County Board Chairman Patrick Nugent has resigned his seat on the board and will leave the area. Nugent represented Merrill’s Sixth Ward on the board and was elected chairman a year ago. In an election held Tuesday, Fifth Ward Supervisor Gordon Schroeder was chosen by his peers to replace Nugent as head of the board, beating out James Gaeu of the town of Scott by two votes. Schroeder served on the board for the last three years and is chairman of the finance committee. He is the owner of Schroeder’s Gamble’s Store in Merrill. Nugent, who is moving to Louisiana where he will attend Louisiana State University, has served on the county board for three years and served as its chairman for the past year. Nugent’s last act on the board was to introduce an ordinance appointing a Civil Service Commission to have oversight at the Sheriff’s Office. The committee will be formed by five non-elected officials who will be chosen by Schroeder. They will select new deputies and hear grievances.
Merrill Golf Club President Jim O’Day is hinting at possible legal action after golf pro Rod Leonard of Robinson, IL failed to show. Leonard worked for the club for the 1972 season and was due to return on April 15 for the 1973 season. As of late Thursday, Leonard confirmed he was seeking housing in Merrill and would be on the course on the 15th but when he did not arrive on Sunday a second phone call indicated he would not be available for the season.
The winter pool season has wrapped up for the Merrill area taverns. Gleason’s Bar beat out Russ’s Bar Saturday night for the league championship. Elaine Gleason sponsors the team and is pictured with George Schwartzman, Ron Jones, Arliss Munro, Bill Fraizer, Cliff Shaffer, Hap Saeger and Don Hinz. On the ladies’ end, the Knotty Pine Bar captured the city tournament over Mid-City Tap. Pictured with the trophy are Janet Lange, Shirley Emerich, Laura Ament, sponsor Mary Anne Hackbart, Lorraine Schwartz and Mary Ann Hinner. In other tavern news, an ad from Hank and Ev Leck congratulates Marv and Barb White who will take over as owners of Big Eddy Tavern as of April 21, 1973.
Armed with only a brick, a 60 year old Merrill man was responsible for over $8,000 in property damage last Friday night. The man apparently had gotten into a tiff with his wife and went on a rampage that left 22 plate glass windows and two single plane windows smashed along Grand Ave. Just before 9 p.m., the man began his spree at an apartment house in the 500 block of Grand Ave. before he finally surrendered to Shirley Eggers, co-owner of Avenue Bar after he broke his last windows next door to the tavern at the Ben Franklin Store. The man was refused admission to the Marathon County Health Care Center, where he was taken at his request by the police. He was later released but was expected to face felony charges of criminal damage to property.
Starting this year, permanent bike licenses will be issued by the police department. Previously, the licenses were issued on a yearly basis and the bike owner had to go down and get a new metal license plate each spring for the new year. Bike owners will need to bring in their name, address, bike make, serial number, color and speed of the bike along with $3 before the license can be issued. Bikes will still be issued metal license plates, but now a sticker will be given out for placement on the frame. (I asked, the police department still has licenses plates but demand has decreased slightly, although the price is still $3)
St. John’s Lutheran School in Merrill is on the cutting edge of technology now that two computers have been installed in the school. This is the first year that computer classes are being offered and Melissa Bonnell and Chad DuFrame are pictured showing off one of two Apple computers that were purchased through funds from the Mothers’ Club and congregational donations. Aid Association for Lutherans has offered to match funds raised at a religious school musical Saturday for the purchase of two more computers.
After suffering a defeat in last week’s referendum, the Merrill School Board plans on sitting on their plans for building a new elementary school and re-modeling the high school. Superintendent Dr. Ralph Neale reported they are still interested in purchasing the Simon property on State Rd. 107 but are cautious due to nitrate concerns. In other school news, the board decided not to transfer fifth grade students from Scott School to Jefferson School next year. Currently the students are bused to Jefferson to even out class sizes. The plan calls for a combined fifth and sixth grade class at Scott next year to alleviate overcrowding at Jefferson.
A special exhibit paying tribute to architect Henry J. Van Ryn is on display at the Lincoln County Courthouse. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Van Ryn with assorted partners built schools, houses, banks, hotels, city halls, and many commercial buildings throughout Wisconsin. A founder of Merrill, August H. Stange, was an admirer of Van Ryn and brought him to Merrill for several projects, few of which are left standing. Van Ryn built the courthouse in 1903 with Gerrit de Gelleke in high Victorian style. Starting in 1899, Van Ryn built the Lincoln Hotel now known as the Lincoln House. That building survived several fires and is now used for apartments and offices. A rare project for Van Ryn, the Trinity Lutheran Church and parsonage were completed in 1908; this project was rare because neither Van Ryn or de Gelleke designed many churches during their time. Other local projects included the Lincoln County Bank, the Badger Hotel, the Badger Opera House, the old Merrill High School and the Badger Club House – all of which have been destroyed.