February 2018 NewsBreak
Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
Thank You!!!
2018 Annual Dinner Sponsors
arbor green logo
Portage Chamber Annual Awards Celebration
The Wisconsin economy is the best it has been in 18 years and in Columbia County, the best it has been in a generation, according to John Koskinen, the Chief Economist for the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Koskinen, featured speaker at the Portage Chamber Annual Meeting & Awards Celebration, made the remarks to 90 attendees gathered at Dino's Restaurant.

Just how good is the state the economy currently performing? Koskinen said Wisconsin unemployment is at all-time low, running around 3%. Compare that to May of 2010 when unemployment was between 8% and 10%. Our state has the eighth lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Over the past seven years, 238,000 jobs have been created in Wisconsin, according to Koskinen. The average real wage has been on the rise during those seven years while Wisconsin has been adding businesses at a rate faster than the U.S. average.

And there was more good news. Koskinen said Wisconsin ranks second in the country in business retention, our tax ranking continues to fall, average home prices are the highest they have been, poverty rates are at a nine-year low, and by some measures, Wisconsin is deemed to have the best health care coverage in the nation.

All of this points to Wisconsin ranking as one of the happiest states in the country, Koskinen said.

Hearing the great news of the Wisconsin economy was just the icing on the cake for those in attendance. The real slice of cake came in recognition of local businesses for their outstanding contributions and hard work.

Chamber Executive Director Marianne Hanson presented the awards to the winners of the 2018 Chamber Awards:

Business Excellence Award (20 or more employees)
Cardinal FG - Bruce Jonet
Susan Weyh Business Excellence Award
(less than 20 employees)
Best Western - Dawn Schneller
Rising Business Star Award
BonBon and Bordeaux - Olivia Fuqua
(Tracy Cooper, co-owner, not pictured)
First Impression Award
B & B Hitching Post - Mike Bergman
(Steve Boelter, co-owner, not pictured)
Community Service Award
Pizza Ranch - Sheryl Firari
For Service as 2017 Chamber President
Robert Roth - Roth Professional Solutions
Welcome New Members

Guaranteed Rate
2800 New Pinery Rd., Suite 200 Portage, WI 53901
Jason Schultz at 608-608-5068
We give you a low, low rate on the right mortgage product, along with transparent, fair fees,
leverage cutting-edge technology to streamline the mortgage process and simplify every step while
providing unmatched service and expert advice to help you find the perfect mortgage.

Portage Rod & Gun Club
W10450 State Hwy 16 Portage, WI 53901
Woody Steinhoff at 608-742-6885
We offer members full use of our outdoor pistol and rifle ranges, archery range,
4 trap stations, skeet station and 120 acres of hunting land.                   
February Business Luncheon
The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce is offering another way to network with your fellow Chamber members and make those important connections that can help you in your business or career. Bring your business cards, brochures, or anything you wish to share with other members.

Luncheon Information
Presenter: Darryl Teske of Columbia County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children under the legal protection of the court system. Advocates are court appointed volunteers who are appointed by a judge to promote the best interests of a child. The volunteer provides a judge with the relevant information about the child to help the court make a sound decision about the child's future. These volunteers offer children trust and consistency during the complex legal proceedings. CASA is funded at the local level through charitable foundations, businesses, civic organizations, private contributions and others.

Date: Tuesday, February 6
Where: B & B Hitching Post, 2503 W. Wisconsin St.
Time: Lunch at 11:30AM, Presentation at Noon
Cost: Pay for your lunch at the restaurant
Submit Your 2018 Events!
Are you planning an event for next year? Get it posted on our web community calendar at www.portagewi.com. 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.
Madison College application help, court reporting offered
Visit Madison College Portage on Monday, February 12 and learn about the exciting career options in court reporting. Stop by the info table from 10am-1pm to see Madison College’s state-of-the-art realtime technology, learn the “secret” language of court reporting and how it’s possible to text over 225 words per minute, give it a try yourself and schedule a free hands-on bootcamp to explore the field.

For more information about the court reporting program, visit madisoncollege.edu/program/court-reporting.

Need help with a Madison College application? Come to an Instant Application Night at the Portage campus Wednesday, February 28, from 3pm-6 pm! Your application is free, and college staff will help you complete it. While you’re there, talk to academic advisors, career counselors, plus financial aid, disability resources and veterans services staff, receive free Madison College merchandise, and attend a financial aid workshop.

For more information, visit madisoncollege.edu/instant-application-night, or contact experience@madisoncollege.edu, 608-243-4248.
Retirement Open House
Please join us as we celebrate Jeff and Carol Aerts’ retirement from 3pm-5:30pm on Friday, February 2 with cake and refreshments. Jeff has been the CEO at Northwoods for 31 years and Carol the Director of Rehabilitation for 28 years. Through these years, they have been mission driven to make positive changes in the lives of people with diverse abilities. They have developed numerous services and programs, which turned Northwoods into the incredible organization it is today. Their outstanding leadership and accomplishments are nothing short of remarkable.

Come wish them the best as they start their new journey! Northwoods is located at 6510 Hwy 51 South.
VIBE collecting CCHS donations
VIBE Salon & Spa will be collecting items for the Humane Society during the whole month of February. Please consider helping our animal communities with your donation. VIBE will be offering 20% off all SURFACE AWAKEN products.

VIBE Salon & Spa is located at 218 W. Wisconsin St. For more information, call 608-742-8423.
Text PACC to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Portage events
Looking for a Hot Deal? See our list?
Check out our Hot Deals webpage for deals our Chamber members are
offering. Have a Hot Deal of your own you want others to know about? Post
your deals on our webpage and join the Hot Deal brigade! There is no charge
for posting a Hot Deal, so post away!

If you have questions, call the Chamber office at 608-742-6242 to get started. Click here to see the specials that are currently running!
Habitat seeks applicants for 2018
Ready to own a home? Habitat for Humanity could help! They are currently seeking applicants for a 2018 build.

Pre-qualifications are being taken now. To qualify, applicants must have regular, adequate income, a solid credit history, a moderate debt load, a strong desire to own a home and a willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity.

Call 608-448-2888 or visit hfhwisconsinriver.org.
Text PORTAGE to 51660
to receive information about upcoming Portage events
Madison College hires Thompson
Madison Area Technical College has hired Portage area resident Nicole Thompson to fill the newly created role of regional workforce and economic development, strategic community relations and marketing director.

Thompson will serve Madison College campuses in Fort Atkinson, Portage, Reedsburg and Watertown, with the goal of matching college resources with community needs. In this new position she will help create expanded opportunities for partnership and collaboration with businesses, schools and community organizations.

“Each of these campuses and communities is unique, with unique strengths and opportunities,” Thompson said. “I’m looking forward to meeting with community members, learning more about the needs that exist and helping Madison College meet those needs through new or current programming.”

A graduate of UW-Stevens Point, Thompson previously served as director of public relations and advertising for Wollersheim Winery and Distillery in Prairie du Sac. Prior to that, she was director of marketing and communications for the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County.
Leadership Development
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is offering Leadership Development for all levels of leaders in your organization - here's what is coming up!

For New Leaders: Launch Into Leadership on March 1st and the Supervisory Leadership Series starts March 8. For Mid Level and Advanced Leaders: High Performance Leadership Series starts April 10.
Covey classes to Increase your Personal & Professional Effectiveness: Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity on February 27 and The Speed of Trust on March 6. 

Click here to find out more!
21 Day Challenge
Lose weight and get results at Anytime Fitness. For just $87, here is what you will receive in just 21 days:
  • 6 personal training sessions
  • unlimited team training sessions'
  • heart rate monitor
  • offer valid for members & non-members
Reserve your spot today. Call Anytime Fitness at 608-742-0250.
Smart Cookies on sale
The Partners of Divine Savior are holding their Smart Cookie Sale
every second Thursday of the month from 9am to 2pm in the front lobby of the hospital. Cookies are 50 cents each or $6 for a Baker's Dozen.

All proceeds from the cookie sale benefit scholarships for high school seniors educating in healthcare-related fields.
Alliant Energy facts
Alliant Energy hosted a Community Involvement Meeting on January 12 that the Portage Chamber attended. Some interesting facts about the Columbia Energy Center arose from the meeting that day:

  • Just under $1 billion has been invested in the Columbia plant since this facility came online in the 1970's. Unit 1 (1971) - Unit 2 (1975)
  • Three hundred contractors are still working on Unit 2 and are expected to finish in March/April of 2018.
  • There are 115 train cars that arrive daily at the plant, with each car carrying 115 tons of coal from Wyoming Powder River Basin. Each year the plant uses 4.5-5 million tons of coal.
  • Alliant Energy recently participated in a “boots on the ground” GridEx training with Wisconsin’s Emergency Operations Center and National Guard. This is a simulation where officials and private utilities work on responses to sustained power outages as a result of threats, such as terrorism, to the power grid.
  • Based on Midwest consumption rates, it can power between 840,000 and 1 million homes.
  • Air Quality Control System removal of over 99% particulate matter, 90% sulfur dioxide and 90% mercury.
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction to reduce nitrogen dioxide by 90% on Unit 2 in 2018.
Alumni Basketball Tournament
The 22nd Annual Portage High School Alumni Basketball Tournament will be held on February 17 and 18. Teams wishing to participate need to contact Sean Malone at 608-742-6754.
Games are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday at Portage High School Gym (301 E. Collins St.), John Muir Gym (2600 Woodcrest Drive) and Wayne E. Bartels Middle School Gym (2505 New Pinery Road).
First Weber news
First Weber Realtors would like to announce that Tom Gavin will now be the Regional Manager for Baraboo, Reedsburg, Portage, Pardeeville and Montello offices. Amanda Weyh is now the Assistant Manager for the Portage, Pardeeville and Montello offices. 

First Weber is recruiting for new agents and you are encouraged to reach out to Amanda for more details at 608-617-8835.
Ribbon Cuttings
A ribbon cutting was held at First Centennial Mortgage to welcome this new business to Portage. They are excited to be in Portage to help people become home owners. Stop by, their door is always open!

The new Portage branch is managed by Sue Foley, who brings over 25 years of management and production experience to the First Centennial Mortgage team. They deliver the highest level of service to our clients, builders and real estate agent partners. For more information, call First Centennial Mortgage, 230 W. Cook St., at 608-541-0010.
A ribbon cutting was held at 134 West Salon to welcome this new business to Portage. Located at 134 W. Cook St., owner Vanessa Reiche and additional stylist Kate Renner would love to care for your hair at our full service salon.

Vanessa is excited to open in downtown Portage! Appointments or walk-ins welcome.

For more information, contact Vanessa Reiche at 608-745-9291
February Chamber Meetings & Events
6 Chamber Business Luncheon at B & B Hitching Post
7 Ambassador Meeting at Community Bank 8am
21 Ribbon Cutting at Lodi Veterinary Clinic 9am
February Community Events
2-11 Costco Business Event
2-24 Illustration & Puppetry Display at Portage Center for the Arts
2-28 Humane Society Collection at VIBE Salon & Spa
2 Retirement Open House at Northwoods
2 Teen Anime Night at the Portage Library
3 Family Fun Event at the Library
4 Soup or Curl at Portage Curling Club
4 Bingo at the VFW
6 Valentine's Mandala Rock Painting Workshop at Portage Library
6 Portage Chamber Business Luncheon
7 Dungarvin Hiring Event
8 'Smart' Cookie Sale at Divine Savior Healthcare
8 Blood Drive at Divine Savior Healthcare
8 Griefshare Support Group at Portage United Methodist Church
8 Kindergarten Open House at St. John's Lutheran School
8 Mini-Mosaic Pendants Class at The Mercantile
8 Columbia County Judicial Candidate Forum
9 Teen video game night at the Portage Library
10 Bach Cantatas at Portage Center for the Arts
11 Pancake Breakfast with Olympic Curler at Portage Curling Club
12 Career options in Court Reporting at Madison College
12 Daddy Daughter Dance at Rusch Elementary Gym
13 Card Making Workshop at The Library
13 Culinary Workshop at The Library
13 St. Mary's Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper
14 Columbia Sauk SHRM Meeting
15 Griefshare Support Group at Portage United Methodist Church
15 VFW Meat Raffle Night
15 Handbuilt Pottery Class at The Mercantile
16 Teen Movie at The Library
17 Brew and Curl at Portage Curling Club
17 Meat Raffle at Jack's Tap
17-18 Portage Alumni Basketball Tournament
19 Identity Theft Workshop at Portage Library
20 Viewing Party at Portage Curling Club
21 Coffee with Our House Senior Living
22 Travel Series Program at Portage Library
22 Illustrator, Artist, Author, Puppet Maker Lunch Presentation at Portage Center for the Arts
22 Griefshare Support Group at Portage United Methodist Church
23 Teen Painting Night at the Portage Library
24 Act, Learn, Grow! at Portage Center for the Arts
26 Portage Sharing Supper at Wayne Bartels Middle School
27 Life Line Screening at Best Western
28 Instant Application Night at Madison College
28 Business Day in Madison
28 Endeavor Sharing Supper

Weekly Recurring Events
Beer Bucket Bingo at Jack's Tap every Monday at 6:30pm
Portage United Methodist Church Bible Study at Heritage House, Tuesdays at 10am
Portage United Methodist Church Worship Service at Heritage House, Tuesdays at 11am

Portage Area Chamber of Commerce | 608-742-6242 | pacc@portagewi.com | www.portagewi.com