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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



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

   City Council President Terry Weld and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch will be joined by other City Council members and City staff as they lead a program recapping highlights from 2022 and taking a look ahead at the City's challenges and plans for 2023.

   Hear how the City of Eau Claire plans to tackle complex issues like fiscal stability and housing supply & affordability, and how the it intends to implement a data-informed, values-driven approach to determine priorities and make decisions. Learn about development and capital projects, public safety priorities, workforce changes, and regulatory updates. Finally, Terry and Stephanie will share lessons learned as Stephanie nears her first year as City Manager and Terry complete his service as City Council President. 

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

    Click here for more details and to register


Last chance to register 

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

   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. Optional same day bus transportation is available. Please register by Wednesday, Feb 15.

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: 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: 

 • UWEC, Mayo renew research agreement; Science Building a top issue for next

    week's Chippewa Valley Rally

 • EC City Council: Street projects, potential vehicle registration fee

 • Talent attraction marketing grants available to local employers

 • Early voting open through Friday for Feb 21 State Supreme Court Primary

 • Evers to deliver "State of the State" address on Wednesday

 • Application period open for Wisconsin Fast Forward training grants

 • 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 "+"


UWEC, Mayo extend research, collaboration agreement

Initiative will be boosted by completion of planned Science Building

   Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire have announced the renewal of a collaboration agreement that fosters opportunities for research, creates new avenues of learning for UW-Eau Claire students and makes way for projects that will lead to improved health in the community.

   UWEC and Mayo first inked their current agreement five years ago. The new agreement extends the collaborative research work for 10 years and adds new avenues to expand opportunities for collaborative education across a range of disciplines. The agreement details a commitment to create transformative educational experiences and career opportunities for students to help meet workforce needs in the field of health care. The agreement will give both undergraduate and graduate students unique opportunities to collaborate with Mayo Clinic Health System doctors, nurses and health care professionals.

Chippewa Valley Rally will seek completion of Science Building

   UWEC's proposed Science & Health Sciences, which includes space to be utilized by the Mayo partnership, is among the top issues to be presented to state policymakers at the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally coming up on February 22nd in Madison. A tool in extending the collaboration, the first phase of funding was approved in the 2019-21 state budget, with the remainder now proposed by the UW System Board of Regents for the 2023-25 budget now being developed. 

   The Science Building is among the workforce-related topics to be discussed at the Rally that also include UW-Stout's Heritage Hall renovation project, plus issues like housing supply and affordability; talent attraction and retention; child care availability, and professional licensing backlogs. Rally participants will also support infrastructure investments including broadband, the electric vehicle charging network, and passenger rail expansion. They will follow up on past issues - including the sale of excess public land in Chippewa Falls for economic development - and 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. 

Governor Evers to keynote Rally luncheon

   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers will deliver the luncheon keynote address to the Rally delegates, 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, but attendees are encouraged to register by Wednesday, February 15. The 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. Optional same-day charter bus transportation is available, or participants may travel on their own. Early arrivers are invited to attending 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

Mayo Clinic Health System, UW-Eau Claire renew research agreement, expand collaboration opportunities (UWEC)

Mayo, UW-EC renew research agreement (Leader-Telegram $)


Spectrum News series focuses on Eau Claire's attributes

   A recent episode of Spectrum News' IN FOCUS program pinpointed attributes and challenges of the Eau Claire community, including news and interviews with Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld, Pablo Center Director Jason Jon Anderson, and UWEC Chancellor James Schmidt. Highlights included the role of community partnerships, business, and the arts.

More information: 

Video and story: Unique research opportunities, community partnerships make UW-Eau Claire destination campus (7:42, Spectrum News In Focus +)

Video and story: Highlighting Eau Claire as a dynamic community for business and the arts (7:40, Spectrum News In Focus +)

Video and Story: In Focus: Pablo Center helps more than the performing arts thrive in Eau Claire (6:47, Spectrum News In Focus +)


EC City Council: Street projects on the agenda

Closed session on annexation suit, study session on vehicle reg fee

City construction pace sets record in 2022

   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week, with its Monday Public Hearing on several 2023 street, utility, and sidewalk projects. 

   The projects and related assessments will be acted on at Tuesday's Legislative Session. Also on Tuesday's agenda is an agreement with Visit Eau Claire (VEC) related to funding VEC's $2.4 million contribution to the Sonnentag Center to be funded out of future room tax receipts, and resolutions related to the City's use of $1.1 million of federal HOME-ARP funding from the American Rescue Plan Act which would go to a project by Chippewa Valley Habitat for Humanity to convert space at Grace Lutheran Church to affordable housing for veterans.

   At the end of Monday's meeting, the Council will go into closed session to confer on its legal strategy regarding litigation with the Town of Washington. Eau Claire Circuit Judge Emily Long on February 3 ruled 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 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. 

   After Tuesday's meeting, the Council will have a study session regarding consideration of a local vehicle registration fee, led by Deputy City Manager Dave Solberg and Finance Director Kitzie Winters.

City saw $452 million in new construction in 2022

   Eau Claire City staff reported that new construction in the City of Eau Claire totaled $452.1 million in 2022, far surpassing the previous record of $295.6 million in 2017. Among the top projects were start of construction on UWEC's Sonnentag Center, the new Eau Claire County Highway Building, the new Transit Center, as well as significant new housing including 469 units in multifamily buildings, 104 units in twin homes or duplexes, and 75 single family homes. 

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Feb 13, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (42 pages)

 • Tuesday, Feb 14, 4 p.m. Legislative Session Agenda Packet (104 pages)

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)

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

Eau Claire City Council to talk wheel tax on Tuesday (Leader-Telegram $)

Weld Among Chamber of Commerce Award Winners (Volume One)

Eau Claire's 2022 construction year shatters previous records (Leader-Telegram $)

City of E.C. Considers City Wells for New Mountain Bike Trails (Volume One)

Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Eau Claire

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

    Click here for more details and to register


Talent attraction marketing grants available to local employers

   Thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), local employers can double their talent attraction ad spend on Google AdWords and Facebook through May.

   The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Initiative was recently awarded a $75,000 matching grant to help local employers attract out of state talent from metro areas such as the Twin Cities, Chicago and more. 

   The Chamber staff will assist with listings and ad buys. For more information, contact Kaylynn Winegar at winegar@eauclairechamber.org


Meeting this week: 


Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority

• Wednesday, Feb 15, 7:30 a.m. Agenda


More local stories:


EC school spending neared $144.4M in 2020-21 (Leader-Telegram $)


EC County likely to set new sales tax record (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire Co. projects face potential delays, cost increases if borrowing debate drags on (Leader-Telegram $)


Altoona's Solis Circle housing complex poised to get solar array (Leader-Telegram $)


PESI donates $1.25 million to PTSD research (Leader-Telegram $)


Dr. Heather Ann Moody receives 2023 MLK Social Justice Leadership Award (UWEC)


E.C. Native Keezer wins Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition (Volume One)


Stout, UW-RF honored with Regents Diversity Awards (Leader-Telegram $)


Erickson named UW-Eau Claire's new head football coach (Leader-Telegram $)


CF asking city residents to take questionnaire (Leader-Telegram $)


Groundbreaking held for homeless shelter in Menomonie (Leader-Telegram $)


Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll 2023 results announced (Volume One)




715 News Room: Chippewa Valley Rally, Boys & Girls Club (28:52, John Murphy, 715 News Makers)

Chippewa Valley This Week: Chippewa Valley Rally, passenger rail progress (15:36, Mark Halvorsen, WWIB)


Race for Wisconsin Supreme Court goes to Feb 21 Primary

Early voting open through Friday

   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. Early voting is now open at local municipalities on weekdays through Friday, Feb 17.

   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.   

   Elsewhere, there is a three-way Republican Primary for the Wisconsin State Senate Seat in District 8, the northern suburbs of Milwaukee. The Primary is needed to select the Republican candidate for the April 4 Special Election to fill the unexpired term of former State Senator Alberta Darling, who resigned in November. 

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)

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race: Endorsements and Fundraising (Hamilton Consulting)

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

Current Wisconsin Supreme Court justices pick sides in race (AP)

In a competition for conservative voters, Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly ratchets up attacks on Judge Jennifer Dorow (Journal-Sentinel $)

Meet the candidates running in the 2023 Wisconsin Senate District 8 special election (PBS Wisconsin)


Governor Evers to deliver budget message on Wednesday

   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers will deliver is 2023-25 Budget Message to a joint session of the legislature on Wednesday evening at the State Capitol.

   In recent days, Evers has been previewing issues he plans to address, including tax cuts, funding local governments, help for renters, and more. Both the Governor and legislative leaders have weighed in on potential changes to the state's tax structure related to income taxes and shared revenue. The state budget will be the major focus of the legislature in its current session, with a July deadline for completion.

State budget priorities a focus at Chippewa Valley Rally

   The Chippewa Valley's priorities in the state budget will be a focus of the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally next week, February 22, in Madison. Evers will keynote the luncheon, where delegates from Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire Counties will highlight key economic issues important to the regional economy. See the links below for more information and details on the issues.

More information:

Hear Gov. Evers' Biennial Budget Message Feb. 15 (WPR)

Video: Legislative leaders, Evers preview Wisconsin's 2023 budget (PBS Wisconsin)

Evers announces details of $1.2B tax cut proposal amid record budget surplus (WPR)

Evers unveils plan to fund local governments with sales tax (AP)

Momentum growing behind changing Wisconsin’s shared revenue system (Wisconsin Examiner)

Gov. Evers: Announces statewide initiatives to ensure safe, affordable rental units and housing (Wispolitics.com)

Evers’ budget to include measures making stewardship projects harder to block (WisPolitics.com)

Evers calls for smoother approval of stewardship projects (AP)

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, Feb 22, Madison

    Click here for details and to register

    Click here to read the full 2023 Issues Statements


Up to $2 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants for training
   Employers are now able to apply for the latest round of Wisconsin Fast Forward grants from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Up to $2 million in funding is available to employers who demonstrate a critical need for skilled workers and are seeking training grants to develop and implement a business-led skills training program.

   The Fast Forward Program encourages the development of innovative solutions at the local and regional level to bring together employers, educators, workforce development entities, and economic development organizations to meet area workforce needs and increase the economic capacity of area residents.

   "Now more than ever, employers are looking for new ways to attract and retain employees," DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. "The Fast Forward program helps employers use customized training to develop hard skills in new and existing employees. At the same time, it connects trainees to industry-recognized credentials for long-term career growth."

   The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

More information:

Fast Forward Grant details and application information (DWD)


More state and regional stories:


Amid delays, GOP lawmakers order audit into Wisconsin's process for granting professional licenses (WPR)

Wisconsin Republicans order audit of licensing backlog (AP)


Gov. Evers Appoints Kirsten Johnson to DHS Secretary (Office of the Governor)


Gov. Evers Appoints Dr. Joan M. Prince to UWS Board of Regents (Office of the Governor)


The pandemic caused Wisconsin manufacturers to shore up domestic supply chains (WPR)


Wisconsin egg producer says market returning to normal after months of high egg prices, industry profits (WPR)


Superior seeks input on consolidating elementary schools (Superior Telegram +)


National and economic stories:


Text: Remarks of President Joe Biden – State of the Union Address as Prepared for Delivery (The White House)


Video: State of the Union Address (1:20:07, YouTube)


Biden’s 2023 State of the Union: President appeals to Republicans to work together on debt ceiling (CNBC)


Republican State of the Union rebuttals differed in more than just language (NPR)


Wisconsin visit sets stage for likely Biden reelection bid (The Cap Times)


Biden rallies workers in Wisconsin after big speech (AP)


U.S. shoots down second ‘high altitude object’ days after Chinese spy balloon (CNBC)


Sec. Pete Buttigieg says U.S. should aspire to zero traffic deaths (WAMU)


Why Entitlement Reform Is So Hard (The Dispatch)


No, the U.S. is not "a poor society with some very rich people" (Noahpinion)


Secretary Pete’s safe streets plan won’t succeed if traffice engineers continue business as usual (Jeff Speck, The Hill)


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


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


COVID-19 Updates 


The Covid emergency in the U.S. ends May 11. HHS officials say here’s what to expect (CNBC)


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:


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, Mar 31, CVTC Business Education Center


Spring Non-Partisan Election

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

• Tuesday, April 4 


Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona

 • Friday, April 21, River Prairie Center


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