RHINELANDER - The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission will get its long-awaited federal funding installment by October 4.
The timing means no Northwoods Transit Connections drivers will have to voluntarily furlough their pay, but the requirement of 24-hour advance notice for rides will stay in place.
Transit Commission Chair Erv Teichmiller learned the news over the weekend.
The commission is waiting on an expected payment of $300,000 from the federal government. In 2016, that money came in early September. As of last Friday, the commission wasn't expecting the payment until as late as November.
The state Department of Transportation makes the application on behalf of the commission and similar public transit systems across the state. The state DOT put in the application to the federal government much later in 2017 than in 2016, resulting in the later payment.
The Oneida-Vilas Transit Commission looked for ways to bridge the gap in funding, but both Oneida and Vilas counties turned down requests for emergency loans.
On Friday, the commission approved scrapping its on-demand ride service as a cost-saving measure. Riders now need to call at least 24 ahead of time to arrange a pickup. That provision will stay in place until at least the end of the year.
Several Transit Connections drivers had offered to have their pay withheld until the federal funds came in. On Friday, the board accepted their offer, but on Monday, Teichmiller said it wouldn't be necessary.
Teichmiller is no longer pursuing the anonymous funding source he had mentioned on Friday, either.
Northwoods Transit Connections serves riders with low-cost transportation within and between the Rhinelander, Mincoqua, and Eagle River areas. It's on pace to give about 60,000 rides this year.
RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of.
"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years.
Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.
The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.
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