WI: Frigid Cold Helps Dunn County Transit Set Ridership Record

Feb. 20--MENOMONIE -- Frigid weather means more bus riders, and in record numbers.

Dunn County Transit manager Kent Conklin told the Dunn County Board on Wednesday night that in February, the weekday average has been 1,619 trips, far outpacing the record 1,000 trips a day in 2013.

"This cold weather is great for my business," Conklin said.

Conklin told the County Board the Menomonie to Eau Claire route has changed. The bus now runs to the downtown Eau Claire bus transfer station rather than the McDonald's restaurant parking lot just west of Eau Claire near the Interstate 94/U.S. 12-Highway 312 interchange .

Conklin said Eau Claire Transit may add three trips to Menomonie in addition to the three trips Dunn County Transit takes to Eau Claire each day. The additional trips are being recommended by a consultant, Conklin said.

"The more trips between Menomonie and Eau Claire, the more viable that trip becomes for people," Conklin said.

Opposing bill

The County Board passed a resolution Wednesday night opposing Assembly Bill 613, which would broaden the duties and authority of county clerks.

The bill calls for each county to have at least one full-time equivalent deputy county clerk, regardless of staffing needs. The clerk could appoint as many deputy clerks as he or she felt was needed, and the county would have to pay for the positions.

The bill also calls for county clerks to have unfettered access to the books, accounts, bills, vouchers and receipts of the county, and for clerks to act as clerk to all board regular, special, limited-term and standing committee meetings. The clerk would create the agenda for meetings.

The concern is meetings would have to be held at the convenience of the clerk.

In other action

* The board heard from Supervisor Elton Christopherson, who reported that The Neighbors of Dunn County health care center has all 137 beds full and 25 people on a waiting list. The new county-operated center opened in fall. "That is very good news for me," he said.

* The board approved the North Star Bicycle Festival, formerly known as the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, to be held June 14. It includes an 82-mile professional bike race and a spectator ride. The board also agreed to support the festival with law enforcement and highway signage. Costs will be covered by the race organization. The event supports Children's Lighthouse of Minnesota.

Powers can be reached at 715-556-9018 or pamela.powers@ecpc.com.

Copyright 2014 - The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.