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Volume 4 , Issue 45, Mar 28, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce


Coming up:


Last chance to register...

Eau What A Night - The Chamber's 107th Annual Meeting

 • Thursday, March 31, The Florian Gardens
  Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues - "State of Altoona"
  • Thursday, April 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

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 2022.
Click here for details and to register

News in this issue:

 • April 5 election: Contested races for City Council, School Board, County Board

 • Real Estate: Inventory down, fewer sales, higher prices

 • EC City Council: Additional funding for parking portion of Transit Center

 • EC School Board approves health insurance changes

 • Last chance to apply for employer child care grants

 • US Supreme Court throws out legislative maps, Congressional maps stand

 • Bills signed to protect healthcare workers, decriminalize fentanyl tests
 • 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 "+"


April 5 Election: City Council, School Board, County Board

Contested races, retirements will lead to turnover in seats

Early voting open through Friday, April 1

   Wisconsin voters go to the polls on Tuesday, April 5, in a non-partisan election to select members of City Councils, Town Boards, School Boards, County Board, and Judgeships.

   In Eau Claire County, we'll see new faces in many of these offices, since a large number of incumbents are not seeking election. Voters will make choices in contested races for five at-large seats on the Eau Claire City Council, three seats on the Eau Claire Board of Education, and 21 of 29 district seats on the Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors.

  Current office holders not on the ballot this spring include Eau Claire City Council Members Catherine Emmanuelle, David Klinkhammer, and Jon Lor; Altoona City Council Member Maria Guzman; Eau Claire School Board Member Aaron Harder; Altoona School Board Members Dave Rowe and Dan Gluch; and Eau Claire County Board Supervisors Collen Bates, Gary Gibson, Chris Hambuch-Boyle, Melissa Janssen, Sandra McKinney, Martha Nieman, and Zoe Roberts. Bates, currently the Board's First Vice Chair, has been a Supervisor for 38 years. 


Click this link to find who is on your ballot


Where do candidates stand on key business issues?

   The Eau Claire Chamber does not endorse candidates, but provides voter education to help investors and the public make informed choices. Our Good Government Council develops questionnaires for candidates to provide them an opportunity to convey their thoughts on issues of importance to the business community. 

Click here for a recap of local races and links to candidate questionnaires


• Early voting available through April 1

   Voters who wish to cast an in-person absentee ballot can do so at local municipalities on weekdays through Friday, April 1. Click the following like to get details on locations and hours: Early voting 

• Tuesday, April 5, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   To find your polling place and what's on your ballot: MyVoteWi.gov


Real Estate: Inventory down, fewer sales, higher prices

   The Wisconsin Realtors Association reported last week that February home sales slipped 4.7% compared to February 2021 as inventories continued to tighten in 2022. With demand conditions remaining strong, the statewide price rose 9.3% over the past 12 months to $235,000.

   Locally, 77 homes sold in Eau Claire County, 8 fewer than last year, while the median sale price in the county was $285,000, up $70,000.  

More information:

Home Sales Report: Weak Inventories Limit February Home Sales and Drive Prices Higher (Wisconsin Realtors Association)

February home sales down, but Realtors say winter still a success (Leader-Telegram$)

In Hot Housing Market, Real Estate Transfer Revenues Near All-Time High (Wisconsin Policy Forum)


EC City Council approves additional funding for parking portion of Transit Center

City meetings going back to in-person

   At the Eau City Council's Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Council approved a resolution to finishing the transit and parking portions of the project without the workforce housing that had been anticipated to be built above it - at least for now (see pages 156-158 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The City has not been able to confirm an agreement with any private developer to build the second level of parking and the housing above the center at terms acceptable to the City, which had been anticipated to be part of the project. Therefore, according to the summary/background information provided by City staff, the plan for now is for the City to take over responsibility for completing the full parking structure, but also to provide "for the construction of all parking and shared elements necessary to most economically construct workforce housing in the future." The resolution also points out that the full amount of planned parking is needed given the expectation that the Gibson ramp will be taken out of service within the next few years. The move keeps the door open for securing a housing project above the Transit Center, especially since losing that option could jeopardize the $5 million federal grant the city received for the project.

City meetings going back to in-person format

   Also last week, the Council decided to end virtual meetings and will go back to an in-person format for the City Council, as well as other commissions and committees.
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Mar 21, Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (43 pages)
 • Tuesday, Mar 22, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (197 pages)
Link to video recordings of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Council OKs millions more for transfer center (Leader-Telegram $)

EDI principles to find place in city budget, according to draft plan (Leader-Telegram $)


EC School Board approves health insurance changes, base wage increase for hourly employees
   The Eau Claire Board of Education last Monday chose to go with a narrower provider network to save money on its health and dental insurance plan for the upcoming school year. The Board will also approved base wage increases of 4.7% for hourly and non-affiliated employees, in line with the Consumer Price Index.

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, Mar 21, Agenda Packet

Board of Education website (ECASD)

Eau Claire school board proceeds with meeting following threat (Leader-Telegram $)


Last chance to apply for employer-child care grant program

   April 4 is the deadline for applications for Partner Up!, is a grant program being offered throughout the state, coordinated locally by Western Dairyland. If an employer is willing to cover 25% of their individual employee(s)’s child care costs, then Partner Up! is awarding grant funding to cover the remaining 75% of that cost. The employees receive quality child care, often at the their current provider, at no cost to them. An employer as small as one employee, or with hundreds of employees can participate in this program. Applications are now being accepted until the application period closes April 4th at 5pm.
More information:

Partner Up! Child Care Grant Program

Information for employers, child care providers, employees, families (SBDC)


More local news:


City of Eau Claire 2022 construction projects (City of Eau Claire)


EC County Board could consider protective status for correctional officers (Leader-Telegram $)


County Board adjusting to in-person meetings (Leader-Telegram $)


Idled Trempealeau County Hi-Crush frac sand mine has been purchased by Smart Sand Inc. (WPR)


U.S. Supreme Court throws out Wisconsin's redistricting plan for legislative maps

Allows Congressional districts to stand

   The US Supreme Court last Wednesday rejected the legislative district maps adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, ruling in favor of a Republican lawsuit that challenged whether Assembly districts in Milwaukee complied with the federal Voting Rights Act. However, the Court did not block the Congressional districts adopted by Wisconsin. With the maps sent back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to address those issues, that sets up a tight time schedule, given candidates are expected to be able to begin circulating nominating petitions in mid-April for the August 9 Primary Election.

More information:

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Wisconsin governor's electoral maps (The Cap Times)

US Supreme Court rejects Gov. Tony Evers' legislative maps, accepts congressional boundaries (Wisconsin State Journal +)

U.S. Supreme Court throws out Wisconsin's redistricting plan for legislative maps (Journal-Sentinel +)

See the maps - Legislative (rejected by US Supreme Court) and Congressional (allowed to stand) - Dave's Redistricting

Analysis: As the mid-term elections approach, Wisconsin voters aren't happy. That means both parties will be losing sleep. (Journal-Sentinel +)

Democratic U.S. Senate contenders in Wisconsin focus on manufacturing (Journal-Sentinel +)


With Legislature adjourned, recently passed bills signed by Governor Evers

Includes bills outlawing threats to healthcare workers, decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips, protecting children from their parent's crimes

   Last week saw the signing of a number of bills passed by the recently-adjourned session of the Wisconsin State Legislature. Among them: A bill outlawing threats to healthcare workers, one protecting children impacted by crimes of their parents, and another decriminalizing fentanyl strips.

   The latter was among bills sponsored by Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona).

   "This new law will not only save lives, but represents a significant bipartisan effort to address the opioid crisis in our state. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more powerful than heroin and morphine. Just 2 milligrams of this substance can be fatal. Fentanyl can be laced into any substance, but has especially been laced into recreational drugs to make them cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more deadly. Fentanyl is so dangerous that it has recently become the number one cause of death for adults aged 1845 in the United States. Too many lives have been claimed by the opioid crisis. We know that this new law will help prevent more loss. By removing fentanyl testing strips from the definition of drug paraphernalia, we are allowing people to test substances, whether illicit or not, for the presence of fentanyl. These safe, affordable, and simple tests are a preemptive measure to allow individuals to make informed decisions," said James about its enactment. 

More information:

Gov. Evers Signs Two Bills to Support Wisconsin's Healthcare Providers and Patients (Office of the Governor)

Gov. Evers Takes Action on 15 Bills (Office of the Governor)

Borgerding: “Health Care Workers Are Better Protected Under New Law” (WHA)

Evers signs bill outlawing threats to health care workers (AP)

Celebrating four bills signed into law (Rep. Jesse James)

Gov. Evers signs bill inspired by Ashley Peggs (WEAU 13 News)


More state and regional news: 


Audio: UW System Board Of Regents President Ed Manydeeds of Eau Claire discusses priorities (WPR, 23:44)


Gov. Evers Announces PSC Received 194 Applications Requesting More Than $495 Million for State Broadband Expansion Grants (Office of the Governor)


Teacher shortage to get worse for rural schools (Fox 47)


180 Afghan evacuees have moved to the Fox Valley. Here's what comes next for them. (Post-Crescent +)


Democratic U.S. Senate contenders in Wisconsin focus on manufacturing (Journal-Sentinel +)


In first months since passage of St. Paul’s rent-control ordinance, housing construction is way down (MinnPost)


Pennsylvania Chamber joins Wisconsin, US Chamber amicus brief in support of Line 5 pipeline (Pennsylvania Business Report)


National news:


Powell Says Fed Will Consider More-Aggressive Interest-Rate Increases to Reduce Inflation (Wall Street Journal $)


US airline heads urge White House to lift testing, mask mandate for air travel (The Points Guy)


Daylight saving change faces trouble in House (The Hill)


20 days in Mariupol, Ukraine: The team that documented the city's agony (AP)


COVID-19 Updates


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:


"Eau What a Night" - The Chamber's 107th Annual Meeting
 • Thursday, Mar 31, The Florian Gardens


2022 Human Resource Conference

 • Wednesday, April 6, The Florian Gardens


Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

 • Wednesday, April 20, Davies Center


Eggs & Issues: "State of Altoona"

 • Thursday, April 21 River Prairie Center


Next up on the public calendar:


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


Spring Non-Partisan General Election
Local City and Town Councils, School Boards, County Boards, Judges
 • Tuesday, April 5


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
 • Tuesday, Aug 9


General Election
 • Tuesday, November 8


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

 • Monday, Mar 28, 6 p.m. Parks & Recreation Committee

 • Tuesday, Apr 12, 1 p.m. Altoona Housing Authority

 • Tuesday, Apr 12, 5:30 p.m. Plan Commission

 • Thursday, Apr 14, 6 p.m. City Council


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, Mar 28, 11 a.m. High Bridge Reopening

 • Monday, Apr 4, 4:30 p.m. Landmarks Commission

 • Monday, Apr 4, 7 p.m. Plan Commission

 • Monday, Apr 11, 7 p.m. City Council Public Hearing

 • Tuesday, Apr 12, 4 p.m. City Council Legislative Session

 • Wednesday, Apr 13, 5 .m. Housing Opportunities Commission

 • Monday, Apr 18, 7 p.m. Plan Commission

 • Wednesday, Apr 20, 7:30 a.m. Redevelopment Authority

 • Wednesday, Apr 20, 3:30 p.m. Sustainability Advisory Committee

 • Wednesday, Apr 20 6 p.m. Transit Commission


City of Augusta
City website
Village of Fall Creek
Village Board


Town of Washington
Town website
Altoona School District
Altoona School Board
 • Monday, Mar 28, 6:30 p.m.
Eau Claire Area School District
Board of Education
 • Monday, Apr 4, 7 p.m.


Augusta School District 
Augusta School Board


Fall Creek School District 
School Board


Chippewa Valley Technical College
District Board


Eau Claire County Full calendar
Click here to find your County Board Representative (interactive map)

 • Monday, Mar 28, 5 p.m. Human Services

 • Tuesday, Mar 29, 7 p.m. Committee on Planning & Development

 • Wednesday, Mar 30, 5:15 p.m. City-County Board of Health

 • Wednesday, Apr 6, 2 p.m. Highway Building Committee

 • Wednesday, Apr 6, 7 p.m. County Board of Supervisors

 • Monday, Apr 11, 3 p.m. ADRC Board

 • Monday, Apr 11, 5 p.m. Committee on Parks & Forest

 • Tuesday, Apr 12, 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 

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