said in a news release.

   Evers' appointments also included Angela Adams, Chief Communications and Diversity Officer of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago, and Jennifer Staton, a student at UW-Parkside, to fill one of two 2-year student positions on the Regents. Wachs and Adams, who will serve seven-year terms, replace current Regents Michael M. Grebe and Andrew “Drew” Petersen, who were appointed by Governor Scott Walker. Also serving on the 18-member Board is Eau Claire attorney Ed Manydeeds, who is currently its Chair.

More information:

Board of Regents (UW System)

Gov. Evers Appoints Three Regents to the UW Board of Regents (Office of the Governor)

Evers appoints 3 regents to the UW Board of Regents (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire attorney, former legislator, named to UW System Board of Regents (Leader-Telegram $)

Tony Evers appoints three to UW Board of Regents amid changing leadership (The Cap Times)

Gov. Tony Evers appoints 3 to UW System Board of Regents, widening majority (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Evers brings cabinet to Eau Claire

   Governor Tony Evers held a cabinet meeting last week at UW-Eau Claire, and brought members of the cabinet to Osseo, Altoona, Menomonie, and Eau Claire to discuss economic development and recovery at several businesses.

More information:

Gov. Evers, Evers Administration Cabinet Take 'Cabinet on the Road' to Western Wisconsin (Office of the Governor)

Gov. Evers visits Chippewa Valley cities to discuss economic and recovery efforts (WQOW News 18)

Evers tours The Brewing Projekt, touts economic growth (Leader-Telegram $)


Eight incumbent Republican legislators face primary challenges

   With candidates currently circulating nominating petitions, WisPolitics.com is reporting that eight incumbent members of the State Senate and Assembly are facing challenges in the August 9 Primary. Among those with challengers are Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg). 

   WisPolitics notes that "Insiders have been watching to see whether an organized effort would develop to challenge GOP incumbents in the primary over complaints from some in the base about how Republican lawmakers have approached various claims -- many of them false -- about the 2020 election."

   "One of the concerns candidates vying for Republican seats cited to WisPolitics.com was election administration. Adam Steen, who is running for Vos' seat, told WisPolitics.com the Rochester Republican's words don't line up with his actions when it comes to elections. Steen said he's running against Vos because he has 'stopped fighting for the people.' At a rally last weekend, Steen referred to the speaker as a 'treasonous traitor.'"

   In this region Rep. James Edming (R-Ladysmith) is being challenged by Taylor County Supervisor Michael Bub. Others with challengers circulating petitions are  Senators Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), and Reps. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville), Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva), and Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield). 



More state and regional news:


Wisconsin groups shift legal focus to new legislative district maps (WPR)


Second judge rules records cannot be deleted in Gableman election investigation (WPR)


Gableman at rally accuses big city mayors, Elections Commission of rigging 2020 election (WisPolitics.com)


Kenosha residents to vote Aug 9 on increased funding for police, firefighters (58 WDJT)


Central Wisconsin business groups say worker shortage is a dire threat to region (WPR)


The Great Resignation has no end date (Axios What's Next)


‘They can bring so much’: Despite barriers, Afghan evacuees enrich Wisconsin’s workforce (Wisconsin Watch)


Wisconsin tourism spending outperforms national average compared to 2019 (WisBusiness.com)


Kohl's Corp. future uncertain as investor fight nears end, sale of company considered. 4,000 area jobs, corporate headquarters at risk. (Journal-Sentinel $)


National and economic news:


Rapid Pace of U.S. Job Growth Stretched Into April (Wall Street Journal $)
Employers added 428,000 jobs—the 12th month of gains above 400,000—and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6%


Fed raises interest rates by a half point for first time in 20 years as it ratchets up inflation fight (Fox Business)


Stocks fall on Friday to close out tumultuous week, Dow drops for sixth straight week (CNBC)


American Consumers Are Shopping, Traveling and Working Out Like It’s 2019 (Wall Street Journal $)


Worker output fell 7.5% in the first quarter, the biggest decline since 1947 (CNBC)


Study: 20% of retirees plan to head back to work this year (HRDive)


Trade schools see student boom for offering careers ‘within grasp’ (Fox Business)


Sen. Tammy Baldwin talks about supply chain aid through China bill (Spectrum news)


U.S. Takes First Step Towards Four-Year China Tariffs Review (SupplyChainBrain)


Airbnb CEO says staff can ‘live and work anywhere’ (CNBC)


What Does Affordable Housing Do to Nearby Property Values? (Bloomberg +)


COVID-19 Updates

What COVID might look like in the U.S. once we reach the endemic phase (WPR)

Drugs to prevent COVID-19 complications plentiful in Wisconsin, officials say (Wisconsin State 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:


Working Mothers Luncheon

• Thursday, May 12, The Florian Gardens


Business at the Gardens

• Tuesday, May 17, The Florian Gardens


Sunset Reception

Honoring newly-elected public officials

• Tuesday, May 17, The Florian Gardens


Eggs & Issues: Tackling Our Child Care Challenges

• Friday, May 20, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Eggs & Issues: Our Energy Future

• Friday, June 17, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Business Day in Madison

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Next up on the public calendar:


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


Partisan Primary
US Senate (Tammy Baldwin seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts) Assembly, Governor , Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court

 • Wed, Jun 1, Filing deadline for primary (Wisconsin Elections Commission)

 • Tuesday, Aug 9, Primary Election


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


General Election
 • Tuesday, November 8


Public Meetings Calendar

Our Public Meetings Calendar is moving to our website. Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


City of Altoona City calendar (with links to agendas)
Meeting and video links
Mayor and City Council Members

• Tuesday, May 10, 1 p.m. Altoona Housing Authority

• Tuesday, May 10, 5:30 p.m. Plan Commission

• Tuesday, May 10, 5:30 p.m. Public Hearing

• Wednesday, May 11, 6 p.m. Public Info Meeting

• Thursday, May 12, 6 p.m. City Council Meeting

• Thursday, May 12, 6:05 p.m. Public Hearing | Rezoning

• Wednesday, May 18, 6 p.m. Comprehensive Plan Open House

• Thursday, May 19, 6 p.m. Joint Meeting of the City Council & Plan Commission


City of Eau Claire Full calendar  
City Council Members (City of Eau Claire)
Link to video recordings of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

 • Monday, May 9, 7 p.m. City Council Public Hearing

 • Tuesday, May 10, 4 p.m. City Council Legislative Session

 • Tuesday, May 10, 7 p.m. Zoning Board of Appeals

 • Wednesday, May 11, 5 p.m. Housing Opportunities Commission

 • Monday, May 16, 7 p.m. Plan Commission

 • Wednesday, May 18, 7:30 a.m. Redevelopment Authority 

 • Wednesday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. Sustainability Advisory Committee

 • Monday, May 23, 7 p.m. City Council Public Hearing

 • Tuesday, May 24, 4 p.m. City Council Legislative Session


City of Augusta

City website
Village of Fall Creek
Village Board


Town of Washington
Town website
Altoona School District
Altoona School Board

• Monday, May 16, 6:30 p.m.

Eau Claire Area School District
Board of Education


Augusta School District 
Augusta School Board


Fall Creek School District 
School Board


Chippewa Valley Technical College
District Board


Eau Claire County Full calendar

County Board District Maps
County Board District Representative 

Link to recordings of past meetings 

 • Monday, May 9, 3 p.m. ADRC Board

 • Monday, May 9, 5 p.m. Committee on Park & Forest

 • Tuesday, May 10, 7 p.m. Committee on Planning & Development

 • Monday, May 16, 1 p.m. Land Conservation Committee

 • Monday, May 16, 5 p.m. Committee on Finance & Budget

 • Tuesday, May 17, 7 p.m. County Board of Supervisors

 • Wednesday, May 18, 4 p.m. Committee on Judiciary & Law Enforcement

 •  Friday, May 20, 7:30 a.m. Airport Commission

 •  Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m. Committee on Planning & Development 


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 

This email was sent on behalf of {{TCDisplayName}} located at {{TCADDRAddress1}}{{TCADDRAddress2}}{{TCADDRCity}}{{TCADDRStateProvince}} {{TCADDRPostalCode}}To unsubscribe click here. If you have questions or comments concerning this email contact {{TCDisplayName}} at {{TCEmailAddress}}.