L.E. Phillips Memorial Library
The Friends of the Library will hold a book sale on the lower level of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 17 through 19. The sale will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Choose from a wide variety of non-fiction, children's, adult fiction, and young adult books, as well as audiobooks, music CDs, and DVDs. Adult paperbacks start at $1, and hardcovers start at $2. Children’s and young adult paperbacks start at 25 cents and hardcovers start at 50 cents. A bag sale on Saturday and Sunday will feature discount pricing.
For information, stop at Information & Reference on your next visit to the library, call 715-839-5004, or email the library at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about other library programs and events, check the library’s website at www.ecpubliclibrary.info.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
Winter commencement set for Dec. 21 at UW-Eau Claire
Commencement ceremonies for 689 UW-Eau Claire graduates will take place Saturday, Dec. 21, in Zorn Arena. Candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences will receive degrees during a 9 a.m. ceremony. Candidates from the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Sciences will receive degrees during a 2 p.m. ceremony. Full story.
Blugold student teacher contributes to national holiday display
Renee Gavigan was student teaching in an elementary school when she learned that she would work with her cooperating teacher and students to create ornaments for a national Christmas display in Washington, D.C. Full story.
Chippewa Valley Technical College
CVTC to Hold Public Hearing on Facilities Proposals
Board nearing final decision on spring referendum
Chippewa Valley Technical College will hold a public hearing Thursday, Dec. 19 to receive input on $48.8 million of facilities projects that could become the subject of a spring referendum.
The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Room 100A of the Business Education Center, 620 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire.
In September, the CVTC board authorized a survey of district residents conducted by School Perceptions LLC to gauge support for facilities projects and their tolerance of the property tax impact. After evaluating the survey results, the CVTC District Board passed a resolution Dec. 5 stating its intent to issue $48.8 million in bonds to fund facilities projects to address regional workforce needs.
At that meeting, the board was presented with a preliminary plan calling for construction of a Transportation Education Center for $28 million, an addition and remodeling at the Emergency Services Education Center for 9.2 million, the addition of an automated fabrication lab, for $3 million, and purchase of land in River Falls for $2.5 million. The project also includes remodeling at the Menomonie and Chippewa Falls campuses, mobile labs, a storage facility, additional labs, and razing of the West Annex building near the Business Education Center.
“Many of these projects cannot be funded within our annual capital budget,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “Therefore, the Board of Trustees would need to authorize a referendum to fund them.”
Kohler to Head Institutional Advancement at CVTC
Current dean will lead CVTC Foundation, Alumni Association
Karen Kohler, a former instructor and current dean will take on a larger role at Chippewa Valley Technical College on Jan. 2 as the executive director of institutional advancement.
In her new role, Kohler will lead CVTC Foundation, Inc. and the CVTC Alumni Association.
A graduate of UW-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a master’s degree in English with a technical writing focus, Kohler first came to CVTC in 1993 as a long-term substitute English instructor. She worked for many years as an adjunct instructor, eventually becoming a full-time faculty member and chair of the English department.
Kohler also had roles at CVTC as a faculty developer and as an instructor and manager of customized training programs for area business and industry. She currently serves as the associate dean of liberal arts and general education.
“I fell in love with CVTC because it’s clear to me that we change lives,” Kohler said. “And because we change lives, we change families and communities. This new position gives me the opportunity to connect the passion I have for CVTC with my love of the area.”
Kohler has strong family connections to CVTC as well. Her husband, Paul Kohler, is a member of CVTC Foundation board, one daughter has taken dual credit classes with CVTC and another daughter is graduating from CVTC this month.
Traumatic Events Inspire CVTC Paramedic Grads
Kali Junk of Black River Falls saved a child from drowning
Kali Junk wants to become a physician someday, and make saving lives part of her life. The 2012 Black River Falls High School graduate already knows the feeling, having saved a child from drowning when working as a lifeguard as a high school student.
Rachel Rogers did not save a life when she stopped to lend assistance at a just-occurred auto accident scene. But what the 2007 Menomonie High School graduate witnessed, especially the work of the paramedics who responded to the scene, left an impression on her.
Those incidents were instrumental in their decisions to enroll in the Paramedic Technician program at Chippewa Valley Technical College. On Tuesday, December 17, Junk and Rogers were among 325 graduates in 40 programs honored at the CVTC Fall Commencement held at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. They were among eight Paramedic Technician graduates to receive technical diplomas. The largest program represented at the ceremony was Nursing-Associate Degree with 77 graduates, followed by Business Management with 27. In addition, seven students were honored for the completion of their Certificate of General Education Development.
Junk said her interest in healthcare started when she took a First Aid class in high school. She learned skills that she called upon when a crisis struck while she was working as a lifeguard at Alma Center Lincoln High School.
“I saved an 8-year-old girl who was in third grade from drowning,” Junk said. “They were doing swimming lessons and she fell off a kickboard in the middle of the pool and started to drown.” Junk got her out of the water and made sure her lungs were cleared.
The incident inspired Junk. In 2013, she earned certification as a firefighter and EMT and joined a volunteer department in Merrillan as an EMT.
“I’ve been working as an EMT at the emergency rooms at Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo (Clinic Health System) in Eau Claire,” Junk added.
Junk hopes the next step in her journey will take her to the Southwest. She has applied for admission to the Biology pre-med program at Arizona State University.
After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Rogers worked a variety of jobs but didn’t find a good fit. Then one day, she came upon an accident scene on Fairfax Street in Eau Claire and saw no one stopping to check on the people involved.
“So I stopped to make sure they were OK. They weren’t badly hurt, but there was an elderly person involved,” Rogers said. “I stayed for a while until an officer said it was OK for me to go.”
Rogers was there long enough to see the emergency medical responders care for the victims and found her calling. Rogers completed the Emergency Medical Technician technical diploma program, then enrolled in the Paramedic Technician program. She’s been working as an EMT with the Altoona volunteer fire and ambulance service for a year and a half.
Rogers joined her Paramedic Technician program classmates at the commencement ceremony, but she doesn’t plan to stop there. She’ll be back at CVTC in the spring semester earning her Paramedic associate degree.
With over 155 programs offered both online and on-campus, Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the community. CVTC programs are designed with input of business and industry to prepare graduates for today’s jobs, with 95 percent employed within six months of graduation and associate degree graduates earning an average annual salary of $46,816.
Wisconsin Public Radio
The Conflict over Wolves on “The West Side” December 23
The recovery of gray wolves in Wisconsin, and the calls to take them off the endangered species list will be the focus of conversation on “The West Side” at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 23 on The Ideas Network Stations of Wisconsin Public Radio: 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls.
Host Dean Kallenbach will welcome Rich Kremer, WPR’s Eau Claire-based reporter who wrote an in-depth investigative report on the wolf population, which has grown to more than 900 animals. The report also details the conflicts the resurging wolf has caused for farmers and hunters, and the controversial payments made by taxpayers to offset losses of livestock and hunting dogs.
“The West Side” is a call-in program focused on issues specific to western Wisconsin. The show is broadcast at 10 a.m. Mondays on The Ideas Network stations 88.3 WHWC-FM Menomonie/Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM River Falls and via an online live stream on 88.7 WRFW-FM University of Wisconsin River Falls via wrfw887.com/listen-live.html. Listeners may call in with questions and comments during the program at (800) 228-5615. Archives of “The West Side” are available at wpr.org/programs/west-side.
Sonnentag Complex Project Development Group Announces Major Change
Eau Claire Community Complex, Inc. (ECCC), the developer of the Sonnentag Complex project on Menomonie Street, announced today that the Eau Claire Community Complex Board has determined the facility is unable to proceed with the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA as a participant. While the ECCC Board has determined the project is unable to proceed with the YMCA as a participant, all parties (YMCA, UW-Eau Claire, Mayo Clinic Health System) remain committed to ongoing current collaborations and are open to possible future collaborations.
According to YMCA Executive Director Theresa Hillis, there are several reasons the YMCA is no longer able to be a participant in the project. As the current project timeline calls for ground breaking in summer 2020, with the YMCA’s guiding principle that construction could not begin until fundraising for the YMCA’s portion of the project was substantially complete, it raised concerns that significant capital debt could put the long-term fiscal well-being of the YMCA at risk to deliver on their mission.
“As stated by the ECCC Board, every partner in the project has its own needs, requirements, and governing policies. The current project timeline, and adhering to the principle that we cannot build what is not funded, led to the decision the YMCA is unable to proceed,” Hillis said.
ECCC also announced that, while the project is unable to proceed with the YMCA as a participant, the other project partners – UW-Eau Claire, Blugold Real Estate, and Mayo Clinic Health System remain fully committed to the project.
The Sonnentag Complex project includes a multi-purpose major event center, a recreation and fitness facility, and Mayo Clinic Health System sports medicine, imaging and human performance clinic. As originally envisioned, the YMCA and UW-Eau Claire would have shared the recreation and fitness facility which was intended to replace the existing YMCA on Graham Avenue and expand recreation and fitness facilities for UW-Eau Claire. Because the project is unable to proceed with the YMCA as a participant, a significant redesign of the recreation and fitness facility component of the Sonnentag Complex project will be necessary. That redesign will begin immediately, according to Kimera Way, president of the ECCC Board.
“We entered into this project in good faith and have worked closely together on the programming and design of the Sonnentag Complex – all partners have great respect for the missions, visions and goals of each of the organizations involved. And we are hopeful we will have continued opportunities to pursue mutually beneficial initiatives in the future,” Way said.
The ECCC Board will now work with remaining partners to move forward with project redesign and securing necessary approvals from Mayo Clinic Health System and University of Wisconsin System governing groups with the intent to break ground in July 2020, according to Way.
“John and Carolyn Sonnentag are rightfully anxious to see this project move forward. They made their lead gift announcement in August 2014 and the ECCC board is committed to achieving their vision for this transformative project,” Way said.
Project partners, UW-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic Health System also issued statements reaffirming their commitment to proceeding with the Sonnentag Complex:
“UW-Eau Claire has demonstrated needs for both an event center to replace Zorn Arena and expanded recreation and fitness facilities for our students. This project will fulfill those needs, will provide additional academic programming opportunities, and will enable the university and Mayo Clinic Health System to collaborate even more closely on important research and wellness programs that will benefit our campus, community and region.”
James C. Schmidt, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chancellor
“Mayo Clinic Health System remains committed to making the Sonnentag Center a reality. We plan to offer imaging, sports medicine, and performance training services in this new facility, as well as conducting beneficial research as part of our collaborative research agreement with UW-Eau Claire.”
Jason Craig, regional chair of administration, Northwest Wisconsin Region, Mayo Clinic Health System
River Falls Decorated Family
Jim Falls Decorated Family
Anderson Family - River Falls, WI - Kare 11
Lacey Anderson’s husband, Sgt. Greg Anderson, is deployed with the 1st Battalion, 1-128th Infantry in Afghanistan. It’s his third deployment overseas, but first since his two kids were born. Anderson and her two children, 8-year old daughter Brixie and 6-year old son Flynn, pulled up to a crowd of 50 or so people waving American flags in front of a brightly decorated house in red, white and blue.
Canfield Family - Jim Falls, WI - WEAU 13
Dave Canfield, who lives in Jim Falls with his wife Jeanie, was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer in September. He had surgery in October and his family says he was unable to partake in their usual tradition of decorating their homes for Christmas this year. The Canfield family arrived home to find their house decorated in red, white and blue Christmas lights along with many family members and friends.
Green Oasis, a member of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, was very honored to part of these special events & give back to our local communities. Thank you to all of the men & women who fight for our freedom.
Marco’s leadership team is growing with four new promotions to help expand and enhance the company’s offerings. The changes include a new chief technology officer and three new vice presidents in information technology and sales. See the faces behind Marco's new leadership here: https://www.marconet.com/press-releases/recent-marco-promotions-strengthen-companys-growth-plan
Residential Real Estate Market Tightens into Winter
As the 2019 real estate market is coming to a close, Wisconsin is seeing a continuation of the seller’s market with new homes on the market selling quickly.
“All the data points to Wisconsin being a great place to live and raise a family. Many homes are being sold at a brisk pace, so buyers need to move quickly with their REALTOR® once they identify a new property on the market,” said RANWW Executive Vice President Brenda Barnhardt.
According to new November numbers, Eau Claire county saw median prices on single family homes drop 7.6%, with the number of sales increasing 16.5% and the average days on market dropping by 13.5%. In Chippewa County, prices were down 4.9%, and homes sales dropped 11.0% with average days on market dropping 12.1%.
According to the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, closed sales in November were slightly below those of November 2018, falling 0.8 percent, and median prices rose 6 percent to $194,000 over that same period. On a year-to-date basis, home sales trailed the pace established in the first 11 months of 2018 by just 1.4 percent, whereas median prices increased 6.9 percent to $197,500.
Experts say the strong economy continues to fuel the existing home market. Even though home prices continue to rise at a robust pace that was offset by improvements in income and lower mortgage rates, so affordability has actually improved. Mortgage rates are down significantly, dropping from 4.87 in November of last year to 3.7 percent last month.
“As more people continue to relocate to our area, the pool of qualified buyers increases, creating excellent opportunities for future sellers,” added Gary Brenizer, RANWW board president.
The REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin is the professional trade association that all professional REALTORS® residing within the association jurisdiction belong to. The association provides educational opportunities for its members, is active in local, state and national advocacy efforts, engages in community outreach through charitable giving, operates its own private foundation to help homeowners in need and remains a positive force for the members they serve.
For more information on the REALTORS® Association of Northwestern Wisconsin, log on to www.ranww.org
Gundersen, Marshfield Clinic to remain independent
After several months of productive, collaborative discussions on how they might come together to collectively enhance the level of care across Wisconsin, northeast Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, Gundersen Health System and Marshfield Clinic Health System have mutually decided to remain independent.
The organizations will continue to individually focus on improving healthcare access in rural areas through telehealth services, the enhancement of Critical Access Hospitals and clinics in small communities, recruiting and retaining clinicians to practice in rural areas, and many other initiatives.
Gundersen and Marshfield will also continue to partner on current initiatives like the Wisconsin National Community Oncology Research Program to improve patient access to cancer clinical trials and the Wisconsin consortium of the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us precision medicine research program led by the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, and future opportunities as they arise.
“This was an opportunity we had to explore. Yet, we have to make the right decision for our patients and for our organizations,” says Scott Rathgaber, MD, chief executive officer, Gundersen Health System. “We each still have a commitment to delivering the best care possible to those we serve. We will continue to improve the health of our communities, while working to reduce the cost of care and offering an outstanding experience for those in our care.”
“We are thankful to Gundersen for coming together with us to have these discussions. Bringing two entities together of our size and scope is an incredibly complex process, and first and foremost in that process is making sure it was the best path forward for our patients, staff and communities,” said Dr. Susan Turney, chief executive officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System. “While we mutually decided to remain independent, we will continue
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.