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Volume 5, Issue 38, Feb 6, 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

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



We need you at the...

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Earlybird registration ends Wed, Feb 8

Join us at an important budget-year edition of this annual legislative day, organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing crucial economic issues to policymakers in state government, including workforce development, infrastructure, tax reform, economic development, and critical capital projects at UWEC and UW-Stout.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

   2023 Chippewa Valley Rally issue statements

   Chippewa Valley Rally Will be a Capitol Time (Volume One)


Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Eau Claire" 

The Chamber's annual 'State of the City' address. City Council President Terry Weld and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch will lead a program to recap highlights from 2022 and take a look ahead at the City's challenges and plans for 2023. Topics will include tackling complex issues like housing and fiscal stability, and how the city intends to implement a data-informed, value-driven approach to determine priorities and make decisions. 

 • Friday, Feb 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for more details and to register


Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Mar 31, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for more details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Gov Evers confirmed for Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Judge rules for Town of Washington in Orchard Hills annexation suit

 • Sun Country adds Landline ground connections to MSP

 • State Supreme Court Primary is Feb 21, early voting Feb 7-17

 • State of the Union address is Tues evening

 • 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 "+"


Governor Evers confirmed for Chippewa Valley Rally

29th annual event is Feb 22 in Madison

   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers will deliver the luncheon keynote address to the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally on Wednesday, Feb 22, in Madison. This is part of a full day of events for participants that includes small group visits to legislative offices, issue briefings, and opportunities to interact with key cabinet departments. 

   Registration is still open and more delegates are needed. An earlybird registration fee is available through this Wednesday, February 8. This Rally is organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance, representing the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. It's a unique opportunity to bring the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison all at one time.

   With deliberations underway for the 2023-25 state budget, it's an especially important year to make a strong impact.

Issue statements assert critical area economic priorities

   Topics for this year focus especially on workforce challenges: housing supply and affordability; talent attraction and retention; child care availability, and professional licensing backlogs; infrastructure investments including broadband, the electric vehicle charging network, and passenger rail expansion; and critical UW System capital projects, including UWEC's Science & Health Sciences Building and UW-Stout's Heritage Hall. Rally participants will follow up on past issues, including the sale of excess public land in Chippewa Falls for economic development. And the Rally will encourage lawmakers to consider tax reforms - opportunities to reduce or eliminate the state income and personal property taxes, but also to address the financial squeeze on local governments and school districts. See the link below to read the full statements for each topic area. 

First-time attendees welcome

   The Chippewa Valley Rally is an excellent opportunity to join others from our region to make a difference in Madison. Each participant is assigned to a small group team for five legislative visits during the day, led by an experience previous delegate. The keynote lunch is included, as well as a closing reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres. Optional same-day charter bus transportation is available, or participants may travel on their own. Early arrivers are invited to attend a briefing on transportation issues with WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson and key staff. Click the links below for full schedule and registration information.  

More information:

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

    Click here for details and to register

    Click here to read the full 2023 Issues Statements

Chippewa Valley Rally Will be a Capitol Time (Volume One)


Judge rules for Town of Washington in

Orchard Hills annexation suit

   Eau Claire Circuit Judge Emily Long on Friday announced a finding in favor of the Town of Washington in its suit to overturn the City of Eau Claire's annexation of 400 acres for the prospective Orchard Hills development. 

  The Town argued that the move was invalid to be filed as a unanimous request from property owners because it did not include a signature from Eau Claire County for the portion of Lowes Creek Park included in the annexation. 

   “I find the filing of the annexation petition required the inclusion of the county of Eau Claire,” the judge said.

   The Leader-Telegram quoted city officials and representatives of the developer as saying they have not yet determined their next course of action.

More information:

Judge deals blow to City of Eau Claire, housing developer (Leader-Telegram $)

Town of Washington and city of Eau Claire react to annexation ruling (WQOW News 18)

Judge rules in favor of Town of Washington in lawsuit against City of Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)


Sun Country, Landline add MSP ground connections

to Chippewa Valley Regional Airport

   Sun Country Airlines and Landline last Thursday announced a connecting ground transportation service to and from flights at MSP that will debut at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (EAU) beginning March 2. The shuttle service will supplement Sun Country's four weekly flights to its Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) hub, as well as be open to customers of other airlines at MSP. 

   Sun Country passengers flying in or out of MSP will be able to book the Eau Claire connection the same as if it were a connecting flight, with an additional cost starting at $10. There will also be the opportunity to check bags to and from EAU for Sun Country customers. The shuttles are timed to connect with Sun Country flights to multiple destinations from Terminal 2, but will also stop at Terminal 1 for other airlines. The Landline vehicles are Sprinter Vans that feature a premium interior with free wi-fi, and leather seats. 

   Sun Country began service to EAU in December under the federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program after United Express partner SkyWest ended service to 29 EAS destinations, citing the pilot shortage. Sun Country's EAS service includes two weekly direct leisure flights to Ft Myers, FL, into April, when it will transition to direct flights to Orlando. In the fall, Sun Country expects to offer direct flights to Las Vegas. 

   The Eau Claire-MSP ground transportation market is also currently served by Groome Transportation from its terminal at 6204 Chuck Ln, Eau Claire, with 19 trips each way daily.

More information:

Landline news release with schedule (Landline)

Landline shuttle booking site (Landline)

Sun County website (Sun Country Airlines)

Landline bus joining Sun Country service in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Sun Country adding sprinter van system in Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

For $10, service will take you from EAU to MSP airport (WQOW News 18)

Sun Country Airlines partners with Landline to launch van service for Eau Claire passengers (WKBT News 8000)

How Sun Country Won a Unique Federal Grant, Thanks to Eau Claire, Wisconsin (Airline Weekly)

Groome Transportation Eau Claire-MSP schedule (Groome Transportation)


Meeting this week:

Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Feb 6, 6 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. regular session Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

ECASD Academic Calendar 2022-23 (ECASD)

ECASD Academic Calendar 2023-24 (ECASD)

EC school board to hear result summary from 2022 state civics exam (Leader-Telegram $)


Click here for a complete list of public meetings


More local stories:


Nestlé Has Big Plans for Eau Claire Plant (Volume One)


Lake Altoona District raising money for sediment collector project (WEAU 13 News)


UW-Eau Claire to celebrate Black History Month throughout February (UWEC)


UW-Stout Unveils Dynamic New Logo (Volume One)


Race for Wisconsin Supreme Court goes to Feb 21 Primary

Early voting Feb 7-17

   Wisconsin voters will go to the polls on Feb 21 to narrow the field of candidates for an open State Supreme Court seat from four to two for the April 4 Non-partisan election.

   The four candidates on the primary ballot are former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow, Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell, and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz.

   Early voting will be open at local municipalities on weekdays from Tuesday, Feb 7, through Friday, Feb 17.

More information:

Election 2023: Guide to the Local Spring Election (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)

Meet the candidates running in the 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court primary (PBS Wisconsin)

Candidate Q&A: Wisconsin Supreme Court (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Kelly won’t endorse Dorow if she’s the nominee (The Center Square)

Nonpartisan in name only. Wisconsin Supreme Court race has political overtones (Journal-Sentinel $)


More state and regional stories:


These 3 bills from a bipartisan group of lawmakers seek to improve Wisconsin's water quality (Journal-Sentinel +)


School funding hangs in balance of Wisconsin budget debate (The Cap Times)


Revenue Secretary Peter Barca hints at possible compromise on high income tax bracket (Journal-Sentinel +)


Audit finds Wisconsin voting machines worked accurately in 2022 general election (WPR)


RNC leaders discuss next steps, business opportunities for 2024 convention (BizTimes)

What we know so far about the 2024 Republican Convention in Milwaukee (Journal-Sentinel +)


Milwaukee Will Host GOP Presidential Debate In Lead Up To RNC (Urban Milwaukee)


Paul Ryan says he would not back Trump, if ex-president is GOP's 2024 nominee (Journal-Sentinel $)


Survey: Conservative UW System students say they've felt political pressure in class (WPR)

Survey: UW students afraid to express views in class (AP)


Wis. DHS releases 2023-2027 State Health Improvement Plan (WEAU 13 News)


Wisconsin GOP signals possible movement on PFAS pollution (AP)


Restrictive zoning policies shut door to affordable housing in some suburbs (WPR)


Gov. Evers, WisDOT Announce More than $134 Million in Quarterly Aid Payments for Local Roads and Communities (Office of the Governor)


Wisconsin dairy groups say new trade dispute could lead to more serious action against Canada over dairy policy (WPR)


Northwestern Mutual plans $500 million upgrade to its Milwaukee HQ, will bring 2,000 Franklin employees downtown (BizTimes)


National and economic stories:


Flexing his wins and eyeing a 2nd term, Biden will lay out contrasts with GOP in State of the Union Tuesday (Politico)


Huckabee Sanders to deliver Republican response to Biden’s State of the Union (The Hill)


President Joe Biden to tout economic plan in Wisconsin visit Wednesday (The Cap Times)


McCarthy says he will meet Biden again on U.S. debt ceiling (Reuters)


Fed raises rates by a quarter point, notes lower inflation (Axios)


A Blazing Jobs Report in an Odd Economic Moment (The Morning Disptatch)


U.S. Jobless Claims Edged Down Last Week (MarketWatch)


U.S. Job Openings Jumped at End of Last Year (Wall Street Journal $)


U.S. job openings unexpectedly increase in December (Reuters)


U.S. unemployment system still plagued by delays 3 years after pandemic-era downturn (CNBC)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 


Area COVID-19 deaths climb slightly (Leader-Telegram $)


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:


State of the Union Address - President Joe Biden

 • Tuesday, February 7, 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central


Governor's Budget Address - Gov Tony Evers

 • Wednesday, February 15, 7 p.m., State Capitol


Eggs & Issues: State of the City -Eau Claire

 • Friday, Feb 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Spring Primary Election

Election 2023: Guide to the Spring Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

• Tuesday, Feb 21


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Feb 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


Spring Non-Partisan Election

Election 2023: Guide to the Spring Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

• Tuesday, April 4 


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


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