Deputy Sheriff Michael Soucy is pictured on the front page next to the shattered squad car he was driving early Monday morning. Soucy was on patrol when an assailant fired a shotgun at him. Soucy narrowly escaped death with the slug grazing his throat and wounding his right shoulder. Two Merrill men, arraigned on a charge of attempted first degree murder Monday, are being held on $25,000 cash bonds. Soucy has been a member of the force for two months. (My father was working as a Merrill Police Officer the night this happened and vividly remembered it. Part of this remains a mystery today but I will leave that up to someone else to re-hash).
Two Merrill men drowned in a tragic accident early Sunday morning just north of Tomahawk. Daniel A. Harkner, age 30, of W. Sixth St. in Merrill, and Charles J. Case, age 25, of E. 3rd St., drowned after the pickup truck they were in struck a guardrail on US Hwy 51 (County Rd L now) and landed in Lake Nokomis. Sheriff’s deputies from both Lincoln and Oneida counties responded and worked in vain to free the men from the truck, which sunk in six to eight feet of water. According to obituaries on page 11, Harkner worked as a mechanic at Weinbrenner and Case was employed at the Brokaw Paper Mill. Both leave behind young brides and Case a young son. In another traffic crash, Harriet Sukow of Merrill and her mother Hazel Hetzel of Tomahawk were killed in a crash near Fond du Lac.
New Merrill boys’ basketball coach Steve Kirk is optimistic for the upcoming season. Kirk comes to Merrill from Superior High School, where he was the head coach for the past three years and compiled a 52-12 record with his 1971 team being ranked fourth in the state. Coach Kirk is impressed with the attitude of his players and feels the defense will be Merrill’s edge this year. Last year, the Superior squad’s defense held their opponents to an average of 44 points per game. The season opens in the East Gym Nov. 20 when Shawano comes to town.
Merrill Police Chief Charles Johnson has announced the selection of a Rothschild man to fill a vacancy at the Merrill Police Department. Michael J. Hamann, 21, will replace Brian Sladek. Sladek recently accepted a position as emergency government director for Lincoln County. Hamann’s employment with the Merrill Police Department will become effective Nov. 28. He will be attending the basic recruit course at NCTI next spring.
Robert Sumnicht will represent the city on the Lincoln County Board, a race he lost via the coin flip last spring. Sumnicht was one of three people vying for the job, but tied with candidate Jean Rogers in the election back in April. Rogers won a coin flip and went on to service the district, but she has now resigned to accept a job with the Republican Party in Madison. Sumnicht served as UW-Agricultural agent for 28 years prior to his retirement in 1981. County Board chair Neil LeMay made the appointment based on the Board’s unanimous choice.
With the start of hunting season just a few days away, plenty of specials can be found in this week’s paper. The Kozy Korner will be open at 4 a.m. this Saturday with steak and eggs for only $2.50. The Black Heath invites the hunters’ widows to treat themselves with brunch or dinner; on Saturday prime rib is only $6.95. Bogie’s Bar will buy your first beer if you come in wearing your hunting cap; Champ’s Family Restaurant will fill your tummy and your thermos as you head out the door, they are open at 4 a.m. too; the Legion Lounge will have BBQ ribs for $5.95; and Liermann’s Ballroom will feature the music of Family Tradition.
The goal to light four pine trees on the Lincoln County Court House lawn far exceeded expectations and organizers now plan on lighting all eight pine trees for the holidays. The donations also allowed the trees to be hard wired for power. More than 50 volunteers showed up in the basement of VIP Office Supply this week to screw in the 13,750 colored bulbs that will be used to light the lawn.
Five new people were inducted into the Merrill Bowling Hall of Fame Saturday at Les & Jim’s Lincoln Lanes. The hall now has 41 members as it enters its ninth year. This year’s inductees include: Ted Gilbert – he bowled the cities first 300 game in 1965 and rolled a 754 series in 1964. Larry Holl- fired a 716 series in 1963, the first in local history. He has been an MBA member since 1968 and was on the first team to break the 3000 pin barrier when his Frisch’s Bar team did it. Dorothy Merkel – a good sport with 24 years of participation, she kept score for many years. She held many offices in the leagues including treasurer and vice president. Rita St. Mary – has compiled 57 series of 600 or more including a high 697 in New York in 1979. Rita’s high game was 267 in 1969. Les Voigt – bowled in Merrill for an amazing 51 years starting in 1934 at the two alley Trinity Lanes. He also bowled at the St. Francis facility starting in 1940. He rolled a 600 series in Madison in 1965 and won a trip to Washington DC for most pins over average in a three game tournament hosted by Brunswick in the 1960’s.