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Volume 5, Issue 35, Jan 16, 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



Last chance to register...

Eggs & Issues: The "State of the County" Address

The Chamber's annual 'State of the County' address, led by Eau Claire County Board Chair Nick Smiar and County Administrator Kathryn Schauf. Hear the highlights of Eau Claire County's work over the past year and its priorities for 2023, plus meet the new County Sheriff Riewestahl, District Attorney Peter Rindal, and Judge Beverly Wickstrom. Highlights to be covered include where the county has committed its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, how it expects to deploy its opioid settlement funds, the new multi-county Rural Partners Network, and what's happening with rural broadband. This is an in-person event. 

 • Friday, Jan 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for more details and to register


Don't miss...

"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023, Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Video: 5 things to know about "Eau What A Night" (1:17)

    Video: 108th Annual Eau What a Night (WEAU 13 News)

    Click here for details and to register


Registration now open

29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

Organized by the Chippewa Valley Chamber Alliance - the Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Eau Claire Chambers of Commerce. Bringing the collective voice of Chippewa Valley business and community leaders to Madison.

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2023, Madison

   Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event Monday evening at Pablo Center

 • Altoona, Cadott schools going to referendum in April

 • Meetings this week: EC Plan Commission, EC County Board

 • Momentum West Housing Forum Jan 25

 • Governor to hold Jan 18 budget listening session in Eau Claire

 • US Chamber CEO to federal lawmakers: ‘Do your jobs’

 • 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 "+"


Dr. Martin Luther King remembrance event

 • Monday, Jan 16, 6 p.m. Click here for details (in person or online)

The life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated at a remembrance event on Monday evening at Pablo Center at the Confluence. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance is a free event open to the public that will begin virtually and in person at 6 p.m. in Pablo Center’s Jamf Theatre. Doors open and community tables will be available starting at 5 p.m. Registration is required for the virtual program.

More information:

Event details: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance event Jan. 16 at Pablo Center at the Confluence (UWEC)

Dr. Martin Luther King's Jr's speech commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: Audio, Transcript (Sep 12, 1962)


Spring election: Berge unopposed for EC City Council President

Four file for two EC School Board positions, three for two Altoona seats

   With the filing deadline earlier this month, ballots are now set for the Spring Non-Partisan Election on April 4. Current Eau Claire City Council Member Emily Berge, who represents District 1, was the only candidate to fil for City Council President. Current Council President Terry Weld is not seeking reelection, and in December announced his endorsement of Berge to be his successor. If elected, Berge would vacate the final year of her three-year district term. 

   For the Eau Claire School Board, four candidates filed for the two positions on the ballot, including incumbent Lori Bica and newcomers Frankie Bowe, Jarrett Dement, and Sally A. Huffey. In Altoona, three candidates have filed for two School Board positions, including incumbents Nicole Breed and Hillarie Roth, plus challenger Lauren Otto.  For the Altoona City Council, all three incumbents whose seats are on the ballot are unopposed for reelection, including Matthew Biren in District 4, Kaitlyn Leopold in District 5, and Susan Rowe in District 6.

   There are also School Board elections in Fall Creek and other districts, and municipal board elections in the Village of Fall Creek, Town of Washington, and other local municipalities. 

   As the election date drawers nearer, watch for more information about candidates from the Chamber. 

   None of the key local races will require a primary, but there will be one on Feb 21 for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

More information:

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


Altoona, Cadott schools plan spring referendums

   The School Boards at the Altoona and Cadott school districts have each voted to put tax levy referendums on the April 4 ballot for voters in their areas.

   The Altoona referendum will seek $26 million, mostly to acquire and renovate the National Business Institute building at 1218 McCann Dr as a new location for 4k through 1st grade, plus smaller capital projects at its Intermediate/Middle School. 

   The Cadott district will ask voters for $9.965 million for renovations and expansion of its High School/Middle School building. 

More information:

Altoona schools moving forward with $26M referendum (Leader-Telegram $)

Cadott schools seek nearly $10 million referendum (Leader-Telegram $)


EC City Council: Sunnyvale Acres project approved,

preview of 2023 street improvements

Sky Park lot sold, decision on Altoona EMS Agreement extended

   At the Eau Claire City Council's meeting last week, it  approved a proposed rezoning, preliminary plat, and general development agreement for the Sunnyvale Acres development on 7.83 acres near Highway 53 on the southeast side. The parcel was annexed to the City in July. The plan calls for seven multi-family buildings with 6-12 units each (see pages 5-24 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below). It also approved an agreement to sell Lot 12 in the Sky Park Industrial Center (see pages 60-72 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet). Sky Park is now nearly full, with 20 businesses that employ 450 people.

   Tuesday's agenda also included a preliminary resolution for 11 street improvement projects for 2023. Portions of streets on the list include Oxford and Seventh Avenues, along with Maple, Omaha, Balcom, Spring, Ball, Hudson, Broadway, and Chippewa Streets (see pages 40-43 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The Council will have public hearings and votes at future meetings as specific projects are approved.

   The Council decided to postpone until June 1 action on the City's EMS agreement with the City of Altoona. Talks have begun regarding a potential merger of services or other measures to address cost increases.

Work sessions on engineering projects, fiscal stability

   After formal adjournment of each of last week's meetings, the City Council held work sessions on Monday evening on engineering projects for 2023 and major projects in future years; and on Tuesday evening on Fiscal Stability. 

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Jan 9, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (25 pages)

 • Tuesday, Jan 10, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (108 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)

Looking out for bumpy roads (Leader-Telegram $)

A look at 2023 street projects for the City of Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire taking more time on EMS pact with Altoona (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire's Sky Park nearly all taken after land sales spurt (Leader-Telegram $)

City of E.C. Puts The Metro’s Liquor License Up for Grabs (Volume One)


EC Plan Commission: Haselwander town homes at

Cypress & Hamilton, regional housing study

   The Eau Claire Plan Commission meets Tuesday evening, with a brief agenda that includes a proposed rezoning and general development agreement for a multi-family project proposed by Haselwander Properties at 3421 Cypress St. at its intersection with Hamilton Ave. Currently vacant, the 2.8 acre property would be developed into 36 town homes over five buildings (see pages 4-19 of the Agenda Packet linked below).

   There will also be a discussion of the City of Eau Claire's participation in the Regional Housing Study getting underway in conjunction with the City of Altoona and Eau Claire County (see pages 22-27). 

More information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission

Plan Commission 2023 Work Program

 • Tuesday, Jan 17, 7 p.m., Agenda Packet (27 pages)

Townhomes planned at large lot where home burned down several years ago (Leader-Telegram $)


EC School Board won't support state resolutions on voter education, federal mandates

   At its meeting last week, the Eau Claire Area School District Board of Education decided to direct its delegate to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards convention this week to oppose two proposed resolutions: One that would seek a requirement that voter education be added to curricula, and another that opposes federal policy mandates. The School Board also voted to approve contracts for several administrative staff members, and heard a report from Superintendent Mike Johnson about district benchmarks related to student opportunities and to financial goals.

More information:

Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, Jan 9, Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information

EC school board rejects 'voter education' as a subject for students (Leader-Telegram $)


Rural broadband, abortion referendum on County Board agenda

   The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday evening. Among items on its agenda are planned broadband projects in the Village of Fairchild and Town of Clear Creek, which are being funded from the County's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars from the federal government. Also to be considered is a proposed advisory referendum for the April 4 ballot which would ask for County voters' opinion on whether Wisconsin's abortion ban should be repealed. 

   Also, "The State of Eau Claire County" will be the topic of the Chamber's January Eggs & Issues breakfast on Friday, Jan 20. 

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, Jan 17, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

County Board district maps and Supervisors

Eau Claire County Board considering advisory referendum on abortion (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire County Board to vote on whether to add abortion referendum question to April ballot (WQOW News 18)

Eggs & Issues: "State of Eau Claire County"

 • Friday, Jan 20, 7 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

    Click here for details and to register


Momentum West Housing Solutions Forum

Wednesday morning, Jan 25

    Regional economic development organization Momentum West is conducting a Housing Solutions Forum on January 25. The program features presentations on a regional higher education housing/workforce collaborative, creative community-based efforts in the region, a lifestyle tiny-house development, unique multi-family workforce development, and a cooperative foundation revitalizing mobile home developments.

More information:

Momentum West Housing Solutions Forum

 • Wednesday, Jan 25, 8:30 am-12:00 noon, UW Stout Memorial Student Center

    Click here for details and registration


More local stories:


Dunn Co. to vote on creating Tainter Lake Rehabilitation District (Leader-Telegram $)



Eau Claire Chamber Business Matters podcast

 Episode 12: Eau Claire City Manager Stephanie Hirsch (31:26)


Evers to hold Budget Listening Session Jan 18 in Eau Claire

   Governor Tony Evers has announced an Eau Claire location for a series of Budget Listening Sessions around the state. "Gov. Evers has hosted listening sessions for two consecutive biennia to provide an opportunity for folks to share their ideas, discuss and give feedback on the state’s biennial budget, hear about pressing issues affecting Wisconsinites and their families, and how the state can best support local communities," notes a press release from the Governor's office.

More information:

Budget Listening Session in Eau Claire
 • Wednesday, January 18, at 5:30-7:00 p.m., UWEC, W.R. Davies Student Center 77 Roosevelt Ave Eau Claire, WI 54701

News release and registration information (Office of the Governor)


More state and regional stories:


Spring Election Update: Republican Primary in SD 8; Supreme and Appellate Court Races (Hamilton Consulting)

Ideological differences on display at Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate forum (The Cap Times)

Partisan-backed Wisconsin court candidates vow to be fair (AP)

Video: WisPolitics State Supreme Court Election Forum (Wisconsin Eye)


Gov. Evers Appoints James Bond to Serve as DVA Secretary (Office of the Governor)

Kicking Off Second Term, Gov. Evers Names Several New Agency Heads (Hamilton Consulting)


Senate GOP leader unveils flat tax proposal (WDJT)


Sen. Stafsholt: Wraps up Occupational Licenses Study Committee (WisPolitics.com)


'Urban' no more: Census reclassifies dozens of Wisconsin places as 'rural' (WPR)


Former state legislator Dale Kooyenga is new MMAC senior veep--and possible future chief. (Journal-Sentinel +)


'We've lost track of who we are': How one group is helping people support farmer mental health (WPR)


Wisconsin’s population is trending older. Where will non-drivers find transportation? (Wisconsin Watch)


US Chamber CEO to federal lawmakers: ‘Do your jobs’

"State of American Business" address delivered by Suzanne Clark

   At last Thursday's annual "State of American Business" online address, US Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark criticized dysfunction in Washington. 

   “Business demands better from our government,” she said. “Because when it comes to Washington, the state of American business is fed up. The polarization, the gridlock, the overreach, the inability to act smartly or strategically for our future, is making it harder for all of us to do our jobs, to fill our roles, move the country forward.” 

   Clark urged congress to reach consensus on key business issues including permitting and immigration reforms, raising the debt ceiling, data privacy, and artificial intelligence regulations. 

Agenda for American Strength

   In her speech, Clark said the Chamber is proposing an “Agenda for American Strength” to establish policies for long-term success for the country and the business community.

   She said the agenda "affirms America’s position as a global power for good, supporting free people, free enterprise, and free markets the world over,” Clark said. “[It is] an agenda that lifts our middle class, and renews the American Dream and modernizes it for the next generation. [It is] an agenda we can be proud of, that we can rally around, and that our country can make progress on this year; in this Congress; at this vital moment in history.”

More information:

Top Takeaways from the U.S. Chamber’s 2023 State of American Business Address (Videos and stories, US Chamber of Commerce)

American business by the numbers, charts (US Chamber of Commerce)

Chamber CEO to lawmakers: ‘Do your jobs’ (Politico)


More national and economic stories:


Consumer prices fell 0.1% in December, in line with expectations from economists (CNBC)


Yellen warns that US will hit debt limit next week (Fox Business)


New Research Shows Regulations Account for 40.6 Percent of Apartment Development Costs (NAHB)


Houston Workers Are Returning to Offices at High Rates (Governing)


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:


Governor's Budget Listening Session in Eau Claire
 • Wednesday, January 18, at 5:30-7:00 p.m.
    UWEC, W.R. Davies Student Center 77 Roosevelt Ave Eau Claire


Eggs & Issues: "State of Eau Claire County"

 • Friday, Jan 20, Pablo Center at the Confluence


A Candid Conversation with Ron Kind

Online event by Leader Ethics

 • Tuesday, January 24, 12-1 p.m.


State of the State Address - Gov Tony Evers

 •  Tuesday, Jan 24, 7 p.m., State Capitol


Momentum West Housing Solutions Forum

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 8:30 a.m. -12:00 noon, UW-Stout


"Eau What A Night:" The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 4:30-10 p.m., Pablo Center


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


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


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