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Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
March 2021
WI businesses protected from predatory COVID-19 lawsuits
As your Chamber of Commerce we want to let you know:
Gov. Tony Evers signed 2021 Special Session Senate Bill 1 into law as 2021 Act 4. This Act contains a liability shield that protects businesses—and other entities—from predatory COVID-19 related lawsuits.
Section 8 of the Act outlines one of the most robust COVID-19 liability shields in the country. The provision does the following:
•         Creates immunity from civil liability for an entity due to alleged injury or death from COVID-19 in the course of or through the performance of the entity’s functions or services.
•         This immunity does not apply if an act or omission involves reckless or wanton conduct or intentional misconduct.
•         An entity is defined as, “partnership, corporation, association, governmental entity, tribal government, tribal entity, or other legal entity, including a school, institution of higher education, or nonprofit organization. ‘Entity’ includes an employer or business owner, employee, agent, or independent contractor of the entity, regardless of whether the person is paid or an unpaid volunteer.”
•         The immunity is retroactive to March 1, 2020, except for cases that have already been filed by the date of enactment.
This good news is on the heels of the Paycheck Protection Program Tax Fix that was signed into law by Governor Evers on February 18. Gov. Evers signed Assembly Bill 2 into law as 2021 Act 1 (Act 1). It is fitting that Act 1 eliminated the surprise tax liability that many businesses who took out Paycheck Protection Program loans would have faced.
Despite the fact that Congress always intended for PPP loans to both not count towards a business’s taxable income and for expenses to be paid for by those loans to be deductible, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue released a guidance document on January 15 announcing expenses would not be deductible for Wisconsin income/franchise tax purposes. This would have left Wisconsin businesses with over $400 million in a surprise tax liability.
We are glad to be working on your behalf and advocating for your business through your Chamber membership. We continue to work to facilitate solutions for you.

-Marianne Hanson, President & CEO, Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
Public Information Meeting on HWY 51 reconstruction
This summer WisDOT will reconstruct U.S. Highway 51 from Pleasant Street to Ontario Street starting in March with expected completion in October (weather dependent). The project will occur in two phases resulting in DeWitt Street closure and later, East Wisconsin Street closure and detours.
As this is a WisDOT project, a Project Manager has been selected by WisDOT to answer questions and concerns. WisDOT has established a website for this project at The website has an overview of the project, schedule, detours, project updates and contact information. View the website and encourage residents and visitors with questions to visit the website as it will be updated as the project progresses.
WisDOT will host an online Public Information Meeting on this project March 2, 2021 at 5pm.
The WisDOT website has a link to join the meeting on March 2.
Welcome New Chamber Members

Green Berry Smoothies
2933 New Pinery Road, Portage, WI 53901
Stig Rahm at 608-745-9110
Smoothie Bar, serving all natural, whole-foods that are
nutrient-dense with no artificial or synthetic ingredients.

On Tuesday, March 2nd from 11am-2pm you are invited to stop over and
sample various shakes and smoothies.
City business developments topic of last month's Chamber Business Luncheon
Steve Sobiek, City of Portage Director of Business Development & Planning, was the featured speaker at the Portage Chamber February (virtual) Business Luncheon on Tuesday, February 9.

Once a year the Chamber welcomes Steve to give an update on business happenings in the city as part of the Business Luncheons. Click Here for some notes from this past luncheon. Thank you, Steve, for your time and providing the overview of economic development and updates on the business front.
Support St. John's CDC playground fundraising
As many of you already know, our St. John's playgrounds are shared with our community. There are many neighborhood, school, and child development center children using it daily. St. John’s School had a new playground installed last summer and the Child Development Center playground is turning 20 years old this summer. We would love to keep our playgrounds looking new and well maintained. This fundraiser goes towards the upkeep of St. John's Lutheran Ministries’ playgrounds.

We set a goal of $8000 annually for this maintenance with Cake Roll fundraising in the fall and Butter Braid fundraising in the spring. Please reach out to St. John’s Lutheran Ministries at 608-742-9000 if you would like to donate toward to our playgrounds. Your support is appreciated in helping us reach this annual goal. Thank you for keeping our playgrounds safe for all our children!

--Amanda Kohn, Ministries School Coordinator

St. John's CDC looking for teachers
St. John’s Child Development Center is looking for a Lead Early Childhood Teacher and an Elementary Education Teacher to work full time or part-time at their YoungStar “five” star center. Teachers are responsible for the planning, preparation, and implementation of all classroom activities. A primary goal is to provide a safe, nurturing, and educational environment where the child’s self-concept is enhanced, independence encouraged, and individuality respected. Full-time benefits including vacation, holidays, and medical to eligible employees.

Contact Debbie Drew at or call 608-742-9000 x2 to set up an interview.
Donate to Portage Center for the Arts Challenge Grant
Portage Center for the Arts' Phase II construction was completed in February 2020, bringing improved ADA accessibility on the Adams Street side of the building, along with an ADA restroom, enlarged foyer, and new flooring in the theatre and gallery.
Funds are needed to finalize Phase II and put Phase III in motion, which will involve a new backstage wing for enhanced stage access and improved storage, as well as a remodeled sound and light booth.

The Lenz Foundation has graciously made a second gift to Phase II with a challenge grant of $25,500. This means that any gifts made now will double in impact. Donate online today or mail in your gift to PCA at PO Box 866, Portage, WI 53901.
Portage Elks scholarship available
The Portage Elks Lodge #675 will award a $1000 scholarship to a prospective student planning to pursue a degree from a Technical College. This program is open to anyone regardless of age or gender.
The Wisconsin State Elks also awards a $500 scholarship to one applicant from each Lodge. Apply for both with one application at, and search for the form under Publications and Forms. The deadline is April 1, 2021. For further information, call Rosie at 608-697-3829.
Goodwill SCWI celebrates 50 years in South Central Wisconsin
Madison, WI - Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin is celebrating 50 years of serving our neighbors in South Central Wisconsin, helping people gain independence through the power of work.
Since 1971, Goodwill SCWI has provided a hand up for anyone, throughout the 14-county region we serve, who wants to achieve independence through jobs, education, and skills training.
50 years of strengthening the community by helping staff members realize their potential, achieve goals in the career pathways they set, while providing support along the way.
50 years of service to the community by offering job and training programs to assist those with obstacles to employment, help develop marketable skills, and find meaningful work.
And during those 50 years, our 3 group homes have provided a safe, supportive way for hundreds of adults with mental illness regain their independence.
But our impact in the community doesn’t stop there. Goodwill SCWI is also a green business, keeping 16 million of pounds of goods each year out of local landfills through resale and responsible recycling.
This is who we’ve been for 50 years. Goodwill SCWI is excited to continue our mission of providing services for people with obstacles to employment for another half century and beyond.

--David Johnson, Communications Coordinator, Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin
Portage location - 2902 American Legion Drive, 608-745-0616
R. Condon Gallery and Custom Framing
If you are looking to frame an art piece, consider R. Condon Gallery and Custom Framing right here in Portage. They have experience in all types of framing--Conservation Framing, French Passe-Partout Framing, Shadow Box, Floater and more.

Open hours are Wednesday through Friday from 9:30am to 1:30pm; Thursday evening from 5pm to 8pm; and by appointment.

For more information, call R. Condon Gallery and Custom Framing, 223 W. Cook Street, at 608-617-1733.
Saddle Ridge restaurant now hiring
The Rendezvous at Saddle Ridge is hiring for the positions of Lead Bartender, Bartenders, Kitchen Manager, Servers, Kitchen Staff and Dishwasher. Walk-in interviews will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday, March 6 & 7, from 10am to 10pm.

This is a great opportunity with a fun atmosphere in a new building. For more information, call 608-742-2181.
St. Mary School now enrolling 4K-8th
St. Mary School in Portage is currently enrolling students in grade 4K-8th for the upcoming 2021–2022 school year.

For more information or to make an individual appointment to tour the school, please contact the main office at 608-742-4998.
Curling Club raising funds for wheelchair ramp
The Portage Curling Club is raising funds to build an enclosed wheelchair ramp on the exterior of the club. This addition will provide safe and direct access to the ice surface and enables the club to offer adaptive curling opportunities at both a recreational and competitive level to people with mobility issues.
The labor, architectural, and contracting services have been donated and $2,500 has already been raised; an additional $17,500 is needed before the project can begin.
There are several sponsorship opportunities for your business or organization: naming rights for the addition (1 available), sheet sponsorships (4 available), chair sponsors (20 available), and a donor recognition board. For more information on these sponsorship opportunities and more the project, click here.
Yoga at the Portage Library
Sign-up for a free yoga session at the Portage Public Library! Join Madleen Alsabbah from Bee Alive Yoga Studio at the Portage Public Library on Tuesday, March 2 from 6pm-7pm for a yoga session! Space is limited. Must register in advance. Beginners welcome. Bring a yoga mat if you have one.

To register, email or call the library, 253 W. Edgewater Street, at 608-742-4959.
Meet Author Jo Ann Daly Carr
Meet author Jo Ann Daly Carr on Wednesday, March 31 from 6pm to 7pm at the Portage Public Library, 253 W. Edgewater Street. Revisit Columbia County during the Civil War years as Jo Ann Daly Carr recounts the story of Margaret McNish Patchin as told in the book Such Anxious Hours: Wisconsin Women’s Voices from the Civil War.

Must register for this free event in advance. To register, email or call 608-742-4959. This event is co-hosted by the University of Wisconsin Press.
News from Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative
The Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative annual meeting will be virtual via Facebook Live on Thursday, May 13 at 5pm. Members will be able to view the meeting on ACEC's Facebook page (@acecwi).

Voting will open on Monday, April 5 to vote for director candidates, bylaw amendments, and to approve meeting minutes form 2019 and 2020’s annual meeting. Director candidate biographies can be found on our website at

The next deadline to turn in STEM Grant applications is May 1. Pass the word along to educators you know and encourage them to apply!
FWSQ thanks Portage
Parks & Recreation
Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters’ Chair of Buildings and Grounds Michele Abler, Executive Director Jude Pultz, and Wisconsin Society Daughters of the American Revolution (WSDAR) State Curator Sue Cowan presented a certificate of appreciation to Toby Monogue, Director of the City of Portage Parks and Recreation Department, on February 10, 2021 for the department’s winter maintenance at Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters.
Make a Suncatcher with Prairie Flower Beads
Megan Mussehl, from Prairie Flower Beads, will be at the Portage Public Library on Wednesday, March 10 from 6pm to 7pm to teach us how to make an eye-catching beaded suncatcher ornament.
All supplies are provided, but interested patrons must register in advance. Space is limited. To register, email or call 608-742-4959. This program is generously funded by the Friends of the Portage Library. Staff will be wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing and we request that participants do the same.
UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County Blood Drive
UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County is hosting a blood drive in partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin on Tuesday, March 9 from 9am to 2pm. Schedule an appointment online: or call 877-232-4376.
Submit your 2021 Events!
Are you planning an event this year? Get it posted on our web community calendar at One of the most popular viewed of the Chamber website pages, the calendar allows you to submit your own events.

Simply click this link and submit your events. If you have questions, please call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242.
Spread the word about Portage!
Use #portagewi in your social media posts.
Check out the Chamber's YouTube Channel HERE
Job postings on
Check out these job postings on our Chamber site from our member businesses. You are welcome to post job openings your business may have at any time. Call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242 for more information.
Want to submit an article for this newsletter?
The Chamber's monthly newsletter deadlines the 20th of the month. Members are always welcome to let others know: about new products and services; introduce new associates or promotions; provide updates about their industry or business; give helpful tips; promote a sale or event. For more information, call the Portage Chamber at 608-742-6242.
Text PACC to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Chamber events
Text PORTAGE to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Portage events
Join a Service Club - Meetings subject to change
Rotary - Meets Mondays at Noon at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Lions Club - Meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 5:30pm at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd., summer month meetings change locations
Kiwanis - Meets on Wednesdays at Noon at Pizza Ranch, 2905 New Pinery Rd.
Optimists - Meets on Tuesdays at 7am at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Elks - Meets 2nd & 4th Tuesday at 7pm; 4th Tuesday only during July and August
Women's Civic League - Meets 2nd Wednesdays of the month at Dino’s Restaurant, 2900 New Pinery Rd.
Portage Area Chamber of Commerce | 608-742-6242 | |