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Volume 5 , Issue 7, July 5, 2022
 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

Advocacy Blog


Eggs & Issues: Planes, Trains, Automobiles & More...

Friday, Jul 15, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
Click here for details and to register

Registration deadline 12:00 noon on Thursday, Jul 14

  What's the future of transportation in Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley? At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll take a look at what's happening with transportation trends in our current economy and the policy issues surrounding it, including implementation of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). We'll get a statewide perspective from Debby Jackson, Executive Director, Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin; an update on efforts to establish passenger rail service to Eau Claire from Scott Rogers, Chair, West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition; get details on progress on the new transit center under construction and planned route changes from Tom Wagener, Eau Claire Transit Manager; and hear the latest about Essential Air Service (EAS) decisions and local airline changes from Charity Zich, Airport Manager, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

In this issue: 

 • Airport awaiting US DOT decision on new carrier

 • City Council discusses potential referendum

 • 2022 Election updates - Primary Aug 9

 • Area legislators receive economic development award

 • US Supreme Court limits EPA authority on climate standards

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • 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 "+"


Airport awaiting US DOT decision on new carrier

Sun Country hopes to begin flights in November

   The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport is awaiting a decision from the US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to accept the airport's recommendation to award its Essential Air Service (EAS) contract to Sun Country to replace its current service by SkyWest. Because of pilot shortages, SkyWest gave notice in March of its plans to discontinue service to its 29 United Express EAS-supported airports. The FAA ordered SkyWest to continue flights until a replacement carrier could be secured. 

   The airport subsequently received three proposals for replacement service, two by airlines that would provide service with single engine, 9-passenger turboprops, and one by Minneapolis-based Sun Country that would use 737's to provide service to MSP each week and seasonal direct service to Ft Myers, FL, Orlando, and Las Vegas. The Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Commission on May 20 voted unanimously to support the Sun Country Airlines proposal to provide airline service to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport for the next 2 years. Sun Country has indicated it would like to begin service in November. 

   Chippewa Valley Airport Manager Charity Zich will be one of the guests at the Chamber's July 15 Eggs & Issues Program, "Planes, Trains, Automobiles and More..." 

More information:

Airline Transition FAQs (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

Sun Country aiming for fall arrival (Leader-Telegram $)

Eggs & Issues: Planes, Trains, Automobiles and More...

Friday, Jul 15, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
Click here for details and to register


EC City Council discusses potential November referendum

Rezoning approved for SkyPark residential project

   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council voted to approve a rezoning for 4.5 acres in Sky Park from light industrial to multi-family residential to allow RyKey Properties to construct three buildings with 96 units, consisting of a combination of one- and two-bedroom apartments totaling 147 bedrooms. All of the units will fit the definition of workforce housing, with the developer agreeing to provide 10 of the one-bedroom units to be affordable to individuals who have income at 60% of the County Median Income (CMI). The development will be located at the corner of Craig Road and Hamilton Ave., on property less suited to industrial uses. (See pages 35-50 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below for more detailed information, including maps and elevations). 

   The Council also approved a rezoning for a 7Brew Coffee Shop to be located at N. Clairemont and Moholt Dr. (Monday pages 5-34); and a development plan amendment to allow construction of a single family home by C&M Properties in Aspen Meadows II at 6140 Aspen Meadow Ct. (Monday pages 51-57). It also approved a surrender and transfer of the liquor license held by Giralomo's Court-N-House to its new owners, CNH, LLC. (pages 35-41 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet), who have also owned the Brackett Bar for the past seven years. 

Work session on potential referendum, ARPA funds process

   Following Tuesday's Legislative Session, the Council held a work session to discuss a potential City referendum to allow it to exceed levy limits, and discuss process questions regarding the allocation of the $13.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City is receiving. Tuesday's Agenda Packet (pages 141-225) includes data from Baker Tilly on a recent community survey conducted jointly with the Eau Claire Area School District in early June regarding a potential referendum questions. 

   Those Council members participating in the work session seemed to be supportive of including a referendum on the November 8 ballot, even if the Eau Claire Area School District does, as well. The Council is expected to discuss potential details further at its July 12 meeting. A decision for November would need to be made in August. 

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, June 27, Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 59 pages)

 • Tuesday, June 28, Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 231 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)

Eau Claire city leaders signal intent to pursue fall referendum (Leader-Telegram $)

Girolamo family says goodbye on last night as owners of Court'n House (WQOW News 18)


City of Altoona finishing new Comprehensive Plan

Public hearing and open house July 14

   The City of Altoona is nearing completion of a new Comprehensive Plan, the City’s primary policy document that guides growth and change by illustrating the desired type, location, and appearance of development. The Plan is an expression of the community’s vision for the future and a collection of coordinated strategies to pursue that vision. The City hired Vandewalle & Associates to assist with development of the plan. See the links below for more information about the draft plan, and the Public Hearing planned on July 14 prior to its adoption by the City Council.

More information: 

Public Hearing -2022 City of Altoona Comprehensive Plan
 • Thursday, July 14, 4 p.m., Fish House Recreation Building, 418 9th St W

City of Altoona Comprehensive Plan website (City of Altoona)

Draft Final Plan (City of Altoona, 10 chapters, 222 pages)

Video: Summary of new draft plan (7 mins.)


More local stories:


Menomonie Market Co-op gets USDA grant to help build new Eau Claire grocery (Leader-Telegram $)

USDA: Partners with reinvestment fund to increase equitable access to healthy foods in Wisconsin (WisPolitics.com)


Amazon sets up in Prime spot in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)


Ambient Inks Eyes New Home in Cannery (Volume One)


Restaurant roundup: Opening and reopening plans in the Eau Claire area (WQOW News 18)


Eau Claire workshop on opioid crisis July 11 (WEAU 13 News)


Lawsuit against Blugold Real Estate goes on (Leader-Telegram $)


Group Aims to Create Day Center for the Homeless (Volume One)


Tenants at Luther Lakeside Apartments have one year to move out (WEAU 13 News)

Luther Lakeside apartment building in Eau Claire to close (Leader-Telegram $)


SNEAK PEEK: A Look Inside the New Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (Volume One)


Video: LE Phillips Memorial Library Construction Progress (Eau Claire Public Library, Market & Johnson)


Chippewa Valley Veterans Tribute entering next phase (Leader-Telegram $)


IT SEEMS TO ME: Taking in Eau Claire's music in the parks (Dave Weiss, Leader-Telegram $)


Longtime Leader-Telegram reporter Eric Lindquist retires

SAWDUST STORIES: Reporter leaves legacy in our stories (BJ Hollars, Leader-Telegram $)

Reporter: Thanks for sharing your stories (Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcasts

 Episode 7: Retiring State Senator Kathy Bernier (41:26)

 Episode 8: Valley Sports Academy General Manager Chase Hoople (21:10)


2022 Election:


Partisan Primary - Tuesday, August 9

What's on the ballot: US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts), Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court

General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Election 2022: The Chamber's Guide to the State and Federal Elections (Eau Claire Chamber)

MyVoteWI (to find your polling place and see what's on your ballot)


New fight over abortion jolts Democratic battle to take on Johnson in Wisconsin (Politico)


UpFront: Nashville council could reject 2024 RNC agreement, potentially boosting Milwaukee’s bid (WisPolitics.com)


A year in, legal fight over Gableman election investigation keeps growing (WPR)


How partisanship is making polling Americans more complicated (CNN)


3 Chippewa Valley legislators receive “Champion of Economic Development” from Wis Economic Development Assn

   The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) recently presented three Chippewa Valley area state lawmakers with the organization’s 2022 “Champion of Economic Development” legislative award for their leadership on initiatives to drive economic growth and prosperity in Wisconsin. The awards were presented to Representatives Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake), Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington), and Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer) at the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation’s (CCEDC) inaugural Economic Development Feedback Social held in Bloomer on June 23.

   “Reps. Armstrong, Petryk, and Summerfield all exhibited outstanding leadership during the 2021-22 session to advance legislation critical to growing the state’s economy and to promoting prosperity for businesses and residents in the Chippewa Valley and across the state,” said Michael Welsh, WEDA's Vice President of Legislative Affairs. “We greatly appreciate their commitment to working on key economic development issues, including rural broadband expansion, housing development, workforce retention and attraction, and community redevelopment.”

   The “Champion of Economic Development” award is presented at the end of each legislative session to state lawmakers who demonstrate extraordinary support for important economic development policies. This year WEDA is presenting the award to 20 state lawmakers based on factors including voting record, sponsorship of legislation, and responsiveness to critical economic development issues.

   Following the presentation of the awards, WEDA partnered with CCEDC to host a legislative speed-networking listening session with Chippewa Valley area legislators, which also included Sen. Kathy Bernier (R- Chippewa Falls) and Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona).


More state and regional stories:


Development leaders in Madison and Milwaukee say business is booming (WisBusiness.com)


Milwaukee businesses held on better than expected during pandemic, but the 'new normal' remains a challenge (Journal-Sentinel +)


Kohl’s ends sale talks with Franchise Group (CNBC)


Reforms Needed to Bring Down Wisconsin’s 4th Highest Hospital Prices in the Country (WMC)


Wisconsin’s Democratic AG sues to block state’s 1849 abortion ban, says 1985 law supersedes (AP)


GOP leaders call on Evers to fund pregnancy resource centers (WQOW News 18)


Vruwink: Most voters not interested in partisanship (Rep. Don Vruwink, Janesville Gazette +)


New Deer District hotel nearing completion (Urban Milwaukee)


Watertown OKs allocation of ARPA funds, Main Street project (Watertown Daily Times)


Virtual event: Pandemic Recovery in Wisconsin’s Arts and Cultural Sector (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

• Friday, July 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m.


Economic reports

 • Personal Consumption Price Index (The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation) increased 6.3% in May, same as last month

 • Consumer spending decreased 0.4% in May 

 • Initial jobless claims decreased by 2,000, slightly above historic lows

More information:

Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Personal Income and Outlays, May 2022 (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims (US Dept of Labor)

Fed’s preferred inflation measure rose 4.7% in May, around multi-decade highs (CNBC)

U.S. consumer spending, underlying inflation slow in May (Reuters)

U.S. Jobless Claims Edged Lower Last Week (Wall Street Journal +)


US Supreme Court limits EPA authority on climate standards

   The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 last Thursday that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on coal plant emissions exceeded its authority under existing law. “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” said the majority opinion.

More information:

Court decision full text (US Supreme Court)

Supreme Court limits EPA authority to set climate standards for power plants (CNBC)

Supreme Court curtails EPA’s authority to fight climate change (SCOTUS Blog)

WMC Statement on Supreme Court Ruling Reining in the EPA (WMC)

We Energies doesn't expect to change its future plans after EPA's regulatory powers are curbed (Wisconsin State Journal +)

West Virginia v. EPA - what the left and right are saying (The Flip Side)


More national and economic stories:


US Chamber Small Business Index Reaches Pandemic-Era High, but Inflation Concerns Dominate (US Chamber of Commerce)


Powell vows to prevent inflation from taking hold in the U.S. for the long run (CNBC)


States Take the Lead on Childcare Innovation (US Chamber of Commerce)


How Manufacturers Are Building Resilience in the Shortage Economy (SupplyChainBrain)


US pledges $200B to G7 infrastructure project to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (Fox Business)


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Launches Campaign to Rein In Out-of-Control Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (US Chamber of Commerce)


US Supreme Court Justice Breyer officially retires June 30 (News Nation)


Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court (AP)


Roe Overturned: What the left and right are saying (The Flip Side)


56% of job seekers won’t even consider a workplace that doesn’t, survey finds (CNBC)


The Great Resignation Shows It’s Time to Rethink Worker Dignity (The Dispatch)


Ex-Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testifies before Jan 6 Committee (Axios)


Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson 'stands by all of the testimony she provided' to Jan. 6 committee (Fox News)


Paul Ryan called Mike Pence ahead of Jan. 6 to tell him he did not have authority to overturn Donald Trump's election loss (Journal-Sentinel +)


Opinion: Why Is Congress Broken? Because the Other Branches Are Doing Its Job (Sarah Isgur, Politico)

Excerpt: "The Supreme Court has recently become the focus of the most contentious political debates in this country, including abortion and religious liberty, precisely because presidents and the courts have been trying to pinch hit for a Congress that is no longer in the business of legislating."


COVID-19 Updates 

COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Cases still under 1,400, but.... (WBAY)

The U.S. bets billions of dollars on better COVID-19 boosters as it prepares for a spike in COVID-19 cases next winter (MarketWatch)

Vaccinators can now give Pfizer, Moderna vaccines to children as young as 6 months in Wisconsin (Eau Claire City-County Health Dept.)

Area COVID-19 deaths reach lowest numbers of pandemic (Leader-Telegram $)


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:


Eggs & Issues: Planes, Trains, Automobiles, & More...

• Friday, Jul 15, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Eggs & Issues: The Economic Imperative of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

• Friday, Aug 19, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Bravo to Business Awards

• Wednesday, Sep 14, The Florian Gardens


Eggs & Issues: Fall Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

• Thursday, Sep 22, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Business Day in Madison

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

 • 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 - Tuesday, August 9

US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts) Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court


General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


Public Meetings Calendar

Our Public Meetings Calendar has moved to our website. 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 

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