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Volume 6, Issue 50, Apr 29, 2024
 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 2024 Business Issues Agenda
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs
Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-4:30p, Friday 8a-Noon, Lobby open by appointment


In this issue:
 • EC City Council hears Oakwood Mall development ideas
 • Altoona seeks applicants for City Council vacancy
• Gundersen considering expansion into Chippewa Valley
 • Trump to visit Wisconsin Wed., Harris visits La Crosse
 • Legislative candidates circulating nominating petitions
 • FTC votes to ban non-compete agreements
• Food for thought
 • 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 "+"


Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update
At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll tackle the outlook for commercial, industrial and housing development in the Chippewa Valley. We'll hear from local leaders of economic development efforts about their current projects, challenges and opportunities. Plus, we'll look at how the economic development world is being affected by - and responding to - the current healthcare crisis. Participants include Ray French, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; Mike Golat, City of Altoona; Luke Hanson, Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation; Julie Thoney, Xcel Energy; and Aaron White, City of Eau Claire.
 • THURSDAY, May 9, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Business Community Reception
New Local Council and Board members
Join us for a business community welcome reception to meet and recognize newly-elected members of the the Eau Claire City Council, Eau Claire County Board, and Altoona School Board. There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is requested. 
 • Wednesday, May 15, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Chamber offices
    Click here for details and to RSVP

Chamber Royale
No business. Just a night of fun. Chamber Royale will offer Vegas-style casino games including poker, blackjack, roulette and craps, as well as live DJ entertainment, fantastic food, and time to schmooze in a festive party atmosphere.
 Thursday, May 16, Eau Claire Event District

    Click here for details and registration


EC City Council discusses Oakwood Mall area development
   The Eau Claire City Council held a work session last Tuesday, following its regular Legislative Session, to review potential development plans for the Oakwood Mall area. Community Development Director Aaron White updated the Council on the study that has been carried out by Vandewalle & Associates that provides potential scenarios for maintaining the area's strength as a retail and activity center in light of changes in the retail landscape and growth opportunities in mixed use development. The consultant provided ideas related to parking, pedestrian flow, repurposing unused spaces, new micro-retail opportunities, and adding more housing and office space.
   City Manager Stephanie Hirsch provided a recap of the discussion in her April 26 edition of the City Manager's Weekly Update.
Economic Development is next Chamber Eggs & Issues topic
   The status and future of economic development in Eau Claire is among the topics to be covered at the Chamber's next Eggs & Issues breakfast on Thursday morning, May 9. Community Development Director Aaron White is among the guests. Click here for more information and to register.

Day Resource Center being considered for Main & Farwell site
   The City of Eau Claire has provided an update on plans for a potential Day Resource Center to provide services for the unhoused population. It has been working with Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council, Hope Gospel Mission, Community Haven House, Inc. and others to create a center that will help individuals identify services like employment, housing, and other needs and make follow-up easier and more effective. According to an April 23 news release, the City is considering use of the parking lot on the northeast corner of Main and Farwell for the center. 

RDA, Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee positions open
   Citizen applicants are being sought by the City of Eau Claire for open positions on the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) and Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The RDA carries out urban renewal projects like the Cannery District redevelopment now underway. Experience in the fields of finance, management, and real estate is sought for this position. The BPAC provides advice to City Council that reflects community values on bicycle and pedestrian practices relative to the City. Learn more and apply at: Boards, Commissions & Committees (City of Eau Claire)

More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Tuesday, Apr 23, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (110 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 Eau Claire News Updates (including weekly City Manager's Update)
City manager asks for strategic plan committee (Leader-Telegram $)

City public hearings moved hour earlier (Leader-Telegram $)
City Council Public Hearing Meeting Time to Change to 6 p.m. in June 2024 (WEAU 13 News)
Day Resource Center Update (City of Eau Claire)
Main and Farwell parking lot possible Day Resource Center (Leader-Telegram $)
The City of Eau Claire provides update on day resource center, plans to open next year (WEAU 13 News)

City of Altoona seeks applicants for City Council vacancy
May 15 deadline for applications
   City of Altoona is seeking applicants for Aldermanic District 3 (Wards 4 and 5), whose City City Council seat will be vacated on April 30 because of the resignation of Jon Olson. A new member will be appointed by the City Council to serve until the next election in April 2025. Applicants must reside in the district. Applicants must submit a letter and resume by May 15 to the City Clerk's office at 1303 Lynn Avenue, Altoona. For more information, contact the City Clerk's Office at 715-839-6092.

More local stories...

We tried the 21-minute flight to Eau Claire
(Axios Twin Cities newsletter)
50k+ passengers at the the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in 2023 (WEAU 13 News)
America's smallest airports are hurting, even as more people than ever are flying (The Points Guy)

Work Nears Completion on Hope Gospel’s New Learning Center
(Volume One)

Legislator takes the bus, office hours offered
(Leader-Telegram $)

Wisconsin Department of Transportation seeks input on US 53 improvement project
(WQOW News 18)

Godlewski stops in Eau Claire, presents check for $800K to school district (Leader-Telegram $)

Student research highlighted at annual UWEC CERCA event
(Leader-Telegram $)

Holocaust Remembrance Day to be observed May 6 at UW-Eau Claire

Royal Credit Union celebrates 60 years in Eau Claire
(WQOW News 18)

New Luxury Store Lily Beez to Make Downtown Debut
(Volume One)

CF unveils city's 20-year comprehensive plan
(Leader-Telegram $)

Leadership Eau Claire applications now open
   Are you ready to enhance your leadership skills and community knowledge? Look no further than Leadership Eau Claire (LEC). Applications are now open for this transformative program that offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant community while honing your leadership skills and making meaningful connections. Click here for details and to apply


Gundersen considering expansion into Chippewa Valley
   News outlets reported late last week that Gundersen Health System is considering possible expansion into the Chippewa Valley.
   "Bellin and Gundersen Health System is open to considering opportunities that support the mission to bring care as close to home as possible for people in the communities we serve. As we’ve shared since January, our team is thoughtfully and thoroughly investigating opportunities in the Chippewa Valley," said Christopher Stauffer, Senior Consultant Media Relations, Corporate Communications, Bellin Health & Gundersen Health System, in emails to local media outlets. 
   Gundersen has hospitals in La Crosse and Winona with facilities in the surrounding areas, and in late 2022 joined in merger with Bellin Health of Green Bay. 
More information: 
Gundersen Health System explores expansion into Chippewa Valley following HSHS hospital closures (La Crosse Tribune $)
Gundersen Health weighs expansion in the Chippewa Valley (WQOW News 18)
Gundersen Health System considers opportunities in the Chippewa Valley (WEAU 13 News)

More healthcare stories...

EMS, law enforcement discuss first month after HSHS St. Joseph's closure
(Leader-Telegram $)

Organizations seek to help employees following health facility closures
(Leader-Telegram $)

Mayo Clinic Health System physicians Helmers, Nelson will receive honorary doctorates at UW-Eau Claire

CVTC celebrates the opening of their dental simulation lab
(Leader-Telegram $)

The HSHS/Prevea Task Force continues to work on addressing the ramifications of recent facility closures.
Click here: Task Force website to stay informed and sign up for updates


Fall election: Legislative races coming into focus 
   The fall 2024 election will focus a lot of attention on Wisconsin, with the ballot to include the races for US President and US Senator. All eight Wisconsin Congressional districts will be on the ballot. There is also a lot of attention being paid to legislative races as those candidates, with new districts in place, have begun to circulate nominating petitions. All 99 Assembly districts and the even-numbered State Senate districts will be elected this year. The Partisan Primary is August 12, and the General Election is November 5. Wispolitics.com has been tracking the new districts and candidate announcements. See the links below. 
More information:
Link to 2024 legislative maps (Wisconsin Legislature)
Interactive map: Check the boxes at the upper left to select Assembly, Senate, and/or Congressional Districts. Zoom in to find you location and who your representatives are.
Status of 2024 Wisconsin Assembly races (WisPolitics.com, with maps)
Status of 2024 Wisconsin Senate races (WisPolitics.com, with maps)

More state and regional stories...

Donald Trump traveling to Waukesha Wednesday for first off-day rally from New York hush money trial
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Vice President Harris announces final rules mandating minimum standards for nursing home staffing

VP Harris celebrates new staffing rules for nursing homes during La Crosse visit (WPR)

Wisconsin election observers may have to keep their distance
(The Cap Times)

Wisconsin Republicans recruiting legion of monitors to observe polls, set stage for lawsuits
(Journal-Sentinel +)

In a seminal development for Wisconsin's economy, manufacturing has begun returning home
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin soybean farmers fund SoyFoam effort to reduce PFAS in firefighting foam

With Express filing for bankruptcy and closing almost 100 stores, will Wisconsin stores stay open? Here's what we know.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

La Crosse affordable housing project The Collective on Fourth under construction

Milwaukee is the 15th Most Walkable City in the Country
(Discover Milwaukee)

Best U.S. cities to explore on foot: Discover America’s most walkable tourist cities (Preply)

Milwaukee Public Market named best in the nation by USA Today

Racine takes steps to revive KRM commuter line
(The Daily Reporter +)

Kikkoman to build $560 million facility in Jefferson

Gov. Evers, WEDC Announce Nestlé Purina’s $195 Million Expansion of Jefferson Factory
(Office of the Governor)

UW to vacate Richland campus 1 year after college classes ended

‘They are stuck in limbo’: Northland College in Ashland once again delays decision on school’s fate

Epic Systems is starting sixth Verona campus, and it's from ‘Other Worlds’
(The Cap Times)

Oshkosh Arena listed for sale after years of local controversie
s (WPR)

WMC Opens Nominations for Business Friend of the Environment Awards Program

National and economic stories...

FTC votes to ban noncompete clauses that bar employees from working for competitors

US Chamber of Commerce sues FTC for ban on noncompete agreements (Reuters)
Federal rule banning noncompete agreements could give Wisconsinites more job mobility (WPR)

Biden signs foreign aid bill providing crucial military assistance to Ukraine

Senate passes aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan with Ron Johnson voting no, Tammy Baldwin yes (Journal-Sentinel +)
House easily approves aid for Israel, Ukraine (Regular Order)

Key Fed inflation measure rose 2.8% in March from a year ago, more than expected

GDP increased at a 1.6% rate in the first quarter, less than expected

US fertility rate dropped to lowest in a century as births dipped in 2023

Chart: Births dropped in 2023, ending pandemic baby boom (Axios) 

Net neutrality restored as FCC votes to regulate internet providers

Food for thought...

Sometimes, these vetoes are absurd
(Beloit Daily News editorial +)
"Democrat and Republican governors have abused their authority."

A Moment of Courage and Wisdom for the GOP
(Jonah Goldberg, The Dispatch)

Speaker Mike Johnson stands up to the radical fringe within his own party.
“The majority of the majority—the vast majority of the majority—is sick and tired of these high school antics,” Rep. Derrick Van Orden said last week. He also noted that “the only way to stop a bully is to push back hard.”

COVID-19 Resources:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: Economic Development Update
• Thursday, May 9

Business Community Reception
New Local Council and Board members
 • Wednesday, May 15

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5

"Bravo to Business" Awards
 • Thursday, Oct 17

31st Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
• Wednesday, Mar 5, 2025

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 G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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