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In this March 12, 2016 file photo, an Amtrak train passes a New Jersey Transit train stopped to discharge and board passengers in Elizabeth, N.J. 

Chippewa County Clerk Sandi Frion has accepted an offer to become Bloomer’s first city administrator/clerk/treasurer. The Bloomer City Council will vote on her appointment Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Her resignation as Chippewa County Clerk will take effect April 28, well after the April 4 election. “I want to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Frion said Tuesday.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me,” she said of the clerk’s job.

Frion was selected from three finalists out of the 12 people who applied for the Bloomer job. The city created the position because Sue Stoik, the city clerk, Mike Meindel, the city’s street department head, and Pete Paulson, the city’s electric department head, are retiring.

“It just looked like a challenging position to further grow my career,” Frion said of the administrator position.

Before becoming clerk, Frion worked as a human resources-finance integrated specialist for the Chippewa Falls School District. She has an administrative assistant associate’s degree from Lakeland College.

Frion, who lives in the town of Auburn, was appointed as the county clerk in March 2011 by the Chippewa County Board. She succeeded Kathy Bernier, who was elected as the state representative from the 68th Assembly District.

She has been re-elected since, including running unopposed in the Nov. 8 election, where she received 23,691 votes.

During her tenure, Frion’s office worked with the downsizing of the County Board from 29 to 15 members and legislative redistricting.

County Board Chairman Anson Albarado said the county will likely need an interim clerk after Frion leaves for the Bloomer job. “We will probably take a look at how Kathy was replaced,” he said in finding a successor to Frion.

Supporting rail

Chippewa County remains on track on backing the revival of passenger rail in western Wisconsin. The county board gave its support in a 11-3 vote Tuesday night. Voting against were supervisors Chuck Hull, Dean Gullickson and Leigh Darrow.

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The board had been scheduled to consider the project in January, but that session was postponed because of a storm. The resolution passed by the board does not obligate the county to pay for the rail service.

Gullickson said the county was giving support for the proposal without first seeing a business plan. “We don’t have enough knowledge of it to comfortably give that support,” he said.

David A. Christianson, executive director of the group proposing the rail plan called the Organizing Council, said the rail service will be run privately.

“It would not require public assistance or subsidy,” he said.

Christianson said his group is trying to line up support from counties to secure federal approval. He said his group has approached the Union Pacific railroad about using the UP line, and the railroad has given conditional approval. He said the group would next move to get a contract with the railroad.

The rail operation would include run from Eau Claire to St. Paul, Minnesota. The projected fare would be from 20 to 37 cents a mile, or $32 for a one-way trip from Eau Claire to St. Paul. There would be stops in Menomonie, Baldwin, Hudson, Stillwater, Minnesota and then St. Paul.

The estimated travel time for the 85.5 miles from downtown Eau Claire to the St. Paul Union Depot would be one hour and 20 minutes. Four round trips a day would be offered.

The West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition supports the concept of a self-sustaining, privately run rail service. The start-up and capital costs would be between $140-$450 million.

The board heard from Al Vorhees, who opposed the rail plan.”It will not take long for (there will be) a fiscal impact on Chippewa County citizens,” he said.

“This resolution is a stepping stone,” Vorhees said. He also the board to consider the long-term effect of supporting the plan.

The board also had a first reading on a policy governing social media use by county departments and employees.

Supervisor Jared Zwiefelhofer was absent from the meeting.

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(11) comments

cclover

Good luck to you Sandi, your time at Chippewa County was well appreciated by the County Board.

TricoSpinner

whenever i think of "what could make the chippewa valley better?" i know passenger train service is always at the top of the list.

onlyonevote

And just how much are you willing to pay for the privilege of riding a train?

CVCitizen

I'm guessing TricoSpinner was using a little bit of sarcasm in that comment.

With all these new-fangled horseless carriages now making their way into individual ownership that could get a person or two there and back at a lower cost - on their own time schedule - I'm really at a loss to see the need for this. I want to see ZERO of my tax dollars used to provide or maintain this service. Unless, of course, someone can provide a tremendous supporting argument that includes a significant benefit to the county and its residents.

The rural, cross-country passenger trains dropped off the landscape many years ago for a reason. What has come about recently that would suggest there is a need to bring them back? Let a private company set up the system, the depots and sidings, the schedules, the maintenance and all else. Let them collect the income and pay the expenses 100%. If it works out for them, great, if not we aren't left holding the bag for their "vision".

up in arms

California tax payers swindled into voting for rail project, 9 billion dollar tax bill and 3 more billion forced into tax payers residing in the areas. Don't think this won't be us. This train is unnecessary and will not be used in this tiny area! Get real! More Rooney crap I'm sure.
https://www.atr.org/california-bullet-train-taxpayer-train-wreck

onlyonevote

Time to buckle up, Eau Claire county is pushing forward with getting other counties too help pay for the recent central city's developments over the last several years. Our County Representatives need to become aware their constituents will not agree with decisions like this.

up in arms

I forgot to mention how this situation has uncanny similarities to the Simpsons episode Marge vs. the Monorail. The community gets scammed into agreement and the surrounding areas are to broke to spend money on anything else but the useless mono rail. That Twin Cities has been trying to get us to pay for this line for years! Stupid! Cute little Simpson's clip on their brainwashing scheme:. https://youtu.be/taJ4MFCxiuo

johnnybragatti

42,00 deaths on the Nations hiways 2016.
A train to NYC,? $86.
Duhhh

CrazyT

Train to NYC for $86 ?? Can you say " government subsidized? " aka "tax dollars", aka "our money". Duhhh
P.S.: highway

Further North

Duh? That's the best you can do?

Tell you what...you pay for the train if you want it. I'll keep on driving on my time and on my schedule.

reader

What a loss for the county. Sandi has done a great job. The county looses another great employee! Yes she is elected but still an employee and affected by what takes place. behind the scene. Come on county board, you pick the replacement not the administrator!!!!

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