Royal Credit Union
Early-Early Bird Pricing Ends Soon
Register now for the RCU Foundation’s Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic. Early-early bird registration offers the lowest participation prices and is available through December 2. Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic will celebrate 26 years of running and walking for community causes. The event takes place on Saturday, June 27, 2020 in downtown Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park, and includes a 10K and 2 mile run/walk, ½ and ¼ mile youth races, family games, and food trucks. Registration is available at rcu.org/race.
Early-early bird prices are $10 for youth races and $25 for the 10K and 2 mile races. Youth teams can participate for $15 per person and adult teams can register for $30 each. Prices will increase by $5 after December 2. All registered individual or team participants receive a free t-shirt, meal ticket, and one free charity vote.
Proceeds for the event will go to three partner charities: Family Support Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness Chippewa Valley, and New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers. Registered participants receive one free vote at the time of registration; additional votes can be purchased at $2 each. The charity with the most votes will receive $15,000, second place will receive $7,500, and third will receive $5,000.
New for 2020, registration options include a virtual race. There are so many great run/walks to choose from in the Chippewa Valley. The virtual race option makes it easy to select Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic and support the three charities. Registration includes a free charity vote; t-shirt and finisher medal will be mailed to virtual run/walkers.
Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic offers beautiful running routes, plenty of family fun, and the opportunity to benefit three organizations that are making a positive impact in the communities Royal Credit Union serves. Runners and non-runners alike won’t want to miss this event.
Royal Credit Union announced Sheila Kohls has been named vice president of operations. In this role, she is responsible for creating and executing a strategic vision for the member service center and deposit operations to provide exceptional member experiences. She will also manage member satisfaction, NPS goals for departments, identify and implement process improvement initiatives, and oversee department projects that impact frontline team members.
Kohls began working for Royal in 2016 in the role of business process improvement manager. In this role, she was responsible for providing project management support, while working with team members to improve work processes to better serve Royal’s members. Prior to coming to Royal she was the business process improvement manager at IDEXX. She brings over 25 years of experience through her various roles which range from network administrator to IT director. Kohls graduated from Chippewa Valley Technical College with an Accounting and Computer Science degree. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Lakeland College.
Kohls is heavily involved in both Royal and the community. She volunteered at Royal’s Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic event, and is also involved in the Chippewa Valley Credit Union League Chapter, Junior Achievement, and is a board member of the Chippewa Valley Museum. She currently resides in Elk Mound with her family.
Denise Nagel has been named business intelligence and analytics manager at Royal Credit Union’s Corporate Center located in Eau Claire, WI. In this role, she will be responsible for managing the new business intelligence and data analytics team. This includes creating dashboards and utilizing analytics to assist in making data driven decisions.
Nagel brings with her several years of experience from her previous position as the director of risk adjustment finance at United Healthcare. In this role she managed a team that created and executed SAS data processes and analytics that drove the monthly financial forecast.
Nagel attended UW-Stout and studied Applied Mathematics and Computer Science with an Actuarial Emphasis. She currently resides in Menomonie, WI where she enjoys coaching the U15 travel soccer team. She also enjoys volunteering in her community, more specifically at the annual Get it Dunn Run in Dunn County.
HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital
WHAT: The Volunteer Partners of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s annual Love Lights Christmas Celebration will be at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 Highway I, Chippewa Falls. Thousands of lights will be displayed on trees in front of the hospital and in the hospital’s healing garden in memory of loved ones or to honor friends in the community. This event is open to the public.
WHEN: THIS Thursday, December 5
4 p.m. in the chapel
4:30 p.m. for tree lighting
WHERE: Chapel at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2661 Highway I, Chippewa Falls, followed by outdoor tree lighting in the hospital’s Healing Garden
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Respiratory therapists serve on pediatric medical transport flights
Minneapolis, Minn. – A little more than two years after their 2017 graduation from the Respiratory Therapist program at Chippewa Valley Technical College, Megan Wermske and Samantha Gruen help care for some of the most vulnerable patients imaginable. They do it not just in a hospital setting, but on board an aircraft or in an ambulance while the patient is being rushed to the hospital for urgently needed care.
Wermske and Gruen are registered respiratory therapists with training as flight therapists at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
“We still work at the university hospital, but part of the opportunities we have at the university is that we can be part of a transport team,” Wermske said.
“We work in all units of the hospital, and have joined the transport team,” Gruen said. “When a transport is called for, we can either transport patients from our facility to outside hospitals, or go and stabilize patients from outside hospitals and bring them to our facility for care.”
“The majority of our calls are NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) patients,” Wermske said. Most often that means premature babies, including “micropreemies” born after just 22 weeks gestation.
For Wermske and Gruen, the training to provide therapy to neonatal patients came from their CVTC associate degrees.
“Every respiratory therapy graduate that leaves our college has neonatal training,” said Theresa Meinen, director of clinical education for the CVTC Respiratory Therapy program. “It really gives them a leg up in job searches. Our graduates typically have multiple job offers.”
Becoming flight therapists was another matter.
“A flight therapist typically has to work a while in the field, and then there is some significant training that they do to become flight therapists,” Meinen said.
Wermske said they needed two years of experience as intensive care unit therapists and completion of simulation exercises to qualify for a flight team.
“We work regular shifts at the hospital, but if an air transport team needs to be gathered one of us may be put on the team,” Wermske said. “If it’s a helicopter transport, we leave from the helipad at the hospital. If it’s a fixed-wing transport craft, an ambulance picks us up and takes us to the airport in Blaine (Minn.).
A flight crew typically consists of the pilot, a respiratory therapist, a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner. Wermske noted that sometimes a team is sent to a hospital before a baby is born, in anticipation of a premature birth and a high level of care needed.
“Then we’re waiting around for the birth and rapid transport,” Wermske said. “A flight can be less than four hours, or it can be an entire shift or more.” Flights can go as far out as the Dakotas, sometimes farther.
Such calls are literally life-and-death situations in which a very young life hangs in the balance. Only highly competent, level-headed people who can work calmly under pressure need apply.
“You never know what you’re walking into on a transport.” Wermske said. “It can be more challenging than regular RT work. Everyone’s concern is heightened. But it is so rewarding to see them get better and go home to their parents.”
Wermske and Gruen say their CVTC education prepared them for their work at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and the extra responsibility of being flight therapists.
“Everything went really well at CVTC. The teachers really worked hard to get to know you and made everything personal,” Wermske said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the RT program,” said Gruen. “Don (Raymond) and Theresa, my instructors prepared me for my career. It’s a great program and I am proud to have graduated from CVTC.”
“Megan and Samantha were exceptional students who were a delight to have in class,” Meinen said. “They were compassionate, cooperative, diligent workers who worked well with a team.”
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.
CVTC Respiratory Therapy program alumni Samantha Gruen, left, and Megan Wermske sit inside a helicopter ambulance holding a medical simulation mannequin when they trained to become flight therapists with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. They are trained to help premature babies during emergency medical transports.
L.E. Phillips Public Library
The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire is once again offering a year-long challenge to adult readers. “Reading Challenge 2020” will help readers break free from their reading ruts by providing suggestions and incentives to read outside their comfort zones. In 2019, the inaugural year for the reading challenge, 164 people registered for the program, and almost half of them are actively participating.
“Readers’ responses have been really positive,” says Information & Reference Services Coordinator Michaela Weggen, who organized the program. “We get comments like this one a lot,” she continues, holding up a comment slip. “"It has broadened what I'm reading, and made me consider books that I never would have thought to read before."
“Reading Challenge 2020” is designed to be flexible so participation is easy. Read or listen to a book from all 12 categories during 2020 to receive free books and to enter the grand prize drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite. Every month you read a book from one of the categories, stop by the library to be entered into a monthly prize drawing for $10 in Chamber Buy Local Bucks. Prizes are provided by the Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.
Get more details and register online starting Monday, December 9 at www.ecpubliclibrary.info/challenge, or stop by Information & Reference to register in person.
Library Announces 41th Annual Juried Art Show
The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire invites area artists to enter Wisconsin ArtsWest, the library’s annual juried art show, to be held March 29 through May 22, 2020. The exhibit is open to all working artists and students, ages 18 and older, living in Wisconsin. Work must have been completed since January 1, 2018. All media are acceptable.
As part of the submission process, artists will create a Submittable.com account. One large or two small pieces may be submitted per artist. For further details, request an entry information brochure at the library, or consult the online entry form at www.ecpubliclibrary.info/art. The deadline for entries is January 28, 2020. No entry fees are required.
Artists’ prizes will be awarded for Best of Show, $300; First Prize, $200; Second Prize, $150; and Third Prize, $100. Funding for artists’ prizes has been provided by the Friends of the L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.
All artwork will be subject to juror review and selection. Notification of acceptance or non-acceptance to Wisconsin ArtsWest 41 will be emailed to artists February 20 to 28 via the Submittable software. Accepted artwork must be delivered to the library during regular library hours, March 18 through 22, 2020.
The juror for ArtsWest 41 is Leah Kolb, Curator of Exhibitions at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). At MMoCA, she has organized over 25 exhibitions, largely focusing on contemporary artists who address complex sociopolitical concerns and offer alternative perspectives to dominant narratives. She has authored or contributed to nearly ten accompanying publications.
The first ArtsWest show opened September 12, 1979. With ArtsWest Two in April 1981, it became a spring show and has been held annually since then. Since its inception, ArtsWest has provided a venue for thousands of artists to exhibit their talent and creativity, as well as the opportunity for everyone in the community to experience and support the arts in a uniquely personal way.
Learn to Use the Most Comprehensive Grantmaker Directory
The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire will present “Introduction to Foundation Directory Online” on Tuesday, December 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Chippewa Room on the library’s lower level. This webinar will teach participants how to use Foundation Directory Online (FDO), the most comprehensive prospect research tool for fundraisers, with over 140,000 grantmaker profiles. You will learn how to search for grantmakers who have funded organizations working on causes and with communities similar to those you serve. This class is for nonprofit organizations looking for funding. It is not geared to individuals seeking grants.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
Dr. Pam Guthman, assistant professor of nursing, contributed to a statewide effort that resulted in the Wisconsin Public Health Association declaring that racism is a public health crisis in Wisconsin. Full story.
Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Northwest Wisconsin is pleased to announce a new board of director.
Jennifer Rathke, Vice President-Member Advocacy for WESTconsin Credit Union recently accepted a seat on the JA board of directors. Jennifer has a passion for spreading awareness of the Credit Union Difference and helping people achieve financial wellness which she advocates with state and federal legislators as well as members of local communities throughout west central Wisconsin.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of the Junior Achievement Board of Directors, she said. “Making the connections about financial wellness, entrepreneurship and community with our area youth has always been something I take pride in being a part of.” Rathke is also a current JA classroom volunteer and has taught Junior Achievement in the Eau Claire Area School District for the past six years. Jennifer added that she enjoys the excitement and level of energy the students bring. “I look forward to the collaboration with peers to continue to bring this critical information to our area youth she said.” Jennifer is a lifelong area resident of the area and is a graduate of UW-Eau Claire with a degree in Sociology as well as a certificate in Supervisory Management.