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Volume 6, Issue 38, Feb 5, 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


Update on community response to HSHS/Prevea closures
• Task Force holds first meeting, work gets underway
 • WEAU, Chamber hold Community Conversation
 • Task Force Co-Chairs talk about its plan and objectives
 • Oak Leaf Medical Network proposes Community Hospital
scroll down to continue reading below...

Also in this issue:
Probst is new Chamber Director of Workforce and Emerging Talent
 • Chippewa Valley Rally Issues confirmed
 • 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 "+"


Early bird registration deadline Friday, Feb 9
30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
Bringing the Chippewa Valley's voice to Madison. Organized by the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce. After a very productive 2023, we'll be back in Madison to thank policymakers for key wins, remind them of unresolved issues, and build relationships.
Click here for the 2024 Chippewa Valley Rally Issues
Click here for an update on the status of 2023 Rally Issues
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: The State of the City - Eau Claire
The Chamber's annual "State of the City" address. City Council President Emily Berge and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch will recap highlights from 2023 and take a look at the City's challenges and plans for 2024. 
 • THURSDAY, Feb 15, 7:00-8:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p


HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force holds first meeting, creates subcommittees, seeks volunteers
   The region-wide Task Force created to address the announced closures of HSHS and Prevea facilities in western Wisconsin held its first meeting last Tuesday. It is co-chaired by retired healthcare executive Bill Rupp - whose experience includes leading Mayo facilities in Eau Claire, Mankato, MN, and Jacksonville, FL - and Jerry Jacobson, President of Northwestern Bank in Chippewa Falls.
   The Task Force is launching a collaborative effort across the community to fully assess the challenges and take prompt action. Subcommittees are being established to address specific issues such as patient needs and concerns, healthcare gaps, HSHS and Prevea employees, effects on employees of other businesses, business redevelopment, potential governmental action, communications, and more.

Website provides information and volunteer opportunities
   A special website linked from the websites of the Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, and Menomonie Chambers of Commerce has been set up to be a clearinghouse for information. It also provides an opportunity to submit questions, provide input, volunteer for subcommittees, and sign up for updates:
Click here to stay informed and submit questions and input
More information:
Regional task force responding to hospital closures announces sub-committees, volunteers needed (WQOW News 18)
HSHS/Prevea task force meets: next steps and subcommittees (Leader-Telegram $)

WEAU, Chambers hold community forum
   This past Friday evening, WEAU produced and recorded a one-hour live Community Conversations program at the Pablo Center in cooperation with the Chamber. It was conducted to provide information about the response of other local medical providers and discussion potential responses with local, state, and national elected officials.
More information:
Video: Full Community Conversation (WEAU 13 News, 1 hour)
News story: WEAU, Chamber hold Community Conversation (WEAU 13 News)
Community converses: public forum answers community questions (Leader-Telegram $)

Task Force co-chairs Rupp, Jacobson speak to road ahead
   Eau Claire Chamber President & CEO Dave Minor, talks with the Co-Chairs of the HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force: Dr. Bill Rupp, retired healthcare executive, and Jerry Jacobson, President, Northwestern Bank
Listen: Talking Po!nt Podcast - HSHS/Prevea Recovery Task Force Co-Chairs (18:08)

OakLeaf Medical Network seeks to create Community Hospital
   In a news release last Thursday, OakLeaf Medical Network announced that is was seeking negotiations “to purchase HSHS hospital properties with the intent of creating an independent community hospital." 
   The OakLeaf network includes over 300 providers in 26 clinics in 15 counties in the region. (OakLeaf Surgical Hospital in Altoona is a separate organization.)
More information:
OakLeaf Medical Network Says It Wants to Buy Sacred Heart, St. Joe’s, and Prevea Facilities (Volume One)
OakLeaf says they 'hope of entering negotiations' to purchase HSHS properties (Leader-Telegram $)
Oakleaf Medical Network extends offer to purchase HSHS, Prevea (WEAU 13 News)
Local physician network hopes to buy western Wisconsin hospitals, clinics to prevent closures (WPR)

Local governments considering resolution urging delay in closing
   Officials representing several local municipal and county governments have circulated a resolution they expect to consider that calls upon HSHS and Prevea to work "collaboratively with the medical community and other local stakeholders to ensure quality healthcare and services continue to be available in the Chippewa Valley." While recognizing the value these facilities have provided to the community, the resolution asks for a delay in the closures "to allow community stakeholders including, but not limited to, the medical community and local municipalities, to work collaboratively to ensure a continuity of service within the community for the health and well-being of residents."
Click here to read the proposed resolution

Other local stories...

Hutchinson announces lay-offs at Eau Claire facility
(WEAU 13 News)
HTI announces nearly 75% of Eau Claire staff being laid off (WQOW News 18)

Rail commission updates coalition on future services (Leader-Telegram $)
Planning continues for passenger rail service (WEAU 13 News)
Annual meeting brings some updates for Eau Claire passenger trains (WQOW News 18)

Local organizations look for volunteers to extend Haven House hours (Leader-Telegram $)

Tina Probst joins Chamber staff
   Tina Probst has joined the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Workforce and Emerging Talent. She is originally from Superior, Wisconsin, and settled in the Chippewa Valley after graduating from UW-Eau Claire with Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Spanish. Her background lies heavily in the nonprofit world. Tina is excited to continue and expand the ongoing workforce programing at the Eau Claire Chamber. Contact Tina at: probst@eauclairechamber.org

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


Chippewa Valley Rally Issues confirmed
Earlybird registration deadline Feb 9
   The legislative issues that will make up the 30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally have now been confirmed by all three sponsoring Chamber organizations. 

   “Thank you” is the major theme of the 30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally, with many of our region’s most important economic priorities enacted in the 2023-25 State Budget or through other state legislation and action. This includes critical capital projects at area UW institutions, the compromise on shared revenue for local governments, repeal of the personal property tax, legislation to address housing supply and affordability, and the first step in expansion of passenger rail service to include the Chippewa Valley. Some issues remain to be resolved, including childcare, tax reform, and the EV charging network. 
   We also know that the imminent closure of HSHS and Prevea facilities in the Chippewa Valley has emerged as a critical challenge for our community. We are in the process of assessing the community impact and needed response. If there are specific actions needed on the part of the state government to address the crisis, there may be additional related issues to be discussed at the Rally. 
Click here to see the 2024 Chippewa Valley Rally Issues

How it works

   When you join us, you'll spend a productive day taking part in issue briefings, small group meetings at legislative offices, a keynote luncheon, and networking with others from our area who are interested in state government policy. You'll also be invited to online pre-event briefings to help you be prepared for a effective day in Madison. Optional same day charter bus transportation is available. (And don't worry if you've never participated before. Our legislative office meetings will be led by experienced previous attendees.) We also have special hotel rates on the nights before and after the Rally for those who combine the trip with other business in Madison.
More information:
30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, Madison
    Click here for full details and to register

More state and regional stories...

Wisconsin Supreme Court consultants say Republican-drawn legislative maps are gerrymanders, don’t deserve consideration

Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear Gov. Tony Evers' challenge against GOP Legislature

Wisconsin Supreme Court orders that Democrat Dean Phillips's name be on presidential primary ballot
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Xcel proposes new energy plan, uses national act to reduce cost
(Leader-Telegram $)


National and economic stories...

U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs in January, much better than expected

House passes $78 billion tax, child credit bill in 357-70 bipartisan vote
(The Hill)
House Passes $78 Billion Business, Child Tax Break Bill (Bloomberg +)
How Wisconsin's Representatives voted:
    Yes - Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gallagher, Glenn Grothman, Brian Steil; No -Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan, Tom Tiffany

Is a Congressional Deal on Immigration and Ukraine Funding Dead?
(The Dispatch)

Faulty Translation of a Speech Leads to Criticisms of Rep. Ilhan Omar
(The Dispatch)

Food for thought...

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

A walkable neighborhood is elder care
(Urbanism Speakeasy with Andy Boenau)
It's time to admit that modern transportation systems & car dependency are forms of ageism.

COVID-19 Resources:

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

Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Eau Claire
• Thursday, Feb 15

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

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

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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