Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
A Tomahawk woman has reached a plea deal in the death of a Tomahawk boy. The woman was a live-in babysitter for the family when the six-year-old child died. When the boy fell ill in September he was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital before being transferred to Wausau North Hospital where he died on Sept. 22. An autopsy at Madison showed the youth died from gross maltreatment. The woman was originally charged with second degree murder but during a plea hearing yesterday she pled guilty to contributing to the neglect of a minor, causing death. The offense calls for a prison term of up to five years. She remains behind bars unable to post a $15,000 cash bond and will be sentenced on Jan. 7.
County and city budgets are shaping up. Both entities felt a bit generous giving out raises to some elected officials as part of their budget. County board supervisors will now get $30 per day, plus mileage and a meeting salary of $20 per meeting. The county board chairman will now draw a salary of $3,500. Other elected officials getting raises included County Clerk Ken Oldenburg, County Treasurer Florian Koehler, County Clerk of Court Janet Beyer, and Register of Deeds Warren Weckwerth, with all being moved up to $12,500 per year. Sheriff Ron Krueger was adjusted to $13,500 and DA Dennis Montabon was raised to $22,000 per year. An attempt to raise the salary of Judge Donald Schnabel an additional $2,400 was defeated by a narrow margin, but his salary was eventually increased $1,500 on a second vote. The city budget totals $3.9 million dollars and includes a 7.6% pay raise for the Clerk, Treasurer, Attorney, Street Commissioner, all department heads, city hall custodian, and city hall clerical workers. The city is also advertising for police officers; starting wage is $821 per month with applications due next Friday.
A small but vocal group of Merrill women took to the streets Friday, picketing against recent action by the chamber of commerce to change the shopping hours downtown. The chamber noted it was by vote of the merchants that they changed late hours from Friday to Thursday. Previously downtown businesses stayed open until 9 p.m. on Friday evenings. Other shoppers showed their support to the group as they passed by. The women informed the paper they intend on being back this Friday at 7 p.m. for a two hour picket.
The Merrill Bluejay boys’ basketball team losing streak has ended at 23 games, but their winning streak has ended at one game. The boys unloaded on the visiting Marshfield Tigers on Friday by a score of 69-52. But when they went to Wausau West on Saturday they were beaten 56-50. Bob Semling. Eric Finanger, Pat Nelson, and Gordon Smith all scored in double digits in the game versus Marshfield. The Lady Jays snuck by Wausau West, 39-38.
Given Merrill’s political tradition, the City Council has deferred the decision to combine the City Clerk and City Treasurer job to the voters. The council gave two quick readings to the proposed charter ordinance at the last two meetings and it is slated for a third, as required by law. The announced retirement of long time treasurer Alvin Saeger prompted the council to consider combining the positions. Saeger wrote in a letter to Mayor Richard Holt that he would not seek re-election this spring for the job he has held for the past 22 years. The council had previously tried to make the position unattractive by reducing the annual compensation from $23,000 to $1,000 per year. Current city clerk and potential future clerk/treasurer Judy Stockowitz expressed her optimism that the combined position would work well in city hall. In other action at the council meeting the group voted to ban ATVs from all city streets, gave 4.5% raises to all city employees except for the mayor and alderman, approved the appointment of Marge Hanson as transit director to replace the retiring Harry Banaszak, agreed to transfer all responsibility for solid waste disposal to the county, and approved $8,500 to allow city engineer Charles Pierotti to solve some problems at the waste water treatment plant, one of which is foul in nature.
It appears we have a landfill. The county solid waste committee voted this past week to go ahead with a feasibility study for the possible purchase of the Alfred and Cleone Turner property in the Town of Birch. The committee was considering other sites on County Rd. H and in the Underdown area.
In what turned out to be completely opposite lopsided games, the Merrill Bluejay basketball teams took on the Wausau East squads this past week. The girls started off slow and had some ball handling problems but came on strong in the second half to tally a final score of 52-38. Gena Rusch led the girls with 23 points. The girls travel to Marshfield next to take on what Coach Bob Yuska describes as a young but strong Tiger team. The Merrill boys hosted the Lumberjacks this past Friday and their shooting game was quiet in the 74-31 loss. Senior Bob Ott scored the most points for the home team with 12. Coach Bob Wojtusik notes senior forward Bill Wilharms is out with a knee injury and may miss three to four weeks.
A local woman is being hailed a hero after her quick thinking led to the emergency response to her stricken mother. Michelle Sukow responded immediately when her mother fell down the steps last month. Unable to revive the unconscious Elaine Sukow, her daughter ran barefoot in her bathrobe to the neighbors for assistance. Angie Saal knew at once what the trouble was and summoned an ambulance to help. What makes the case unique is Michelle has Downs Syndrome, but that did not prevent Michelle, who is a big fan of the TV show “Rescue 911,” from her speedy response. Michelle, the daughter of Lester and Elaine, is pictured with her now recovered mother.
Is it too early to start thinking about this? Both Les & Jim’s and Mulligans have ads on the entertainment page for their New Year’s Eve celebrations. Les & Jim’s will have a prime rib and shrimp buffet along with the DJ in the lounge counting down to midnight while Mulligans has a buffet and live music from the Music Connection until 1 a.m. The cost at Mulligans is $75 a couple.
The Merrill Bluejay girls’ basketball team pulled out a victory over Antigo on Friday despite the loss of one Yuska. Melissa Yuska sat out the game after suffering a concussion at Wausau West on Tuesday night. With Yuska missing from the lineup the Red Robins turned their attention to Jessica Van Der Geest, keeping her scoring numbers below her average but allowing Katy Flatau and Molly Neumann to surge ahead in the border battle. The boys’ team lost their game with Antigo 49-46 in overtime; sophomore guard Troy Pieper led the Jays in scoring with 21, followed by Jon Parkes with 11, and Jesse Zuelsdorf with nine.
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.