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Volume 5, Issue 29, Dec 5, 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

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Previewing next year's legislative session

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

This is an excellent opportunity to get a preview of the key priorities that our local lawmakers will be taking to Madison in January. With 2023 being a state budget year, this will be an especially important session. Legislators who've RSVP'd to attend so far include State Senator Jeff Smith (D-31); Senators-elect Jesse James (R-23), and Romaine Quinn (R-25); Reps Jodi Emerson (D-91), Warren Petryk (R-93), and Rob Summerfield (R-67); and Rep-elect Karen Hurd (R-68). 

 • Friday, Dec 16, 7:00-9:00 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Don't miss...

"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Registration now open

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • EC Council President Weld won't seek reelection

 • UWEC Science Building reveals updated plans

 • First Sun Country flights from Chippewa Valley Regional Airport

 • EC Plan Commission agenda includes hundreds of housing units

 • Eau Claire School Board to discuss foreign language changes

 • State and regional stories

 National and economic news

 • 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 Council President Weld won't seek reelection,

endorses Berge as successor

April election includes municipal councils and boards, school boards

   Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld announced last Thursday that he will not seek reelection when his term ends this coming Spring. Weld endorsed current City Council Vice President Emily Berge, who announced her candidacy on Thursday, to succeed him. 

   "Public service and municipal government touches every emotion that exists. It tires you and tests you, energizes and rewards you, educates and strengthens you, and in the end, leaves you with a great sense of accomplishment and pride," said Weld in a news release. "I will miss it greatly and encourage everyone to seek and experience the role of serving others." Weld has served as City Council President since winning a special election in 2019. Previously, he was an at-large member of the Council for two years, and was a member of the Plan Commission for six years.

   Berge currently represents District 1, the Northeast portion of the City. She was elected in 2018 and reelected in 2021. She was chosen as Council Vice President last spring by her fellow City Council members. (The City Council President is elected directly by the voters, while the Vice President is elected each Spring by the Council.)

   "Over the last five years, my love for Eau Claire has continued to grow, as well as my passion for civic policy and engagement,” she wrote in her campaign announcement. “I am a problem solver. I listen to understand what is going on and then work with people to find solutions," she said in her news release. “As City Council president, I will continue to lead with dedication and cooperation.”

   Berge is also a member of the Board of Directors of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and is currently its Vice President.

   Weld encouraged voters to support Berge's candidacy: "She is trusted, experienced and compassionate about our city and our residents and I'm certain, will continue to be a positive, respectful and productive leader as our great city moves forward," he said.

Council President to be elected April 4, other local City Councils and School Board seats, Wisconsin Supreme Court also on the ballot

   The City Council President serves a three-year term and is the only office on the ballot in April. Other Council members also serve for three years with staggered terms. The five district seats will be elected in 2024 and the five at-large seats in 2025. 

   Other municipal elections next Spring include three City Council seats in Altoona, two Town Board seats for the Town of Washington, and the Mayor and three Village Trustee seats in Fall Creek.

   Local School Board seats on the April 4 ballot include two seats each on the School Boards for the Altoona, Eau Claire, and Fall Creek districts.

   For all of the Spring races, which are officially nonpartisan, there will be Primary on February 21 for any race for which more than two individuals per office file nominating petitions. Candidates were allowed to begin circulating nominating petitions on December 1, with a filing deadline of January 3.

   See the link below for more information about local offices on the ballot in April.

More information:

Local offices on the ballot for April 4 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

News release: Terry Weld announcement (Terry Weld)

News release: Emily Berge announcement (Emily Berge)

Eau Claire City Council to get new president (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council President will not seek re-election (WEAU 13 News)

Council president Weld announces he will not seek reelection; Berge announces run for job (WQOW News 18)

Terry Weld Won’t Seek Re-Election as E.C. City Council President (Volume One)


Sun Country service begins to Chippewa Valley Airport

   A well-attended ribbon cutting last Thursday marked the first day of airline service to Eau Claire's Chippewa Valley Regional Airport by low-cost carrier Sun Country. 

   Air service to Eau Claire is maintained through the Essential Air Service subsidy program administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The previous carrier, SkyWest, flying under the United Express brand, gave notice last Spring that it was terminating service to all 29 of its EAS-supported airports because of the pilot shortage. SkyWest had been providing two daily flights to and from Chicago O'Hare under the program, but that service was reduced to once daily in July, then ended on November 30.

   Led by Airport Manager Charity Zich, the local airport commission worked with a consultant to find a solution to the loss of the O'Hare service as it recruited a replacement carrier. The Eau Claire route is the first EAS service for Sun Country and represents an innovative approach to the current challenge for smaller airports. 

   Sun Country will actually offer more weekly seats from Eau Claire than SkyWest did, but on fewer departures using larger Boeing 737 jets. Initially, Sun Country is offering four flights per week to MSP, connecting to its hub there, and twice weekly direct flights to Ft. Myers, Fla. Beginning in late April, the destination will change to Orlando, before moving to Las Vegas in the fall. Sun Country currently has similar vacation destination type service from Green Bay, Madison, and Rochester.

More information:

Local flight schedule information (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

Sun Country arrives in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Sun Country now officially flying out of Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (WEAU 13 News)

Sun Country Airlines takes off in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)


Updated plans revealed for UWEC Science Building

   UW-Eau Claire last week unveiled updated, more detailed plans for the new $345.5 million Science and Health Sciences Building that will become the largest academic structure on campus. Members of the building's Planning Committee outlined the project Tuesday with updated floor plans, elevations and renderings.

   “I’m very excited to see the project progressing and to share it with the rest of campus,” says Dr. Michael Carney, interim assistant chancellor for strategic partnerships and program development, who is chair of the Science and Health Sciences Building Planning Committee. “It gives a sense of what it will look like from the outside and what will be housed inside.”

   The building will replace the nearly 60-year-old deteriorating Phillips Science Hall that no longer meets the needs of UW-Eau Claire students. It will encompass 330,000 square feet, making it more than 1½ times larger than any other academic building on campus. The UW System Board of Regents approved its 2023-25 biennial capital budget request in August that included $235.5 million for completion of the project. The UW System budget request will be considered by the governor and state Legislature as part of the 2023-25 state biennial budget process that will begin in early 2023. If the funding is approved by the Legislature and governor, construction could begin in spring 2024, with plans for the Science and Health Sciences Building to host its first classes in fall 2026. The 2019-21 state budget included $109 million for the first phase of the building project.

More information:

UW-Eau Claire provides planning update for Science and Health Sciences Building (UWEC)

Building project details (UWEC)

New renderings: Site Plan, Floor plans, Elevations (UWEC)

"It's really gratifying" Designs for new UW-Eau Claire science building shared (WQOW News 18)

Update on UWEC Science and Health Sciences Building (WEAU 13 News)

UWEC’s New Science Building Would Be Biggest in UW System (Volume One)


EC Plan Commission: Plans for 538 apartments and town homes by three developers on agenda

   The Eau Claire Plan Commission's Monday agenda this week includes plans from three different developers in three locations for a total of 538 housing units.

   The largest is a 258-unit proposal from Milwaukee-based Greywolf Partners to build two four-story buildings on the site for the former ShopKo store at 955 W. Clairemont Avenue (see pages 9-57 of the Agenda Packet linked below). Also on the agenda is a planned six-building, 72-unit development, Sunnyvale Acres, LLC, of town homes and apartments on 7.8 acres on the west side of US 53, north of Prairie Park Dr. on the City's southeast side (see pages 58-81); and site plans from SC Swiderski LLC that are a continuation of its Northwest Side development south of North Crossing. The latter includes two 20-unit buildings; two 32-unit buildings; three 24-unit buildings; and two 16-unit buildings; totaling 208 units (see pages 143-273).

   Also on the agenda are a conditional use permit for the Eau Claire Humane Society's planned new building at 3900 Old Town Hall Rd. (pages 82-118), a survey map request for a three-lot single family subdivision by Steve and Kristine Wiggins in the Town of Washington at 408 E Lowes Creek Rd. (pages 119-122), a site plan for a new building by Eau Claire Periodontics at 4315 Oakwood Hills Pkwy. (pages 123-142), and a discussion of the Plan Commission's Work Plan for 2023 (pages 275-276).

More information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 • Monday, Dec 5, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet (276 pages)

Developer Wants to Tear Down Old Shopko, Build Student Apartments (Volume One)

Milwaukee firm redeveloping defunct Shopko site (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire School Board to consider foreign language programs

   The Eau Claire Board of Education meets Monday and will discuss possible reconsideration or changes to a recommendation to discontinue Hmong and Japanese language courses because of recent public feedback. It will also vote on authorizing the sale of bond anticipation notes related to the recent passage of its $98.6 capital funding referendum.

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Dec 5, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

EC school board talks academic progress, mulls language program changes (Leader-Telegram $)

Community rallies around saving Japanese, Hmong language programs (Leader-Telegram $)

ECASD to make changes to language courses (WEAU 13 News)

School board to consider program changes (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


Sojourner House moving into newly expanded space (WQOW News 18)


CVTC's first female president seeks to model collaborative, inclusive leadership (Volume One)


Lake Hallie intends to pursue referendum for road improvement projects (WQOW News 18)


Micon Theater To Open in Oakwood Mall on Dec. 9 (Volume One)


Ag agent hopes Farm Technology Days site to be named soon (Leader-Telegram $)


Nick White named interim athletic director at Regis (WQOW News 18)


Area sheriffs, leaders skeptical on free phone plan in jails (Leader-Telegram $)


Chippewa Falls fire chief Douglas to retire (Leader-Telegram $)


FCC’s New Broadband Map Brings Challenges for Local Government (Governing)


State gun deer harvest far outpaces 2021 season (Leader-Telegram $)

Any luck? Deer hunters enjoy increased harvest numbers across Wisconsin (WQOW News 18)

DNR: Hunters kill 14% more deer during gun season (WEAU 13 News)


COVID-19 deaths plummet in region in November (Leader-Telegram $)


Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll voting open through Dec 9 (Volume One)


Huebsch wins Business Friend of the Environment Award

   Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) recently presented Eau Claire's Huebsch Services with a 2022 Business Friend of the Environment Awards.

   Huebsch is a fourth-generation, family-owned industrial laundry company with locations across Western Wisconsin and the Minneapolis metro area. It was recognized for demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and conservation through the use of their solar energy system and stormwater retention system.

More information: 

Business Friend of the Environment Awards (WMC)


More state and regional stories:


Rep. Vos: Announces vice chair and membership of Assembly Joint Finance Committee (WisPolitics.com)


New national survey Marquette Law School Poll finds rise in support for DeSantis candidacy for President and tie in a Biden-DeSantis race (Marquette Law School)


New Marquette Law School Poll national survey finds rebound in approval of US Supreme Court, opposition to use of race in college admissions (Marquette Law School)


Marquette poll shows DeSantis, Biden tied in hypothetical 2024 matchup (WisPolitics.com)


Wisconsin school referendum results don't follow partisanship (The Cap Times)


Waukesha judge Dorow running for open Wisconsin Supreme Court seat (AP)


Evers administration seeks OK to start new PFAS regulations (AP)


State audit says 45 pandemic grants went to ineligible businesses, a small fraction of overall assistance (Journal-Sentinel +)


Local government debt on the rise in Wisconsin (Wisconsin Policy Forum)


Nearing the Brink: An independent, third party review of the City of Milwaukee’s fiscal condition (Wisconsin Policy Forum)


St Croix County: Small town voters fear for America (AP)


National and economic stories:


Biden signs bill averting rail worker strike despite lack of paid sick days (CNBC)


Hot U.S. inflation is cooling, key PCE price gauge shows (MarketWatch)


Jobless Claims Fall Despite Layoffs And Inflation (Forbes)


Gas prices are now cheaper than before Russia invaded Ukraine (Axios)


Supreme Court: Biden's student loan forgiveness program will remain blocked for now (Axios)


Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage (AP)


Georgia Senate Runoff Is Tuesday. What the Outcome Means for the Economy. (Barron's)


Democrats Move South Carolina to First in Presidential Contest, Supplanting Iowa (Bloomberg +)


Ranked Choice Voting Is Working in Alaska (The Dispatch)


Don’t Vote for Just One: Ranked Choice Voting Is Gaining Ground (Pew Research)


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


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


COVID-19 Updates 


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: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


"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


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 

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