After 40 years in education, 23 years of that spent in Merrill, Ellis Evans has announced he is retiring from Merrill Area Public Schools at the end of June. Evans came to Merrill in 1952 and assumed the role of principal at the high school. He had spent the previous 14 years as an educator with a four and half year stint in the Armed Forces in Europe. Since coming to Merrill, Evans has become active in the community by being a member of the American Legion, the Badger State Boys program, a member of the Police and Fire Commission, past president of the Merrill Rotary, a member of several masonic groups, and a member of Christ United Methodist Church. He and his wife Dorothy reside at 908 E. 4th St.
Next Wednesday, a movie made right here in Lincoln County will be shown at the Cosmo. “The Selected” is a movie which introduces a new theory on UFO’s. The Merrill Airport and Tomahawk’s Bradley Park are just a few locations that were featured in the film which was written by Barbara Rebane and directed by her husband, Bill Rebane. (We are still one year away from the Giant Spider Invasion).
Three retiring law enforcement officers were honored by the Merrill Optimist Club at their annual Respect for Law Dinner last Wednesday evening. Optimist president Gerald Plantz presented commendations to patrolman Elmer “Madam” Kleinschmidt, police chief Gerald “Bimp” Plautz, and Sgt. Leroy Degner of the Sheriff’s Office. Over 100 people attended the event.
Sheriff Ron Krueger says we may never know the circumstances leading up to the deaths of a rural Merrill couple, as many questions remain unanswered after a fire in their home this past week. Merrill firefighters were called to the home on Pine Grove Rd. early Friday morning and found the home engulfed in flames. After containing the fire, the victims were found inside of the home, but what seemed like a tragic home fire turned into a mystery when the woman was moved and evidence was found that she was stabbed to death. An autopsy in Madison confirmed the woman was dead when the fire began. The remains of what are presumed to be her husband were found in the living room badly burned. Investigators continue to work on the case, but Krueger conceded all they have are theories at this point.
State Representative Sheehan Donoghue has announced she will not seek re-election representing the state’s 35th district. Donoghue made the surprise announcement at the Republican Party caucus in Cable on Sunday. Donoghue told the party that she had been accepted into the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison and will begin classes at the end of August. Donoghue, who had earned a bachelor degree from the UW in 1967, is serving her sixth term.
Another Merrill resident has signed a letter of intent with the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Standout Merrill Blue Jay basketball player Lisa Bonnell signed her letter last Wednesday. Bonnell stated she had been considering the UW for some time but finally committed after meeting with UW Basketball coach Edwina Qualls. Qualls told Bonnell she will play power forward for the Badgers as she attends the school on a four-year athletic scholarship. Bonnell was selected for the Wisconsin Valley All Conference Basketball Team the last two years and was the WVC’s leading scorer and rebounder this season.
A walking tour of homes in Merrill’s Historic Center Ave. district will take place this Sunday as the Merrill Historical Society observes National Historic Preservation Month. Those interested should meet at Normal Park between 2 and 4 p.m. to walk the 30-minute self-guided tours which will take you to 19 homes in the district, all of which were built by Merrill’s pioneers. The Center Ave. district was approved by the State Historical Society in January of this year in the National Register. Original owners of these homes included Nate Alderson, P.B. Champagne, C. G. Curtis, George Gibson, George Gilkey, A. F. Hanf, H.H. Heineman, James W. Ladd, John Lambert, Israel Malsin, Gilbert Mendelson, Robert Parlington, M. C. Porter, Walter Scott, Emil Semling, A. J. Stange, S. S. Stein, George Strickland, F. W. Stroud, and John Woodlock, all early pioneers who were prominent in city, county and state politics. The first house on the tour is the Walter Scott home at N. Center Ave. and Sixth St., also known as Merrill’s painted lady to passersby. The home was built about 1885 by Walter Scott, son of Merrill’s first mayor T. B. Scott. The younger Scott was killed while in Chicago, stabbed to death with a letter opener by the architect who built the infamous Scott Mansion. By 1900, the house came under the ownership of David Livingston, owner of the Livingston Mercantile Company. (And now after sitting empty for some time the house has new owners)
In business, the new Pisces Pet Store is moving from the 800 block of E. 1st St. to the 900 block of E. Main St.; Ament, Wulf and Frokjer Law Office has moved to their new location at 200 N. Center Ave.; United of Merrill on North Center Ave. is closing, it will now be known as M.R. Mobil and will be under the management of Dewey Matz and Ruth Radlinger; and Waid Funeral Home is showcasing their new funeral home and invites the public to stop for an open house this Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.