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Volume 5, Issue 9, July 18, 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

Advocacy Blog


August 9 Primary approaching

Early voting Jul 26-Aug 5

Chamber Questionnaires published for 23rd State Sen, 68th Assembly

   In the runup to this fall's crucial mid-term election, the Tuesday, August 9, primary features important races in both the Democratic and Republican parties, including Governor, US Senate, and other statewide offices, as well as 3rd District US Congress. There are competitive local primaries for the Republican nominations for 23rd State Senate and 68th Assembly, as well as a Democratic primary for Eau Claire County Sheriff. The Chamber's Good Government Council has just published candidate answers to its legislative issues survey. See the links below.

More information: (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)
The Chamber's Guide to the 2022 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

myvote.wi.gov - voter registration, what's on your ballot, find your polling place

Early voting information (Jul 25-Aug 5)

Chamber Questionnaire - 23rd State Senate

Chamber Questionnaire - 68th State Assembly


Eggs & Issues: The Economic Imperative of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Friday, Aug 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
Click here for details and to register

Registration deadline 12:00 noon on Thursday, Aug 18

   Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has gotten increasing attention as an overall priority to ensure Eau Claire is a community that is welcoming to everyone. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll take a specific look at why it is important to our economy. We've assembled a panel that will bring a wide range of private and public sector perspectives to that question, including Wes Escondo, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin and Chair of the Chamber's Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Force; Valerie Fedie, Western Wisconsin & Duluth Market Leader, Wipfli; Maysee Herr, CEO, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Lynette Livingston, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, CVTC; and Renee Sommer, Founder, At The Roots LLC.   

In this issue: 

 • US DOT accepts Sun Country for Eau Claire air service

 • EC City Council commits first phase of ARPA funding

 • EC School Board referendum discussion

 • Country Jam rezoning at Plan Commission Monday

 • Downtown EC Library to reopen in early September

 • 3rd District Democratic Congressional debate Monday night

 • Milwaukee likely selection for 2024 GOP Convention

 • Inflation hits 9.1% in June

 • 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 "+"


US DOT approves Sun Country as new Eau Claire air carrier

Service transition likely December 1

   The US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last Thursday announced the awarding of Eau Claire's Essential Air Service (EAS) contract to Sun Country Airlines. The move is in line with the recommendation of the made by the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Commission in May.

   This is the first-ever EAS contract for Minneapolis-based Sun Country or any other similar low cost carrier. Sun Country plans leisure-focused service that will use 737's to provide service to MSP twice each week and seasonal direct service to Ft Myers, FL, Orlando, and Las Vegas.

   Airport Manager Charity Zich told attendees at Friday's Chamber Eggs & Issues breakfast that the tentative changeover date for the transition is December 1. Current United Express carrier SkyWest is expected to continue once-daily flights to Chicago through the end of November. 

   Because of pilot shortages, SkyWest gave notice in March of its plans to discontinue service to its 29 United Express Essential Air Service (EAS)-supported airports. The FAA ordered SkyWest to continue flights until a replacement carrier could be secured. After SkyWest's notice, the airport subsequently received three proposals for replacement service, two by airlines that would provide service with single engine, 9-passenger turboprops, and the one by Sun Country. 

More information:

Airline Transition FAQs (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

EAU flight information (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

Sun Country selection news release (Chippewa Valley Regional Airport)

HERE COMES THE SUN: Sun Country Airlines Picked to Serve E.C. Airport (Volume One)

Video: Chippewa Valley business leaders react to Sun Country announcement (WEAU 13 News)

Sun Country's flight plans OK'd by feds (Leader-Telegram $)

DOT selects Sun Country Airlines to serve Eau Claire airport (WQOW News 18)


Eau Claire City Council commits first phase of ARPA funds 

Sonnentag agreement approved, referendum moves forward

   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council appropriated $9.5 million of the $13.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding it is receiving, approved an MOU for the City's participation in the UWEC Sonnentag project, and took steps towards a potential fall referendum.

   The ARPA proposal followed recommendations made by City Manager Stephanie Hirsch and previous Council work sessions to discuss priorities based upon community feedback and identified City needs. Some of the key components of the appropriation include addressing existing needs, such as $1 million for PFAS remediation for the City's water supply, $5 million to fill financing gap for completion of the transit center currently under construction, and costs for an additional building inspector and for a network engineer. Funding devoted to community support initiatives included about $568,000 for warming/cooling shelters and bus passes for individuals experiencing homelessness (this was increased by about $50,000 at Tuesday's Council meeting), $60,000 for a joint housing needs assessment with the City of Altoona and Eau Claire County, $500,000 to accomplish an overhaul of the City's zoning code, and funding for positions including ARPA Coordinator/Analytics Manager; EDI Coordinator, and Housing Project Manager (see pages 4-6 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below).

   The narrative accompanying the appropriation proposal also anticipates a Phase 2 process for the remaining $4 million. The City will seek more public input and develop a plan to allocate funds for initiatives related to children and families, homelessness, neighborhoods, business development, and affordable housing.

Sonnentag agreement, referendum 

   The Council approved a resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a development agreement for the Sonnentag Event Center (see pages 37-145 of the Tuesday agenda packet linked below), and continued planning for a fall referendum to allow the City to exceed levy limits (pages 157-159 of the Tuesday agenda packet). The Council approved the sale of lot 21, four acres in the Sky Park Industrial Center, to LARSCO, LLC, to construct a 40,000 square foot facility for plumbing/HVAC distribution (pages 23-36 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet).

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Jul 11, Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 14 pages)

 • Tuesday, Jul 12, Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 172 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)

Eau Claire's water spending to rise due to PFAS (Leader-Telegram $)

ARPA money shifted for cooling center (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire councilman questions ARPA money use to address PFAS contamination (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire City Council solidifies path to referendum (Leader-Telegram $)

City's pact for new complex has rare concessions (Leader-Telegram $)

Cannery Park Will Offer Unique Features (Volume One)


EC School Board: May connect with City on referendum plans

   The Eau Claire Board of Education meets Monday evening, and its agenda includes a discussion regarding a potential discussion with the City of Eau Claire, since both bodies are each considering placing a referendum on the fall ballot to increase tax revenue. 

More information: 

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, Jul 11,  6 p.m. Closed session, 7 p.m. Meeting Agenda

Board of Education website (ECASD)

EC school board to discuss connecting with the city (Leader-Telegram $)


Plan Commission: Country Jam rezoning, development plan 

Gateway Dr site plans - Chili's restaurant and Valvoline auto center

   The Eau Claire Plan Commission's agenda on Monday evening includes a request for the Commission's recommendations to the City Council related to Country Jam USA's move and expansion to the southwest corner of Highway T and 20th Avenue. 

   County Jam recently purchased the 166 acre site, where it intends to hold its music festival beginning next year. City approvals needed for completion of the project include rezoning the property; adopting a general development plan with a conditional use permit for a major event entertainment and other events, future commercial development and other site improvements; amending the comprehensive plan to allow for commercial and industrial development; and approval of a preliminary plat for a subdivision known as Eau Claire Heights (see pages 4-45 of the Agenda Packet linked below for maps, elevations, narrative and other information).

   Also on the Plan Commission's agenda are a rezoning for the expansion of Charter Bank's parking lot (pages 46-50); a rezoning for Menard, Inc., to allow for multi-family and twin home development, Fairways at Mill Run, at Losan Ave and Campus Rd (pages 51-58); an annexation of 7.8 acres north of Prairie Park Dr, west of Highway 53, by Peter and Steven Olson for multi-family development (pages 59-61); a request from the LE Phillips Senior Center to vacate a segment of an alley (pages 62-63); and site plans for a two story office building at 4825 Owen Ayres Ct (pages 64-79), and two commercial buildings at 3625 Gateway Dr (pages 80-102), the latter for which elevations show a Chili's restaurant and a Valvoline auto service center.

More information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 • Monday, Jul 18, 7 p.m., Agenda Packet (102 pages)

Chili’s Could Be Coming to Eau Claire (Volume One)

Indoor event center fits into new site for Country Jam USA (Leader-Telegram $)

Podcast: Jerry Kuehl interviews Country Jam's Kathy Wright (Northwestern Bank)


Downtown EC Library to reopen in September

   With renovations nearing completion, the LE Phillips Memorial Library has announced that its downtown location will have a soft reopening in early September, with the specific date to be announced, then begin grand reopening events starting Sep 26. 

  To accomplish its move back from the current Mall Drive temporary location, that site will close after Aug 6.  

More information:

September 2022: The Library Moves Back Downtown (LE Phillips Memorial Library)

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library previews renovations (Leader-Telegram $


More local stories:


County exceeding emission reduction goals (Leader-Telegram $)


CVTC Program Will Ease Transfer to Three Universities (Volume One)


GFL, landfill committee keep expansion talks going, but finish could be near (Leader-Telegram $)


New Altoona Boys & Girls Club Opens (Volume One)


RCU President Brandon Riechers Re-Elected as Head of Statewide Credit Union Group (Volume One)


Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcasts

 Episode 7: Retiring State Senator Kathy Bernier (41:26)

 Episode 8: Valley Sports Academy General Manager Chase Hoople (21:10)


2022 Election:


Partisan Primary - Tuesday, August 9

What's on the ballot: US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts), Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sheriff, County Clerk of Court

General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Election 2022: The Chamber's Guide to the State and Federal Elections (Eau Claire Chamber)

MyVoteWI (to find your polling place and see what's on your ballot)

Early voting information: Jul 26-Aug 5 in Eau Claire County for the August 9 Primary 


3rd District Democratic Congressional debate Monday night

Sponsored by La Crosse County Democrats - in person and online

   All four candidates for the 3rd District Democratic Congressional nomination will participate in a debate on Monday evening in La Crosse, which will also be live streamed on Zoom. They include Rebecca Cooke of Eau Claire, Deb McGrath of Menomonie, Dr. Mark Neumann of La Crosse, and State Sen. Brad Pfaff of Onalaska.

More information: 

La Crosse County Democrats 3rd District Congressional Debate

Monday, July 18, 6:30-8 p.m., 2318 State Rd or via Zoom

  Click here for details


More election-related stories:


Milwaukee is likely site of 2024 Republican National Convention (The Cap Times)


Kleefisch brings campaign to Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Michels addresses Eau Claire crowd (Leader-Telegram $)


Low-profile race for Wisconsin secretary of state is suddenly in the spotlight as Republicans push to overhaul elections (Journal-Sentinel +)


More state and regional stories:


SURVEY: Wisconsin Employers Offer Higher Wages, More Flexibility Amid Worker Shortage (WMC)


Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu legislates out of the limelight (The Cap Times)


'Electrification is coming': Wisconsin prepares to spend $78.7 million on EV network (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Virtual event: Pandemic Recovery in Wisconsin’s Arts and Cultural Sector (Wisconsin Policy Forum)

• Friday, July 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m.


National and economic stories: 


Inflation rose 9.1% in June, even more than expected, as consumer pressures intensify (CNBC)


Fed Heads Toward 75 Basis-Point Rate Hike With Officials Wary of Bigger Move (Bloomberg +)


Manchin opens door to climate spending after July inflation numbers (Axios)


Retail sales rose more than expected in June as consumers remain resilient despite inflation (CNBC)


Quality of life promotes prosperity and opportunity in America’s best places to live (George W Bush Presidential Center)


COVID-19 Updates 

COVID-19 cases increased throughout the week in Wisconsin, although not quite to May levels (Journal-Sentinel +)


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: The Economic Imperative of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

• Friday, Aug 19, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Bravo to Business Awards

• Wednesday, Sep 14, The Florian Gardens


Eggs & Issues: Fall Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

• Thursday, Sep 22, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Business Day in Madison

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center


"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


Next up on the public calendar


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


• Partisan Primary - Tuesday, August 9

US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts) Assembly, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court


General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


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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