Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Diplomatic negotiations are underway but as of Tuesday a Merrill native remains held in a jail in Kenya. A. H. “Brick” Stange Jr., a native son of one of the founding families of Merrill, has been imprisoned there accused of stealing gemstones. Stange was arrested on December 1 by the Kenyan government accused of illegal possession of gem stones and contravening exchange control regulations. Stange’s brother Michael Stange stated in a phone interview that his main concern was the health of his brother as he assumes he lacks proper food and medical attention. Augustus H. Stange, Brick’s father, is vice-president of Lincoln County Bank in Merrill. Charles Eckerle, president of the bank, informed the Foto News that he has been in contact with the American Embassy at Nairobi. Through a cablegram sent to Eckerle on Saturday Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall assured Eckerle that Brick is in good health, has a lawyer, and he would be personally visited by two physicians, the prison superintendent, and an officer of the American Embassy by noon today. Brick Stange is the owner of Gemstones Inc., a San Francisco, CA based company which imports gems. Media reports vary on the value of the gems found in Stange’s possession, from $2,000 to $125,000. Stange has formerly worked for the Kenyan government as a gemstone advisor and game warden.
World famous movie producer Bill Rebane has announced he will film another motion epic motion picture here in Wisconsin. Rebane predicts a budget of $10 million for his latest project set to film during the winter months of 1976-1977. Rebane, of Route 2, Gleason, advised that he has acquired the rights to the novel “Graves Without Crosses” which tells the story of the small nation of Estonia against the Russians during World War II. Rebane noted Estonia has identical terrain to Wisconsin and hopes the filming is wrapped up in eight months’ time. Rebane recently completed “The Giant Spider Invasion.” That film stars Alan Hale, Barbara Hale, Robert Easton and Leslie Parrish.
Still deciding what to do tomorrow night for New Year’s Eve? The entertainment page offers the following: Club Modern will be serving prime rib from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m., the Fish Trap Bar just north of Tomahawk has Larry’s Melodiers, and Heller’s Hub Inn will feature music from Jackson III. Les & Jim’s has a bargain for couples which includes a buffet and two drinks for only $6 per person while music will be provided by the Rhythm Masters who will play until 3 a.m. Hour Place at 413 W. Main St. will have the “Music Men” starting at 9 p.m., Riverside Club has dinner specials all night with prime rib for $5.75, ½ a roast duck for $3.50, and both including the soup and salad bar. Robin Lee and the Crown Room, located under the Lincoln House will have Robin Lee and the Royal Host entertaining from 9 p.m., Gary’s Disco Bar has music from Brimstone with a cover charge of $3 per couple covering one drink per person. If a movie is more your style, the Cosmo has the Disney movie “One of our Dinosaurs is Missing” at 6 p.m. and “Cinderella” at 9:30.
Page two of the paper is covered with the big news stories of 1985. Highlights include: The national award given to Merrill Senior High School, recognized by the National Secondary School Recognition Program as one of the best in the nation. School board member Jay Tlusty, principal Lanny Tibaldo and chemistry teacher Louise Schotz traveled to Washington D.C. to accept the award which was announced in August. The award spirit carried locally when a banquet with local and national VIP’s in attendance was held in September. That banquet was not all smiles though as area teachers held an informational picket outside of the event protesting their lack of contract. The school board is offering a 7.7% raise while the teachers union is asking for 8.9%. In other school news, Jay Stadium will finally have lights. The annual school district meeting attendees voted to go ahead with the $80,000 to install the lights despite the opposition from Merrill Police Chief Charles Johnson. The county is still moving along and appears close to finding land for a landfill, but the Prairie Dells dam remains the albatross around their necks as Lunda Construction is threatening to sue for the money they say is still owed. In city news the voters approved widening Main Street from the Pine Ridge Oasis to Memorial Drive, but they fought back against a recently enacted charter ordinance making the mayor a full time job. That ordinance was repealed by a two to one margin. Taxes for the city also went down this past year, but city spending is headed up next year by 12% thanks to $375,000 in additional revenue from the state’s revenue sharing program.
The owner of Riverside Athletic Club has announced a huge expansion project. Paul Kienitz hopes to have the addition underway by spring, virtually doubling the size of the facility. Plans include a full-sized basketball court which can be converted into two regulation volleyball courts where users will enjoy air conditioning on state of the art playing surfaces that are friendlier to your body. If the weather cooperates the project should be completed by July.
Instead of an end of the year wrap up, the editors of the paper are presenting a look to the future with an introduction of the movers and shakers of the area. They present small biographies of local folks, the organizations they head, and their goals for 1996. Those include the following people and their goals: Helen Ader, President of the Merrill Concert Association, her goal, to improve the records of each committee of the organization to improve the group. Virginia Kohnke, President of the Merrill Chapter of the Valparaiso University Guild, her goal is to develop more interest in, and increase contributions to Valparaiso. Carol Donner, President of the Good Samaritan Auxiliary, her goal is to update the bylaws and get a new handbook printed. Floyd Korpi, President of Merrill Youth Hockey, his goal is to fund an indoor hockey program at an estimated cost of $40,000. Noel Bushor, President, Merrill Jaycees, his goal is to increase membership and get the group more involved in the community. Judeen Knott, President of Xi Alpha Eta Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, her goal is gain more support of the group’s marathon which funds scholarships. Rev. James Primley, President, Merrill Forward Together, his goal is to increase participation in the post prom and graduation parties and increase membership. Sister Peggy Jackelen, Coordinator of Lifeline for the Merrill area, her goal is to replace 15 older lifeline units which currently assist community members. Gary Hartwig, President-elect, Merrill Area United Way, his goal is to meet the goal of $100,000 which was set for 1995–1996. Sharon Anderson, President of the Child Car Association of Lincoln County, her goal is to offer professional support to child care providers, positively affect the level of child care in the county, and increase active memberships. Gerald Schmoeckel, Commander Merrill VFW Post 1638, his goal, increase membership and awareness of his organization and get his members more involved in community projects. Dick Lokemoen, President of the Merrill City Band, his goal is to continue to support director Linda Becker as the head of the best municipal band in the state. Wendy Hammer, President of the Merrill Newcomers, her goal is to sponsor a number of events to make newcomers to Merrill feel at home. Carol Schmidt, President of Lutherans for Life, her goal is to continue the education of young people on pro-life issues. Audrey Taylor, President of the Laureate Kappa Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, her goal is to keep the group active in social and cultural affairs and support the local scholarship program. Marlee Schreiber and Lin Kenworthy, local contacts for Citizens for Decency, their goal is to support laws that support the group’s goals and promote morally uplifting media, especially for the young. Michael Hammer, President Merrill Chamber of Commerce, his goal is membership development and promote collaboration among community leaders. Mike Weckwerth, President of Merrill Little League Baseball, his goal is to improve the playing fields his groups play on. Alice F. Krueger, President of the Historical Society, her goal is to enlarge and expand the cultural center. Jerry Leopold, President of the Merrill Eagles, his goal is to get more members involved in the club. Mayward Krueger, President of the Lincoln County Snowmobile Club, his goal is to increase the number of miles of Lincoln County trails. William Mann, President of the Merrill Rotary Club, his goal is to increase membership in the organization. Dee Olson, President of the Optimist Club, her goal is to continue to build on their successful programs. Mike Caylor, Chairman of the Lincoln County Red Cross, his goal is to continue enlarging the group and improving the service provided in Lincoln County.
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.