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Volume 5, Issue 40, Feb 20, 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: Legislative Breakfast

With the legislative session in full swing and biennial state budget deliberations underway, we've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to give us an update and answer questions.

 • Friday, Mar 31, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for more details and to register


Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Altoona" 

Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and City Administrator Mike Golat lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City during the past year, and its priorities for the rest of this 2023.

 • Friday, Apr 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

    Click here for more details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Chippewa Valley Rally postponed due to weather, rescheduled to Mar 29

 • EC City Council: Street projects, potential vehicle registration fee
 • Eau Claire leaders present "State of the City"

 • Local employer opportunity: Youth Apprenticeship Interview Days

 • New Chamber role for Kaylynn Winegar

 • Podcast: Country Jam GM Kathy Wright talks EC Event District

 • Wisconsin Supreme Court Primary is Tuesday

 • Evers delivers budget message

 • Eau Claire County invited to the White House

 • 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 "+"


Chippewa Valley Rally postponed due to weather forecast

Event rescheduled to March 29

   The organizers of the 29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally have postponed this week's event because of the severe weather forecast, with up to 18 inches of snow, low temperatures, and the expectation of high winds predicted for Tuesday-Thursday.  A similar situation occurred in 2019 when 30 below subzero temperatures were forecast and the event was held a few weeks later.

   The new date will be Wednesday, March 29. Current registrants will be contacted  to confirm the new date, and new registrants are welcome.

   The Rally brings around 100 business and community leaders from Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire Counties to spend the day in Madison to bring key Chippewa Valley economic concerns to state policymakers as deliberations get underway for the state's 2023-25 biennial budget. 

More information:

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, March 29, Madison (New Date!)

Click here for details and to register

Click here to read the full 2023 Issues Statements

Chippewa Valley Rally Will be a Capitol Time (Volume One)


EC City Council approves street projects, veterans housing

   At its meetings last week, the Eau Claire City Council approved several 2023 street, utility, and sidewalk projects. It also approved an agreement with Visit Eau Claire (VEC) related to VEC's $2.4 million contribution to the Sonnentag Center to be funded out of future room tax receipts, and approved 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. It also approved an agreement with the CORBA to begin working on a trail plan for the municipal well field area on the north side.

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

Three seek open city liquor license

   Three organizations have applied for the one open Combination Class B alcohol license that was given up recently by The Metro, when it failed to open in time for a negotiated deadline. They include Country Jam, which is developing a new venue on the northwest side along Highway T, Silly Serrano Mexican Restaurant, and The Good Wives restaurant. The license will be considered by the License Review Committee on Tuesday this week, then go to the City Council on February 28.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Feb 13, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (42 pages)

 • Tuesday, Feb 14, 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)

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

Eau Claire city leaders show interest in wheel tax (Leader-Telegram $)

Plans for new trails at Eau Claire wellfield have way to go (Leader-Telegram $)

Old utilities prompt projects in Randall Park area (Leader-Telegram $)

3 Eau Claire businesses vying for single Class B liquor license (WQOW News 18)

Three vie for Eau Claire liquor license (Leader-Telegram $)


Eggs & Issues: Eau Claire leaders present "State of the City"

   City Council President Terry Weld and City Manager Stephanie Hirsch led a team of city staff and City Council members in presenting the annual "State of the City" address to the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce this past Friday, February 17, at its monthly Eggs & Issues breakfast.

   Weld, whose term ends in April and is not seeking reelection, recounted the accomplishments of the City during 2022, including record construction activity and key projects. Hirsch introduced several "gnarly challenges" facing City government, including housing supply and affordability, and fiscal stability. Deputy City Manager Dave Solberg discussed the challenges of coping with few options to increase revenue as costs continue to increase. Council Vice President Emily Berge, who is part of the leadership of the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, noted legislative efforts to address the financial squeeze on municipal governments. The program concluded with Weld's reflections on his six years of service on the City Council.

   See the link below to the events visuals which show key projects, charts, and numbers.

More information:

Visuals: 2023 State of the City address (Eggs & Issues, City of Eau Claire)

Eau Claire city leaders reflect on the ‘State of the City’ (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire leaders express optimism for state aid boost, but still pursuing other revenue options (Leader-Telegram $)

Weld Among Chamber of Commerce Award Winners (Volume One)


Meeting this week:


Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Feb 20, 7 p.m.  Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

ECASD Academic Calendar 2022-23 (ECASD)

ECASD Academic Calendar 2023-24 (ECASD)

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


Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Wednesday, Feb 22, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

County Board district maps and Supervisors

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 $)


Employers invited: Youth Apprenticeship Interview Days

 • Tuesday, March 14, North High School; Thursday, March 16, Memorial High School

   The Eau Claire Area Youth Apprenticeship Consortium is excited to partner with Eau Claire Area High Schools to pair students with employers through the Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Program. Sign up to do interviews with students who are ready to enter the workforce.
   Interviews will be held in person at North High School on March 14, and Memorial High School on Thursday, March 16. Please use the link below to sign up for a time slot. Once you’ve signed up we will send out communication about the interview days.

More information - Check the available Occupational Pathways:

Youth Apprenticeship Programs for Employers (DWD)

Sign up for YA interview days (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


Same Face, New Role at the Chamber

   The Chamber is pleased to announce that Kaylynn Winegar, the Chamber’s Vice President Workforce Initiatives, will be stepping into a new role as Vice President Investor Engagement. Kaylynn’s new position is currently held by Phil Swiler, whose last day with the Chamber will be February 24th.

   Kaylynn has been with the Chamber since 2019 and has been instrumental in strengthening the Chamber’s workforce and DEI programs and initiatives.  

   "I am so excited to be taking on this new role as Vice President of Investor Engagement," said Winegar. "I have been part of this organization for the last four years and have valued the relationships I've built with all of you. I look forward to further strengthening these relationships, while also creating new ones. It is an honor to be able to serve our investors and community in this capacity."

   Please join us in congratulating Kaylynn on her new role with the Chamber.


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


Eau Claire Energy's Obrycki featured as industry woman leader

   Eau Claire Energy Cooperative CEO Monica Obrycki, a member of the Chamber's Board of Directors, is one of the featured profiles in a recent article in Rural Electric Magazine about emerging women leaders in the electric co-op industry.

   “I was very fortunate to have a leader who was very empowering and encouraged me to expand my role throughout my career,” said Obrycki in the article, referring to her predecessor, Lynn Thompson. Obrycki has been with the co-op since 2013 and was Chief Administrative Officer before being promoted to CEO last year when Thompson retired. Obrycki is also a former Chair of the Chamber's Workforce Development Committee and is a graduate of Leadership Eau Claire.

More information:

'Next Generation': Women Make Inroads as Co-op CEOs (Rural Electric Magazine)


More local stories:


Power of Perception to take EC students to South Africa on grant (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire Fire Rescue hiring firefighters (WEAU 13 News)


Thousands visit Home and Garden Show (WQOW News 18)


Evers tours new technical school in Osseo-Fairchild district (Leader-Telegram $)


College Towns Leading the Way on Land-Use Reform (Strong Towns)




Business Matters Podcast: Eau Claire Event District (Country Jam)

In this episode, Chamber President & CEO Dave Minor talks with Country Jam's Kathy Wright about Jam’s new home called the Eau Claire Event District and why it is more than just Country Jam.

Podcast: Business Matters Episode 14 (39:07, YouTube, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)


Race for Wisconsin Supreme Court goes to Feb 21 Primary

Polls open Tuesday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

   Wisconsin voters will go to the polls Tuesday to narrow the field of candidates for an open State Supreme Court seat from four to two for the April 4 Non-partisan election.

   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:

Click here to find your polling place (MyVote.WI.gov)

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 +)

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


Governor Evers delivers annual budget message

   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers delivered his 2023-25 Budget Message last Wednesday to a joint session of the legislature at the State Capitol.

More information:

Budget message text (Office of the Governor)

Video: Budget Message (48:35, YouTube, Office of the Governor)

2021-23 Executive Budget as proposed by Gov Evers (Dept of Administration)

Gov. Tony Evers released his state budget Wednesday. Here are seven key takeaways (Journal-Sentinel +)

Gov. Tony Evers: 'Breakthrough budget' would create family leave plan, cut taxes and boost school funding (WPR)

Reaction to Evers proposed budget entirely partisan (The Center Square)

Can Democrats and Republicans compromise on Gov. Evers' budget priorities? (WPR)

Area legislators cast doubt on Evers budget proposal (Leader-Telegram $)


More state and regional news:


EPA devotes $25M in grants for Wisconsin to address PFAS in small communities (WPR)


Rebecca Blank, 'transformational' former UW-Madison chancellor, dies (The Cap Times)


EC County invited to the White House to share ARPA impact

   Eau Claire County Administrator Kathryn Schauf was invited to visit the White House last Thursday, February 16, as part of Communities in Action: Building a Better Wisconsin. Communities in Action is a White House series that features local elected officials and community leaders who are working on behalf of their communities to create opportunities and improve people’s everyday lives. The meeting was held in-person at the White House and highlighted the federal investments and impacts in communities across Wisconsin.

   Schauf highlighted the impact that the American Rescue Plan Act Funds have had on the community, including impact stories from businesses and individuals directly impacted by these funds. Other great initiatives that she shared on behalf of Eau Claire County were the work on Broadband in the County, Neighborhood Investment Fund Grants, USDA Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreement, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (BIL) and the Rural Partners Network.

   "It was a privilege to be the courier of our community stories to the national level," said Schauf. "The key message that I left with our national partners was expressed by Mark Zuber, Town of Drammen – that when the federal government puts money into the hands of our local governments, our local governments put it to work. The stories we collected from recipients of the ARP dollars through the grant process highlight the strength of our community partnerships and what we can accomplish when we work together."

More information:

News release and Community Portfolio (Eau Claire County)

Eau Claire County Administrator invited to White House (WQOW News 18)


National and economic stories:


Rep. Van Orden witnesses 'national security crisis' in trip to southern border (WKBT News 8000)

Van Orden visits U.S.-Mexico border, talks fentanyl crisis (Leader-Telegram $)


Senator Tammy Baldwin discusses funds to help with contaminated water (WEAU 13 News)


Joe Biden makes surprise visit to Ukraine (CNN)


Jimmy Carter, 39th US president, enters hospice care at home (AP)


Wholesale prices rose 0.7% in January, more than expected, fueling inflation increase (CNBC)


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:


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, March 29, 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 


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

• Wednesday, Apr 19, UWEC Davies Center


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