Welcome to the Eau Claire Chamber Blog
Wisconsin Lift Truck, a member of Wolter Group LLC, opened a new Service Center in West Salem, WI. The new Service Center offers local La Crosse area businesses a wide variety of material handling products and solutions, including forklifts, aerial lifts, pallet racking, a robust parts department, a full rental fleet and much more. The facility will offer around-the-clock service to local industry. There is also a team of experienced technicians dedicated to reconditioning and repairing rail car movers. Our new high-tech service bays allow companies who own railcar movers to have their machines serviced or rebuilt locally, rather than needing to send them out of state.
Congratulations to Cabin Coffee Co. on the grand opening of their new store at 2922 Meadowlark Lane in River Prairie!
Congratulations to the Children's Museum of Eau Claire on the latest addition to their location at 220 S. Barstow St. A huge crowd, including lots of excited kids, turned out for the ribbon cutting of the Bitty City Fire Station. Also on hand was Dave Pekol, representing the Eau Claire Firefighters Community Charity, who made a generous donation to the Museum.
Anna Cothron, M.D., recently joined Behavioral Health at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Previously, Dr. Cothron worked as a psychiatrist for Veterans Affairs in Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids. Dr. Cothron completed medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She completed an internship and residency at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. She is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire received the Press Ganey’s 2018 Guardian of Excellence Award. This patient experience award is given annually to top-performing organizations on the basis of extraordinary achievement. The Guardian of Excellence Award honors organizations that have achieved the 95th percentile or higher composite overall rating during the course of the award year.
Staff at Security Financial Bank including Barb Blum, Tony Hein, Kurt Van Roy, Angie Bryan, Cathy Couey, Amber Doverspike, Darian Prince and Sheila Uhren earned Certificate of Participation Awards recently for their outstanding financial education efforts with awards from the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF). The Foundation awarded 29 banks and 13 individual bankers from around the state with Excellence in Financial Education awards on November 14 at a special breakfast during the WBA LEAD360 Conference to honor their commitment to growing financial education in their communities. In addition, 98 bankers received certificates recognizing their contributions of time and talent given to the community through at least five financial education presentations.
A shift among independent voters was part of a seven point swing from previous elections that caused Governor Scott Walker to lose in a razor thin margin to Tony Evers on November 6. That was part of an analysis of what happened in the fall mid-term election presented by Marquette Poll Director Charles Franklin at the Chamber's Eggs & Issues breakfast on Friday, November 16.
Final polling showed that Democrats and Republicans voted almost unanimously for their own candidates, but that independents, who have favored Walker in previous elections, broke in Evers's direction this time. Coupled with significant increases in turnouts and margins in major metro areas like Madison and Milwaukee, it was enough for Evers to win. The chart below tells the story on overall vote margins. While Walker enjoyed a small, but consistent 52-53% of the vote in his three previous elections for Governor, this time around the a drop of just 3.6 percentage points from his 2014 victory resulted in a loss.
Franklin also noted a shift in perceptions of voters around key issues. While those citing health care as their most important issue in previous elections voted more Republican, this time a significant margin of those voting on health care favored the Democrat. Conversely, voters who were most concerned about the economy strongly favored Walker. See the chart below:
As previously noted, it was increased turnout and margins in cities that marked a major part of Evers' victory. In fact, most urban areas and small cities delivered higher margins for Evers than they did for Mary Burke in 2014, while rural areas voted more Republican than in the past. The counties, in order, with the highest turnout of registered voters were Dane, Door, Ozaukee, Waukesha and Eau Claire, each of which saw over 85% of registered voters going to the polls. Statewide, the turnout number was 82% in an election that saw a record percentage and total for a mid-term contest.
Indeed, the state's shifting population away from rural areas portends more of a change going forward and may have a big impact with redistricting on the horizon after the 2020 Census. The map below illustrates this shift, in which our own St. Croix and Eau Claire counties are the fifth and sixth fastest growing counties in the state.
Despite the turnover at the top of the ticket, and a strong victory by incumbent US Senator Tammy Baldwin, there was little change in the make up of the state legislature. In the State Senate, Republicans recaptured the Door County seat they lost in a special election earlier this year, going into 2019 with a 19-14 majority. In the State Assembly, Republican lost just one seat in the Milwaukee suburbs, meaning they'll still have a strong 63-36 governing majority. Franklin noted the party vote swing for legislative races overall was much smaller in the Democrat's direction that for Governor, meaning effectively no change in control.
Visuals from Eggs & issues presentation (Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll)
Marquette Poll Director brings mid-term analysis to Eau Claire (WEAU TV 13 News)
Pollster explains election results (Leader-Telegram)
Posted by Scott Rogers, Governmental Affairs & Workforce Director
Prevea Health is pleased to welcome Dr. Steven Levin, a board-certified and fellowship-trained vascular surgeon at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire. As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Levin specializes in comprehensive vascular surgical care. Dr. Levin completed medical school at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He completed a general surgery residency at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and a vascular surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Levin is certified in surgery and vascular surgery by the American Board of Surgery.
SDS Architects announced that the firm was recently awarded an addition and renovation design project on the UW-Eau Claire campus by the Wisconsin Division of Facilities Development and Management. The project will include removing an existing two-level connection between residence hall towers at Governors Hall and will reconstruct a connection spanning from the basement to the fourth floor and which will connect the towers at each floor. The project will also include the addition of an elevator and significantly renovated restrooms for ADA compliance. An overall update of finishes throughout the facility will significantly enhance student living.
Frankie Weinberger, a physician assistant, recently joined the Endocrinology Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Weinberger earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and a master’s degree in physician assistant studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Previously, she worked as a physician assistant at Aurora Healthcare Internal Medicine in Milwaukee; Community Family Practice in Asheville, North Carolina; and Carolina Internal Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina. Weinberger is a member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She also is a certified yoga instructor.
Citizens Community Federal National Association (CCFBank), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Citizens Community Bancorp, Inc., appointed Kathleen S. Skarvan and Michael R. Conner to the CCFBank board of directors, effective November 9, 2018. Ms. Skarvan currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of New Prague, MN based Electromed, Inc. and serves on its board of directors. Mr. Conner currently serves as the Executive Director of PESI, Inc., a non-profit technology driven, continuing education provider, and as President of TBG Holdings LLC, a commercial real estate company.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital recently earned an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade. This designation recognizes HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s efforts in protecting patients from harm and meeting the highest safety standards in the U.S. The Leapfrog Group is a national organization that assigns letter grades to hospitals nationwide based on performance in preventing medical errors, infections and other harms. The grades are considered the gold standard when it comes to safety comparisons among hospitals.
Larson Companies announced the hiring of Human Resources Lead, Hannah Wampole. Hannah joins the Larson Companies team with extensive education, background and experience in Human Resources, Labor Relations, Recruiting and also Strategic Planning. Hannah received her Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Minnesota State University in Mankato.
All six Dove Healthcare skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers were recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Nursing Home for 2018-19. U.S. News evaluated more than 15,000 homes nationwide, in every state and nearly 100 major metropolitan areas. This year, nearly 2,975 skilled nursing facilities (about 20% of all homes) earned the designation of a U.S. News Best Nursing Home. All six locations were also designated again by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with an overall 5 Star Rating. This CMS rating is based on quality measures, staffing ratios, and annual health inspection results. In October 2018, the average star rating for Wisconsin skilled nursing facilities was 3.6 and nationally it was 3.3.
Lately, many Eau Claire area residents and businesses have directly experienced the benefits of our prosperous economy. And among the factors that have brought this success, the work of UW-Eau Claire is eminent. From developing a premier undergraduate research program to cultivating the City’s rich artistic environment, the University has consistently been at the forefront of our shared success. It is crucial, though, that we do not stop here.
The University has operated off of a campus master plan finalized in 2010, and recently shared an update on ongoing campus projects with us. This plan addresses some necessary projects and blends them with the University’s characteristic eye for the community. The major details are explained below.
Shown above is a campus-wide blueprint of the final vision, and on the left-hand side you can see the location for the new science building. Funds for this building are still making their way through the WI legislature, but the University has already decided how it will use the hall:
Because the science hall will be constructed where Putnam and Katherine Thomas currently stand, the University will have to build additional housing to compensate the loss. That project is already under way, and it will be located on upper campus. (The concept is above.) Scheduled to open in the Fall 2019 semester, this dorm will provide 432 beds, making it larger than Putnam and KT combined. With the gained housing space, the University will be only 232 beds short of its desired total—a gap that will be closed when a new dining and residence building is built in place of Horan Hall.
The University also intends to renovate parts of Governors Hall and Murray Hall in the near future. Those dorms currently have climate-control and roofing deficiencies, both of which pose hazards to student safety.
One more note: when Putnam and KT come down, students with disabilities will be housed in the Aspenson Mogenson Hall, which is an ADA-compliant building located just over the footbridge. Transportation to and from the apartments will be available. Additionally, the UW-Eau Claire Foundation owns three historic houses on State Street, adjacent to the Hibbard Hall parking lot. One or more of these houses could be made ADA compliant and used as university-operated residence spaces for students with disabilities if the university and foundation choose to enter into that arrangement.
The University has also expressed need for a new sports complex. Right now, Blugolds perform in Zorn Arena, which is outdated and undersized. That makes it difficult to successfully host both sporting events and graduation ceremonies. So the University has designed a new, more fitting venue, and the concept is pasted above. This project has received significant contributions from community members and alumni, most notably from the Sonnentag family. As a result, it will be mostly privately funded. Yet with all that established, the University is still waiting to break ground. It would first like to ensure the community could make good use out of it as well.
There is one more project on the horizon: a new welcome center. Right now, the University does not have a central location for communication with visitors. That deficiency often makes it difficult for prospective students and alumni to navigate campus once they arrive. To ease that process, the University plans to build a communication hub on Roosevelt Avenue, right across from the current Phillips Hall. A tentative sketch is above.
UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences Building funding included in UW System biennial budget proposal (UWEC)
Plans unveiled for new UW-Eau Claire science hall (WEAU TV 13 News)
Posted by Nathan Kane, Legislative Affairs Intern
Congratulations STOKES|HERZOG Marketing and Consulting on the grand opening of your beautiful new location on Southtowne Drive in Eau Claire!
Shelly Stensen recently joined Security Financial Bank (SFB) as a financial analyst. Stensen has more than 25 years of experience in the banking industry. In her new position, she will be responsible for quarterly regulatory reports, preparing monthly management and Board reports and monitoring and balancing the general ledger. In addition, she will oversee the reconciliation of internal bank accounts, accrual and prepaid accounting and the account payable process. Stensen earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She will work out of the corporate office located in Eau Claire.
Per Mar Security Services is pleased to announce it has acquired ABC Fire & Burglar Company of Gary, Indiana further expanding its residential and commercial security services and customer base in Northwest Indiana. Established in 1953, Per Mar Security Services is the largest, family-owned, full-service security company in the Midwest with more than 2,400 team members, operating in 23 branch locations and 18 satellite locations. The company provides full-service security solutions for homes and businesses including security officer services, smart home automation, burglar and fire alarms, access control, security cameras, alarm monitoring, investigative services and background checks.
Rachel DeRusha, a nurse practitioner, recently joined the Hospital Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Previously, DeRusha worked as a nurse in the Neuroscience/Pediatrics/Trauma Department. DeRusha completed a doctor of nursing practice degree in adult-gerontology primary care at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. DeRusha will be monitoring patients in the Rapid Discovery & Recovery observation unit. She will be available to follow up on tests, procedures and treatments throughout a patient’s stay, and provide health care guidance for patients and families. DeRusha is board-certified in adult-gerontology primary care.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.