Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
The demolition of the old Jefferson School is underway and has now entered its second week. A picture on page one shows what is mostly just a shell of the building as it is torn down from the inside out. George Rodzinski of Oconto is the general contractor for the project.
The City of Merrill has inked a deal to borrow $500,000 in order to finance the purchase of the Church Mutual building for the next city hall. The First National Bank of Wisconsin financed the bonds for the city although the interest rate will not be set until the official sale date, set for Sept. 9. In other action the council approved the hiring of August Braatz as Personnel Specialist for the city. The federally funded position will allow the city to develop a comprehensive personnel program for the city and develop personnel policies. He will also be charged with updating job descriptions.
If you are making for plans this weekend, the 15th annual Gleason Days will be held starting on Saturday. The event features a carnival for the kids, a slo-pitch tournament, a charcoal chicken dinner, and a street dance Saturday night. Bobby Darren and the Drifters will be at Hour Place tavern on Saturday night starting at 9:30 p.m. The Riverside Club has their specials set for the week: Tuesday is BBQ Ribs for $2.50, Wednesday: spaghetti & wine for $2.50, Thursday: T-bone steak dinner for $3.25, Friday: fresh water perch or walleye or steak and lobster for $6.75, and Saturday is prime rib for $5.75; all dinners include salad bar. It’s less than a month away, but an ad on the entertainment page is seeking drivers for the demo derbies held during the fair. Over $750 in cash and trophies will be awarded for the winning drivers. Trophy sponsors include: Lincoln County Bank, Mel’s Big Dollar, Richard Holt and Wayne Marrier Insurance, Gene’s Refrigeration, Caylor’s Corners, Schulz’s Auto Wrecking and Towing, and Plautz Oil.
The City of Merrill has turned down a request to rezone parts of North Center Avenue. Henry Golde requested what is known as spot zoning to convert two properties in the 300 block from residential to commercial. Golde claimed he had two businesses that were interested in acquiring the houses there and building but did not reveal what they were. Several residents opposed to the change worried about increased traffic and possibly empty storefronts which would devalue the area. Golde did hint that the potential buyers were looking at an office type setting. In other city business the polling place for the fourth and fifth ward has officially now been changed to St. Francis School on West 10th Street. Previously residents of those wards voted at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Grand Avenue but that building is not handicapped accessible.
Could lights be coming to Blue Jay Stadium? Next Tuesday a special city council meeting has been scheduled and the agenda notes it will be a joint meeting with the board of education and the topic will be lights at the stadium. That meeting gets underway at 4 p.m. in the city hall council chambers.
According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance we are getting a pretty good deal on police service in Merrill, but statewide the cost to police a city has doubled in some communities. According to the WTA, the average city or village above 3,000 residents has 1.81 police officers per 1,000 residents and it costs $84 per capita to employ them. In Merrill the cost is actually $67.13, Tomahawk is $84, Rhinelander $87, Antigo $60 and the low cost spot was Medford at $47. The high spot in the state is Milwaukee with a cost of $158 with 3.34 officers for every 1,000.
Eleven of the 23 first responders from the Town of Russell are now certified to use defibrillators in the field. Dr. James Janowiak along with June Winnie the area trauma coordinator joined Heidi Duley the nurse manager at Good Samaritan Health Center and taught the class to the group headed up by Nancy Stevens. Duley noted with so many families living in the rural communities first responders can mean the difference between life and death.
Plenty of things to do in town this weekend. At the Time Out Sports Bar on State Rd 107 at Council Grounds Drive Otis and the Alligators will be playing on Friday night beginning at nine. Back to Eden, Merrill’s newest restaurant in the former South of Border building is celebrating their grand opening. They offer a buffet every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and promise your first drink at the bar is free. The Cosmo has Judge Dredd in Cosmo One and Val Kilmer and Tommy Lee Jones in Cosmo Two in Batman Forever. If you are looking for a bargain, Fran is starting her fun run next Thursday. For $3 per person Fran will pick you up at home in the Merrill Go Round and together you will hit as many rummage sales as you can until noon. Call the Merrill Go Round office to make your reservation.
The newly renovated Lincoln County Health and Human Services building has moved many offices to the former Pine Crest west wing. The new address is 607 N. Sales St. and you will find offices such as the Commission on Aging, Social Services and the Health Department in that building now. A story on the county board meeting re-cap notes that building is now smoke free and smoking inside of the court house will now be limited to designated areas only.
It is always a sign of summer, Stokely USA is now hiring. Applications for seasonal workers are being accepted at the Water Street plant beginning on Monday.