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Volume 6, Issue 23, Oct 23, 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


Menomonie Eggs & Issues
Bridging the Gap Between Education & Workforce
Discover trends, innovative strategies, and opportunities to strengthen the talent pipeline and tackle today's workforce challenges. Hear from Katherine Frank, UW-Stout Chancellor; Jeff Jaeger, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chippewa Valley; Stanley Lichucki, Andersen Windows; Dan Lytle, CVTC; and Joe Zydowsky, School District of the Menomonie Area. Presented by the Menomonie Area Chamber & Visitor Center, UW-Stout, and the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce
 • Thursday, Nov 2, 7:30-9:00  a.m., UW Stout Memorial Student Union
    Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
Get new insights off just-released Wisconsin and national polls, explore what polling says about the current mood of Wisconsin public opinion, and what it tells us about the future of key policy issues and next year's elections.  
  Friday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your calendar:
 •  Tuesday, Nov 14: Economic Outlook Luncheon
 •  Wednesday, Nov 15: Workforce Solutions Summit

Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p
Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p, Friday 9a-Noon

In this issue:
 • Regional housing conference November 1
 • Oct 27 deadline for District 14 County Board applicants
 • EC City Council: Menomonie roundabout, County T design, budget work
 • UWEC says its committed to Barron County campus
 • Local legislators discuss budget, pending issues
 • Van Orden travels to Israel
 • 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 "+"


Housing supply and affordability...
Regional Housing Conference Nov 1 in Eau Claire
   The program features state housing expert Dr. Kurt Paulson updating attendees on the current state of the housing market in the region. State Representative Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake) will share information about the recent housing bills passed by the Wisconsin Legislature and Billie Hufford from the City of Eau Claire will share initiatives the City of Eau Claire and Housing Opportunities Commission utilize to help fund housing. Representative from WHEDA, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission will share resources that are available and will be joined by developer Tyler Warner sharing how developers can utilize various resources to build workforce and low-income housing. The day will end with Eau Claire County and the Cities of Altoona and Eau Claire sharing their approaches to Zoning Code Updates and how the updates help create more workforce and low-income housing.
   This second annual conference is organized by the Eau Claire Housing Opportunities Commission. Sponsors include the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association and the REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin.
More information:
Regional Housing Conference
 • Wednesday, Nov 1, 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., UWEC Davies Center

    Click here for information and registration

Zoning for Neighborhoods Workshop Nov 7
   The City of Eau Claire Planning Division is hosting a community workshop on November 7th in collaboration with UW-Stevens Point Center for Land Use Education. The two-hour program includes an interactive exercise on potential land use changes involving representatives of neighborhoods and other community stakeholders. Learn how zoning reforms could impact the vitality of Eau Claire.
More information:
Zoning for Neighborhoods Workshop
Tuesday, Nov 7, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Banbury Place, Eau Claire Room
   800 Wisconsin St., Building 2, 3rd Floor, lunch provided
   Click here for information and registration

More zoning and housing links:
City of Eau Claire planning first massive zoning overhaul since 1990 (WQOW News 18)
City of Altoona looking for public input on zoning updates (WQOW News 18)
Altoona Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Competition (City of Altoona)
Century Code Update website (City of Eau Claire)
WHEDA Housing Programs website - new legislation implementation (WHEDA)
Tight inventories limit existing home sales and drive up median prices (Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, Sep 2023 Housing Market Report)
Home Sales on Track for Slowest Year Since Housing Bust (Wall Street Journal $)

Audio: Insights on the latest data and trends in the state’s real estate and housing market (WisBusiness.com with Dave Clark, the executive associate dean and professor of economics at Marquette University, 12:19)

Eau Claire County...
Oct 27 deadline for District 14 County Board applicants
Vacancy created by Gatlin resignation
   Eau Claire County Supervisor Judy Gatlin has resigned from her position representing District 14 on the Eau Claire County Board. The County is now seeking applicants to fill the unexpired term that ends in April 2024.
   Gatlin has served on the County Board after first being elected in 2016. District 14 includes Wards 4, 21, 56 & 63 in southwest edge of the City of Eau Claire and Ward three in the Town of Washington.
   Applications are open through Friday, October 27. Applicants must be a resident of the district. Interviews will take place with the Committee on Administration in early November, followed by a decision by the County Board.
More information:
County Board District Maps - click on District 14 (Eau Claire County)
Application (Eau Claire County)
Applications for district 14 supervisor open as Gatlin resigns (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire County is seeking applications to fill a vacancy in Supervisory District 14 (WEAU 13 News)
Our View: Be ready if you seek public office (Leader-Telegram Editorial)

More Eau Claire County links and news...
Eau Claire County Board
• Tuesday, Oct 17, Agenda Packet
County Board district maps and Supervisors
County Budget website (Eau Claire County)
Asset forfeiture presentation raises questions about reporting (Leader-Telegram $)

E.C. County Government Center Adds Electric Vehicle Chargers (Volume One)

City of Eau Claire...
EC City Council: Menomonie St roundabout, County T design
   The Eau Claire City Council meets in Legislative Session on Tuesday afternoon. There is no Public Hearing on Monday because no items require one. Tuesday's Business Agenda includes approval of a transportation plan to allow for construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Water St., Menomonie, St. and 10th Ave., (see pages 54-58 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below), and an intergovernmental agreement with Eau Claire and Chippewa counties and the Towns of Union and Wheaton for design work on County T between highway 12 and 33rd Ave. (pages 59-65). It also includes approval of aerial encroachments along Farwell and Main streets to Merge Urban Development for the workforce housing it is building above the Transit Center, four feet onto the Farwell right of way and two feet onto Main (pages 50-53).
Work session on 2024 budget
   After Tuesday's meeting, the Council will hold its second work session on the proposed 2024 Operating Budget (see separate budget-related links below). According to the budget timeline, proposed amendments from Council Members are due by November 3. There will be a final Public Hearing on November 13 for action by the City Council on November 14.
Berge elected President of League of Wis Municipalities
   Eau Claire City Council President Emily Berge has been elected President of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, taking office this past week at the League's annual conference in Green Bay. According to the League's website, it was created in 1898 "to help Wisconsin cities and villages share ideas and learn from one another, to train and provide information to the people elected and appointed to govern those cities and villages, and to advocate on their behalf with the Wisconsin Legislature, Governor and state agencies."
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Oct 23, Public Hearing, Canceled
 • Tuesday, Oct 24, 4 p.m. Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (70 pages)
    2024 Proposed Operating Budget (City of Eau Claire, 155 pages)
    2024 Budget website (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)
City Manager's Weekly Update 10/20/23 (City of Eau Claire)
City budget sees boost from additional revenue (Leader-Telegram $)
Library plans for security monitor after incidents with unhoused patrons (Leader-Telegram $)
Our View: Library's monitoring plan deserves support (Leader-Telegram Editorial $)

EC City Manager offers weekly newsletter to the public
   A "City Manager's Weekly Update" is now available to members of the public interested in getting news and information about activities of the City of Eau Claire government and staff. According to City Manager Stephanie Hirsch, the update was formerly sent to staff and City Council members only, but members of the public are now encouraged to get on the mailing list. The Update is sent each week on Friday via email.
   To receive the newsletter, and to request other notifications available from the City of Eau Claire, click the following link:
eNotifications (City of Eau Claire)
Latest issue: City Manager's Weekly Update 10/20/23 (City of Eau Claire)

UW announces closure of two more satellite campuses

UWEC says it's committed to strengthening Barron County campus
   After Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman announced the closure of UW satellite campuses in Fond du Lac and Washington County, adding to the earlier announcement of the closure of one in Richland Center,  UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt last week said his institution is doubling down on its commitment to UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.

  In a news release on Wednesday, UWEC said the news "reinforces the need to ensure the focus of branch campuses aligns with their communities and market realities facing universities across the country. UW-Eau Claire has been engaged in such discussions since 2017 when UW-Barron County became a branch campus of UW-Eau Claire."
   “From the outset, we have focused on building from a position of strength,” said Billy Felz, vice chancellor for enrollment management at UW-Eau Claire.  “Results this year are bearing fruit. Fall headcount enrollment is up 1.9% from last year, including growth in both the Launch program and at the Barron campus. Our retention efforts on the Barron campus are also showing positive results. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication faculty and staff offer their students at Rice Lake.”
   Schmidt will be in Rice Lake on Nov. 15 to meet with UW-Eau Claire – Barron County faculty and staff, area business leaders, county board members, the county executive and other elected officials to outline further plans to strengthen academic offerings at Barron County as an investment in the economic vitality of the region.
More information:
UW-Eau Claire committed to rural vitality in Barron County (UWEC)

UW ending classes at campuses in Washington County and Fond du Lac (Journal-Sentinel +)
What to know about UW system cutting in-person instruction at two campuses (Journal-Sentinel +)
Lawmakers call UW regional campus decisions unfortunate, unsurprising (The Center Square)

More area higher education stories...
Federal grant will assist UW-Eau Claire student parents with child care costs (UWEC)
UW-Eau Claire receives $450K for child care for students (Leader-Telegram $)
UWRF nears end of ten year campus dairy plant renovation project (Leader-Telegram $)
UW-River Falls to reopen dairy processing facility (WEAU 13 News)

Meeting this week...

Altoona City Council
Thursday, Oct 26, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

More local stories:

Local businesses, colleges speak on student career opportunities

Eau Claire school board analyzes district results of student needs
(Leader-Telegram $)

Modicum Brewing to close after 7 years
(WEAU 13 News)
Modicum Brewery Announces Closure (Volume One)
Popular Pizza Joint Covizza’s Future Unclear as Relocation Plans Falter (Volume One)
More businesses announce they will not be opening in Artisan Forge Studios (WQOW News 18)

Downtown co-working community CoLab plans to expand (WEAU 13 News)

Lake Altoona Residents Hope New Equipment is Answer to Their Sand Woes
(Volume One)

Resettlement agency plans to welcome 75 refugees to the Chippewa Valley
(WEAU 13 News)

Goodbye to new neighbors: farewell event celebrates Afghan refugees
(Leader-Telegram $)

Ron Cramer honored by Legislature (Leader-Telegram $)

Proposed battery plant in Chippewa Falls takes big step forward
(Leader-Telegram $)

TemptAsians, Ne-Ne’s Tacos, Others to Join C.F. Market on River
(Volume One)

Questioning the Locals: Menomonie Chamber CEO Ashley DeMuth
(Volume One)

Latest episode...
"Talking Po!nt" podcast
It's Government Budget Season
   In this episode, Creative Director Chelsea Seckora introduces the Chamber's President & CEO, Dave Minor, and Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs, who talk about budget season for local government, focusing on the City of Eau Claire. What it's about, the timeline, and why it's important to you. "Talking Po!nt" was created to discuss community and state topics that have a significant impact on businesses and our economy. Recorded in the WIN Technology Studio. Media sponsor Royal Credit Union. Click below to listen:
Talking Point Podcast Ep 2, "It's Budget Season" (17:37)
Talking Point Podcast Ep 1 "Why we advocate" (16:18)
Related commentary:
Our View: Pay attention during government budgeting (Leader-Telegram Editorial $)


Local legislators celebrate budget accomplishments,
debate pending issues
   Five local legislators representing the Chippewa Valley participated in the Chamber's recent Eggs & Issues Legislative Breakfast. Present were Senators Jesse James (R-Altoona, Dist. 23) and Jeff Smith (D-town of Brunswick, Dist. 31) and Representatives Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek, Dist. 68), Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake, Dist. 75), and Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer, Dist. 67). The legislators discussed issues of local interest, including child care and tax cuts.
   People attending the event got a chance to hear their state senators' and representatives’ thoughts on the recently passed state budget. The moderator, the Chamber's Vice President Governmental Affairs Scott Rogers, asked legislators their perspectives on the accomplishments of the legislature so far this year. The legislators also looked in-depth at issues like childcare, tax cuts, redistricting, and specific bills legislators are passionate about.
Click here to continue reading...

Next legislative forum...
Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

More state and regional news...

Gov. Evers Directs $170 Million in Emergency Funding to Stabilize Child Care Statewide, Prevent Industry’s Imminent Collapse
(Office of the Governor)
Evers finds $170M in federal dollars to keep pandemic-era child care subsidy program afloat (AP)

Gov. Tony Evers directs $170M in federal funding to maintain Child Care Counts subsidy program (WPR)

$546 million American Family Field funding package wins approval in state Assembly
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Debate surrounds Wisconsin PFAS bill as senators propose amendments
(Marinette Menominee Eagle Herald)

Wisconsin ends fiscal year with record-breaking surplus for second year in row (WKOW)
Report confirms Wisconsin's $7.1B budget surplus is highest in state history (WPR)
Wisconsin Republican makes case for returning nearly $3B to taxpayers (WPR)

Wisconsin Supreme Court asked to draw new legislative boundaries over Republican objections

Wisconsin Republicans admit vote to fire elections chief had no legal effect

In court filing, GOP legislators admit they can't fire top elections official (WPR)

Assembly Speaker backs off UW diversity ban
(The Center Square)

Former state lawmaker Dale Kooyenga named new head of Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
(Journal-Sentinel +)

WMC, Johnson Financial Group: Announce 2023 Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin

Plexus’ bottleless water dispenser named the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin (BizTimes)

Wisconsin unemployment rate back above 3% in September as labor force continues growth

Expert urges businesses to proactively guard data from cyber threats (WisBusiness.com)

Canadian Pacific Kansas City Holiday Train returns to La Crosse area December 5 (WXOW)
Full schedule (CPKC)

Sun Country flights from Duluth to Fort Myers returning in 2024
(Superior Telegram)

Sun Country Adds 10 Routes from Minneapolis in Latest Challenge to Delta

St. Paul City Council votes 4-3 to overhaul zoning code, allow duplexes, density
(Yahoo! News)

Public shows strong support for St. Paul zoning changes geared toward density
(Star-Tribune +)


National and economic stories:

Powell says inflation is still too high and lower economic growth is likely needed to bring it down

GOP speaker chaos: 9 Republicans will battle for top post

Rep. Derrick Van Orden leaves D.C. for fact-finding mission in Israel as House remains paralyzed
(Journal-Sentinel $)

GOP Rep Van Orden heads to Israel amid Speaker uncertainty (The Hill)

Menomonie man announces Democratic candidacy for Third Congressional District
(Leader-Telegram $)

Third GOP Presidential primary debate will be hosted by NBC News on Nov. 8

Backlog of pending immigration cases continues to grow
(The Center Square)

Biden walks a tightrope with his support for Israel as his party’s left urges restraint

The growing threat of government retaliation against businesses

Food for thought...

The New Axis of Evil: Condoleezza Rice on War in Israel and a Changed World
(The Free Press)

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

Mark your calendar:

Menomonie Eggs & Issues:
Bridging the Gap between Education & Workforce
 • Thursday, Nov 2

Economic Outlook Luncheon
 • Tuesday, Nov 14

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
 • Friday, Nov 17

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

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 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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