A two car accident on Hwy. 51 near Irma Monday morning has resulted in the first traffic fatality on Lincoln County roadways in 1973. A 23 year old man from Itasca, IL was killed when his southbound car burst into flames after being struck head on by a northbound vehicle being driven by a 37 year old man from Hensdale, IL. A passenger in the southbound sports car was taken to Holy Cross Hospital while passengers in the northbound vehicle remained hospitalized at Merrill, Wausau North Hospital, and Sacred Heart Hospital in Tomahawk. In another weekend tragedy, 21 year old Don Bosio of Lake Pesobic in Merrill was killed when his car skidded into another on the Ohio Turnpike in eastern Ohio.
The Merrill City Council had a full agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, including dealing with the rapidly filling city landfill. The Council approved resolution 170 which deals with the licensing of the proposed new landfill. Mayor Voigt reports that he has been assured by Governor Lucey’s office that the application will be fast tracked once it is received. In other business, the Council was briefed on a new lighting system which will be installed downtown and heard of concerns with the Merrill Airport regarding brush cutting and land moving in order to qualify for grant money. Aldermen also approved construction of shelters at Ott’s and Stange’s Parks and a new foot bridge and boat launch at Riverside Park. The Council also approved the mayor’s appointment of Wayne F. Schultz to the school board to fill Darrell Hulke’s unexpired term.
August “Tony” Krueger has been bound over for trial after a hearing last Wednesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court. District Attorney Dennis Montabon called five witnesses to the stand for the preliminary hearing into the death of Diane Krueger, cousin of the accused. At the conclusion of the hearing, defense attorney George Russell moved for the dismissal of the charges but that was denied by Judge Donald Schnabel. A cash bond of $35,000 was continued in the case. Krueger is pictured being escorted to the court by Sheriff Bassett and his deputies.
The Lincoln County fairgrounds will be packed this weekend as the largest single event so far in Merrill’s Centennial celebration will be held. Roy and Marie Henson are coordinating the event which includes demonstrations, displays, antique farm equipment, classic cars, a fly over of vintage aircraft and a lumberjack show which will be held in front of the grandstand for five shows. Visitors will also find hot air balloon rides, a five cent ice cream cone stand, a medicine show wagon, music by strolling barbershop singers, concessions, and souvenirs. Admission is free and the Merrill Go Round will be providing free rides three times daily between the fairgrounds and Jenny Towers and Park Place.
Lincoln County DA Christopher Coakley has requested assistance from the attorney general’s office in prosecuting the Ruth Tiffany murder case. Coackly cited his office’s burden of having three homicide cases this summer. Assistant attorney general Doug Haag confirmed he has been assigned to the Tiffany case and just received all of the police reports but would not predict how long it would be before he could proceed with prosecution. Besides the Tiffany case, the DA is handling the shooting death of Ronald Dittmer in Tomahawk on June 20, and the death of Gerald Benzinger in a July 24 fire in Merrill.
City aldermen will get a pay raise after all. A measure to increase the wage to the elected officials passed by a 5-3 vote at the July meeting but City Attorney John Thiel sought clarification if a simple majority was needed to pass the raise or if it required a three fourths majority vote. The raise from $125 a month to $225 a month will not go into effect until after the new council is seated following the spring elections next year.
On Friday, Aug. 13, seven fire departments along with ambulances and sheriff’s deputies responded to a devastating fire in Gleason that claimed the life of a young man and his father. Traffic on Highway 17 was detoured for hours as firefighters set up a large water tank on the street to supply pumper trucks. Obituaries on page seven identify the victims as seven year old Matthew Gary Prueser and his father 25 year old Gary Carl Prueser, a firefighter with the Town of Russell Fire Department and Marine Corp vet.
Citing overwhelming caseloads and concerns for the quality of justice, court system officials are asking the state Legislature for nine new judges for the state including one for Lincoln County. Other judges in the ninth circuit have been handling the overflow of cases, but internal management solutions are no longer sufficient to meet the caseload demands.