ECASD Board of Education Selects Michael Johnson to Serve as the District’s Next Superintendent
EAU CLAIRE, WI — The Board of Education has selected Mr. Michael Johnson to serve as the next Superintendent of the Eau Claire Area School District. Mr. Johnson is currently the Assistant Superintendent of South Washington County Schools, a Twin Cities-metro district with an enrollment of 18,900 students.
From Dr. Eric Torres, Board President: “The Eau Claire Area School District is very excited to welcome Mr. Michael Johnson. He has the knowledge base, work ethic, and skills necessary to support our mission and vision as a learning community. The Board has set very high expectations for him and is committed to supporting his leadership to close the achievement gap, advocate for equitable public education, and achieve the goals of our strategic plan.”
From Mr. Michael Johnson: “I’m extremely honored, humbled, and thrilled to be offered the ECASD superintendency. I was impressed with the flexibility and dedication of all stakeholders involved in the search process, and enjoyed the opportunity to present in front of a variety of staff and community groups. My wife and I have had strong connections to Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley for over 30 years. Eau Claire has provided so much for me: my education, the foundation of my teaching career, and the start to my family. It is now my time to serve this community and its students, and I am excited for the chance to reconnect and introduce myself to all stakeholders in order to lead the ECASD with one collective, inclusive vision.”
From Dr. Lori Bica, Search Committee Chair: “Even with social distancing, we were able to offer everything one could hope for from a traditional, thorough, in-person interview schedule. Full district and community engagement in three days of virtual interviews with finalists would not have been possible without the monumental efforts of many ECASD employees, especially the tremendous behind-the-scenes work of our Technology Department.”
Mr. Johnson will start in his new position with the ECASD on July 1, 2020. For more information about the superintendent search, please see the district website at http://www.ecasd.us/District/About/Superintendent-Search.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
Continuing Education announces program changes amid COVID-19 pandemic
The health, safety and well-being of our customers remain the top priority for UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education. COVID-19 continues to be a risk across our communities, and we want to share the actions we've taken to keep our customers and employees safe and healthy. Full story.
Continuing Education develops timely webinar and hybrid leadership programming
UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education has worked to develop two new high-quality online leadership trainings: "Building Resilient Virtual Teams: a Webinar Series" and "Change Leadership Hybrid Series." Full story.
Career Services supporting Blugolds in their search for internships and jobs
Career Services is supporting Blugolds — current students and alumni — as they search for internships and jobs during the pandemic. It's a tough time to be looking for an internship or a job, but Blugolds have reasons to be optimistic. Full story.
UW-Eau Claire to be site of NCUR 2023, bringing thousands to community
In the spring of 2023, UW-Eau Claire will be a focal point for undergraduate research worldwide when it hosts more than 4,000 students and their faculty mentors for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Full story.
Vaselaar Named President, Chief Operating Officer of WNB Financial
WNB Financial is pleased to announce the promotion of David Vaselaar to President and Chief Operating Officer. The promotion was made at a recent meeting of the Bank’s Board of Directors. In his new role, Vaselaar will assume the responsibility of managing and directing the day-to-day leadership of the Bank and its various business lines.
“Dave has been working toward this position for a number of years and is uniquely qualified and blessed with the technical skills, experience, and leadership qualities that will ensure future success,” said Jack Richter, Chief Executive Officer of WNB Financial. “I’m confident that under Dave’s leadership, the Bank will continue to experience strong growth and continue to contribute to the success of our clients, coworkers, and the communities we serve.”
Richter will continue in his role as the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer and also President of WNB Holding Company, parent company of WNB Financial. Richter’s role will focus on the growth of the Holding Company, the Bank’s culture, capital planning, shareholder communications, and community relationships.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead such a great organization and team of people,” Vaselaar said. “I look forward to continuing WNB Financial’s long-standing tradition of being a premier regional financial partner and trusted advisor to our clients and the communities we serve.”
Vaselaar holds 32 years of banking experience, most recently serving as WNB Financial’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He also held the roles of Chief Credit Officer and Business Banking Manager. Prior to joining WNB in 2004, Vaselaar served as Market President of Community First Bank (Windom, Minn.), Vice President of Citizens State Bank (Arlington, S.D.), and Loan Officer at First Interstate Bank (Phoenix, Ariz.). He currently serves on the Winona Health Board of Directors and Habitat for Humanity Faith Relations Committee, and formerly served as Board Chair for Cotter Schools and various roles with the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce.
WNB Employees Donate Gift Cards to Sauer Health Care Staff
WNB Financial employees were pleased to donate $10 Midtown Foods gift cards to all 88 staff members at Sauer Health Care today. The donation was made possible from “Jeans Day” collections, where WNB employees choose to pay $2 each Friday to wear casual jeans during the work day, with the proceeds benefitting organizations in the communities we serve.
Sauer Health Care has provided nursing care, respite care, therapy services, and hospice services for 50 years in Winona. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, all Sauer staff members have put in tireless hours to keep residents and the entire community safe. WNB Financial appreciates the courage, dedication, and sacrifice.
WNB Financial employees understand the importance of giving back to the community they serve. In 2019, 45 WNB Financial employees donated 2,110 hours of service to 97 organizations. WNB gifted over $375,000 to the community in the areas of education and youth programs, fine arts and culture, health and wellness, economic development, and community service.
WNB Financial Elects Fatima Said to Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of WNB Financial is pleased to announce the election of Fatima Said to serve on the Bank’s Board of Directors.
Said is the Executive Director of Project FINE and has been with the organization for 15 years. Project FINE is a nonprofit that helps newcomers integrate into the community by providing foreign language interpreters and translators as well as opportunities for education, information, referral, and empowerment for immigrants and refugees.
“Fatima is an incredible leader and has grown Project FINE into an important and integral part of the Winona community and Southeastern Minnesota,” said Jack Richter, Chief Executive Officer of WNB Financial. “She will bring an important perspective to the board through her own experiences and the work that she and Project FINE do with our newest community members.”
Said is an active member of the Winona community and has served on numerous advisory boards, currently serving as a board member for Winona Health, Cotter Schools, Winona Rotary Club, Minnesota State College Southeast Foundation, and the Winona Human Rights Commission. She also volunteers her time as a committee member for the Cotter Schools Governance Committee, the University of Minnesota Extension Advisory Committee, and the Winona County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
WNB Financial would like to thank both Jim Schneider and Sandra Burke, who have reached the end of their terms and are now retired from the Board of Directors. During their time as directors and Chairs of the Board, both have provided great leadership, direction, and support of the Bank’s strategic goals and growth.
WNB Financial Lobbies Remain Temporarily Closed
For the health and safety of all, WNB Financial lobbies will continue to remain temporarily closed until further notice. The team continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic situation and safely meet community banking needs in the following ways:
WNB Financial offers insurance of funds through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which covers up to $250,000 per depositor for each account ownership category. Customer funds remain safe, secure, and insured. Visit WNBFinancial.com/coronavirus-update for timely updates and announcements.
Pablo Center at the Confluence
NEW PABLO CENTER ENDOWMENT HONORS JANET CARSON’S LEGACY OF ART EDUCATION
Gift from Janet Carson’s estate allows for creation of the Janet Carson Art Education Fund
(April 24, 2020 - EAU CLAIRE, WIS) Pablo Center at the Confluence is pleased to announce the creation of the Janet Carson Art Education Fund, made possible by a generous gift of $50,000 from Janet Carson’s estate. This endowment fund has been created to honor Carson’s artistic contributions as well as her dedicated service to the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and the community as an educator. The endowment will fund existing art outreach programs such as ARTmobile - Pablo Center’s free mobile, art education program delivered in-person and digitally - while also providing resources to create opportunities such as the addition of a youth, plein air art competition to the 2020 GO Paint! Chippewa Valley.
“Pablo Center is honored to receive Janet Carson’s gift,” said Monica Frederick, Director of Development at Pablo Center. “With this gift, Janet has ensured that her legacy of education in the arts lives on in our community. This gift will enable us to create educational opportunities for everyone in the region. We are incredibly thankful for Janet’s passion for
The late Janet Carson was known for her decades-long career as a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire emeritus professor of art education, as well as for her contributions as a local artist.
Pablo Center’s Visual and Literary Arts Manager, Rose Dolan-Neill reflected on Carson’s life saying, “Janet Carson was a painter, an educator, a person of deep faith, and consummate contributor to her community. Known for her sharp wit and enthusiasm for painting outdoors, Janet frequently combined the two in the style of her watercolor paintings. As an educator, Janet Carson was well-known for her sharp and honest critique of university students’ work and the work of her colleagues. One point of pride for Janet was the naming of the gallery space at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center and State Theatre in her honor. The Janet Carson Gallery became synonymous with high achievements in the visual arts and as a premier gallery space. ”
Director of Artistic Programming Evan Middlesworth reflected on the gift saying, “We are very grateful for this gift to help us continue to motivate, educate and support visual artists of all ages and abilities. Our current situation has challenged our team to create new ways of bringing visual arts into the homes of our community and Janet’s contribution has made this possible. Her legacy will continue to shine as we remember the impact she has had on our community and artists past, present and future.”
Pablo Center has transitioned their in-person ARTmobile program to a weekly digital release in response to the Safer at Home order. ARTmobile@home’s art education videos are just one way that Pablo Center is supporting the community during this time. There are also preliminary plans to create free art kits for families to complete the projects which is being supported by the Janet Carson Art Education Fund.
Pablo Center currently has eight of Carson’s works in its Laurie Bieze Permanent Art Collection. These pieces along with the Janet Carson Art Education Fund will ensure that Janet’s legacy continues to live on by both delighting and educating the community.
For more information, please contact Stephanie LaBair, Marketing and Communications Manager at Pablo Center at the Confluence, at 715-471-6138 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charter Bank Welcomes Senior Credit Analyst
Eau Claire, WI – Charter Bank is proud to announce and welcome Sam Caswell as our new Senior Credit Analyst. He will be working in the Credit Department and his role will include assisting the Credit Officer with loan reviews on credit relationships. He will also conduct financial analysis and risk ratings on internally developed computer spreadsheet programs, as well as assisting with the coordination of department tasks.
Lynda LaCasse, Vice-President Credit Officer for Charter Bank, says “Sam joins the team with a wealth of knowledge as a credit analyst as well as business lending. He has such a positive energy, learns quickly and takes a sincere interest in the financial well-being of our customers. He’ll be a great addition to the team and I’m glad that he decided to join the Charter Bank family!”
Caswell is no stranger to Charter Bank! He worked at Charter Bank for almost 4 years as a Credit Analyst as well as a Business Banker at our Minnesota offices. “All in all I have been in commercial banking for over 7 years; working in a small state bank with assets of $50 Million all the way to a multinational bank with $850 Billion in assets globally,” States Caswell. “When I heard Charter Bank had an opportunity in Eau Claire, I jumped at the chance to come back to the organization. I’m looking forward to rejoining a great organization with amazing people.”
Caswell is originally from Red Wing, MN and was living downtown Minneapolis when he decided to pursue this opportunity at Charter Bank. He purchased a home in Chippewa Falls and is looking forward to exploring the area with his 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, Maddie. Caswell is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “It’s a beautiful area and I am looking forward to moving out of the big city into a smaller community. Eau Claire is the perfect size for me. I get to work at a great organization in a great city,” states Caswell.
Charter Bank Announces Major Gift to Quick Response Community Fund
Eau Claire, WI – Charter Bank is pleased to announce a $25,000 donation to the Quick Response Community Fund. The grants awarded through this fund support nonprofits in their work to provide vital services for community members in need. Funds will be granted on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the crisis, making it possible to adapt to evolving needs.
“Now, more than ever, we knew we needed to step up and do our part to support non-profit organizations throughout the Chippewa Valley,” states Paul Kohler, Charter Bank’s President and CEO. “And when we heard that this could be part of the Community Matching Grant Challenge, we knew this impact would double the people it could reach.”
The Community Matching Grant Challenge will kick off the Phase II of the Quick Response Emergency Grant Cycle and will help Eau Claire area nonprofits address the basic needs of community members whose financial security has been jeopardized by the COVID-19 crisis. “Our thoughts are with those individuals, families, organizations and businesses most affected,” said Sue Bornick, Executive Director of ECCF. “Despite the uncertainly we are all facing, we embrace the fact that we live in a caring and compassionate community where good continually grows. We will continue to navigate this unprecedented time together and be stronger for all we have endured.”
A core value of Charter Bank is Community Partnership. “We could think of no better way to stay true to our values during a time of need in our communities than to support this cause,” said Carla Leuck, Charter Bank AVP-Marketing Officer. “These nonprofits are the lifeblood of so many individuals and we hope to show that we care, that we’ll do what we can to keep these important community resources thriving.”
Marshfield Clinic Health System
#GivingTuesdayNow to support the COVID-19 fight at Marshfield Clinic Health System
MARSHFIELD – We need your help to fight COVID-19 in our rural Wisconsin communities. Donate to Marshfield Clinic Health System's COVID-19 Impact Fund for #GivingTuesdayNow.
#GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that takes place May 5, 2020, as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. By donating to the MCHS COVID-19 Impact Fund, you'll bring this global movement to our communities where COVID-19 relief is needed most.
“Marshfield Clinic Health System cares about our rural communities,” said Teri Wilczek, chief philanthropy officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation. “Our caregivers, researchers and employees are fighting to protect you and the people you care about from the COVID-19 pandemic. But we cannot fight without your help.”
Marshfield Clinic Health System is directing all available resources to prepare for COVID-19, but our needs continue to grow. That’s why we've established the MCHS COVID-19 Impact Fund to support our most urgent needs.
Your donation will help us:
We’re doing all we can to fight COVID-19, but we have to do more. Our goal is to raise $300,000 for the MCHS COVID-19 Impact Fund by #GivingTuesdayNow. Your support will help jump start the millions of dollars needed to combat the pandemic locally. The Pablo Foundation in Eau Claire is generously matching the first $50,000 donated to this fund, so your gifts will be doubled for a limited time.
To support the MCHS COVID-19 Impact Fund, visit justgiving.com/campaign/COVID19ImpactMCHS or call (715) 389-3249.
Thank you for standing together to help us fight COVID-19 in the communities we serve.
Wisconsin Public Radio
Local Musicians on “Spectrum West” March 30, 2020
Tulio Rondón, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire cello professor, and Sue Orfield, Eau Claire saxophonist, will be joining host Al Ross to discuss how musicians are faring during the current pandemic shutdown on “Spectrum West,” which airs at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 30, 2020 on The Ideas Network stations 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls. The program will include interviews with
Rondón, an associate professor of music at UW-Eau Claire, and Orfield, who fronts the popular local blues/jazz/rock group The Sue Orfield Band, will be joining host Al Ross to discuss how musicians are faring during the current pandemic shutdown.
Deb Johnson, executive director of the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls joins the show to talk about how her organization is adjusting to their current shutdown.
Correspondent Katharine Thomas will be sharing a conversation she had with Rachel Meyer, development manager for the Chippewa Valley Museum. They discuss the museum’s Dear Diary Project in which residents of the area are encouraged to keep a diary recounting life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
LaMoine McLaughlin, poet laureate of Amery and minstrel, will join the show as the last guest in honor of national poetry month. McLaughlin is co-director of the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts in Amery and has published five books of poetry.
“Spectrum West” is a weekly program exploring the music, arts and humanities in western Wisconsin. The show includes in-depth behind-the-scenes interviews and stories about area writers, musicians, theater, visual arts and much more. The show is broadcast at 10 a.m. Thursdays 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. A repeat broadcast plays at 7 p.m. Fridays on 89.7 WUEC-FM Eau Claire and 90.7 WVSS-FM/ Menomonie. Archives of “Spectrum West” are available at wpr.org/programs/spectrum-west-al-ross.
Response by Business and Non-Profit Groups in
Western Wisconsin to COVID-19 Pandemic on “The West Side” May 1
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on western Wisconsin businesses and non-profits, and community response to those challenges will be the primary topic of discussion on “The West Side” at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 1 on The Ideas Network Stations of Wisconsin Public Radio: 88.3 WHWC-FM/ Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7 WRFW-FM/ River Falls.
The program will also feature an update on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to western Wisconsin from WPR reporter Elizabeth Dohms-Harter.
Host Dean Kallenbach will be joined by Dave Minor, president of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce, which is taking a leadership role in a new Chippewa Valley Economic Recovery Task Force; Kerry Kincaid, spokesperson for the new organization Together Chippewa Valley, which is a coalition of non-profits formed to address community needs; and Elaine Coughlin, community manager for CoLab, a co-working space in downtown Eau Claire which will house its first group of six new startup businesses under WiSys VentureHome-Eau Claire, a new startup hub that combines statewide resources with community initiatives to help local entrepreneurs.
The program will also include an interview with Sue Bornick, the executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, and Karen Hebert, interim executive director of the United Way of the Chippewa Valley, which teamed up to create the COVID-10 Quick Response Community Fund, which has provided grants to local non-profits in the past few weeks.
“The West Side” is broadcast each Friday at 10 a.m. 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 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.
WPR Special Election Coverage Features Virtual May 4 Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Debate
On Monday, May 4, at 7 p.m., Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) will host a debate between the candidates for Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District, Republican Tom Tiffany, Minocqua, and Democrat Tricia Zunker, Wausau.
Co-moderated by Shereen Siewert, host of WPR’s Wausau-based regional news and talk show “Route 51,” and Robin Washington, host of WPR’s Superior-based regional issues show "Simply Superior," the hour-long debate will air live on Wisconsin Public Radio’s western and northern stations, and online at wpr.org.
The event will be WPR’s first completely virtual debate. The format gives voters the opportunity to participate via a digital platform made possible through a partnership with the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce.
The virtual platform will give participants the opportunity to engage in real-time moderated chat as they watch the debate. The chat room will also allow people to pose questions to the candidates that may be used in the debate. Details are available at wpr.org.
“WPR's coverage of the 7th Congressional District reflects our commitment to providing voters the opportunity to hear directly from both candidates on issues facing the district,” said Dean Kallenbach, WPR’s western regional manager. “Considering the nature of our current physical-distancing environment, we want to make the debate available to as many as possible. We are grateful to the Wausau Chamber for their partnership.”
Tiffany and Zunker are on the ballot for a special election Tuesday, May 12 to replace Sean Duffy, the Republican who resigned his seat in the House of Representatives for family reasons last fall. Zunker is an Associate Justice of the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court and president of the Wausau School Board. Tiffany was elected as State Senator for Wisconsin’s 12th District in 2012 and has served two terms. He previously served one term in the State Assembly.
In western Wisconsin, the debate will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on 88.3/Menomonie-Eau Claire, 88.7/River Falls, 89.7/Eau Claire and 90.7/Menomonie. It will be re-broadcast on May 8 at 10 a.m. on 88.3/Menomonie-Eau Claire and 88.7/River Falls. Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District includes Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn Counties. It also includes portions of Chippewa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe and Wood Counties.
DIGICOPY OFFERS SAFER AT HOME CELEBRATION SIGNS & BANNERS
(Stevens Point, WI – April 28, 2020) – Bring graduation, birthdays, anniversaries and tributes to our frontline heroes to the front yard. DigiCOPY, with eight locations across Wisconsin, including Eau Claire, announces a full line of Safer at Home celebration signage on our e-store estore.dcopy.net
“We have been providing essential print services for our customers across Wisconsin since the Safer at Home orders were initiated,” said Craig Shuler, President & Founder of DigiCOPY. “This newest line of graduation, birthday and anniversary signs and banners is our way of helping families celebrate, while staying safe,” he adds.
Go to estore.dcopy.net to learn more about:
Log on to the DigiCOPY e-store (estore.dcopy.net) for step-by-step instructions on creating an account, personalizing your sign/banner, ordering, payment and shipping. Orders will be shipped directly to your door, the door of the one celebrating, or by utilizing curbside pick-up at the DigiCOPY location in Eau Claire. Go to dcopy.net for more information on print solutions during the pandemic and store locations.
Local Companies Partner to Help Hauling Heroes to Keep on Trucking
(April 29, 2020 – Eau Claire, WI) Larson Companies, Indianhead Foodservice Distributor (IFD) and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse have partnered to provide meals for local semi-truck drivers. The program, Meals for 18 Wheelers delivered the first 400 meals on April 28. For many the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way business is done yet for the essential worker, like truck drivers, the work cannot stop.
Almost all parts of everyday life are possible because of the hard work of truck drivers who help companies deliver goods and help people get the items they need. During this unprecedented time, our truck drivers are putting in many miles and hours to ensure we are all safe and have the supplies that we need. Todd Nordlund, CEO of IFD stated, “Imagine if the work of our truck drivers stopped at this time: our supply chain would stop. At IFD we feel it is our responsibility to support this important project and these essential workers so that they can keep on truckin’.”
IFD provides the food product and packaging for the Meals for 18 Wheelers program and Larson Companies and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse creates and prepares the innovative food menus. The beneficiaries are Marten Transport semi-drivers.
“During these challenging times we wanted to do something that would benefit those that are doing critical work. We saw an opportunity to recognize an unmet need of providing meals to truck drivers. We are honored to support our hauling heroes in a meaningful way,” shared Tom Larson, President of Larson Companies Inc.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.