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Volume 6, Issue 28, Nov 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
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Next legislative forum...
Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
Our annual preview of the January legislative session. We've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to join us for an update on action this fall in the legislature, highlight their priorities for the upcoming session in January, and answer questions submitted by participants.
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Registration now open...
30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
Bringing the Chippewa Valley's voice to Madison. Organized by the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce.
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p  Lobby Hours: Mon-Fri 10a-2p

In this issue:
 • EC City Council meets Tuesday
 • Solberg named Deputy City Manager, Ness City Engineering Director
 • Middle school students get taste of local career opportunities
 • New Business Matters podcast: Wisconsin Maker's Market
 • Legislature adjourns until January
 • State Supreme Court hears redistricting case
 • 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 "+"


Eau Claire City Council meets this week
   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week with a relatively light business agenda. The Monday Public Hearing has been canceled because there are no agenda items requiring public discussion. The Council's Business Agenda on Tuesday includes operating and capital appropriations adjustments for the 2023 budget year, an encroachment for a retaining wall at 2906 E Princeton Ave., and an amendment to the employee benefits plan to promote hiring and retention. See the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below for details.
   The Council will meet in just one cycle next month on December 11-12. It has canceled scheduled meetings that would have been held on December 25-26.
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Nov 27, Public Hearing, Canceled
 • Tuesday, Nov 28, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (72 pages)
    2024 Proposed Operating Budget (City of Eau Claire, 155 pages)
    2024 Budget website (City of Eau Claire)
    2024 Proposed Fees & Licenses Schedule (City of Eau Claire)
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)
Latest issue: City Manager's Weekly Update (City of Eau Claire)

Solberg named Deputy City Manager, Ness City Engineer
   With the passage of the 2024 operating budget, the City of Eau Claire has named Dave Solberg as full time Deputy City Manager. For the past year, that has been a dual role as he also continued as Engineering Director. With the change, Leah Ness has now been named City Engineer and Engineering Department Director, according to City Manager Stephanie Hirsch in her City Manager's Weekly Update on November 17. Solberg has been with the city since late 2013 and served as Interim City Manager from Oct 2020 to April 2022. He previously served over 19 years with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Ness has been with the city's engineering department since Sep 2013, having previously worked 10 years as a traffic engineer at Ayres Associates.

Northstar Middle school students get taste of local career opportunities
   With a workforce shortage and a need to find ways to keep young people in the community, 170 students at Eau Claire's Northstar Middle School got a chance to learn about local career opportunities on November 13-14.
   The two days featured a "JA in a Day" program organized by Junior Achievement at the school that Monday, with a career fair and talks from local employers, followed by in-person field trips with interactive experiences at a variety of local companies on Tuesday, arranged by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.
   Those employers who provided tours/interactive experiences included Riverside Machine and Engineering, Healthcare Workforce Training Institute and Dove Healthcare West, Synergy Cooperative, EO Johnson Technologies,  Mid West Family Broadcasting, Royal Credit Union, Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, and Eau Claire Fire Station 10.
   The in-school career fair featured 15 different career areas, as well as an entrepreneur panel and presentations on soft skills and high-demand career areas. In addition to organizations providing tours, others involved included WEAU 13 News, Banbury Place, UW Stout, WESTconsin Credit Union, Eau Claire Area School District, Muldoon's Mens Wear, WIN Technologies, Green Fleet, and Nicolet National Bank. 
More middle schools to come in Feb and Mar 2024
Volunteers and employers needed
   Similar opportunities are being planned for three additional middle schools in February and March. Junior Achievement and the Chamber are seeking employers who are open to providing group tours for students, and volunteers for "JA in a Day" classroom events. Upcoming dates include:

 • Altoona Middle School: Feb 15, 2024, Classroom Site & Employer Tours
 DeLong Middle School: Feb 21, 2024, Classroom Site & Employer Tours
 South Middle School: Mar 6, 2024, Classroom Site & Employer Tours
More information:
Click here to for information and to sign up, or Contact the Chamber's Workforce Initiatives Director, Courtney Olsom, at 715-858-0617 or olsom@eauclairechamber.org
Junior Achievement seeks volunteers out of Eau Claire, Dunn Counties (Leader-Telegram $)

Northstar Middle School hosts “JA in a Day” to inspire students towards their future careers (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire school district hosting information session for potential school board candidates
   The Eau Claire Board of Education is hosting an information session for individuals considering a candidacy in the April election. Nominating petitions may be circulated beginning December 1 and must be submitted by the first Tuesday in January.
   For more information or to become a candidate, plan to attend the information session, or reach out to the Business Services Office at 500 Main Street or call 715-852-3010.
More information...
Information Session: Eau Claire School Board candidacy
 • Thursday, Nov 30, 7-8 p.m., ECASD Admin Building, 500 Main St.

Election Information - School Board Candidates (ECASD)
Getting ready for spring School Board elections in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)

Also meeting this week...

Altoona School Board
 • Monday, Nov 27, 6:30 p.m. Meeting and agenda info.

Eau Claire Board of Education
 • Monday, Nov 27, 7 p.m. Board information and agenda

Altoona City Council
 • Thursday, Nov 30, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

More local stories...

Volume One reader poll open through Dec 8
(Volume One)

Chamber nominations include: Best Community Advocacy Organization, Best Local Business Advocate (David Minor), and Best Networking Group or Event (Business After Hours, Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley, and Leadership Eau Claire).

Eau Claire's day shelter, Haven House, urgently looking for new location after building sold
(WQOW News 18)

Downtown E.C. Day Shelter Told to Vacate, Needs New Space (Volume One)

October Local Employment and Unemployment Data Released
(WEAU 13 News)

Chippewa Falls CF police chief announces resignation
(Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County, Local Paper Company Get Recycling Awards
(Volume One)

Rotary Club provides Thanksgiving meals to 282 people in need
(WEAU 13 News)

Rotary Club of Eau Claire provides Thanksgiving dinners to community members in need (WQOW News 18)
Hope Gospel Mission serves hundreds of free Thanksgiving meals (WEAU 13 News)
Eau Claire organizations serve up free Thanksgiving meals (WQOW News 18)

New episode...

Business Matters podcast: Wisconsin Maker's Market
   While many of us shop local this time of year, what we may not know is just how much it affects the owners and employees of those small businesses. In this episode, we interview Chelsea Higley, Owner of Wisconsin Makers Market who shares her perspective on how critical and meaningful shopping locally is. Her store supports over 100 Wisconsin "Makers," and was the Chamber's Emerging Business of the Year award winner at Bravo to Business this year.
Recorded in the WIN Technology Studio. Media sponsor Royal Credit Union.
Click below to listen:
Business Matters Podcast Season 2, Ep 3, "Makers Make it Local" (38:57)


Legislature adjourns until after the holidays
  With final floor sessions on Nov 14, the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate adjourned until mid-January, although committee work continues in the coming weeks.
   Major pieces of legislation sent to Governor Tony Evers' desk included funding for renovations at Milwaukee's American Family Field, an overhaul of the state's alcohol regulations, and a completely reworked special session bill that included a middle class tax cut and provisions related to childcare.
   The Governor vetoed the tax cut bill on November 20.
More information:
Legislature Stands Adjourned Until Mid-January (John Jacobson, Ruder Ware Capitol Connection)

Political tidbits: Legislation and floor sessions (Hamilton Consulting)
$2B Wisconsin income tax cut vetoed, slammed by Evers (The Cap Times)
Wisconsin governor vetoes $2 billion tax cut, calls Republican plan ‘completely unserious’ (AP)
Evers vetoes $2 billion tax cut and child care credit expansion (Journal-Sentinel +)
Brewers deal clears Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers promises to sign it (WPR)
Senate approves sweeping changes to state’s alcohol policies (WisPolitics.com)
Chippewa Valley event professionals respond to new liquor laws (Leader-Telegram $)
Evers signs three bills (Office of the Governor)

Chamber legislative-related opportunities
   Mark your calendar for two important upcoming opportunities to learn more about the status of key state issues and to influence state policies that impact our local economy: 

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
We've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to join us for an update on action this fall in the legislature, highlight their priorities for the upcoming session in January, and answer questions submitted by participants.
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
Bringing the Chippewa Valley's voice to Madison. Organized by the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce.
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

More state and regional stories...

Democrats urge Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Republican-drawn legislative maps (AP)
Wisconsin election maps: Attorneys argue over timing, partisanship (The Cap Times)
During arguments in Wisconsin redistricting case, liberal justices ask how court could draw new maps (WPR)
Challenge to Wisconsin election maps undergoes sharp questioning before state Supreme Court (Journal-Sentinel +)
Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs redistricting case, while conservative justices question lawsuit's timing (Wisconsin State Journal +)
Wisconsin’s Legislative Maps Are Bizarre, but Are They Illegal? (ProPublica)

Legislative effort to expand nurses' authority could move forward despite drama-filled hearing
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin election results expected to speed up under legislation
(The Cap Times)

Raft of state constitutional amendments could be coming in Wisconsin, beginning with 2 in 2024
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Wisconsin schools increasingly rely on referendums, report says. Here's the takeaways on school funding.
(Journal-Sentinel +)

State regulators approve electric rate increases, reduce utility profits

Kohl's Corp. parts ways with president and chief operating officer after 8 months

Wisconsin hunters killed 16 percent fewer deer during opening weekend of gun deer season

TIF funds to address housing shortages in Beloit
(Beloit Daily News +)

Dane County taxes will rise to support housing, public safety, raises
(The Cap Times)


Applications close Friday: WI Manufacturer of the Year Award
   The Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award (MOTY) program is an annual recognition of excellence in manufacturing. It celebrates the successes of manufacturers in the state: their innovations, philanthropy, technological advances, commitment to customer satisfaction and quality jobs.
   The deadline for manufacturers to complete the application is December 1. Companies are placed in four size categories based on company-wide employee count. Nominees are celebrated and winners are revealed at a black-tie awards ceremony on Thursday, February 22, 2024, at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Visit the MOTY website to learn more and review the required application information.
   To submit your application, click below or contact John Laux at jlaux@wmc.org with any questions. Apply for MOTY Here

National and economic news...

Congress back as budget battle looms
(The Hill)

Yellen says high food and rent prices key factors in voters’ negative economic outlook

‘Funflation’ drives sporting event ticket prices up a whopping 25%

Inflation pressures eased in October, Consumer Price Index shows

What’s pushing inflation down? More goods, workers and housing (AP)

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Was Down Slightly from Record High in 2022
(Farm Bureau)

Food for thought...

The Flip Side: Both sides of important issues
(The Flip Side, daily digest)

Of Course Thanksgiving Is the Best Holiday
(Scott Lincicome, The Dispatch)

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

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Workforce Solutions Summit
• Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024 (Rescheduled)

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 2024

"Bravo to Business" Awards
 • Thursday, Oct 17, 2024

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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