Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
Biographies of candidates for local office are starting to fill the paper as the ballot for the spring election begins to swell. Local candidates for the county board include Dave Moreavec, incumbent supervisor for the 8th district who is being challenged by two neighbors, LeRoy A. Degner and Mel Peterson. Degner retired two years ago after being employed at the sheriff’s office for 25 years; Mel Peterson is a local grocery store owner; Moreavec is a self-employed painter and works as a realtor for Pat Bucket. Harry Osness will seek the post in district 11; he is a supervisor at Wausau Paper. Harold Hanson is running in district 10. Hanson is retired and has served on the county board for 40 years. DeLyle Bohse is seeking the post in district 12. Bohse is the administrative supply technician for the Wisconsin National Guard and has served on the board since 1966. Floyd Lemon, Patrick Buick, and Andrew Fehr all seek the post in the 16th district. Incumbent Robert St. Clair did not file to retain his post. Lemon is an insurance salesman and Navy Veteran. Stanley Vaughn is seeking a third term on the board representing the Towns of Birch, Rock Falls, and Russell. He is employed at Marathon Electric and farms. Eugene Schmit is running in district two covering several Tomahawk townships. He is an Army Veteran and self-employed contractor. (Not all had biographies)
In something never seen before in Merrill, two women are running for City Council. Anita Gebert is seeking the post in district eight and Jean Rogers is seeking the spot in district one. Gebert is a homemaker and currently is president of the T. B. Scott Library Board. She commends the public servants of the city but would like to see more common sense coming out of city hall. Rogers is a resident of 8th Street who is campaigning on putting an end to high taxes and having the council have a list of priorities. She also would like to see spending levels consistent with what residents can afford to pay. In other city news, voters in the fifth district can meet for a caucus on Monday at the K&C Hall. The discussion will center around consolidating the fire stations into a central fire station out of the Sixth Ward barn, the problems associated with the youth center, the future use of the County Normal property, and if the city should use the Scott Street parking area as an elderly housing unit. Also, Chief of Police Charles Johnson announced he appointed Glenn S. Schape of Wausau to the police force as of last week.
Immanuel Lutheran Church in the Town of Corning is celebrating a recent fire, that being the burning of the church’s mortgage. The new church was dedicated on March 24, 1968 under Pastor Arnold W. Beawer. The church, which was founded in 1915 and has 260 members is led by the Rev. Harvey Kath of Hamburg. The building committee from the 1968 construction was Wilbert Krause, Louis Langhoff, Lawrence Henrichs, Robert Wendt, and Martin Natzke.
Voters will find plenty of options on the ballot for the spring primary as eight people are vying for four seats on the Merrill School Board. The list of candidates sounds more like the start of an old joke as you find a preacher, a secretary, a tavern owner, a financial consultant, a banker and others walking into a board room. Arlan Anderson, Raymond Bloomer, Bruce Giese, Nicholas Hoffman, Rev. Dan Olson, David Sanderson, Charleen Seetan, and Patricia Weber are all seeking seats on the board. The election will be held April 1 with the three top vote getters receiving three year terms and the fourth place contestant receiving a one year term.
Speaking of the schools, Superintendent of Schools Thomas L. Strick is saluting the voters and taxpayers for giving the schools some top notch facilities. In a letter to the editor Strick noted how he walked into the High School the other night and found numerous people in the pool, 20 people lifting weights in the weight room, eight teams playing basketball in the field house, 50 more people were playing basketball in the East Gym, and 400 were watching a jazz concert in the auditorium. Strick stated that seven years ago the schools were communicating the need for an expanded facility but numerous people stated it wasn’t needed, wouldn’t be used, would be too expensive, or the board would never allow the facilities to be used like a YMCA. Now that the facilities are built Strick states user fees are paying for the heat and lights and cleaning which means no increase in taxes for those who voted for the expansion and the debt payment for the facilities has been decreased. (Wonder what he would say if he saw what facilities we have now, and the football field about to come?)
The date has been set for the retirement dinner honoring DNR Conservation Warden Don Manthei. Manthei served the Merrill area as a conservation warden since 1955 before he retired on Jan. 18. Manthei is still recovering from injuries he suffered while enforcing spearing regulations on Pelican Lake last April. Since then Joe Ryder has been appointed as the local warden. Tickets for the dinner, which will be held at Lincoln Lanes, can be purchased at the Ranger Station.
The Pamida store in Merrill will close. Local manager John Perry stated he received a call from the corperate headquarters in Omaha telling him of the pending termination of the Merrill facility. Perry expects to know more details by later this week.
In hindsight, it was sort of a puzzling question to ask. That would be the question Chuck Summers posed to a Merrill resident in a city restaurant, now the site of Ron and Queenies Pizza. Chuck simply asked after stepping off the train on a hot August day in 1948 where the radio station was in town. Seems Chuck was one of the few people to know at the time that Merrill was going to have a radio station of their own, WLIN, and Chuck Summers and his sidekick Buck Leverton were about to become the voices of it. Summers attended the Brown Institute in Minnesota to learn broadcasting. Most of the graduates of the school went straight to work for the school owned radio station at Cloquet. But when the call went out looking for an announcer who would be able to provide play by play of local baseball Chuck soon found himself on a train to Merrill. He spent the night before the station began broadcasting in the studio studying all of the equipment. The station was a small building located on the far south side of the lot where Bible Presbyterian Church now stands. The building was so fragile employees had to walk across planks during the spring flooding and after heavy rain as water flowed through its cracks. In the beginning Merrill Ranger baseball games were big, and Summers recorded the games as they happened then rushed back to the studio to play the tapes. In 1955 the radio station moved to Wausau. Eventually it became WSAU and Summers worked there until 1960. That is when he came back to Merrill and opened WXMT radio, later to be known as WJMT. At first the radio station was only allowed to broadcast until 6 p.m., but eventually it was allowed to broadcast on AM until midnight and FM all night. WJMT‘s FM station eventually switched formats and became WMZK; WJMT is still Merrill’s own with light music, swap shop, church services, council meetings, and the Polka Show. Although Chuck Summers hung up his microphone and went on to work for the local Ford dealer the beat goes on with Dan Lee hosting the morning show on WJMT while newcomer Jim Beem does the morning show on the FM side. Rich Stevens is the noon time announcer while Greg Berlin does the evening program. WJMT and Z104 are excited to be moving back to the Lincoln House where they will occupy most of the first floor.
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.