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Volume 4 , Issue 41, Feb 28, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce


28th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally returns to Madison

Bringing the Chippewa Valley's voice to Madison

   Business and community leaders from Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie  visited policymakers in Madison for the 28th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally on Wednesday, February 23. Our first in-person Rally in two years focused on workforce, infrastructure, and economic development issues important to our region. It's organized each year by the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce.
   Thank to our representatives in Madison, our local participants and sponsors!
More information:
2022 Chippewa Valley Rally Issues Book (Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance)

Annual Chippewa Valley Rally returns to Madison (WQOW News 18)


News in this issue: 

 • Eau Claire City Council approves street projects, City Manager decision awaited
 • EC County Planning & Zoning tie vote on Orchard Hills rezoning
 • Wisconsin DNR sets PFAS standard at US EPA advisory level
 • Fed pegs January annualized inflation rate at 6.1%
 • Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to US Supreme Court

 • Tuesday webinar: The Impact of Ukraine on the Economy
 • CDC issues new mask guidance
 • COVID-19 updates
 • Mark your calendar
 • Public meetings
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 City Council to approves street projects
City Manager interviews completed, decision awaited
   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council approved a number of street, alley, and sidewalk projects (see pages 5-26 of the Monday agenda packet linked below). The largest is a $5.65 million project for Jeffers Rd between North Crossing and County Line Road. Because of the scope of that project, it may take two years to complete.
   The Council also approved the assignment of the lease for the Carson Park Baseball Stadium to Toycen Baseball Club, LLC (see page 58 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The Toycen family is purchasing the team from the previous ownership group of Bill Rowlett, Dale Varsho and Andy Neborak.
   Tuesday's business agenda also included the sale of Lot 2 in Sky Park to RyKey Properties, LLC, for residential housing (see pages 91-108), which is expected to use the site to build 80-100 units of multi-family housing. 
City Manager finalists interviewed

   Members of the public had a chance to meet the two finalists for the Eau Claire City Manager position at a public meet and greet event last week. There were also interviews with the candidates with panels of community members, city employees, and the full City Council.
   The two candidates are Interim City Manager Dave Solberg and Stephanie Hirsch, Operations Administrator at the County Human Services Department, who has past municipal government experience in Massachusetts.
   The Council scheduled a meeting last Friday afternoon to discuss the search. 
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Feb 21, Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (27 pages)
 • Tuesday, Feb 22, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (126 pages)
Link to video recordings of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)
Public Meeting Participation Guide for Attendees (City of Eau Claire)
Eau Claire City Manager Search webpage (City of Eau Claire)

Search for New Eau Claire City Manager Narrowed to Two (Volume One)

Jeffers Road project may stretch over 2 years (Leader-Telegram $)

City Hall getting closer to normal (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire Express Announces New Ownership (Northwoods League)


EC County Planning & Zoning Committee:

Tie vote on Orchard Hills rezoning

   Although it was approved 3-0 by the Town Board for the Town of Washington on February 17, the Eau Claire County Planning & Zoning Committee deadlocked 2-2 last Tuesday evening on a rezoning recommendation for the proposed Orchard Hills development. Yes votes were Supervisors Gary Gibson and Dane Zook, with No votes coming from Supervisors Jim Dunning and Robin Leary. Committee member Nancy Coffey was absent.
  The project includes plans to create single family lots on 234 acres at the northwest corner of Mischler Road and Deerfield Road. The proposal is being made by LaVern Stewart and Craig Wurzer and would be implemented by CDPG Developers, a group consisting of Craig Wurzer, C&E Wurzer Builders; Paul Holzinger, Holzinger Holmes; Damian Prince, Chippewa Valley Excavating; and Grady Wold, Trend Stone Surfaces.
See pages 24-73 of the Agenda Packet linked below for detailed information about the request.

   The first step in the process relates only to the zoning for the site. Specific plans for lots and other details would come later. The proposed development was identified as far back as 1979 for eventual residential development, and complies with the county and township comprehensive plans.
   Last June, the project was approved by the Town Board, but rejected 23-5 by the Eau Claire County Board after pressure from neighbors. 
   The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce supports the zoning, given the significant need for housing at all levels in the area.
  “Among the most significant current challenges for our local economy are workforce development and housing supply,” the letter noted. “This is an opportunity to increase housing supply in the area, addressing the housing shortage while providing benefits for everyone towards attainability and affordability.”
   Next step for the rezoning is the full County Board. It has not yet been determined when the rezoning will appear on its agenda.
More information:
Eau Claire County Planning & Development Committee
 • Tuesday, Feb 22, Agenda Packet (89 pages)
Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce letter of support (EC Chamber)

County committee split on Washington subdivision rezoning (Leader-Telegram $)


Housing-related headlines:

Wisconsin home prices are still rising, mortgage rates are inching up and homes are still selling fast (WPR)

Evers announces $25.5 million in housing grants for Milwaukee (Urban Milwaukee)

Wisconsin needs more affordable apartments. But inflation is hampering new developments in Milwaukee, Green Bay and other cities. (Journal-Sentinel $)


Other local news:


City of Eau Claire 2022 construction projects (City of Eau Claire)


Eau Claire school board digs deeper into school facility costs (Leader-Telegram $)


Sheriff's detective throws hat in ring for Cramer's seat (Leader-Telegram $)


Life Story: Cable recalled as philanthropist, businessman, athlete (Leader-Telegram $)


Wisconsin DNR sets PFAS standard at US EPA advisory level

   The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board voted 6-1 last week to approve a drinking water standard of 70 parts per trillion for two PFAS chemicals: PFOA and PFOS. The regulation is in line with the advisory level issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency, although press reports and opposition painted the move as weakening proposed standards.
Board members Terry Hilgenberg and Bill Bruins, current board chair Greg Kazmierski and former chair Dr. Fred Prehn questioned the 20 parts per trillion standard recommended by health officials and the DNR’s analysis of costs tied to complying with the proposed regulations. Prehn said he felt 70 parts per trillion is a good compromise that would allow the agency to move forward with testing of public water supplies for the chemicals.
Scott Manley, Executive Vice President of Government Relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), told the board his group would support a less restrictive standard in drinking water.
   "I think you have the authority to set the standard at 70 parts per trillion," Manley said. "I don't believe that the DHS and department staff have met the burden to deviate from that standard."
More information:
WMC testimony on PFAS rules (WMC)

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Sets PFAS Drinking Water Standard at EPA Advisory Level (WPR)


Other state news: 


Scheme to Reverse 2020 Election Splits Wisconsin GOP (New York Times ◻️) 

Rep. Tim Ramthun, running for governor on a platform of an election overhaul, skips votes on new voting laws to attend CPAC (Journal-Sentinel $)

Assembly approves allowing early processing of absentee ballots as Dems, Republicans accuse each other of bad-faith negotiations (WisPolitics.com)

Wisconsin Republicans sends election bills to governor (AP)

Wisconsin Democrats in lockstep during U.S. Senate primary forum (The Cap Times)


Wisconsin Assembly passes bill that would break up Milwaukee Public Schools (Journal-Sentinel ◻️)


Assembly approves bill allowing DACA recipients to work as police officers (The Cap Times)


Assembly lawmakers unanimously pass plan to replace Lincoln Hills teen lockup (Journal-Sentinel ◻️)
Gov. Tony Evers signals support for bill to move juveniles out of Lincoln Hills (Wisconsin State Journal ◻️)


Explainer: What would proposed bail changes mean for Wisconsin? (The Cap Times)


U.S. Rep. Tiffany seeks to repeal most subsidies for wind, solar projects (Leader-Telegram $)


President Biden to visit Superior on Wednesday to tout $1 trillion infrastructure law (Journal-Sentinel ◻️)

City leaders, labor groups eye infrastructure money for major bridge project as Biden visits Superior (WPR)


Fed pegs January annualized inflation rate at 6.1%
  The Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, rose at an annualized rate of 6.1 in January, up from 5.8 percent in December, according to a report on Friday by  the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's the highest level since 1982. Consumer spending in January rose 2.1 percent.
More information:

Personal Income and Outlays, January 2022 (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Consumers Defy Inflation as Spending Rebounds in January, Rising 2.1% (US News & World Report)

U.S. Consumer Spending Rose 2.1% in January and Inflation Accelerated Amid Omicron Wave (Wall Street Journal $)

Fewest Americans collecting unemployment aid since 1970 (AP)


Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to US Supreme Court

   “I’m proud to announce that I am nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the Supreme Court,” President Joe Biden said last week. "She is one of our nation’s brightest legal minds and will be an exceptional Justice.”
Currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, she would replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who in January announced his upcoming retirement from the Supreme Court a 28 years.
More information:

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to become first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court (CNBC)
Paul Ryan backs Ketanji Brown Jackson as Biden's Supreme Court pick (WPR)


Free webinar: The Impact of Russia’s Ukraine

Invasion on the U.S. Economy

Presented by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC)

   As Russia declares war on Ukraine and continues to invade more areas of the country, many Wisconsin businesses may be left wondering what economic impacts this could have. From triggering further inflation to causing uncertainty in the energy markets, WMC has invited experts to break down how this could affect Americans and Wisconsinites here at home.
   Speakers include Dr. Yoshiko M. Herrera, Professor of Political Science at UW-Madison; John Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy with the US Chamber of Commerce; and Christopher Guith, Senior Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

Tuesday, March 1, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

  Click here for details and to register


COVID-19 Updates - CDC issues new mask guidance

CDC: Many healthy Americans can take a break from masks (AP; includes map of county risk levels)

Racine mayor signs order suspending enforcement of city's mask ordinance (58 WDJT)

Universities spend COVID relief funds on student grants, revenue loss, pandemic impact (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:


"Eau What a Night" - The Chamber's 107th Annual Meeting
 • Thursday, Mar 31, 5:30 p.m., The Florian Gardens


Spring Non-Partisan General Election
Local City and Town Councils, School Boards, County Boards, Judges
 • Tuesday, April 5


Partisan Primary
State Assembly, State Senate (odd # dists), US Congress, US  Senate, Governor , Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State
 • Tuesday, Aug 9
General Election
 • Tuesday, November 8


Next up on the public calendar:


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


City of Altoona City calendar (with links to agendas)
Meeting and video links
Mayor and City Council Members
 • Tuesday, Mar 1, 1 p.m. Solis Circle Housing Committee
 • Tuesday, Mar 8, 1 p.m. Altoona Housing Authority
 • Thursday, Mar 8, 5:30 p.m. Plan Commission
 • Thursday, Mar 10, 6 p.m. City Council


City of Eau Claire Full calendar  
City Council Members (City of Eau Claire)
Link to video recordings of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)
 • Monday, Mar 28, Plan Commission (Cancelled)
 • Monday, Mar 7, 4:30 p.m. Landmarks Commission
 • Monday, Mar 7, 7 p.m. City Council Public Hearing
 • Tuesday, Mar 8, 4 p.m. City Council Legislative Session
 • Wednesday, Mar 9, 5 p.m. Housing Opportunities Commission
 • Monday, Mar 14, 7 p.m. Plan Commission
 • Wednesday, Mar 16, 7:30 a.m. Redevelopment Authority
 • Wednesday, Mar 16, 3:30 p.m. Sustainability Advisory Committee 


City of Augusta
City website
Village of Fall Creek
Village Board


Town of Washington
Town website
Altoona School District
Altoona School Board
 • Monday, Mar 28, 6:30 p.m.
Eau Claire Area School District
Board of Education
 • Monday, Mar 7, 7 p.m.


Augusta School District 
Augusta School Board


Fall Creek School District 
School Board


Chippewa Valley Technical College
District Board


Eau Claire County Full calendar
Click here to find your County Board Representative (interactive map)
 • Monday, Feb 28, 3 p.m. ARPA Committee Meeting
 • Monday, Feb 28, 5 p.m. Human Services Board
 • Tuesday, Mar 1, 7 p.m. County Board of Supervisors
 • Wednesday, Mar 2, 2 p.m. Highway Building Committee
 • Monday Mar 14, 3 p.m. ADRC Board 
 • Friday, Mar 18 7:30 a.m. Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Commission

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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