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Volume 6, Issue 40, Feb 19, 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


In this issue:
 • HSHS Prevea Task Force provides update on progress
 • Legislation advances to repurpose $15 million in unspent state funds
 • EC Zoning Code Update open house Mon, Feb 19, 6:30 p.m.
 • Downtown Eau Claire parking survey open
 • Evers signs new legislative district maps
  National and economic stories
 • Food for thought
 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Last chance 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. After a very productive 2023, we'll be back in Madison to thank policymakers for key wins, remind them of unresolved issues, and build relationships.
Click here for the 2024 Chippewa Valley Rally Issues
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast
We've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to join us for a final update on the current legislative session. We'll get a recap and perspective on how key regional economic priorities fared in the legislature, and discuss still-pending issues that are likely to carry over to the next session.
 • Friday, Mar 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: The State of the City - Altoona
Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt, City Administrator Mike Golat, and members of the City's leadership team will lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City of Altoona during the past year and its priorities, challenges, and opportunities for the rest of 2023.
 • Friday, Apr 12, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center
    Click here for details and to register

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


HSHS Prevea Task Force provides update
Three new providers coming to area
Mayo, Marshfield announce capacity expansions
   The region-wide Task Force created to address the announced closures of HSHS and Prevea facilities in western Wisconsin is continuing its collaborative work. On Thursday, it released an update on progress. It noted the resolutions passed by area governments asking HSHS and Prevea to collaborate with local healthcare providers to ensure safe and adequate care continuity plans for patients impacted by the hospital and clinic closures. The Task Force said it has received a commitment from the leaders of HSHS and Prevea that they will continue to work hand-in-hand with local area providers to ensure patient care needs are safely and responsibly transitioned.

   "We have also had conversations with the OakLeaf Medical Network leadership about their outreach to HSHS and Prevea. We understand those discussions are occurring between legal counsels for the parties, and, therefore, it is not  appropriate for the Task Force to participate in those conversations."
   The Task Force, along with our local communities and area providers, will continue to work to move forward collectively and to identify solutions that will best serve the Chippewa Valley Region—preparing for a new healthcare landscape in our community and promoting an open dialogue about how best to address future healthcare needs.
   Over the past three weeks, the Task Force has been working with all of the medical partners to understand what each entity is able to assist with and areas that they are unable to help with.
   In the statement, you will also find information on three new companies, NorthLakes Community Clinic - The Remedy - and Pivotal Health, which are investing in the Chippewa Valley area. These companies will directly affect gaps in services from the closure of HSHS/Prevea. Services will be available as early as spring of 2024. Information is also provided regarding service expansions being planned in the region by Mayo Clinic Health System and Marshfield Clinic Health System.
More information:
Read the full Task Force update statement here
Click here for the Task Force website to stay informed and sign up for updates 

Task Force co-chairs Rupp, Jacobson speak to road ahead
   In the Chamber's newest "Talking Po!nt" podcast, Eau Claire Chamber President & CEO Dave Minor talks with the Co-Chairs of the HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force: Dr. Bill Rupp, retired healthcare executive, and Jerry Jacobson, President, Northwestern Bank, about what's ahead for healthcare in the community.

Listen: Talking Po!nt Podcast - HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force Co-Chairs (18:08)

Bill to repurpose unspent $15 million in state funds advances
   A bill proposed by local legislators to access $15 million in unspent state funds originally intended for healthcare in the Chippewa Valley advanced through Assembly and State Senate committees last week. 
   Back in the 2021-22 budget, the state approved $15 million for HSHS to expand their psychiatric mental health bed capacity. Unfortunately, HSHS never came to claim those funds, and the money is still waiting to be dispersed. The proposed legislation would repurpose those monies to a new grant program that would serve as a short-term bridge to continue emergency services until other providers can scale their capacity to meet the needs of the community.
   The legislation includes one bill to transfer funds from the State Building Fund, and another to authorize the Department of Health Services to provide grants, subject to approval by the Joint Committee on Finance. The move is urgent because this is the only opportunity to access these funds before the legislature adjourns for the year.
   Last Wednesday, the Assembly Committee on Health, Aging and Long-Term Care and the Senate Committee on Health each held hearings on the bills. They subsequently approved them to go the the full Assembly and Senate for votes, which could come this week.
Local entities testify in support
   At last week's hearings, several local entities testified in favor of the legislation or provided letters of support, including the Chamber. Among those speaking for the bill were the City of Altoona, Chippewa County, and Marshfield Clinic. Others providing letters of support or registering in favor of the bills were Ayres Associates, Christensen Group,  Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire County, Impact Advertising, Mayo Clinic Health System, Royal Credit Union, Xcel Energy, and Congressman Derrick Van Orden.

   Chamber investors are encouraged to contact their legislative representatives to urge support of these bills. See the link below to find your State Senator and Representative.
More information:
Bills: AB1078 SB1014,  AB1077 SB1015 
Wisconsin Legislature website (Click "Who are my legislators? link)

More healthcare stories...

Western Wisconsin health systems add capacity ahead of hospital, clinic closures

New bill would create mental health urgent care centers in Wisconsin
(WQOW News 18)

Crisis Urgent Care and Observation Centers Bill unanimously passes Assembly (WEAU 13 News)

Wisconsin’s nursing home industry could struggle with new federal staffing requirements

Mayo Clinic, UWEC bridge gap between academia, industry with Biomedical Innovator Program
(Leader-Telegram $)

How does Medicaid funding work?
(HealthCare Brew)

Our View: Events moving fast for region's medical future
(Leader-Telegram editorial $)


Eau Claire zoning code update work continues
Public open house Monday, Feb 19
   As the City of Eau Claire continues its work on a comprehensive update of its zoning code, dubbed the "Century Code Update," you are invited to attend the next public open house on Monday, February 19th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  

   There will be information about the new zoning districts and land use images/standards to review and to ask questions and provide input. An interactive proposed zoning map and the draft code text will be available at the open house as well.
   In the same location at the library, the City Council and Plan Commission will meet before the open house from 4 pm to 6 pm for their next Zoning Policy Advisory Committee (ZPAC) meeting. This is an open meeting, but public input will be collected at the open house.
More information:
Century Code Update website (City of Eau Claire)
Zoning code feedback form (City of Eau Claire)
Zoning Policy Advisory Committee
 • Monday, Feb 19, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Agenda
Century Code Update open house
 • Monday, Feb 19, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Open house information

Downtown Eau Claire seeks input with parking survey

   Downtown Eau Claire Inc (DECI) is looking for public input regarding current experiences and future needs for parking in the city's downtown area. The City of Eau Claire will be performing a Parking Study that will be used to decide the future of paid parking in the downtown area.  DECI is looking for information from downtown business owners, employees, residents, and visitors to help inform the City and City Council on the needs and interests of these important stakeholders.
Click here to take the parking survey (DECI)
More information:
Downtown Eau Claire Parking Parking Survey Now Open (Volume One)

DECI wants to know what you think of downtown parking (WQOW News 18)

Meeting this week...

School Board
 • Monday, Feb 19, 6:30 p.m. Meeting and agenda info.

Eau Claire
Board of Education
 • Monday, Feb 19, 7 p.m. Meeting and agenda info.

Altoona City Council
 • Thursday, Feb 22, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

More local stories...

Wellness Shack asks city for funding
(Leader-Telegram $)

State of the City: Resilience is relationships
(Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire leaders hold 'State of the City' address to discuss community issues (WQOW News 18)

CVTC opens new emergency service simulation center (WQOW News 18)

Chippewa County plans $15 million in 2024 capital projects
(Leader-Telegram $)

Spring 2024 Election
Tuesday, April 2
Local candidates on the Spring election ballot (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


State and regional stories...

Gov. Evers Signs Fair Maps for Wisconsin
(Office of the Governor)

Detailed overview of the governor’s maps (Office of the Governor)
New Assembly Districts (Dave's Redistricting)
New State Senate Districts (Dave's Redistricting)
2024 redistricting overview: Evers’ legislative maps versus 2022 lines (WisPolitics.com)

Evers signs his maps despite concerns from Dems they could be challenged in court

'A new day in Wisconsin': Gov. Tony Evers signs new legislative maps (The Cap Times)
Evers signs new maps into law, effectively ending Wisconsin redistricting lawsuit (WPR)

Republican Eric Hovde to announce bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Former Wisconsin GOP chair said he feared Trump supporters

GOP bill would let standards move forward for PFAS in groundwater

Continuing Labor Shortage Problems for Wisconsin
(UW Extension - Community Economic Development)

Wisconsin lost 10% of farms, 30% of dairies in 5 years, U.S. agriculture census shows
(Journal-Sentinel +)

TDA "On The Go" Podcast 52 - Riding The Rails
   Scott Rogers, the vice president of governmental affairs at the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, joins Transportation Development Association (TDA) Executive Director Debby Jackson on the latest On The Go podcast to talk about passenger rail.

   Scott and Debby discuss the economic benefits of passenger rail for the region and the recently announced federal grants to study passenger rail in the state. Jackson also takes the opportunity to get tips for long-distance train trips from Rogers, a longtime train traveler.
Podcast: Click here to listen (TDA of Wisconsin, 19:07)

National and economic stories...

Lawmakers unveil bipartisan bill combining Ukraine aid and border security
  (The Hill)

Judge Orders Trump to Pay $355 Million for Misrepresenting His Wealth
(Wall Street Journal $)

What Navalny’s death means for the Ukraine debate

January wholesale prices rise more than expected, another sign of persistent inflation

U.S. Industrial Production Unexpectedly Edges Down 0.1% In January
(RTT News)

Fentanyl Test Strips Are an Easy Way to Save Lives

Food for thought...

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

Zoning Reform Is Entering A New, Grown-Up Era
(Next City)
St. Paul's recent legalization of up to four units per lot city-wide showcases a smarter, more thoughtful future for zoning reform.

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

Mark your calendar:

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

Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast
• Friday, Mar 15

Spring 2024 Election
 • Tuesday, April 2
    Local candidates on the Spring election ballot

Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona
 • Friday, Apr 12

2024 Human Resource Conference
 • Thursday, Apr 18

Eggs & Issues
• Thursday, May 9

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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