Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
The students in Mrs. Opsahl’s fourth and fifth grade classes at Franklin School got the brush off from the highest of levels last week. The students were holding a Thanksgiving breakfast at the school and invited some politicians to the event including President Gerald Ford, Senators Gaylord Nelson and William Proxmire, and Congressman David Obey to attend. All of them declined but in the mail was a letter signed by President Ford expressing his regret and thanking them for the invite. Ten-year-old Clayton Brose and 11-year-old David Wright are pictured making the breakfast.
Don Kopplin of Wausau has announced the opening of his new restaurant located inside of the Highway 51 truck stop. The station, which is located two and a half miles north of Merrill, features six regular and two diesel fuel pumps. Koplin hopes to keep his café, which seats 62, open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Sheriff Ron Krueger has announced the appointment of Pete Annis to deputy sheriff. Annis, Route 7, Merrill, is a life-long resident of Merrill and a graduate of North Central Technical College. Krueger notes the appointed fills his agency’s roster until two slated retirements occur at the end of the month.
On the sports page, the DNR reports a very successful hunting season. As of Sunday the registration stations in Lincoln County reported a 55% jump in the number of deer registered. A total of 1,709 bucks and 782 antlerless deer were registered. The Bluejay wrestling team crushed the Shawano Indians last night 53-9 in Shawano. Lee Opsahl, Bruce Waldburger, Bob MacSwain, Jeff Hanson, John Fehlberg, Dennis and Dan Yorde all recorded pins. The boys basketball team lost at Rhinelander last Tuesday giving them a 1-1 start to the season; the girls team lost their first game in overtime to the Hodags, 42-41. The JV girls team fared better, clobbering Rhinelander 47-22.
The City of Merrill has completed their budget and taxes will see a dip this year. The city will see additional shared revenue funding added to the city coffers helping to reduce the budget by 2%. Mayor Richard Holt noted some large accomplishments over the past year including the widening of Main Street and the re-construction of Jackson Street along with the new shelter house at Ott’s Park. The city is also advertising for police dispatchers. The newly created position will begin on Jan. 2, starting salary is $6.17 an hour. The city is also looking for a dispatcher for the Transit Department; that job has a starting wage of $6.99 an hour. (Guess it paid better to dispatch buses back then.)
It appears this spring’s ballot will be a crowded one as several people have made their intent known to be on it come April. City Clerk Judy Stockowitz has indicated she will be a candidate again, Mayor Richard Holt has reserved his space on the ballot, and third ward alderman David D’Amico and seventh ward alderman Anita Gebert have done the same. Merrill Junior High teacher Bob Monti has declared his intent to challenge Gebert, and former alderman Bryan Stimers has decided to challenge incumbent Ron Schroeder for his seat in the fourth ward. Sixth ward alderman Ken Plawman will not run for his aldermanic post, instead he intends on running to try to replace retiring street commissioner Phil Erickson.
Two longtime United States Postal employees were honored this past week at their retirement. Postmaster Dennis Ball is pictured congratulating Lloyd Buck and Bill Lechelt during a ceremony at the post office. Buck put in 30 years at the facility, Lechelt 25.
The Bluejay basketball teams had mixed success against the Red Robins this past week. The girls team downed the Antigo girls, 42-31. Coach Bob Yuska noted his girls were very stingy on defense but he would like to see the offense put in more work. Junior center Gena Rusch led the girls with 17 points and 12 rebounds; Jolene Hanig scored seven points but Yuska noted her ball handling ability really shined in the game and expects that to play out down the road. The boys team on the other hand did not do so well when they hosted the Red Robin boys. The Jays had opened the season with a 56-53 win over Tomahawk, but their shooting percentage took a nose dive and the boys lost to Antigo 56-42. Coach Bob Wojtusik will take his 1-1 team to face power house Wausau East this Friday.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will soon have a K9 unit. The county approved paying for a patrol vehicle and adding on an additional $5,000 for training and equipment while the employees of the Sheriff’s Office will be charged with raising the estimated $7,000 to complete acquisition. Sheriff Ron Krueger approved the program which will have Deputy Mark Vander Bloomen as its handler. He will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet his new K9 partner and begin the training. The hope is the funds can be raised and the training completed by October of 1996.
Residents are pictured on page one digging out from the big storm. Lincoln County was coated with nine inches of snow this past weekend. The author notes how far back everyone is pushing their snow, possibly anticipating lots of it this winter.
What usually is a late season nail biting contest, often going down to the last minute, ended quickly and decisively when the Merrill Bluejay girls traveled to D.C. Everest this past Tuesday. The game was a close contest going into the third quarter, but then Merrill’s Melissa Yuska exploded on offense scoring all 17 of her points in the second half. Jessica Van Der Geest contributed eight points, and Stacy Schmidt put up six. Meanwhile the boys team had a Goliath of their own to conquer. The opening contest of the year was against traditionally strong Pulaski. Last year the Red Raiders finished 18-4, but the strong Merrill defense showed them that this is a new season. The final score was 58-51, but the local squad led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter. Jon Parkes was the scoring leader with 16 points; his seven rebounds and three steals are something Coach Tom Andreska is looking to capitalize on this season. Jesse Zuelsdorf added nine points in the victory. Merrill will head to Antigo this Friday for a Valley matchup.
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.