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Volume 6, Issue 43, Mar 11, 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:
• Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative to be formed
 • Marshfield Clinic announces urgent care site in Lake Hallie
 • EC Council President & City Manager schedule public input meetings
 • Legislature expected to adjourn this week
 • Governor Evers signs childcare tax credit bill
 • Rep Karen Hurd to move to 69th Assembly District for fall election
 • 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...
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. Legislators who've RSVP'd so far include Senators Jesse James (R-Altoona) and Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire); and Reps. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake), Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), and Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek).
 • 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


Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative to be formed
   Leaders of the OakLeaf Medical Network last Tuesday announced the formation of an organizing group to create a Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative "in response to dramatic recent shifts in the healthcare landscape in Western Wisconsin," establishing an entity to "move forward quickly to fully assess and address emerging healthcare gaps in the region." The initiative comes following the January 22 announcement that HSHS and Prevea will be closing their hospitals and clinics in western Wisconsin this spring.
   The announcement indicated that the organizers expect to set up the Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative as a Wisconsin Chapter 193 cooperative, which will seek a 501c3 tax-exempt determination from the IRS. Their initial responsibilities "are to develop bylaws and the corporate structure of the cooperative, as well as consider operational plans and strategic direction." The organizers are Patricia “Patti” Darley, Lori Geissler, Peter Hoeft, Mickey Judkins, Robert “Bob” Krause, Thomas Larson, and Eric Rygg.
   OakLeaf Medical Network has hired healthcare consultant Mike Sanders, Managing Partner of 1100 Partners, to manage the effort. The news release notes that OakLeaf "will support the Cooperative by funding consultant and legal support until the Cooperative can assume all costs."
   “After substantial research and evaluation, we concluded that a Wisconsin 193 cooperative is the best corporate structure for developing new independent healthcare services and facilities in the Chippewa Valley,” said Sanders.
   “We knew since January 22nd that a community-led solution should be a critical part of the go-forward vision for healthcare and hospitals in the region,” said Kyle Dettbarn, MD, Chair of OakLeaf Medical Network.
More information:
Website (Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative)

  News release, FAQs
Push to open new Chippewa Valley hospital continues ahead of HSHS closures (WPR)

Local leaders brought together to create health cooperative (Leader-Telegram $)
Business, community leaders create Chippewa Valley Health Cooperative (WEAU 13 News)
New health cooperative formed amid hospital closures (WQOW News 18)
Chippewa Valley business and community leaders form cooperative to 'address emerging healthcare gaps' (News 8000.com)

Marshfield Clinic announces urgent care site in Lake Hallie
   Marshfield Clinic Health System last week announced that it is opening an urgent care center at it Lake Hallie Center in the coming months.
   “Increasing urgent care capacity in the Chippewa Valley will provide some much-needed relief in the coming months to community members looking for convenient alternatives," said Marshfield Health System's West Market President Brad Groseth. “Expanded urgent care access in the region will help decrease patient volumes in local emergency departments, as well as provide hours that might be more convenient for working families in the area."
   A news release from Marshfield Clinic noted that the move will "help address the expected influx of patients seeking emergent and urgent care services in the Chippewa Valley." HSHS and Prevea facilities in the region, including those in Chippewa County, will be closing in the next few weeks.
   Marshfield's Lake Hallie Center is located between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls off of Highway 53. Urgent care is available for injuries and illnesses, like minor cuts that need stitches or ear infections, that are not life threatening but need care fast. Additionally, urgent care locations will see people when traveling, especially in tourist areas, because their primary care provider is not available.
More information:
Marshfield Clinic Health System announces opening of Lake Hallie urgent care services (Marshfield Clinic)
Urgent care services to open at Marshfield Clinic Lake Hallie Center (WEAU 13 News)
Marshfield to reopen urgent care clinic in Lake Hallie (WQOW News 18)
Marshfield Clinic plans to open urgent care services in Lake Hallie Center (News 8000)
Urgent care returns to Lake Hallie Center (Leader-Telegram $)
Marshfield Clinic Health System announces opening of Lake Hallie urgent care (Spectrum News)

More healthcare stories and information...

HSHS/Prevea Task Force continues work
   The region-wide Task Force created to address the announced closures of HSHS and Prevea facilities in western Wisconsin is continuing its collaborative work.

   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.
   The Task Force is maintaining a website to provide information, as well as an opportunity to sign up to receive updates.
More information:
Click here for the Task Force website to stay informed and sign up for updates

WHA Report finds continued workforce struggles for hospitals and health care
(Wisconsin Examiner)

WHA Annual Workforce Report (Wisconsin Hospital Association)

Job fair to take place in Altoona
(WEAU 13 News)


EC Council President & City Manager schedule
public input meetings
   Eau Claire City Council President Emily Berge and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch have announced that they will hold district meetings in four locations around the City in March and April. They also expect to be joined by other members of the City Council and by neighborhood associations.
   According to the announcement of the sessions, they will share citywide and neighborhood-specific updates on topics such as zoning, development, street repair, public safety, parks, and more; provide a resident survey for input, and answer questions.
Dates and locations are:
Central neighborhoods: Eastside Hill, Randall Park, North River Fronts, Third Ward, Downtown

 • Monday, March 18, 6-8 p.m.
    LE Phillips Senior Center - 1616 Bellinger St.

South neighborhoods: Putnam Heights, London Road, Oakwood Hills, Memorial, Randy's, Fairfax/South
  Wednesday, March 2, 6-8 p.m.
    South Middle School Cafeteria - 2115 Mitscher Ave.

West neighborhoods: Buffington, Shawtown, Upper Westside, West Ridge, Silvermine, Sherman Creek, Lamplighter/Crestview
 • Monday, April 1, 6-8 p.m.
    Delong Middle School Cafeteria - 2000 Vine Street
North neighborhoods: Airport, Dells Park, North Side Hill, Princeton Valley, Sundet Park, Wells/Riverview, Pinehurst, Abby/Zephyr Hills
 Thursday, April 18, 6-8 p.m. 
    North High School Commons - 1801 Piedmont Rd.
More information:
City Manager's Weekly Update (City of Eau Claire)

First refugees resettled in Eau Claire
   The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported last week that the first group of 21 refugees have been resettled in the area. It references World Relief's Community Engagement Specialist, who said that the refugees comprise four families from the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo. World Relief and its local partners, including CVTC and Literacy Chippewa Valley, have been providing  housing, cultural orientation, jobs searches, and registration for schools and language classes.
More information:
Refugees resettled in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)
Frequently Asked Questions: Refugee Resettlement in the Chippewa Valley (World Relief)
Who is a refugee and what do they go through to get to the U.S.? - World Relief (World Relief)

Our View: Belated openness better than continued silence (Leader-Telegram editorial)

Eau Claire City Council: Sidewalk projects on agenda
   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week with a relatively short agenda. Monday's evening's session includes a Public Hearing on citywide repair and installation of sidewalks, curb and gutter, in 41 locations. The Council will vote on the projects at is Legislative Session on Tuesday. There will be work sessions after Tuesday's meeting on "potential fee recover from programs and rental fees" and a Community Services Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Mar 11, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (8 pages)
 • Tuesday, Mar 12, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (65 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)

Also meeting this week...

Altoona City Council
 • Thursday, Mar 14, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

More local stories...

Blugolds bring ‘When Rubber Hit The Road’ Uniroyal documentary to life (UWEC)
Upcoming Documentary, Podcast Tell Stories of Uniroyal Tire Plant (Volume One)

Thorp's Marieke Gouda takes three "Best in Class" awards at world cheese championship
(WQOW News 18)

Non-profit raises awareness about human trafficking
(WEAU 13 News)

CF Council approves mutual aid agreements with Thorp, Menomonie
(Leader-Telegram $)

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

Volunteers sought for "Test Drive... Next Stop Reality" on April 19
   If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved in making a difference in the lives of our students again, then this is the perfect opportunity for you! More than 85 volunteers are needed for Test Drive…Next Stop Reality, on Friday, April 19, 2024.
   Test Drive is a hands-on experience organized by Royal Credit Union in which students select a career and then research the education needed and salary that would come from that career. With an expected salary in hand, the students then enter the event inside of the Business Education Center at Chippewa Valley Technical College and attend each of 22 different stations in categories such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, childcare, insurance, and food. The students visit each station where volunteers teach them about the topic and guide them through the different options based on their lifestyle and budget.
   In order for this event to be successful, volunteers are needed to provide guidance and direction at each of these stations. Volunteers will have the ability to choose which station they would prefer to work.  No experience is required.
Prior to the event, volunteers will receive a training video, instruction and station guides for their station, and instructions on where to park, including a parking permit. The day of the event, volunteers will receive a free breakfast and/or lunch, coffee and water offered all day, snacks, and most importantly, the opportunity to meet like-minded parents and volunteers while truly making a difference in the lives of our youth. Approximately 260 students from Eau Claire County and beyond will be participating in the event this Spring.
Click here for details and to sign up


Legislature expected to adjourn this week
   The Wisconsin State Legislature is expected to end its 2023-24 session this week when the State Senate meets for the final time on Tuesday. The Assembly held its last floor session on February 22. The final schedule for bills to be considered by the State Senate will be released on Monday. To become law, anything passed by the Senate this week must be identical to the Assembly-passed version and then be signed by the Governor.
Wach's Regent position may be subject to confirmation vote
   UW Board of Regents member Dana Wachs of Eau Claire was one of two Regents whose position was recommended against Senate confirmation in a meeting last Thursday by the Senate Committee on Universities and Revenue. The committee voted 5-3 along party lines to recommend against Wachs and Regent John Miller because of their votes against the recent compromise involving DEI and UW funding. At press time for this newsletter, it was not yet known if a vote would be on the Senate calendar. The positions of Regents and state cabinet officers are appointed by the Governor but subject to State Senate confirmation.
More information:
Wisconsin Senate panel votes to fire regents who voted against limiting UW diversity initiatives (AP)
Final Legislative Eggs & Issues of the season is Fri, Mar 15
   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. Legislators who've RSVP'd so far include Senators Jesse James (R-Altoona) and Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire); and Reps. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake), Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire), and Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek).
Eggs & Issues Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Mar 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

More state and regional stories...

Gov. Evers Signs Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Annual Child Care Costs for Working Families
(Office of the Governor)
AB 1023 (Now Act 101)
Evers signs Republican-authored bill to expand Wisconsin child care tax credit (AP)
Gov. Tony Evers signs expanded child tax credit, urges more action on affordable child care (Journal-Sentinel +)
Evers signs child care tax credit hike, urges more action on child care support (Wisconsin Examiner)
Evers signs child care tax credit, vetoes other tax cuts (The Center Square)

Gov. Evers Approves Critical UW System-wide Capital Project Investments, UW-Madison Engineering Building
(Office of the Governor)
Evers signs bill allowing new UW-Madison engineering building to move forward (WPR)
Two laws signed by Gov. Evers change WI-MN tuition reciprocity, benefitting UW schools (Leader-Telegram $)
Gov. Evers signs into law tuition reciprocity change that will benefit UW-River Falls (WEAU 13 News)

Hurd campaign: Declares candidacy for 69th Assembly district
(News Release)
Rep. Karen Hurd announces she is moving from Fall Creek, into different Assembly District (Leader-Telegram $)
Representative Hurd Declares Candidacy for 69th Assembly District (WEAU 13 News)
New State Legislative Maps Could Shuffle Valley’s Representation (Volume One)
2024 redistricting overview: Evers’ legislative maps versus 2022 lines (WisPolitics.com)

Republican State Senator Andre Jacque to run for open congressional seat representing northeastern Wisconsin

Two key figures in Trump fake electors effort settle lawsuit
(The Cap Times)
Wisconsin fake elector settlement offers new details on the strategy by Trump lawyers (AP)
Takeaways from the Wisconsin 2020 fake electors lawsuit settlement (AP)

State appeals court upholds ruling that DNR lacks broad authority to regulate PFAS (WPR)
Wisconsin appeals court says regulators must develop PFAS restrictions before mandating clean-up (AP)

Wisconsin tax collections remain roughly even year over year in January (The Center Square)

I-94 Milwaukee area east-west expansion, redesign gains federal approval

State officials hear from industry, labor on embracing AI without leaving workers behind

Wisconsin Banks Rounded Out 2023 Strong According to Latest FDIC Numbers
(Wisconsin Bankers Association)

UW’s Rothman touts undergrad research during showcase event

VP Harris announces federal apprenticeship program during Madison visit

Dairy Farmers File Appeal in Permitting Case Against Wisconsin DNR
(WMC Litigation Center)

Ashwaubenon vacation rental rules latest to draw lawsuit threat from Realtors group
(Green Bay Press-Gazette +)

Fiserv marks downtown Milwaukee headquarters opening. It's the latest in a series of similar moves
(Journal-Sentinel +)

USDA: Farm income forecast to drop 25 percent

National and economic stories...

U.S. job growth totaled 275,000 in February but unemployment rate rose to 3.9%
US employers add a surprisingly strong 275,000 jobs in sign of continued economic strength (Politico)
Fed’s Powell: Rate cuts likely this year, but more evidence is needed that inflation is tamed (AP)
Hiring Boom Continues, but Signs of a Cooling Labor Market Boost Rate-Cut Hopes (Wall Street Journal $)

Biden signs 6-bill funding package, after Senate averts shutdown
Senate Passes $460 Billion Appropriations Deal, Avoiding Shutdown (Bloomberg +)
US House approves spending bill to avert government shutdown (Reuters)
Senate vote: 75-22 (Baldwin Yes, Johnson No)
House vote: 339-85 (Yes: Van Orden, Fitzgerald, Gallagher, Grothman, Moore, Pocan, Steil; No: Tiffany)
Potential federal dollars going to projects in Eau Claire County (WEAU 13 News)

House committee unanimously supports forcing TikTok divestiture
Gallagher, Bipartisan Coalition Introduce Legislation to Protect Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications, Including TikTok (House Select Committee on the CCP)

Biden uses feisty State of the Union to contrast with Trump, sell voters on a second term
Transcript of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address (AP)
Transcript of the Republican response to the State of the Union address (AP)
At the State of the Union, Biden Delivered A General Election Stump Speech (Dispatch Politics)
Van Orden among Republicans who heckled Biden during State of the Union (WisPolitics)

Trump, Biden dominate Super Tuesday contests as they march toward rematch
Nikki Haley suspends her campaign and leaves Donald Trump as the last major Republican candidate (AP)

9-0 Supreme Court restores Trump to ballot, rejecting state attempts to ban him over Capitol attack
Supreme Court rules states cannot remove Trump from ballot for insurrection (SCOTUS Blog)

Marijuana use among younger workers may be leading to increased injuries
(Safety & Health)

Ukrainian war documentary wins Academy Award

Food for thought...

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

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

Mark your calendar:

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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