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Volume 5, Issue 11, Aug 1, 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


August 9 Primary - Early voting through Fri, Aug 5

   In the run up to this fall's crucial mid-term election, the Tuesday, August 9, primary features important races in both the Democratic and Republican parties, including Governor, US Senate, and other statewide offices, as well as 3rd District US Congress. There are competitive local primaries for the Republican nominations for 23rd State Senate and 68th Assembly, as well as a Democratic primary for Eau Claire County Sheriff. The Chamber's Good Government Council has published candidate answers to its legislative issues survey. See the links below.

More information: 
The Chamber's Guide to the 2022 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

myvote.wi.gov - voter registration, what's on your ballot, find your polling place

Eau Claire County early voting information (ends Aug 5)

Top candidate decision links:

Chamber Questionnaire - 23rd State Senate (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)

Chamber Questionnaire - 68th Assembly (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)

Democratic candidates debate for Eau Claire County Sheriff (WQOW News 18)

Video: 3rd Congressional District Democratic Debate (WXOW)

Video: Republican Gubernatorial Debate (WTMJ)

8 Republicans and 2 Democrats in packed race for Lt Governor (WPR)


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

Friday, Aug 19, 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, Aug 18

   Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has gotten increasing attention as an overall priority to ensure Eau Claire is a community that is welcoming to everyone. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll take a specific look at why it is important to our economy. We've assembled a panel that will bring a wide range of private and public sector perspectives to that question, including Wes Escondo, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin and Chair of the Chamber's Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Force; Valerie Fedie, Western Wisconsin & Duluth Market Leader, Wipfli; Maysee Herr, CEO, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Lynette Livingston, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, CVTC; and Renee Sommer, Founder, At The Roots LLC.   

In this issue: 

 • EC City Council approves Country Jam rezoning, sets fall referendum

 • Plan Commission: Chick-fil-A site plan 

 • Altoona City Council vacancy

 • County budget survey

 • Nelson, Lasry, Godlewski drop out of Democratic US Senate race

 • Debate videos: GOP Gubernatorial, Democratic 3rd District Congress

 • Recession? GDP declines for second quarter

 • US Chamber celebrates CHIPS passage, opposes reconciliation bill

 • 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 "+"


EC City Council approves Country Jam plans; Sets $1.45 million referendum for fall election  

Approves purchase agreement for Barstow & Wisconsin apt project

   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire Council voted to put a referendum on the November 8 election ballot to allow it to exceed levy limits by $1.45 annually to pay for 15 public safety positions. Those include six positions each in the fire and police departments, two civilian community service officers, and one in the 911 dispatch center. That would add about $44 each year to the property tax bill on a home in the city at the median property value of $194,000. It's anticipated that the Eau Claire Area School District will also have a referendum question on the fall ballot, but it has not yet determined its size.

   The Council approved the rezoning for Country Jam USA's move and expansion to 166 acres at the southwest corner of Highway T and 20th Avenue. Country Jam plans to further develop the property to include an indoor event center and additional outdoor concerts. In response to neighbor concerns, it agreed to limit outdoor events to 20 days per year (see pages 5-49 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below).

   Also approved was an agreement with Goeff Moeding's Phoenix Parkside II for $2.6 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for its planned a five-story apartment building on the lot it is purchasing from the City's Redevelopment Authority (RDA) at Barstow and Wisconsin streets. The development agreement guarantees a taxable property value of $26 million, and requires 20% of the apartments to have rents affordable to people making 80% or less of the county median income (see pages 43-72 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The building will be five stories and include 111-115 units. It takes up the remainder of the current surface parking lot, on which the south half is being developed by Menomonie Market Food Co-op for a new downtown store.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Jul 25, Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 76 pages)

 • Tuesday, Jul 26, Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 171 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)

Future Country Jam USA neighbors speak out (Leader-Telegram $)

Jobs added to Eau Claire's fall referendum (Leader-Telegram $)

Developers Buy Final Two North Barstow Plots (Volume One)


Chick-fil-A site plan approval on Plan Commission agenda

   Monday's Eau Claire Plan Commission agenda includes site plan approval for a Chick-fil-A restaurant near Oakwood Mall at 3849 S Oakwood Mall Drive, next to Olive Garden (see pages 54-92 of the Agenda Packet linked below). The 5,000 square foot restaurant would include a double drive through, seating for 88, and 72 parking spaces.

   Also on its agenda are a Public Hearing on the City's 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan, a final plat for Timber Bluff III by Wurzer Builders at Old Town Hall Rd west of Graff Rd for 56 twin home lots and three outlots, and its 52 unit Senior Bluff Condos (see pages 3-11), and a site plan by Held Homes for seven buildings including 60 apartments along the north side of Golf Rd between Fairfax St. and London Rd. (see pages 93-122).

More information: 

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 • Monday, Aug 1, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet (122 pages)

Draft City Capital Improvement Plan (291 pages)

CHICK-IT-OUT: Chick-fil-A Wants to Build E.C. Eatery (Volume One)


Altoona seeks to fill City Council vacancy

Application deadline Aug 17

   Altoona City Council member Tim Sexton is moving out of the City and has resigned his seat. Sexton represents District 5 (Wards 9 and 10). His current term ends in April 2023.

   The City of Altoona is seeking applicants for the seat and will appoint an individual to serve out the rest of the term. The deadline to apply is 2 p.m. on  August 17. Applicants are asked to send an application letter and resume to the Altoona City Clerk, 1303 Lynn Ave., Altoona, WI 54720.

More information:

City of Altoona Ward and Council District Map (City of Altoona)

Altoona City Clerk website (City of Altoona)

Altoona seeks new council member (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


Sun Country plots growth strategy that could include Europe, as well as markets like Eau Claire (Thrifty Traveler)

Sun Country’s Newest Route (EAU-MSP) is its Shortest: Just 85 Miles Long (Thrifty Traveler)


Seven Mile Creek Landfill agreement reached (Leader-Telegram $)


EC Library Ready to Book It Back to Refreshed Digs (Volume One)


Chippewa Valley BSA council-sponsored air show combines public outreach, Scout camporee and recruiting (On Scouting)


Audio: Wisconsin Public Radio Interview with Nick Meyer About 20 Years of Volume One (WPR, 15:00)


Eau Claire County Community Engagement Budget Survey 
   Eau Claire County is offering a survey to seek your opinion on the importance of services provided by the County. The County seeks to understand what services you consider essential, desired, optional, or unnecessary. The survey also provides  an opportunity to provide comments and give suggestions for improvement. The survey is linked below and should only take 5-10 minutes of your time. The information you provide in this survey will assist the County and County  Board Supervisors in the 2023 budget process. The survey will be open until September 30th.

Click here to take the Eau Claire County Budget Survey


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 Sheriff, 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)

Early voting information: Jul 26-Aug 5 in Eau Claire County for the August 9 Primary 


Local offices: 

Democratic candidates debate for Eau Claire County Sheriff (WQOW News 18)

Two EC Sheriff's Office veterans vie for Democratic nomination (Leader-Telegram $)

Marcon, Hakes square off for GOP nomination for Chippewa Co Sheriff (Leader-Telegram $)

Three vie to follow Bernier in 23rd (Leader-Telegram $)


3rd District Congress:

Video: Democratic candidates for 3rd Congressional District debate (WXOW; 59:00)

In western Wisconsin congressional debate, Democrats seek to appeal to voters across the political spectrum (WPR)


Wisconsin Governor:

Video: 2022 Wisconsin governor Republican primary debate (WTMJ; 58:26)

Candidate Q&A: Governor Republican Primary (Wisconsin State Journal +)

GOP governor candidates Rebecca Kleefisch, Tim Michels and Tim Ramthun pledge they won't legalize marijuana (Journal-Sentinel +)

Tim Michels, Rebecca Kleefisch spar over gas tax in GOP gubernatorial debate (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Former VP Pence endorses Rebecca Kleefisch in race for governor (WPR)

As Wisconsin GOP governor's primary nears, another Trump-Pence proxy war emerges (NBC News)


US Senate:

3rd Wisconsin Dem US Senate candidate bows out, backs Barnes (AP)

Sarah Godlewski suspends U.S. Senate bid, endorses Mandela Barnes (The Cap Times)
'It happened very quickly': The inside story of how the Wisconsin Senate primary broke for Mandela Barnes (Journal-Sentinel +)

You voted early, and then your candidate dropped out. Now what? (The Cap Times)


Other election stories:


US House Dems berate campaign arm over ‘very dangerous’ GOP primary scheme (Politico)


Former Republicans and Democrats form new third U.S. political party (Reuters)


Judge: Wisconsin probe found ‘absolutely no’ election fraud (AP)


Racine County man admits to fraudulent requests for absentee ballots in effort to criticize state voting system (WPR)

Elections commissioners want criminal charges against man who fraudulently ordered absentee ballots (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Opinion: Swing-district Democrat Ron Kind on why he’s leaving (The Cap Times)


More state and regional stories:


Vacant school building offers solution to a rural town's housing shortage (WPR)


Conservative firm raises concern about open-records ruling (AP)


Recession? Real GDP decreases for second quarter

  The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported last Thursday that Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022. That's typically the measure of a recession, although there is some debate about whether the country is considered officially in one yet.

More information:

GDP fell 0.9% in the second quarter, the second straight decline and a strong recession signal (CNBC)

So are we in a recession, or not? (CNN Business)

U.S. Jobless Claims Hold Near Highest Level of the Year (Wall Street Journal $)

Inflation figure that the Fed follows closely hits highest level since January 1982 (CNBC)


US Chamber: Praises passage of CHIPS and Science Act

Opposes Manchin-Schumer deal because of tax increases

   Top Congressional news late last week was the US House passage of the Senate-approved CHIPS and Science Act aimed at competition with China, and the announcement that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had reached a reconciliation deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with key provisions on climate change and health care. The US Chamber responded with praise for the CHIPS passage, but opposition to the reconciliation bill.

   “Today’s passage of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act sends a clear message to companies at home and around the globe—the American people are ready and able to make the necessary investments to spur economic growth, increase manufacturing, and safeguard our national security. The bill includes critical funding for research and development that will help American innovators compete on the global stage. We urge President Biden to sign the bill into law," said the US Chamber's Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley. "The global shortage of semiconductors has meant decreased economic opportunity in America while contributing to the inflation crisis facing American families. That’s why the U.S. Chamber led more than 240 state and local chambers of commerce and other business associations urging Congress to act swiftly on this measure.” 

Reconciliation package would undermine economic growth

   The US Chamber is not so positive on the new $369 billion reconciliation package, primarily because of its tax provisions.

   “This legislation includes taxes that would discourage investment and undermine economic growth, and price controls that would limit American innovation. Both will make our economic problems worse. Congress and the Administration should reject these policies and focus on unleashing American made energy,” said Bradley.

More information:

The CHIPS Act Makes It Through Congress Despite Late GOP Opposition (The Dispatch)

In a major boost to Democrats, Manchin and Schumer announce deal for energy and health care bill (CNN)

What's in the Manchin-Schumer deal (Politico)

U.S. Chamber Warns Tax Increases, Prescription Drugs Price Controls Will Discourage Investment and Undermine Economic Growth and Innovation (US Chamber of Commerce)

Book Tax Would Disproportionately Burden Manufacturers (National Assn of Manufacturers)

WMC Calls on Policymakers to Embrace Domestic Energy Independence to Combat Economic Recession (WMC)

Ron Johnson votes against bipartisan legislation to ramp up production of U.S.-made semiconductor chips (Journal-Sentinel +)


More national and economic stories:


The dollar and the euro are equal for the first time in 20 years: What that means for summer travel (The Points Guy)


Business and Philanthropic Sectors Are Leading Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives (US Chamber of Commerce)


COVID-19 Updates 

Masking indoors encouraged as Eau Claire County reaches high COVID-19 transmission (WQOW News 18)

New community COVID-19 drive-thru testing site open in Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

BA.5 is the dominant COVID-19 variant in Eau Claire County (WEAU 13 News)

Epic researchers find Paxlovid cuts COVID death rate by factor of 10 (The Cap Times)


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: 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

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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