Wednesday, May. 20th, 2020

Tactical Escape Re-Opens

Eight weeks after closing its doors, Tactical Escape 101- Escape Rooms plans to open to private small groups by reservation only in the coming weeks. All employees and guests will be asked to take the precaution of wearing a face covering and their usual standards of a clean environment will be beefed up by elongated "turn times" and staggered appointment times so that groups don't have the fear of exposure to others. 

Check out their website and social media sites for updates as things progress.

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Monday, May. 18th, 2020

Local Energy Assistance Programs Modified in Response to COVID-19

Several changes have been made to the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

  1. The previous deadline of May 15th has been extended. Energy Assistance applications for the 2019/2020 season will now be accepted through September 30, 2020.
  2. Eligibility for the program is now based on a household’s previous one month of income, rather than the former requirement of the previous three months of income. This move was made to ensure those who are recently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are able to receive assistance quickly.
  3. In Eau Claire and Trempealeau Counties, all Energy Assistance appointments will be conducted by phone until further notice.

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) provides assistance to low-income families and individuals for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crisis situations. Operating with federal and state funding, the program provides assistance to more than 200,000 Wisconsin households annually. Whether a household uses wood, propane, natural gas, electricity, or fuel oil, energy assistance may be available.

For more information about the application process, please call Western Dairyland at 715-985-2391 or go to This agency is an equal opportunity provider.

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L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library to Remain Closed Through June

While the state Supreme Court has ended Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire plans to remain closed through the end of June.

The library will continue to offer holds and pickup service for books and other materials. More here.

Other special library services include:

  • 24/7 connectivity to high speed internet through an expanded WiFi network available from the library’s outdoor seating area near its Eau Claire Street entrance.
  • Access to community resources to help families and individuals coping with isolation, unemployment, and more—especially during this global crisis—through a helpline staffed by the library’s Community Resource Specialist. More here.
  • Multiple weekly virtual story times and other family programing produced by Youth Services staff via the library’s website, social media, and YouTube channel.
  • For more information, customers may contact Information & Reference by calling 715-839-5004, emailing, or chatting with library staff here.

To learn more about library programs, check the library website.

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Gov. Evers Announces $75 Million 'We're All In' Grant Program to Spur State Economic Recovery

Gov. Tony Evers today announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help Wisconsin’s small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe.

Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June.

Learn more about this program, and other assistance programs for businesses at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's website.

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Friday, May. 15th, 2020

Prevea Health Is Offering Free COVID-19 Testing in EC, CF Until Further Notice

The ability to test more people for COVID-19 is critical in helping to curb the spread of the virus throughout our communities, and with COVID-19 testing kits supplied by the state of Wisconsin, Prevea Health is able to offer free COVID-19 testing in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls until further notice. Testing is available to anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Those experiencing any of these symptoms who wish to be tested should sign up on Prevea Health’s online patient portal, MyPrevea. It can be accessed by visiting or downloaded as an app on Apple or Google Play. It takes just minutes to set up an account, complete a short assessment, and register for a test.

Registration on MyPrevea is required for testing. Upon registration, patients will be directed to one of two drive-through testing sites: Prevea Health Family Medicine, 617 W. Clairemont Ave. in Eau Claire, and Prevea Chippewa Falls Health Center, 2509 County Hwy I in Chippewa Falls.

Those tested will be able to access results within 3 to 5 days at their own convenience, through their MyPrevea account which is safeguarded to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality.

Anyone experiencing severe and life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms should call 911. If they prefer to travel to an emergency room on their own, they should call the hospital prior to arrival to explain their symptoms. This will provide the emergency department time to prepare for their arrival and be sure others will be protected from the potential spread of infectious disease.

 For further questions about free COVID-19 testing, please call (715) 717-4582.

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Tuesday, May. 12th, 2020

Rock the Riverfront Has Gone Virtual

The RCU Foundation is transitioning the 2020 Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic event to a virtual race. This decision has been made with the safety of attendees in mind.

Participants will receive a charity vote, T-shirt, and medal. Registration will be open through June 27 at 11:59pm. Participants will be mailed their T-shirt and medal at the end of July.

Each year, three charities receive Rock the Riverfront proceeds. Funds are distributed according to the number of votes each charity receives, with the first place winner receiving $15,000, the second place winner receiving $7,500, and the third place winner receiving $5,000. Each registration includes one charity vote.

Participants will be able to complete their race anytime and anywhere between June 27-July 12.

Check out more about this year’s event online here.

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Monday, May. 11th, 2020

Online Summer School Classes

B'utiful Kids hosts a 4 week summer school class. There are 8 classes to choose from ages ranging from 4 months old to 9yrs. Each class has a weekly zoom meeting and you will receive an at home kit with all of the supplies needed for crafts and group projects.

Find them on Facebook.

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Online Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

Breastfeeding is natural, but it is not necessarily easy. Many variables come into play between a nursing parent and nursing child. Jennifer Hafele, IBCLC and owner of Mama Bear Lactation Care, is a firm believer in educating new parents on the basics of milk production and how breastfeeding works. It is helpful for parents to know what biologically normal infant behavior looks like and what is outside the norm and requires attention/intervention.

Jennifer, a former English teacher who also holds a Masters degree in Education, has developed an interactive Online Prenatal Breastfeeding Class she delivers every few weeks. Jennifer is happy to waive the cost of this class for anyone experiencing financial hardship.  Upcoming classes May 16 and June 13:

Jennifer Hafele, IBCLC, is passionate about supporting families with babies. As a private practice Lactation Consultant, she typically delivers care to expectant and breastfeeding families in their homes or at her free in-person Weight Check Wednesday events. Due to COVID-19, she has pivoted to HIPAA-compliant Telehealth delivery of lactation consults, as well as organizing free and low-cost options for online breastfeeding support and education.

Jennifer’s free Online Breastfeeding Support Group meets every Wednesday evening, with registration required once:

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Online Poetry Competition Celebrates Creative Economy Week

In honor of EC's Creative Economy Week, BaredFeet, Co is hosting a youth art competition and an adult poetry competition. Prizes are gift cards donated by Shift, The Paint Shack, Tangled Up in Hue, Wonder's of Nature, and more! More information at

Youth Art

The topic is "How I Express Myself." Any youth can participate, I any size or medium. Parents email a picture of the artwork, with name, age and school, to by noon on Saturday May 16 with the subject "Art Competition.

Adult Poetry

The topic is "Inspired to Create." Adults 18+ can submit poetry entries, in any poetry form, to with your name and the subject "Poetry Competition" by noon on Saturday May 16.




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Friday, May. 8th, 2020